B-237908, Apr 18, 1990

B-237908: Apr 18, 1990

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Provides that the cost payable by the government for travel to the alternate location is restricted to the cost actually incurred and may not exceed the constructive cost of travel to the actual place of residence. Zeckser: The issue is whether the Forest Service properly limited reimbursement for Mr. Provide that when such travel is to an alternate location. The amount allowed shall not exceed the amount which would have been allowed for travel from the post of duty to the place of actual residence. We have consistently held that the cost payable for travel to the alternate location is restricted to the cost actually incurred. Zeckser may have received concerning this matter. We have held that the fact that an employee was misadvised or provided with inadequate guidance does not serve to increase the employee's travel entitlement.

B-237908, Apr 18, 1990

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Overseas travel - Tour renewal travel - Reimbursement - Amount determination DIGEST: The Forest Service properly limited reimbursement for an employee's Overseas Tour Renewal Agreement Travel to the less-costly actual expenses he incurred for travel between his overseas post of duty and the location indicated on his travel authorization as an alternate, rather than the constructive cost of returning to his actual place of residence. The Federal Travel Regulations, para. 2-1.5h(2)(c), provides that the cost payable by the government for travel to the alternate location is restricted to the cost actually incurred and may not exceed the constructive cost of travel to the actual place of residence.

Stephen D. Zeckser:

The issue is whether the Forest Service properly limited reimbursement for Mr. Zeckser's travel from overseas incident to his tour renewal agreement, to the less-costly actual expenses he incurred between his overseas post of duty (Juneau, Alaska) and the location indicated on his travel authorization as an alternate (Seattle, Washington), rather than the constructive cost of returning to his place of residence (Spokane, Washington). /1/

The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), para. 2-1.5h(2)(c) /2/, provide that when such travel is to an alternate location, the amount allowed shall not exceed the amount which would have been allowed for travel from the post of duty to the place of actual residence. In interpreting this provision, we have consistently held that the cost payable for travel to the alternate location is restricted to the cost actually incurred, not to exceed the constructive cost of travel to the actual place of residence. 37 Comp.Gen. 113 (1957); B-162862, Dec. 19, 1967. Thus, the agency properly limited Mr. Zeckser's reimbursement to the actual expenses incurred in traveling to Seattle.

Regarding any erroneous information Mr. Zeckser may have received concerning this matter, we have held that the fact that an employee was misadvised or provided with inadequate guidance does not serve to increase the employee's travel entitlement. Michael L. Piccirilli, B-237640, Feb. 6, 1990. Statutes and regulations, not ordinary contract principles, apply to matters concerning the travel of federal employees. See generally 56 Comp.Gen. 85 (1976).

The agency notes that Mr. Zeckser actually traveled to Los Angeles, California, and asks whether his travel authorization could be amended retroactively to show Los Angeles as his alternate location.

Amendment of Mr. Zeckser's authorization to show Los Angeles as the alternate location could have been allowed provided there was evidence demonstrating that Los Angeles was definitely intended by him as the alternate location, and Seattle was authorized through error or inadvertence. See generally 54 Comp.Gen. 638 (1975); Julie M. Gunderson, B-215569, Jan. 11, 1985. The evidence before us is insufficient for us to determine that Mr. Zeckser intended Los Angeles as the alternate location. However, if Mr. Zeckser presents further information in that regard satisfactory to the agency, we would have no objection to allowing him the actual cost of travel to Los Angeles not to exceed the constructive allowance based on travel to Spokane.

/1/ States Roofing cites Central Builders, Inc., B-229744, Feb. 25, 1988, 88-1 CPD Para. 195; Oregon Elec. Constr., Inc., 68 Comp.Gen. 110 (1988), 88-2 CPD Para. 512, and American Dredging Co., Inc., B-229991.2, Sept. 15, 1988, 88-2 CPD Para. 248, to support its assertion that Kokolakis should not be allowed to correct the error in its bid.

/2/ This decision was requested by an authorized certifying officer, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., reference: 6540.

/3/ (Supp. 7, July 15, 1983), incorp. by ref., 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101 7.003 (1988).