B-67563, JULY 31, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 50

B-67563: Jul 31, 1947

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IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT SUCH RETURN WAS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES. REGARDING THE DEDUCTIONS ARE ALSO ENCLOSED. IT WILL BE OBSERVED THAT SUPERVISOR CAVANAGH WHILE ON AN ASSIGNMENT IN AUGUSTA. IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF THIS BUREAU TO REQUIRE TRAVELERS TO RETURN TO POST OF DUTY OVER WEEK-ENDS WHENEVER THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS INCIDENT THERETO ARE LESS THAN THE PER DIEM WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED. IT IS THE PRACTICE OF THIS BUREAU TO LIMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR PER DIEM TO AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE COST OF THE ROUND- TRIP TRANSPORTATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN RETURNING TO POST OF DUTY OVER THE WEEK-END. THE TRAVELER IS REIMBURSED ON THE SAME BASIS AS IF HE HAD ACTUALLY RETURNED TO POST OF DUTY.

B-67563, JULY 31, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 50

TRAVELING EXPENSES - RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS OVER WEEK ENDS, ETC. - PER DIEM SAVINGS AS AFFECTING REIMBURSEMENT WHERE THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE SAVED BY THE RETURN OF AN EMPLOYEE FROM A PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION OVER A WEEK END DID NOT EXCEED THE TOTAL ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION CHARGES INCURRED, THE ENTIRE EXPENSE OF TRAVEL MUST BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYEE, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT SUCH RETURN WAS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES, AND, IN VIEW OF THE PROHIBITION IN PARAGRAPH 46 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AGAINST THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM AT OFFICIAL STATION, THERE MAY NOT BE CREDITED AGAINST SUCH TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE ANY PER DIEM SAVING EFFECTED BY SUCH RETURN.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO PAUL A. HANKINS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, JULY 31, 1947:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 28, 1947 (A AND C:D:1FAC/ --- FORWARDED HERE BY LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1947, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY--- REQUESTING DECISION UPON THE MATTER THEREIN PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION THE ATTACHED VOUCHER ON FORM 1012 IN WHICH SUPERVISOR FRANK J. CAVANAGH RECLAIMS THE AMOUNT OF $12.00 DEDUCTED BY THIS OFFICE FROM HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH, 1947. A COPY OF THE MARCH VOUCHER AND A COPY OF OFFICE LETTER OF APRIL 25, 1947, REGARDING THE DEDUCTIONS ARE ALSO ENCLOSED.

IT WILL BE OBSERVED THAT SUPERVISOR CAVANAGH WHILE ON AN ASSIGNMENT IN AUGUSTA, MAINE RETURNED TO HIS POST OF DUTY IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS OVER THE WEEK-END OF MARCH 15 AND 16 AND THEN AGAIN PROCEEDED TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IN AUGUSTA, MAINE AT A TOTAL ROUND-TRIP COST FOR TRANSPORTATION OF $15.62, AS AGAINST A PER DIEM SAVING OF $12.00. BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION COST EXCEEDED THE PER DIEM SAVING BY $3.62, SUPERVISOR CAVANAGH DEDUCTED THAT AMOUNT FROM THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE REIMBURSABLE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH. HOWEVER, ON THE STRENGTH OF COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION B-35980 DATED SEPTEMBER 11, 1943, THIS OFFICE FELT REQUIRED TO DISALLOW THE OFFSET OF $12.00 CLAIMED AS A PER DIEM SAVING AGAINST THE TOTAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF $15.62.

IN COMPLIANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 1, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF THIS BUREAU TO REQUIRE TRAVELERS TO RETURN TO POST OF DUTY OVER WEEK-ENDS WHENEVER THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS INCIDENT THERETO ARE LESS THAN THE PER DIEM WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED, HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. IF THE TRAVELER ELECTS TO REMAIN AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION OVER THE WEEK-END, DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR HIM TO RETURN TO POST OF DUTY, IT IS THE PRACTICE OF THIS BUREAU TO LIMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR PER DIEM TO AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE COST OF THE ROUND- TRIP TRANSPORTATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN RETURNING TO POST OF DUTY OVER THE WEEK-END. IN ACTUAL EFFECT, THE TRAVELER IS REIMBURSED ON THE SAME BASIS AS IF HE HAD ACTUALLY RETURNED TO POST OF DUTY.

IF ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF RETURNING TO POST OF DUTY OVER THE WEEK-END ARE PROPERLY ALLOWABLE AS AN OFFSET WHERE A TRAVELER ELECTS TO REMAIN AT A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, IT SEEMS THAT BY THE SAME LINE OF REASONING SUPERVISOR CAVANAGH, IN ELECTING TO RETURN TO HIS POST OF DUTY OVER THE WEEK-END OF MARCH 14-16, SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE PER DIEM SAVINGS OF $12.00 MADE POSSIBLE THEREBY AND THAT HE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO BEAR FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS ONLY THE EXCESS OF $3.62 AS HE ORIGINALLY PROPOSED TO DO.

ACCORDINGLY, WITH THE RETURN OF THE ATTACHED VOUCHER, YOUR DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER IT MAY PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE QUESTION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING A TRAVELER FOR PER DIEM IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE COST OF THE ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IN RETURNING TO POST OF DUTY OVER THE WEEK END WHERE SUCH TRAVELER HAS ELECTED TO REMAIN AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION OVER THE WEEK END DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR HIM TO RETURN TO HIS POST OF DUTY IS NOT INVOLVED IN THE VOUCHER PRESENTED TO YOU FOR CERTIFICATION AND SUBMITTED HERE WITH YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION. HENCE, SUCH QUESTION PROPERLY IS NOT BEFORE ME FOR DECISION, AND ANY ANSWER THERETO MUST, OF NECESSITY, BE RESERVED UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE QUESTION PROPERLY MAY BE SUBMITTED. IN THIS CONNECTION, SEE DECISION OF APRIL 18, 1947, B 63803, 26 COMP. GEN. 797.

IN THE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1943, B-35980, TO WHICH YOU REFER IN YOUR LETTER IT WAS STATED:

PARAGRAPH 1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS STATES THAT EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO USE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. WHEN THE TEMPORARY DUTY POST OF AN EMPLOYEE IS SO NEAR TO THE OFFICIAL STATION THAT EXPENSES SAVED BY RETURNING THERETO OVER WEEK-ENDS AND HOLIDAYS WOULD EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL, IT APPEARS THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SAID PARAGRAPH SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AND THAT UNLESS OFFICIAL DUTY REQUIRES HIS PRESENCE AT THE TEMPORARY STATION AT SUCH TIMES HE SHOULD RETURN TO THE OFFICIAL STATION. HOWEVER, WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S TEMPORARY DUTY POINT IS SO DISTANT THAT THE COST OF RETURNING TO THE OFFICIAL STATION IS IN EXCESS OF ANY PER DIEM SAVINGS ACCOMPLISHED THEREBY AND IT IS NOT SHOWN THAT HIS RETURN WAS FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IT APPEARS THAT SUCH RETURN TO OFFICIAL STATION WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND THAT THE ENTIRE EXPENSE SHOULD BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYEE. * * *

IN THE PRESENT CASE THE EXPENSE SAVED BY RETURNING TO THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION DID NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL AND THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE TRAVELER'S RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION WAS REQUIRED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS OR FOR OTHER THAN PERSONAL REASONS. ON THAT STATE OF THE RECORD, THE ENTIRE EXPENSE OF SUCH TRAVEL MUST, UNDER THE RULES ENUNCIATED IN THE DECISION, SUPRA, BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYEE. THERE MAY NOT BE CREDITED AGAINST SUCH EXPENSE ANY PER DIEM SAVING MADE POSSIBLE BY THE RETURN TO THE OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FOR THE REASON THAT TO ALLOW SUCH A CREDIT WOULD IN EFFECT BE ALLOWING A PER DIEM PAYMENT AT THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION, WHICH WOULD BE CONTRARY TO THE PLAIN TERMS OF PARAGRAPH 46 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES:

46. NO ALLOWANCE AT OFFICIAL STATION.--- UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BE ALLOWED AN EMPLOYEE AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION OVER THE WEEK END OF MARCH 15 AND 16, 1947, WAS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES, PAYMENT OF THE $12 ON THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IS NOT AUTHORIZED.