B-233214, Jan 31, 1989

B-233214: Jan 31, 1989

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Two employees are entitled to reimbursement for mileage driven in direct travel between their residences and their temporary duty points outside their official duty station area. Robert Becker and Jeffrey Simcox - Mileage Reimbursement for Travel to Temporary Duty Points: This decision is in response to a joint request from the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Ohio (union). /1/ The issue is whether two employees are entitled to reimbursement for mileage for travel between their residences and temporary duty points outside their official duty stations. We conclude that they are so entitled. Which have been jointly stipulated to by the agency and the union. Are as follows. A food inspector whose permanent duty station was Jackson.

B-233214, Jan 31, 1989

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Commuting expenses - Reimbursement - Elibibility CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Temporary duty - Travel expenses - Privately-owned vehicles - Mileage DIGEST: In accordance with the specific provisions of Food Safety and Inspection Service Directive 3800.2, two employees are entitled to reimbursement for mileage driven in direct travel between their residences and their temporary duty points outside their official duty station area.

Robert Becker and Jeffrey Simcox - Mileage Reimbursement for Travel to Temporary Duty Points:

This decision is in response to a joint request from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (agency), and the North Central Council, National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, American Federation of Government Employees, Salem, Ohio (union). /1/ The issue is whether two employees are entitled to reimbursement for mileage for travel between their residences and temporary duty points outside their official duty stations. For the following reasons, we conclude that they are so entitled.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case, which have been jointly stipulated to by the agency and the union, are as follows. Mr. Robert Becker, a food inspector whose permanent duty station was Jackson, Michigan, was assigned to cover the Northwest Meat Market, Establishment No. 10140, from April 12 to August 14, 1987. /2/ The Northwest Meat Market is 6 miles outside the corporate limits of Jackson, Michigan, but the plant itself uses a Jackson mailing address. Mr. Becker is seeking reimbursement of mileage expenses for 59 trips for traveling in his own private vehicle between his home in Saline, Michigan, and the Northwest Meat Market. Mr. Becker asserts that since his duty station was listed as Jackson, Michigan, and travel to Northwest Meat Market was outside that city's corporate limits, he is entitled to mileage reimbursement.

Mr. Jeffrey Simcox, a food inspector, was assigned to Kremco, Inc., which is located 3 miles outside the corporate limits of East Lansing, Michigan, his official duty station. Mr. Simcox traveled between his home in Ithaca, Michigan, and Kremco 13 different days during October and November 1987, and he is seeking reimbursement for his mileage to that site.

OPINION

The resolution of the claims in this case depends on the proper application of the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Directive 3800.2 dated November 3, 1981, as amended, which is a more specific implementation of general and agency travel regulations and Article XVI of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This Directive, entitled Reimbursement for Use of Privately Owned Vehicles, prescribes FSIS policy on reimbursement for the use of privately owned vehicles by employees on official travel.

With regard to mileage reimbursement, part II, section IV of FSIS Directive 3800.2, provides that for temporary duty outside the official duty station, the employee will be reimbursed for all mileage driven in direct travel between the residence and the temporary duty point. In part I, section V of FSIS Directive 3800.2, the official duty station is defined as the corporate limits of the city or town or other established area with definite boundaries in which an employee is stationed.

In Mr. Becker's case, his official duty station was Jackson, Michigan. His travel to Northwest Meat Market, which is located 6 miles outside the corporate limits of Jackson, Michigan, thus constituted temporary duty outside his official duty station. Although Northwest Meat Market uses a Jackson mailing address for convenience, the actual travel to its physical location controls.

In Mr. Simcox's case, his official station was East Lansing, Michigan. His travel to Kremco, which is located 3 miles outside the corporate limits of East Lansing, thus constituted temporary duty outside his official duty station.

Accordingly, the claims of Mr. Becker and Mr. Simcox should be paid, if otherwise proper.

/1/ This request has been handled as a labor-management relations matter under 4 C.F.R. Part 22 (1988), and pursuant to 4 C.F.R. Sec. 22.7(b) (1988), our Office is issuing a decision to the parties on their joint request.

/2/ In carrying out its mission, the agency employs primarily veterinarians and food inspectors who work in some 7,250 federally inspected meat and poultry plants called "Establishments."