B-226705, Aug 3, 1987

B-226705: Aug 3, 1987

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Temporary duty - Travel expenses - Reimbursement - Amount determination DIGEST: Employee of the Army claims she should have been reimbursed a higher amount for travel on temporary duty. Army officials state that employee was properly paid the amount that it would have cost the government if a transportation request had been used. The claim is denied. Oliver - Temporary Duty - Reimbursement Rates: This action is in response to a request from Linda J. Oliver's travel reimbursement was calculated incorrectly. The claim is denied. Oliver chose to purchase her own airline tickets although government transportation requests were available. Oliver's reimbursement for the cost of air travel was subject to the provisions of Volume 2 of the Joint Travel Regulations.

B-226705, Aug 3, 1987

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Temporary duty - Travel expenses - Reimbursement - Amount determination DIGEST: Employee of the Army claims she should have been reimbursed a higher amount for travel on temporary duty, alleging that the Army improperly determined rates to reimburse her travel. Army officials state that employee was properly paid the amount that it would have cost the government if a transportation request had been used, pursuant to 2 JTR para. C4704(c). It appears the Army used appropriate method of determining reimbursement rate, and the claimant has not provided evidence to the contrary. Accordingly, the claim is denied.

Linda J. Oliver - Temporary Duty - Reimbursement Rates:

This action is in response to a request from Linda J. Oliver for reconsideration of our Claims Group's February 25, 1987 disallowance of her claim for $50 in additional reimbursement for airfares she paid incident to temporary duty travel. It appears that Ms. Oliver's agency uses appropriate methods to determine the appropriate fares to be used in computing employees' reimbursements, and no evidence has been presented which indicates that Ms. Oliver's travel reimbursement was calculated incorrectly. Accordingly, the claim is denied.

Ms. Oliver, a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, traveled on temporary duty on June 11, 1984, to Los Angeles, California, from her permanent duty station at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. She traveled again on temporary duty to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on October 30, 1984. On both occasions, for reasons of personal convenience, Ms. Oliver chose to purchase her own airline tickets although government transportation requests were available.

Ms. Oliver's reimbursement for the cost of air travel was subject to the provisions of Volume 2 of the Joint Travel Regulations, para. C4704(3), then in effect. Under these regulations, when a transportation request is available but is not used and transportation costs exceed $100, reimbursement to the traveler may not exceed the cost to the government had a transportation request been used. The agency indicates that Ms. Oliver was reimbursed the amount it would have cost the government if transportation requests had been used to procure her air transportation.

Ms. Oliver, however, argues that she should have been reimbursed more for air travel on each of her trips. She claims that the Fort Sill finance office improperly determined the rates which would have applied if her tickets had been procured by transportation requests by contacting the transportation office and asking for the "lowest cost" transportation rate on the day the travel claim was being processed rather than as of the dates of her travel. She also states that the fares used in the computations may include low cost fares only available for special charter flights which would not have been available to her.

The agency recommends that Ms. Oliver's claim not be paid, noting that contrary to her assertions, she was reimbursed in accordance with applicable regulations. That is, it is the agency's position that Ms. Oliver was reimbursed amounts based on costs to the government had government transportation requests been used to procure air transportation for the dates of Ms. Oliver's travel. The agency specifically notes that, with regard to the June travel, Ms. Oliver's air travel was from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to the temporary duty point and back, while a number of others who traveled to the same temporary duty point had used government transportation requests which provided air travel from Lawton, Oklahoma, approximately 90 miles from Oklahoma City. Thus their fares for tickets procured with transportation requests were higher than that to which Ms. Oliver was entitled for air travel; however, her reimbursement also included a mileage allowance from her residence to Oklahoma City and back.

As to Ms. Oliver's allegation that special charter flight fares unavailable to regular government employees are used by the agency to establish the government transportation request rate, we were informally advised by an official of the Fort Sill Transportation Office that they are provided only fares applicable for scheduled commercial flights available to government travelers. Thus, it appears Ms. Oliver received erroneous information in that regard.

From the information in the record, it appears that the transportation and finance offices at Fort Sill are aware of the appropriate methods to determine applicable fares for computing reimbursements to employees who travel without use of government transportation requests when such requests are available. The agency states that Ms. Oliver's travel reimbursement was established in accordance with the applicable regulations and she has no evidence to the contrary. Accordingly, Ms. Oliver's claim for additional travel expenses is denied.