B-240314, May 24, 1991

B-240314: May 24, 1991

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He was authorized $180 per diem. He was also authorized reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses. Was only able to supply lodging receipts totaling $2. The agency divided the lodging amount for which receipts were submitted by the 61 days and allowed him $41.98 a day for lodging (rounded up to $42). Rubin's total reimbursement was $7. The remainder was disallowed by the agency on the basis that the regulations require receipts for lodging. Rubin has argued that those were the only receipts he could obtain. Employees performing official travel outside the continental United States are entitled under regulations to receive per diem at a rate not to exceed that established by the President or his designee.

B-240314, May 24, 1991

NO PRECIS UNAVAILABLE

David E. Rubin:

This decision concerns the entitlement of an employee to be reimbursed the maximum locality per diem while performing temporary duty to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, during the period December 6, 1989, to February 5, 1991. /1/

Mr. David E. Rubin, an employee of HUD, performed temporary duty travel to St. Croix to provide disaster assistance as a result of hurricane "Hugo." He was authorized $180 per diem, the maximum rate for St. Croix, without limitation or restriction, for 59 days, the anticipated period of travel. He was also authorized reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses, i.e., phone calls, gas for rental car and transportation to and from airports.

He submitted travel vouchers totalling $11,776.60. They included 62 days of per diem ($11,160) and miscellaneous expenses ($616.60). He provided full receipts for his miscellaneous expenses, but was only able to supply lodging receipts totaling $2,561.03 representing a part of his temporary duty period.

The agency adjusted the period of his claim in St. Croix to 61 days, plus one-half day of travel per diem. Since Mr. Rubin did not supply lodging receipts for the entire period, the agency divided the lodging amount for which receipts were submitted by the 61 days and allowed him $41.98 a day for lodging (rounded up to $42), and $72 a day for meals. Mr. Rubin's total reimbursement was $7,583.60.

The remainder was disallowed by the agency on the basis that the regulations require receipts for lodging. Mr. Rubin has argued that those were the only receipts he could obtain, since on a number of nights lodging in various private homes and paid cash to the owner for that lodging.

Under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5702(a)(1)(A) (1988), employees performing official travel outside the continental United States are entitled under regulations to receive per diem at a rate not to exceed that established by the President or his designee. Authority to establish maximum per diem rates in nonforeign areas outside the continental United States (CONUS) was delegated by Executive Order 12,561, July 1, 1986, to the Secretary of Defense, who, in turn, established $180 as the maximum rate of per diem for the Virgin Islands during the period of the claim. /2/

Section 301-7.2(b) of the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) /3/ provides that the per diem allowances payable in nonforeign areas outside CONUS shall not exceed the maximum per diem rates established by the Secretary of Defense and listed in the Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletin. In the absence of a determination to reduce per diem in individual cases or situations under FTR, Sec. 301-7.7, the per diem payable for temporary duty in a nonforeign area outside CONUS is the maximum rate authorized for the locality. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 301-7.6(a). /4/

Part 301-11 of the FTR sets forth the rules for preparing travel vouchers. The only provisions requiring submission of receipts under part 301-11 are contained in section 301-11.3(c), which relates to nonsubsistence cash expenditures and states that receipts are required for certain miscellaneous expenditures listed in items (1) through (19). Lodging and meals costs were where a flat rate per diem is allowed are not among those items listed requiring receipts.

In view of the fact that Mr. Rubin was authorized a flat per diem rate of $180 a day without restriction, he may be reimbursed that amount without receipts for each of the 61 days he was in St. Croix, plus the miscellaneous expenses for which receipts were supplied and the one-half day travel per diem.

/1/ Requested by Mr. Albert M. Miller, Deputy Director, Office of Finance and Accounting, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

/2/ Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletin No. 149, June 1, 1989.

/3/ 41 C.F.R. part 301-7 (May10, 1989).

/4/ 41 C.F.R. part 301-7 was changed, effective Dec. 1, 1990, from a flat rate per diem system to a worldwide lodgings-plus per diem system. Fed.Reg. 41,525, Oct. 12, 1990. Receipts for lodging are now required under 41 C.F.R. Sec. 301-7.9(b).