B-234240, Sep 14, 1989

B-234240: Sep 14, 1989

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Permanent duty stations - Actual subsistence expenses - Prohibition CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Temporary duty - Per diem - Eligibility DIGEST: This summary letter decision addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previous Comptroller General decisions. Price: The issue in this case is whether Mr. Price is entitled to per diem for duties performed periodically in Tel Aviv. Where his dependents and household goods were located. Was his official station. The certifying officer recouped the per diem paid for the periods of duty in Tel Aviv on the basis that Tel Aviv was Mr. Payment of per diem is prohibited at an employee's official duty station.

B-234240, Sep 14, 1989

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Permanent duty stations - Actual subsistence expenses - Prohibition CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Temporary duty - Per diem - Eligibility DIGEST: This summary letter decision addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previous Comptroller General decisions. To locate substantive decisions addressing this issue, refer to decisions indexed under the above listed index entry.

Leo H. Price:

The issue in this case is whether Mr. Price is entitled to per diem for duties performed periodically in Tel Aviv, Israel, while away from his temporary duty (TDY) station in Washington, D.C. The United States Information Agency issued a travel order transferring Mr. Price from Stuttgart, Germany, to Tel Aviv, where his dependents and household goods were located. The order authorized TDY en route in Washington, D.C., for 35 days of training. Due to complications with the project in Tel Aviv, the agency extended the TDY on four occasions, which delayed the transfer. During the delay, Mr. Price traveled to Tel Aviv on official business on several occasions. The agency paid Mr. Price per diem for the duties performed in Tel Aviv, as though Washington, D.C., was his official station, while at the same time reimbursing him for lodging costs in Washington. However, the certifying officer recouped the per diem paid for the periods of duty in Tel Aviv on the basis that Tel Aviv was Mr. Price's official duty station.

Payment of per diem is prohibited at an employee's official duty station, which is generally held to be the place where an employee expects and is expected to spend the greater part of his time. The determination of what constitutes an employee's official station involves a question of fact, which is not limited by administrative determination, and agencies have no discretion to select a duty station to give an employee greater per diem. See Daisy Levine, et al., 63 Comp.Gen. 225 (1984); 60 Comp.Gen. 569 (1981); Denny C. Eckenrode, B-194082, May 8, 1979; Federal Travel Regulations, Para. 1-7.4a (Supp. 24, July 15, 1987), incorp. by ref., 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-7.003 (1987). We have held that an employee who receives notice of a permanent change of station (PCS) before he arrives at his new station is not entitled to per diem after he arrives there. John W. Corwine, B-203492, Dec. 7, 1982.

Here, from the date the PCS order was issued, Tel Aviv was the place where the agency and Mr. Price expected most of his work to be performed, and a substantial amount of work was performed there while protect complications were being resolved. Moreover, Mr. Price's dependents and household goods were located in Tel Aviv, as was, presumably, his residence. Under these circumstances, Tel Aviv was his permanent duty station. Thus, Mr. Price was not entitled to per diem while he periodically performed duties in Tel Aviv, and recoupment by the certifying officer of the per diem paid to Mr. Price was proper.