B-72809, APRIL 2, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 576

B-72809: Apr 2, 1948

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REMAINED AT SUCH PLACE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON MONDAY IS ENTITLED TO THE COST OF RETURN TRANSPORTATION TO HIS TEMPORARY STATION AND TO ADDITIONAL PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD OF SUCH ADDITIONAL DUTY. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 7. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS BEFORE ME THE ATTACHED VOUCHER NUMBER 10326 REPRESENTING A RECLAIM OF $9.18 PREVIOUSLY SUSPENDED FROM D.O. WAS SPENT ON OFFICIAL DUTY AT THE DISTRICT OFFICE IN SIDNEY. WHERE HIS FAMILY IS RESIDING AND INTENDED TO RETURN TO SIDNEY SUNDAY AFTERNOON VIA THE SAME METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION AT NO COST TO HIM AND RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM SIDNEY VIA GOVERNMENT CAR. ANDERSON WOULD HAVE INCURRED NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN WOULD HAVE OCCURRED HAD HE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION VIA GOVERNMENT CAR FROM SIDNEY ON FRIDAY.

B-72809, APRIL 2, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 576

TRAVELING EXPENSES; PER DIEM - ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY DUTY AT PLACE OTHER THAN TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AN EMPLOYEE WHO DEPARTED FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ON A FRIDAY AFTER WORKING HOURS VIA PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO SPEND THE WEEK END AT ANOTHER PLACE, WITH THE INTENTION OF RETURNING BY SUNDAY BY THE SAME MEANS AT NO PERSONAL EXPENSE, BUT WHO, AT THE REQUEST OF HIS SUPERIOR, REMAINED AT SUCH PLACE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON MONDAY IS ENTITLED TO THE COST OF RETURN TRANSPORTATION TO HIS TEMPORARY STATION AND TO ADDITIONAL PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD OF SUCH ADDITIONAL DUTY. COMP. GEN. 760, AND 11 ID. 336, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO L. E. LYMAN, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, APRIL 2, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 7, 1948, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS BEFORE ME THE ATTACHED VOUCHER NUMBER 10326 REPRESENTING A RECLAIM OF $9.18 PREVIOUSLY SUSPENDED FROM D.O. VOUCHER 10-172471 PAID OCTOBER 24, 1947, BY PAUL D. BANNING, SYMBOL 3010. THE CLAIMANT, MR. O. LEON ANDERSON, HAS CONTESTED THE PROPRIETY OF THE ORIGINAL DEDUCTION ON THE BASIS THAT PARAGRAPH 49 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, OR THE RULES ENUNCIATED IN 3 C.G. 760 AND 11 C.G. 336, DO NOT APPLY TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN THIS CASE.

MR. ANDERSON DEPARTED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT CULBERTSON, MONTANA, 3:00 P.M. SEPTEMBER 18 VIA GOVERNMENT CAR AND ARRIVED AT SIDNEY, MONTANA, 4:10 P.M. TO ATTEND A NIGHT MEETING OF THE DISTRICT SUPERVISORS. THE FOLLOWING DAY, SEPTEMBER 19, WAS SPENT ON OFFICIAL DUTY AT THE DISTRICT OFFICE IN SIDNEY. AFTER WORKING HOURS ON THIS DAY ( FRIDAY), MR. ANDERSON DEPARTED FROM SIDNEY VIA THE PRIVATELY OWNED CAR OF A FRIEND TO SPEND THE WEEKEND IN BILLINGS, MONTANA, WHERE HIS FAMILY IS RESIDING AND INTENDED TO RETURN TO SIDNEY SUNDAY AFTERNOON VIA THE SAME METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION AT NO COST TO HIM AND RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM SIDNEY VIA GOVERNMENT CAR. IF THIS PROPOSED ITINERARY HAD BEEN FULFILLED AS INTENDED, MR. ANDERSON WOULD HAVE INCURRED NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN WOULD HAVE OCCURRED HAD HE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION VIA GOVERNMENT CAR FROM SIDNEY ON FRIDAY.

HOWEVER, THE CLAIMANT'S PLANS WERE ALTERED WHEN THE STATE CONSERVATIONIST ARRIVED IN BILLINGS FROM ATTENDING A CONFERENCE AT LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, AND LEARNING OF MR. ANDERSON'S PRESENCE IN BILLINGS DECIDED TO HOLD A MEETING OF A COMMITTEE OF DISTRICT CONSERVATIONISTS AT BILLINGS, MONDAY MORNING SEPTEMBER 22, AND ASKED MR. ANDERSON TO REMAIN AND DELAY HIS RETURN TO SIDNEY TO PRECLUDE CALLING HIM THERE FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION TO ATTEND THE MEETING AT A LATER DATE. MR. ANDERSON THUS REMAINED AND FORFEITED HIS RIDE BACK TO SIDNEY SUNDAY AFTERNOON VIA PRIVATELY-OWNED CAR AT NO EXPENSE TO HIM.

AFTER DUTY AT BILLINGS ON MONDAY, MR. ANDERSON ISSUED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST A-1, 648,882 VALUED AT $6.18 COVERING TRANSPORTATION FROM BILLINGS TO SIDNEY AND DEPARTED FROM BILLINGS AT :00 A.M. SEPTEMBER 23 ARRIVING IN SIDNEY AT 8:35 A.M. FROM WHICH HE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION VIA GOVERNMENT AT 11: A.M.

IN CERTIFYING THAT VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT THE UNDERSIGNED DEDUCTED THE VALUE OF THE ABOVE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ($6.18) PLUS ONE-HALF DAY PER DIEM ($3.00) EXCESS PER DIEM CLAIMED OVER WHAT WOULD HAVE ACCRUED HAD THE TRAVELER RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FRIDAY AFTERNOON. IN MAKING THIS DEDUCTION, THERE WAS APPLIED THE RULE STATED IN PARAGRAPH 49 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE CONTAINED IN 3 C.G. 760 AND 11 C.G. 336.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A LETTER FROM THE CLAIMANT DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1947, IN WHICH HE EXPLAINS WHY HE FEELS THE DEDUCTION WAS IMPROPER AND ALSO A STATEMENT FROM THE STATE CONSERVATIONIST DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1947, IN WHICH HE AFFIRMS THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONTAINED IN THE CLAIM. SINCE THE ORIGINAL SUSPENSION WAS BASED ON MY UNDERSTANDING AND APPLICATION OF THE RULES CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE TRAVEL REGULATION AND DECISIONS FROM YOUR OFFICE, I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR ADVICE AS TO WHETHER I MAY CERTIFY THE ATTACHED RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT.

THE RULE LAID DOWN IN 3 COMP. GEN. 760, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT IF AN EMPLOYEE IS AWAY FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND IT BECOMES NECESSARY FOR HIM TO INTERRUPT HIS LEAVE AND RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTY, HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN RETURNING TO HIS HEADQUARTERS OR IN GOING BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE, SHOULD HE ELECT TO DO SO, WHEN THE LEAVE STATUS IS RESUMED. THE INSTANT CASE DOES NOT INVOLVE THE INTERRUPTION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE STATUS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMING DUTY AT THIS HEADQUARTERS AND, ACCORDINGLY, THAT CASE IS NOT CONTROLLING HERE.

IN 11 COMP. GEN. 336, ALSO REFERRED TO BY YOU, THE EMPLOYEE WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. HE WAS THEN GRANTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND PROCEEDED FROM HIS TEMPORARY POST OF DUTY TO HIS LEAVE POINT AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. SUCH LEAVE WAS TERMINATED BY ORDERS TO REPORT TO ANOTHER TEMPORARY DUTY POST AND THEN TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. IT WAS HELD THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT EXCUSED FROM BEARING SO MUCH OF THE COST OF RETURNING TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AS WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BY RAIL FROM THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE. THE FACT THAT HE STATED HE WOULD HAVE RETURNED TO HIS HEADQUARTERS OR FROM HIS PLACE OF LEAVE BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE EXCEPT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS WAS HELD TO BE IMMATERIAL AS HE ACTUALLY TRAVELED TO HEADQUARTERS BY RAIL. IS BELIEVED THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES THERE CONSIDERED CLEARLY ARE DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THOSE HERE INVOLVED.

IN CONSTRUING THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL, BOTH THE RIGHTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THOSE OF THE EMPLOYEE MUST BE GIVEN DUE CONSIDERATION, AND SUCH LAWS ARE REGULATIONS SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED SO AS TO OBLIGATE AN EMPLOYEE TO STAND AN EXPENSE WHICH WAS INCURRED SOLELY AS A RESULT OF HIS COMPLIANCE WITH OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO REMAIN AT A GIVEN DUTY POST FOR TEMPORARY DUTY. IN THE PRESENT CASE, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ENTIRE COST OF THE RETURN TRIP TO SIDNEY BY RAIL, AND THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, WERE DUE TO THE REQUEST OF THE STATE CONSERVATIONIST THAT THE EMPLOYEE REMAIN AT BILLINGS ON SEPTEMBER 22 FOR OFFICIAL REASONS. THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT IN A LEAVE STATUS, AND SUCH REQUEST WAS TANTAMOUNT TO AN ASSIGNMENT FOR ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY DUTY AT BILLINGS. HENCE, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT APPEARS THAT ANY NECESSARY EXPENSE INCURRED IN RETURNING TO HIS TEMPORARY STATION AT SIDNEY IS TO BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT, AND NOT BY THE EMPLOYEE.

WITH RESPECT TO PARAGRAPH 49 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT MAY BE STATED THAT THE PROVISION OF THE SAID REGULATIONS RESPECTING MAXIMUM PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR INDIRECT ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL WAS NOT INTENDED AS COVERING A SITUATION SUCH AS HERE PRESENTED SO AS TO OBLIGATE AN EMPLOYEE TO BEAR AN EXPENSE WHICH AROSE PRIMARILY BY REASON OF HIS SUPERIOR REQUESTING HIM TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY, AND NOT BE REASON OF HIS DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT TRAVEL ROUTE FOR HIS PERSONAL CONVENIENCE.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.