Compensation for Services Prior to Appointment

B-196088: Nov 1, 1979

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The Department of Energy (DOE) asked an individual whom it eventually hired as a consultant on an intermittant basis to attend three meetings. After his official employment, the consultant requested payment for the 10 days which he spent in travel and attendance at the meetings. DOE reimbursed him for travel expenses incurred in attending the meetings, but the certifying officer questioned whether the consultant should be paid a salary for attending the meetings. GAO determined that the circumstances involved in this case did not meet the necessary criteria for approving the compensation to which the individual would have been entitled after his official appointment as a consultant. Such compensation has been approved where an individual performs the duties of a Federal office or position with apparent right and under color of an appointment, and can therefore be regarded as a de facto employee; where appointment to a position or office is subsequently determined to be erroneous or improper; or where an individual erroneously understood that he would be compensated for his services by means of a retroactive appointment. The record did not indicate that the individual involved in this case attended the meetings with any expectation that he would be compensated for other than his travel expenses.