B-41381, MAY 9, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 864

B-41381: May 9, 1944

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WAS ORDERED TO RETURN TO HIS OLD STATION. 1944: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 11. RHODES WAS ISSUED THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL AUTHORITY NO. 4-2418. RHODES WAS ISSUED THE ENCLOSED AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORITY NO. 4-2418-A TO AUTHORIZE A RETURN TO WASHINGTON. RHODES BECAME ILL AT LISBON WHILE ENROUTE TO MADRID AND HIS CONDITION WAS SUCH THAT HE COULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO MADRID AND CONDUCT SUCCESSFULLY HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. THE ABOVE-CITED AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORITY WAS ISSUED IN HIS FAVOR ON JANUARY 1. THIS OFFICE IS COGNIZANT OF YOUR PREVIOUS DECISIONS TO THE EFFECT THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO BECOMES ILL WHILE IN TRAVEL STATUS PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT AND WHO RETURNS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR THE REASON OF THIS ILLNESS MUST PERSONALLY BEAR THE COST OF THE TRAVELING EXPENSES INVOLVED.

B-41381, MAY 9, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 864

TRAVELING EXPENSES - ILLNESS RESULTING IN ABANDONMENT OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL PRIOR TO COMPLETION NOTWITHSTANDING THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION OF THE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ADMINISTRATION (ACT OF JULY 12, 1943) FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES "WITHOUT REGARD TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AS AMENDED," WHERE AN EMPLOYEE EN ROUTE TO A NEW STATION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES BECAME TOO ILL TO CONTINUE HIS MISSION AND, HENCE, WAS ORDERED TO RETURN TO HIS OLD STATION, TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCURRED AFTER THE ABANDONMENT OF THE TRAVEL TO THE NEW STATION, INCLUDING EXPENSES OF THE RETURN JOURNEY, MUST BE CONSIDERED AS PERSONAL TO THE EMPLOYEE AND NOT CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION. 23 COMP. GEN. 237 AND IBID. 537, AMPLIFIED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO H. A. WILKINSON, FOREIGN ECONOMIC ADMINISTRATION, MAY 9, 1944:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 11, 1944, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ENCLOSED REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER, BUREAU NO. 9652, IN FAVOR OF MR. HAROLD H. RHODES, HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION AND PAYMENT FROM THE FUNDS PROVIDED THE BOARD OF ECONOMIC WARFARE BY THE NATIONAL WAR AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1944, PUBLIC LAW 139,78TH CONGRESS. THE VOUCHER REPRESENTS TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. RHODES THROUGH TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO LISBON, PORTUGAL, AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

ON DECEMBER 4, 1943, MR. RHODES WAS ISSUED THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL AUTHORITY NO. 4-2418, AUTHORIZING HIM TO TRAVEL AND INCUR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MADRID, SPAIN, FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHANGING HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. MR. RHODES DEPARTED FROM WASHINGTON ON DECEMBER 10, AND ARRIVED IN LISBON, PORTUGAL ON DECEMBER 15, 1943. ON JANUARY 1, 1944, MR. RHODES WAS ISSUED THE ENCLOSED AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORITY NO. 4-2418-A TO AUTHORIZE A RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FROM LISBON, PORTUGAL. RECORDS IN THIS OFFICE REVEAL THAT MR. RHODES BECAME ILL AT LISBON WHILE ENROUTE TO MADRID AND HIS CONDITION WAS SUCH THAT HE COULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO MADRID AND CONDUCT SUCCESSFULLY HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. ACCORDINGLY, THE ABOVE-CITED AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORITY WAS ISSUED IN HIS FAVOR ON JANUARY 1, 1944 FOR RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WHERE HE ARRIVED ON JANUARY 9, 1944.

THIS OFFICE IS COGNIZANT OF YOUR PREVIOUS DECISIONS TO THE EFFECT THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO BECOMES ILL WHILE IN TRAVEL STATUS PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT AND WHO RETURNS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR THE REASON OF THIS ILLNESS MUST PERSONALLY BEAR THE COST OF THE TRAVELING EXPENSES INVOLVED. HOWEVER,YOUR OPINION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING MR. RHODES FOR THIS CLAIM IS REQUESTED IN THIS INSTANCE IN VIEW OF THE LANGUAGE OF THE ABOVE-CITED APPROPRIATION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT REGARD TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926 AND THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES IN TRAVELING TO THEIR FIRST POST OF DUTY IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, OR WHEN TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER, OR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES.

THE REFERRED-TO BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 9652, IN FAVOR OF HAROLD H. RHODES, ATTACHE AND ECONOMIC ANALYST, FOREIGN ECONOMIC ADMINISTRATION, COVERS A CLAIM FOR $219.62, REPRESENTING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE TRAVELING IN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES FROM 12:55 P.M., DECEMBER 10, 1943, TO 2:15 P.M., DECEMBER 12, 1943, AND FROM 4:04 P.M., JANUARY 7, 1944, TO 6:20 P.M., JANUARY 9, 1944, 3 16/24 DAYS AT $6, AMOUNTING TO $22, AND IN TRAVELING FRO UNITED STATES TO LISBON, PORTUGAL, AND RETURN, INCLUDING THE TIME SPENT IN LISBON, FROM 2:15 P.M., DECEMBER 12, 1943, TO 4:04 P.M. JANUARY 7, 1944, 26 2/24 DAYS AT $7, AMOUNTING TO $182.58, AND INCIDENTAL TRAVELING EXPENSES AMOUNTING TO $15.04.

THE APPROPRIATION," SALARIES AND EXPENSES, OFFICE OF ECONOMIC WARFARE, 1944," ACT OF JULY 12, 1943, 57 STAT. 522, 523, WHICH FUNDS WERE TRANSFERRED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9380 DATED SEPTEMBER 25, 1943, TO THE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ADMINISTRATION, UNDER THE APPROPRIATION TITLE," SALARIES AND EXPENSES, FOREIGN ECONOMIC ADMINISTRATION, 1944," PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * TRAVEL EXPENSES * * * INCLUDING * * * (4 EXPENSES OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT REGARD TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AS AMENDED (5 U.S.C. 821), AND SECTION 901 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1936 (46 U.S.C. 1241), AND (5) WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE BOARD OR SUCH OTHER OFFICIAL AS HE MAY DESIGNATE FOR THE PURPOSE, EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES OF THE BOARD, INCLUDING, THE TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR EFFECTS (IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940), TO THEIR FIRST POST OF DUTY IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, OR WHEN TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER, AND RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES * * *. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THE RECORD BEFORE ME SHOWS THAT PURSUANT TO TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 4- 2418 DATED DECEMBER 4, 1943, AUTHORIZING A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MADRID, SPAIN, MR. RHODES LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 12:55 P.M., DECEMBER 10, 1943, AND ARRIVED IN LISBON, PORTUGAL, AT 1:50 A.M., DECEMBER 15, 1943; THAT PURSUANT TO AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 4-2418-A DATED JANUARY 1, 1944, READING AS FOLLOWS:

LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION NO. 4-2418, DATED DECEMBER 4, 1943, IS HEREBY AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR YOU TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C. FROM LISBON, PORTUGAL, INSTEAD OF PROCEEDING TO MADRID, SPAIN, AS ORIGINALLY DIRECTED AND AUTHORIZED. CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE ARISEN WHICH MAKE YOUR RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., ESSENTIAL AT THIS TIME.

PER DIEM IS AUTHORIZED AS STATED IN YOUR ORIGINAL LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION, TO CEASE UPON YOUR ARRIVAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C. HE SAILED FROM LISBON ON THE CLIPPER JANUARY 9, 1944, AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 6:20 P.M., JANUARY 7, 1944.

THE AMENDED TRAVEL ORDER DATED JANUARY 1, 1944, AUTHORIZING MR. RHODES TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FROM LISBON, INSTEAD OF PROCEEDING TO MADRID, SPAIN, AS ORIGINALLY DIRECTED AND AUTHORIZED, IS SILENT AS TO THE NATURE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES MAKING HIS RETURN TO WASHINGTON ESSENTIAL. HOWEVER, YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE RECORDS OF YOUR OFFICE REVEAL THAT MR. RHODES BECAME ILL AT LISBON WHILE EN ROUTE TO MADRID, HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, WHICH ESTABLISHES THE FACT THAT HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES BEFORE THE COMPLETION OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED IN THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER OF DECEMBER 4, 1943, WAS SOLELY FOR PERSONAL REASONS.

IN DECISION OF JANUARY 25, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 537, 538, IT WAS STATED:

REFERRING TO PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT LONG HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THAT DURING ABSENCE FROM DUTY ON ACCOUNT OF PERSONAL ILLNESS A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID--- THAT IS, EMPLOYEES IN THAT SITUATION ARE NOT REGARDED AS "TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY" (QUOTING FROM THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 30, 1942, 56 STAT. 39).

BY ANALOGY, THERE IS JUSTIFIED THE VIEW THAT PERSONS REASONABLY MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS SERVING" THE GOVERNMENT IN AN ADVISORY CAPACITY WHILE AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES OR PLACES OF BUSINESS DURING A PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM DUTY BECAUSE OF PERSONAL ILLNESS. THE FACT THAT SUCH PERSONS MAY BE PUT TO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE DURING ILLNESS AWAY FROM HOME DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT THE APPROPRIATION PROVISION UNDER CONSIDERATION WAS INTENDED TO OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT FOR PAYMENT OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE DURING PERIODS OF ABSENCE FROM DUTY AS AN ADVISOR BECAUSE OF PERSONAL REASONS IN NOWISE CONNECTED WITH THEIR OFFICIAL DUTY.

ALSO, IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 237, IT WAS HELD, AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

AN EMPLOYEE WHO, WHILE EN ROUTE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS TO A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION RECEIVED NOTICE OF THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER, ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL ROUTING AND PROCEEDED AT HIS OWN EXPENSE TO THE HOME OF HIS FATHER AND SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BETWEEN HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AND THE POINT AT WHICH HE ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL TRIP, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TIME NECESSARILY CONSUMED ON THAT PORTION OF THE JOURNEY. SEE, ALSO, THE DECISIONS THEREIN CITED.

WHILE THOSE DECISIONS WERE RENDERED MORE PARTICULARLY WITH REFERENCE TO EMPLOYEES WHOSE OFFICIAL TRAVEL WAS SUBJECT TO THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, 44 STAT. 688, AS AMENDED, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, NEVERTHELESS, THE RULE APPEARS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL NOT CONTROLLED BY SAID STATUTE AND REGULATIONS, AS IN THE INSTANT CASE. THAT IS TO SAY, THE APPROPRIATION FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES HERE CHARGEABLE MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL NOT PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BUT FOR PERSONAL REASONS. ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE RETURN TRIP FROM LISBON, PORTUGAL, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., BECAUSE OF ILLNESS, WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND NO PART OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED AFTER ABANDONMENT OF THE OFFICIAL TRIP FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MADRID, SPAIN, INCLUDING THE EXPENSES OF THE RETURN TRIP FROM LISBON, PORTUGAL, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY BE CHARGED TO THE GOVERNMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN ITS PRESENT FORM. IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ANY CLAIM FOR EXPENSES INCURRED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO LISBON, PORTUGAL, AND WHILE IN LISBON, PRIOR TO THE TIME THE OFFICIAL TRIP TO MADRID, SPAIN, WAS ABANDONED, THERE SHOULD BE CHARGED AGAINST THE CLAIMANT THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS OR OTHERWISE FOR THE RETURN TRIP FROM LISBON TO WASHINGTON.