B-9707, JUNE 7, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 977

B-9707: Jun 7, 1940

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THERE IS INVOLVED MERELY A CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO. IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION VIA THE INDIRECT TEMPORARY DUTY ROUTE. NOT A CASE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S VACATION IS INTERRUPTED OR CURTAILED BY A DUTY ASSIGNMENT. THEREBY NECESSITATING FURTHER TRAVEL BY HIM AT HIS OWN EXPENSE WHEN HIS VACATION IS RESUMED. HE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE EXCESS COST OF TRAVEL TO HEADQUARTERS VIA THE TEMPORARY DUTY ROUTE OVER THE COST OF RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS FROM THE PLACE OF LEAVE. 1940: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 6. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PRE-AUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED MARCH 2. 16 ID. 164 AND 481 HAVE BEEN CITED. THE ATTENTION OF THE MARITIME LABOR BOARD WAS DIRECTED TO A CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE PERSONNEL ABOARD THE STEAMSHIP WEST TACOOK AND THE COMPANY.

B-9707, JUNE 7, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 977

TRAVELING EXPENSES - LEAVES OF ABSENCE - TEMPORARY DUTY WHERE, IN CONNECTION WITH TEMPORARY DUTY, THERE IS INVOLVED MERELY A CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO, AT THE EXPIRATION OF HIS ANNUAL LEAVE, IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION VIA THE INDIRECT TEMPORARY DUTY ROUTE, AND NOT A CASE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S VACATION IS INTERRUPTED OR CURTAILED BY A DUTY ASSIGNMENT, THEREBY NECESSITATING FURTHER TRAVEL BY HIM AT HIS OWN EXPENSE WHEN HIS VACATION IS RESUMED, HE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE EXCESS COST OF TRAVEL TO HEADQUARTERS VIA THE TEMPORARY DUTY ROUTE OVER THE COST OF RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS FROM THE PLACE OF LEAVE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, MARITIME LABOR BOARD, JUNE 7, 1940:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 6, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PRE-AUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED MARCH 2, 1940, IN THE AMOUNT OF $40.15 ON MARITIME LABOR BOARD SCHEDULE NO. 256, BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 280, THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNT OF MR. JAMES L. BERNARD, SENIOR MEDIATOR WITH THIS BOARD. THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT COVERS THE PERIOD JANUARY 1 TO 31, 1940.

WHILE 11 COMP. GEN. 336, 16 ID. 164 AND 481 HAVE BEEN CITED, WE FEEL THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE WARRANT SPECIAL CONSIDERATION.

MR. BERNARD, WHILE AT WASHINGTON, D.C., HIS OFFICIAL STATION, REQUESTED AND RECEIVED APPROVAL FOR LEAVE OF ABSENCE. ON DECEMBER 4, 1939, AT HIS PERSONAL EXPENSE, HE JOURNEYED FROM WASHINGTON TO LONGWOOD,FLORIDA.

ON JANUARY 1, 1940, THE ATTENTION OF THE MARITIME LABOR BOARD WAS DIRECTED TO A CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE PERSONNEL ABOARD THE STEAMSHIP WEST TACOOK AND THE COMPANY, AT THE PORT OF HOUSTON, IN WHICH A STRIKE THREATENED OVER THE SUBJECT OF WAR BONUSES COVERING A TRIP FROM HOUSTON TEXAS, TO BALBOA, SPAIN. THE VESSEL'S CARGO WAS LOADED AND IT WAS IMPERATIVE THAT THE CONTROVERSY BE SETTLED PROMPTLY.

THE SERVICES OF THE BOARD WERE REQUESTED, AND ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 1008, PARAGRAPH B OF TITLE X OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, AS AMENDED JUNE 23, 1938, MR. C. E. SEEBORN, ACTING CHAIRMAN OF THE MARITIME LABOR BOARD, IN A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION, DIRECTED MR. BERNARD TO RESUME DUTIES ON JANUARY 1, 1940, AND TO PROCEED (SIC) BY PLANE FROM ORLANDO, FLORIDA, TO HOUSTON, TEXAS, AS AN EMERGENCY EXISTED. NO OTHER MEDIATOR WAS AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO THAT PORT.

IF MR. BERNARD HAD RETURNED TO WASHINGTON IN ORDER TO RESUME DUTY, OR IF WE HAD REQUIRED HIM TO DO SO, NOT ONLY WOULD THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HIS SERVICE AT HOUSTON, WHERE THE EMERGENCY EXISTED, HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, BUT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THE TRIP FROM WASHINGTON TO HOUSTON WOULD HAVE BEEN GREATER THAN IN THE INSTANT CASE.

THE COST OF AIR TRANSPORTATION FROM ORLANDO TO HOUSTON WAS $56.82 (AS EVIDENCED BY PAID VOUCHER IN THE FILES; NOT $66.35 AS INDICATED ON TRAVEL VOUCHER). THE COST OF AIR TRANSPORTATION FROM WASHINGTON TO HOUSTON IS $69.95; THEREFORE, A DIRECT SAVINGS OCCURRED IN FAVOR OF THE GOVERNMENT BY HAVING THE TRAVELER PROCEED (SIC) FROM ORLANDO RATHER THAN FROM WASHINGTON.

MR. BERNARD REMAINED ON DUTY FOLLOWING SETTLEMENT OF THE CONTROVERSY AT HOUSTON, AND ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE BOARD, PROCEEDED (SIC) TO NEW ORLEANS, THENCE TO NEW YORK ON JANUARY 7 WITH STOPOVER FOR CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON, D.C.; AND RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS ON JANUARY 10, 1940.

BECAUSE OF THE EMERGENT NATURE OF THE DUTIES PERFORMED BY MR. BERNARD AND THE SAVINGS EFFECTED BY SUCH TRAVEL, THE MARITIME LABOR BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE RECEIVING YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $40.15 TO WHICH EXCEPTION HAS BEEN MADE.

THE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS AS FOLLOWS: AMOUNT CLAIMED ------------------------- ------ -----------$145.25 AMOUNT CERTIFIED ---------------------------- --------- --- 105.10

DIFFERENCE ----------------------------------------- 40.15 EXPENSE OF RETURNING FROM LEAVE POINT, LONGWOOD, FLORIDA, TO OFFICIAL STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.:

MIXED-CLASS RAIL FARE LONGWOOD, FLA., TO WASHINGTON,

D.C. --------------------- 27.60

LOWER BERTH SANFORD, FLA., TO WASHINGTON, D.C. ------- 7.35

TAXI FARE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. --------------------------- .20

TRAVEL PER DIEM 1 DAY AT $5.00 --------------------------- 5.00

40.15 RAIL SCHEDULE:

LV. LONGWOOD, FLA., 12:49 P.M. ONE DAY.

AR. SANFORD, FLA., 1:08 P.M. SAME DAY.

LV. SANFORD, FLA., 4:15 P.M. SAME DAY.

AR. WASHINGTON, D.C., 10:40 A.M. NEXT DAY.

SINCE EMPLOYEE ABSENTED HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE HE MUST ASSUME THE OBLIGATION OF RETURNING HIMSELF TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE AND THE CURTAILING OF HIS LEAVE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS DOES NOT TRANSFER THIS EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, HE IS ENTITLED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM LONGWOOD, FLA., TO HOUSTON, TEXAS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., 11 COMP. GEN. 336, 16 ID. 164 AND 481.

IN THE FIRST DECISION CITED, NAMELY, 11 COMP. GEN. 336, DATED MARCH 8, 1932, IT WAS HELD:

WHEN A PERSON ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE HE ASSUMES THE DUTY OF RETURNING HIMSELF TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE, AND THE CURTAILING OF HIS LEAVE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS DOES NOT TRANSFER THIS EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT. 3 COMP. DEC. 170; 13 ID. 94; 19 ID. 232; 2 COMP. GEN. 424. HOWEVER, IF WHEN RECALLING THE TRAVELER TO HIS HEADQUARTERS HE IS INSTRUCTED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY EN ROUTE, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO HAVE THE GOVERNMENT BEAR ONLY THE EXTRA EXPENSE, IF ANY, RENDERED NECESSARY BY THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH TEMPORARY DUTY. 10 COMP. GEN. 184, 222, AND 415. * * *

THE SECOND DECISION CITED, NAMELY, 16 COMP. GEN. 164, DATED AUGUST 20, 1936, HELD AS FOLLOWS:

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE HE ASSUMES THE DUTY OF RETURNING HIMSELF TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE AND THE CURTAILING OF HIS LEAVE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS OR ASSIGNMENT FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AT OR NEAR THE PLACE AT WHICH HE IS ON LEAVE, DOES NOT TRANSFER THIS EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT. 3 COMP. DEC. 170; 13 ID. 294; 19 ID. 232; 2 COMP. GEN. 424; 11 ID. 336. * * *

IN THE THIRD DECISION CITED, NAMELY, 16 COMP. GEN. 481, DATED NOVEMBER 10, 1936, IT WAS STATED:

* * * OF COURSE, IF THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD TERMINATE THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE UPON COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY AND REQUIRE HIM TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION--- AS IT WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO--- THERE COULD BE ALLOWED, IN REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES, ONLY THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IT COST HIM TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS VIA SUCH TEMPORARY PLACE OF DUTY AND WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS DIRECT FROM THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE. THIS ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE HE ASSUMES THE OBLIGATION OF RETURNING HIMSELF THERETO AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM THE RECORD THAT MR. BERNARD BEGAN HIS LEAVE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., HIS OFFICIAL STATION, DECEMBER 4, 1939, AND THAT THE PERIOD OF THE AUTHORIZED LEAVE WAS FOR THE BALANCE OF THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. HE DID NOT RESUME OFFICIAL DUTY UNTIL 11 P.M., JANUARY 1, 1940, WHEN HE LEFT LONGWOOD, FLA., FOR THE TEMPORARY DUTY IN TEXAS BEFORE RETURNING TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. IF HE HAD NOT BEEN SENT ON THE URGENT TEMPORARY DUTY IN TEXAS IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT HE WOULD HAVE RESUMED A DUTY STATUS IN WASHINGTON, JANUARY 2, 1940--- THERE BEING PARTICULARLY FOR NOTING IN THAT CONNECTION THAT UNDER DATE OF DECEMBER 26, 1939, AN ORDER WAS ISSUED DIRECTING HIM TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NEW YORK," JANUARY 1, 1940, OR AS SOON THEREAFTER AS PRACTICABLE," WHICH ORDER SUGGESTS THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE STATUS WAS FOR TERMINATING ON OR ABOUT JANUARY 1, 1940. THUS, IF HE HAD NOT BEEN ORDERED TO TEXAS IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT, IN ANY EVENT, HE WOULD HAVE LEFT LONGWOOD JANUARY 1, 1940 (POSSIBLY EARLIER IN THE DAY THAN HE DID LEAVE), FOR RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C. CONSEQUENTLY, THERE IS NOT INVOLVED HERE A CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE VACATION IS INTERRUPTED OR CURTAILED BY A DUTY ASSIGNMENT, THEREBY NECESSITATING FURTHER TRAVEL BY HIM AT HIS OWN EXPENSE WHEN HIS VACATION IS RESUMED. THERE IS INVOLVED HERE MERELY A CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO, AT THE EXPIRATION OF HIS LEAVE, IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE GOVERNMENT IS CHARGEABLE WITH ONLY THE EXCESS COST INCIDENT TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT LEAVING THE EMPLOYEE TO BEAR SO MUCH OF THE RETURN COST AS HE WOULD HAVE BORNE IF HE HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE PREAUDIT ACTION IN THE CASE PRESENTED WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ESTABLISHED RULE APPLICABLE TO SUCH CASES AND MUST BE, AND IS, SUSTAINED.