B-96685, AUGUST 18, 1950, 30 COMP. GEN. 84

B-96685: Aug 18, 1950

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FROM OVERSEAS STATION WHILE THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2. 1950: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 3. IT IS STATED THAT HE BUREAU HAS SEVERAL SIMILAR CASES OF TEACHERS WHO EXECUTED THE REQUIRED AGREEMENT AND SUBSEQUENTLY MADE KNOWN THEIR INTENTION TO RESIGN AT THE END F THE 12-MONTH PERIOD. IT IS STATED ALSO THAT THE SCHOOL TERM ENDS LATE N MAY AND THAT THERE IS LITTLE WORK FOR A TEACHER TO PERFORM DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. PARTICULARLY WHERE HE WILL BE REPLACED BY A SUCCESSOR BY THE OPENING OF THE AUTUMN TERM OF THE SCHOOL. THAT IS. WHETHER THE LEAVE/WITHOUT PAY PERIOD WHILE HE IS IN TRANSIT TO IS TERRITORIAL POST. IT INFORMALLY HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE HERE INVOLVED AND OTHERS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER WERE GIVEN INDEFINITE APPOINTMENTS.

B-96685, AUGUST 18, 1950, 30 COMP. GEN. 84

TRAVELING EXPENSES - EMPLOYEES SERVING UNDER INDEFINITE APPOINTMENTS - RETURN TO U.S. FROM OVERSEAS STATION WHILE THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, FOR THE FURNISHING AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF RETURN TRANSPORTATION TO THE UNITED STATES TO EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING NEW APPOINTEES, FROM THEIR FOREIGN DUTY POSTS UPON THEIR RESIGNATION PRIOR TO THE TERMINATION OF THEIR APPOINTMENTS, EXCEPT WHEN IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST OR FOR REASONS BEYOND THE EMPLOYEES' CONTROL, IN VIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITMENTS PREVIOUSLY MADE TO SUCH EMPLOYEES SERVING IN ALASKA UNDER INDEFINITE APPOINTMENTS TO FURNISH RETURN TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMITMENTS AS MADE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 18, 1950:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 3, 1950, RELATIVE TO THE EMPLOYMENT BY THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS OF SCHOOL TEACHERS FOR ASSIGNMENT TO POSTS OF DUTY IN ALASKA AND THE EFFECT OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 806, 808, UPON THEIR RIGHT TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION FROM SUCH POSTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

YOUR LETTER RELATES THE FACTS OF A CASE IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE ENTERED ON DUTY AT THE CARSON INDIAN AGENCY, TEWART, NEVADA, ON JULY 18, 949, FOR A PERIOD OF TRAINING BEFORE PROCEEDING TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT NUNAPITCHUK, ALASKA. HE EXECUTED THE AGREEMENT REQUIRED BY THE PROVISO F SECTION 7 AND PROCEEDED ON AUGUST 14, AT THE COMPLETION OF HIS RAINING, IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY STATUS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION IN ALASKA HERE HE ARRIVED ON AUGUST 29, 1949. HE NOW INDICATES HIS INTENTION OF RESIGNING AT THE COMPLETION OF THE 12 MONTHS OF SERVICE. IT IS STATED THAT HE BUREAU HAS SEVERAL SIMILAR CASES OF TEACHERS WHO EXECUTED THE REQUIRED AGREEMENT AND SUBSEQUENTLY MADE KNOWN THEIR INTENTION TO RESIGN AT THE END F THE 12-MONTH PERIOD. IT IS STATED ALSO THAT THE SCHOOL TERM ENDS LATE N MAY AND THAT THERE IS LITTLE WORK FOR A TEACHER TO PERFORM DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, PARTICULARLY WHERE HE WILL BE REPLACED BY A SUCCESSOR BY THE OPENING OF THE AUTUMN TERM OF THE SCHOOL.

UNDER THE ABOVE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO HE DATE UPON WHICH THE 12-MONTH PERIOD EXPIRES, THAT IS, WHETHER THE NEW APPOINTMENT TAKES EFFECT UPON HIS ENTRANCE UPON DUTY IN THE UNITED STATES ND, ALSO, WHETHER THE LEAVE/WITHOUT PAY PERIOD WHILE HE IS IN TRANSIT TO IS TERRITORIAL POST--- DESCRIBED ABOVE--- MAY BE CONSIDERED AS PART OF A 2 -MONTH PERIOD. IN SUCH CONNECTION, YOUR LETTER STATES THAT IT WOULD BE A DECIDED ADVANTAGE TO THE BUREAU FROM A MONETARY STANDPOINT TO ALLOW THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION TO RETURN TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF ONE YEAR OF SERVICE.

IT INFORMALLY HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE HERE INVOLVED AND OTHERS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER WERE GIVEN INDEFINITE APPOINTMENTS. ALSO IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT, GENERALLY, COMMITMENTS WERE MADE BY THE BUREAU TO THE EMPLOYEES THAT THEY WOULD BE FURNISHED RETURN TRANSPORTATION UPON THE COMPLETION OF 12 MONTHS OF SERVICE.

THE PROVISO OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT HERE INVOLVED HAS BEEN CONSTRUED TO BE SOLELY IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES. IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THE GOVERNMENT TO TRANSPORT A NEW APPOINTEE FROM HIS FOREIGN POST TO THE UNITED STATES IF HE RESIGNS PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF HIS APPOINTMENT, NOTWITHSTANDING THE COMPLETION OF 12 MONTHS' SERVICE, NEITHER DOES IT BIND THE GOVERNMENT TO RETAIN HIS SERVICES FOR THAT PERIOD OF TIME. THUS, UNDER THE GENERAL RULE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR FURNISHING RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR APPOINTMENTS, UNLESS IT BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES TO DO SO OR, AS PROVIDED IN THE STATUTE, FOR REASONS BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE EMPLOYEES. SEE 29 COMP. GEN. 160; ID. 157; 28 ID. 651; B-95848, AUGUST 1, 1950.

HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE COMMITMENTS MADE BY THE BUREAU WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYEES NOW SERVING OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES--- THAT RETURN TRANSPORTATION WOULD BE FURNISHED UPON COMPLETION OF 12 MONTHS OF SERVICE- -- AND WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT NO SUCH FURTHER COMMITMENTS WILL BE ENTERED INTO ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT WHERE EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING NEW APPOINTEES) PROCEED OVERSEAS UNDER INDEFINITE APPOINTMENTS OR APPOINTMENTS HAVING A DEFINITE TENURE IN EXCESS OF ONE YEAR, THIS OFFICE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO THE ALLOWANCE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF RETURN TRANSPORTATION IN CASES IN WHICH SUCH COMMITMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE BY YOUR DEPARTMENT.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT APPEARS UNNECESSARY TO ANSWER CATEGORICALLY THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER.