B-51729, JANUARY 29, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 511

B-51729: Jan 29, 1959

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - HOURS OF DEPARTURE - TERMINAL - OUTSIDE HEADQUARTERS THE COMMENCEMENT AND TERMINATION OF PER DIEM FOR EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS RESTRICTED TO THE TIME OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE FROM OR ARRIVALS AT THE REGULAR TERMINAL OF A TRAIN. BOAT OR OTHER CONVEYANCE USED BY THE TRAVELER AND IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE TERMINAL OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE IS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THE EMPLOYEES' HEADQUARTERS. 1959: WE HAVE BEFORE US FOR CONSIDERATION THE REQUEST OF AMY L. WERE TAKEN BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID PER DIEM FROM THE TIME OF THEIR DEPARTURE FROM AND ARRIVAL AT THEIR RESIDENCES IN WHEATON. TO COMPUTE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR EMPLOYEES STATIONED AT BETHESDA FROM THE TIME OF THEIR DEPARTURE FROM BETHESDA OR THE RESIDENCE (DEPENDING ON THE POINT FROM WHICH DEPARTURE WAS MADE).

B-51729, JANUARY 29, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 511

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - HOURS OF DEPARTURE - TERMINAL - OUTSIDE HEADQUARTERS THE COMMENCEMENT AND TERMINATION OF PER DIEM FOR EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS RESTRICTED TO THE TIME OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE FROM OR ARRIVALS AT THE REGULAR TERMINAL OF A TRAIN, AIRLINE, BOAT OR OTHER CONVEYANCE USED BY THE TRAVELER AND IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE TERMINAL OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE IS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THE EMPLOYEES' HEADQUARTERS. B-51729, SEPT. 4, 1945, UNPUBLISHED DECISION, OVERRULED.

TO THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE, JANUARY 29, 1959:

WE HAVE BEFORE US FOR CONSIDERATION THE REQUEST OF AMY L. NIFONG, CHIEF, AUDIT AND CLAIMS UNIT, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE, FOR REMOVAL OF NOTICES OF EXCEPTION NOS. 901569 AND 901570, ISSUED BY OUR OFFICE TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER LOUISE C. CLARK, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE.

THE EXCEPTIONS, WHICH COVER OVERPAYMENTS OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE MADE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, WERE TAKEN BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID PER DIEM FROM THE TIME OF THEIR DEPARTURE FROM AND ARRIVAL AT THEIR RESIDENCES IN WHEATON, MARYLAND, OR BETHESDA, MARYLAND, THE LATTER BEING THE OFFICIAL STATION OF EMPLOYEES OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, RATHER THAN FROM THE CARRIER'S TERMINAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., PURSUANT TO SECTION 6.9C OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IN HER REPLY TO THE EXCEPTIONS, MRS. NIFONG SAYS THAT IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, BETHESDA, MARYLAND, SINCE 1945, TO COMPUTE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR EMPLOYEES STATIONED AT BETHESDA FROM THE TIME OF THEIR DEPARTURE FROM BETHESDA OR THE RESIDENCE (DEPENDING ON THE POINT FROM WHICH DEPARTURE WAS MADE). THAT POLICY IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUR DECISION DATED SEPTEMBER 4, 1945, B-51729. IN THAT DECISION, RENDERED SEPTEMBER 4, 1945, WE HELD THAT UNDER THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AS AMENDED, 48 U.S.C. 114, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED THEREUNDER, PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WAS AUTHORIZED TO EMPLOYEES WHILE TRAVELING AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED "POSTS OF DUTY" WHICH TERM IS DEFINED BY PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE REGULATIONS AS INCLUDING "ESTABLISHED SUBDIVISION * * * HAVING DEFINITE BOUNDARIES WITHIN THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS LOCATED; " AND, THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH TRAVELING FROM BETHESDA, MARYLAND, WHICH IS NOT A PART OF THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF WASHINGTON, D.C., AND HAS "DEFINITE BOUNDARIES" EVEN THOUGH UNINCORPORATED, WAS ENTITLED TO SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FROM THE TIME HE LEFT HIS OFFICE BY TAXICAB EN ROUTE TO THE RAILROAD STATION AT WASHINGTON, D.C.

SECTION 6.9C (PARAGRAPH 48 (B) IN 1945) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 1956, PROVIDES:

THE TIME OF ARRIVAL AT AND DEPARTURE FROM A PLACE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS THE HOUR AT WHICH THE TRAIN, BOAT, OR OTHER CONVEYANCE USED BY THE TRAVELER ACTUALLY LEAVES OR ARRIVES AT ITS REGULAR TERMINAL.

OUR OFFICE HAS HELD THAT SECTION 6.9C, QUOTED ABOVE, RESTRICTS THE COMMENCEMENT OR TERMINATION OF PER DIEM TO THE TIME OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE FROM OR ARRIVAL AT THE REGULAR TERMINAL OF THE TRAIN, BOAT, OR OTHER CONVEYANCE USED BY THE TRAVELER, AND THIS APPLIES IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE TERMINAL OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE IS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE EMPLOYEE. SEE B-68166, SEPTEMBER 25, 1957; B 131092, JULY 24, 1957; B-130574, MAY 16, 1957; AND B-131392, MAY 13, 1957. THEREFORE, PER DIEM TO NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH EMPLOYEES IS ALLOWABLE ONLY FROM TIME OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE FROM THE TRAIN OR AIRLINES TERMINAL.

HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IN ALLOWING PER DIEM FROM PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR BETHESDA, MARYLAND, WAS BASED ON THE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 4, 1945, WHICH DECISION HAS NOT HERETOFORE BEEN EXPRESSLY OVERRULED, WE SHALL APPLY THIS DECISION PROSPECTIVELY ONLY. THEREFORE, WE ARE INSTRUCTING OUR CIVIL ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING DIVISION TO REMOVE THE EXCEPTIONS IN QUESTION.

OUR UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CURRENTLY IS CONSIDERING A REVISION OF SECTION 6.9C.