B-205404.OM, APR 6, 1982

B-205404.OM: Apr 6, 1982

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THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL COSTS BY AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE AND NOT TO EXCEED THE ACTUAL COSTS. WHICHEVER IS LOWER. THOSE TYPES OF EXPENSES WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE ON THE DIRECT ROUTE MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE COMPUTATION OF ACTUAL COSTS. CZARSTY: THIS MEMORANDUM IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR REQUEST THAT WE REVIEW A CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON PREPARED BY MR. WESSMILLER AND HIS WIFE WERE AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1151000007 TO TRAVEL FROM PANAMA TO BOSTON AND RETURN FOR PURPOSE OF TAKING HOME LEAVE. TRAVEL BY CIRCUITOUS ROUTE WAS AUTHORIZED. WESSMILLER WAS ORDERED TO RETURN TO PANAMA BY WAY OF WASHINGTON.

B-205404.OM, APR 6, 1982

SUBJECT: CLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES - RAYMOND M. WESSMILLER - B-205404-O.M. DIGEST: INCIDENT TO TOUR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL FROM PANAMA TO BOSTON, A GAO EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE TRAVELED BY INDIRECT ROUTE THROUGH NEW YORK, AND THROUGH MIAMI DURING THE RETURN TRIP TO PANAMA. THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL COSTS BY AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE AND NOT TO EXCEED THE ACTUAL COSTS, WHICHEVER IS LOWER. THOSE TYPES OF EXPENSES WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE ON THE DIRECT ROUTE MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE COMPUTATION OF ACTUAL COSTS. THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO INCLUDE THE EXPENSE OF RENTING A CAR IN THE NEW YORK AREA. EMPLOYEE ALSO WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE, BUT ONLY TO THE AMOUNT HE REIMBURSED THE DRIVER FOR GAS, OIL, TOLLS, ETC., WHERE HE TRAVELED AS A PASSENGER IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND BOSTON.

AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER - JUDITH B. CZARSTY:

THIS MEMORANDUM IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR REQUEST THAT WE REVIEW A CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON PREPARED BY MR. RAYMOND M. WESSMILLER, A GAO EMPLOYEE STATIONED IN PANAMA. THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON RELATES TO EXPENSES THAT MR. WESSMILLER AND HIS WIFE INCURRED IN OVERSEAS TOUR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL TO BOSTON IN JULY AND AUGUST, 1981.

MR. WESSMILLER AND HIS WIFE WERE AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1151000007 TO TRAVEL FROM PANAMA TO BOSTON AND RETURN FOR PURPOSE OF TAKING HOME LEAVE. TRAVEL BY CIRCUITOUS ROUTE WAS AUTHORIZED, PROVIDED THAT MR. WESSMILLER WOULD BEAR ANY EXCESS COST, AND CHARGE ANY EXCESS TIME TO ANNUAL LEAVE. INSTEAD OF PROCEEDING DIRECTLY TO BOSTON, MR. AND MRS. WESSMILLER CHOSE TO TRAVEL FROM PANAMA TO NEW YORK, SPEND SEVERAL DAYS IN NEW YORK, AND PROCEED TO BOSTON WITH RELATIVES IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. WHILE IN NEW YORK, THE WESSMILLERS RENTED AN AUTOMOBILE FOR THEIR PERSONAL USE IN AND AROUND NEW YORK.

AFTER TAKING HOME LEAVE (AND SEVERAL WEEKS OF ANNUAL LEAVE) IN BOSTON, MR. WESSMILLER WAS ORDERED TO RETURN TO PANAMA BY WAY OF WASHINGTON, D. C., FOR PURPOSES OF ATTENDING A TRAINING COURSE IN WASHINGTON. INSTEAD OF RETURNING FROM BOSTON TO PANAMA, MRS. WESSMILLER CHOSE TO ACCOMPANY HER HUSBAND TO WASHINGTON. FROM WASHINGTON, MR. WESSMILLER, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE, RETURNED TO PANAMA, THIS TIME THROUGH MIAMI, WHERE HE TOOK ANOTHER 2-1/2 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE.

ALLOWABLE EXPENSES FOR OVERSEAS TOUR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL (HOME LEAVE TRAVEL) ARE LIMITED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS FOR THE EMPLOYEE, AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS (BUT NOT PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE) FOR HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY. 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5728 (1976); PARAGRAPH 2-1.5H(2)(B) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) (FPMR 101-7 (MAY 1973)). EXPENSES ARE ALLOWED FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S PLACE OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES TO HIS PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE (RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF ASSIGNMENT OVERSEAS), AND RETURN. FTR PARAGRAPH 2-1.5H(2)(A).

SHOULD THE EMPLOYEE CHOOSE TO TRAVEL TO HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE, PARAGRAPH 1-2.5B OF THE FTR PROVIDES:

"B. INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL. WHEN A PERSON FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE OR INTERRUPTS TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE SHALL BE BORNE BY HIM. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES SHALL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE."

IN ADDITION, THIS OFFICE HAS ESTABLISHED THE PRINCIPLE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE, HE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT BY INDIRECT ROUTE IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY THE DIRECT ROUTE AND NOT TO EXCEED THE ACTUAL COST, WHICHEVER IS LOWER. B-178535, JUNE 21, 1973.

ALTHOUGH THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE DO NOT SPECIFY THE TYPES OF EXPENSES ENCOMPASSED BY THE TERM "ACTUAL COST," THE ABOVE REGULATIONS INDICATE THAT ONLY THOSE TYPES OF EXPENSES WHICH WOULD BE ALLOWABLE ON THE DIRECT ROUTE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL ON AN INDIRECT ROUTE: TRANSPORTATION, SUBSISTENCE (OR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE), AND ANY ALLOWABLE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES. THIS LIMITATION IS MADE CLEAR BY THE LANGUAGE OF GAO ORDER 0300.1 WHICH SPECIFIES THAT PER DIEM IS ALLOWABLE ON THE INDIRECT ROUTE, BUT ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON A DIRECT ROUTE. SEE GAO ORDER 0300.1, PAGE III-6, PARAGRAPH 4(A).

IN THE CASE OF MR. AND MRS. WESSMILLER, ACTUAL COSTS OF THE TRIP TO BOSTON AND RETURN MUST BE COMPARED WITH THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF THE TRIP HAD IT BEEN MADE BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE. ACTUAL EXPENSES INCLUDE: MILEAGE BETWEEN AIRPORT AND HOME IN PANAMA; ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL FROM NEW YORK TO BOSTON; ACTUAL AIR FARES EN ROUTE FOR BOTH MR. AND MRS. WESSMILLER (PANAMA - N. Y.; BOSTON - WASHINGTON; WASHINGTON - MIAMI, MIAMI - PANAMA); AND ALLOWABLE PER DIEM FOR MR. WESSMILLER AS CALCULATED ACCORDING TO FTR PARAGRAPH 1-7.4 THROUGH 1 7.6, AND ALLOWING FOR INTERRUPTION OF PER DIEM ENTITLEMENT FOR PERIODS OF LEAVE (FTR PARAGRAPH 1 -7.5A), WITH THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF PER DIEM FOR THE TRIP NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNT THAT HE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED HAD HE TRAVELED BY DIRECT ROUTE.

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

THOSE EXPENSES WHICH MAY BE LISTED AS THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF TRAVEL BY A DIRECT ROUTE INCLUDE: (1) ALLOWABLE TRANSPORTATION FROM HOME TO AIRPORT IN PANAMA (AND AIRPORT TO HOME ON RETURN); (2) ONE ROUND TRIP FARE FROM PANAMA TO BOSTON AND RETURN FOR MRS. WESSMILLER (ALTHOUGH MR. WESSMILLER WAS ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY IN WASHINGTON, D. C., MRS. WESSMILLER'S TRAVEL APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ROUTED BY WAY OF WASHINGTON AND MIAMI FOR PERSONAL REASONS; SHE COULD HAVE RETURNED TO PANAMA BY A MORE DIRECT ROUTE; (3) ONE AIR FARE FROM PANAMA TO BOSTON AND RETURN VIA WASHINGTON, D. C., FOR MR. WESSMILLER; (4) ALLOWABLE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN AIRPORT AND PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN BOSTON; AND (5) ALLOWABLE PER DIEM FOR MR. WESSMILLER.

FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL COSTS, AIR FARES SHOULD BE CALCULATED AT THE LOWEST ECONOMY CLASS RATE (OR EXCURSION RATE IF APPLICABLE) AVAILABLE AT THE TIMES THAT TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFORMED. SEE B-165854, FEBRUARY 4, 1969. WE NOTE THAT MR. WESSMILLER HAS USED A RATE OF $364 FROM PANAMA TO BOSTON FOR COMPARISON PURPOSES. HOWEVER, THE TARIFF SCHEDULE HE HAS FURNISHED SHOWS A RATE OF $347 FROM PANAMA. THEREFORE, THE RATES SHOULD BE FURTHER VERIFIED.

PER DIEM FOR MR. WESSMILLER SHOULD BE CALCULATED AS SET OUT AT FTR PARAGRAPH 1-7.1 THROUGH 1-7.6, AND SHOULD BE DETERMINED AS THOUGH MR. WESSMILLER HAD TRAVELED DIRECTLY TO HIS PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN BOSTON AND ENTERED ON HOME LEAVE. SEE FTR PARAGRAPH 1-7.5(A). HAD MR. WESSMILLER'S TRAVELTIME FROM PANAMA TO POINT OF ENTRY IN THE UNITED STATES BEEN OVER 6 HOURS, HIS PER DIEM WOULD INCLUDE 1/4 DAY AT ONE HALF THE LOCAL PANAMANIAN RATE (GAO ORDER 0300.1, PAGE III-14, PARAGRAPH 4, INCORPORATING PARAGRAPH 154.2-1, FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS (6 FAM, DECEMBER 1980)), PLUS 1/4 DAY AT $6. SEE FTR PARAGRAPH 1-7.4B(3); JAY SEGAL, B-198455, JANUARY 6, 1981. IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT MR. WESSMILLER'S TOTAL TRAVELTIME FROM PANAMA TO POINT OF ENTRY IN THE UNITED STATES WOULD HAVE BEEN LESS THAN 6 HOURS, THE APPLICABLE RATE FOR HIS SECOND QUARTER OF PER DIEM SHOULD NOT EXCEED $50. FTR PARAGRAPH 1-7.4C. TERMINATION OF HIS RIGHT TO PER DIEM SHOULD BE BY REFERENCE TO FTR PARAGRAPH 1-7.5A. CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE ANY APPLICABLE PER DIEM FOR THAT PORTION OF MR. WESSMILLER'S TRIP AFTER LEAVING HIS PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE UPON COMPLETION OF HOME LEAVE IN BOSTON.

MR. WESSMILLER'S CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON FOR HIS TRAVEL BY INDIRECT ROUTE SHOULD BE RECOMPUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE DISCUSSION. OUR CONCLUSIONS HEREIN ARE APPLICABLE WHETHER OR NOT TRAVEL BY CIRCUITOUS ROUTE HAD BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY MR. WESSMILLER'S TRAVEL ORDERS, AS PARAGRAPH 4(A), PAGE III-6, OF GAO ORDER 0300.1 SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES TRAVEL BY INDIRECT ROUTE FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE IF THE EMPLOYEE BEARS ANY RESULTING EXCESS COSTS.