Claim for Additional Per Diem

B-194792: Jan 16, 1980

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An employee appealed a Claims Division Settlement Certificate wherein his claim for additional per diem was denied. While the employee was on temporary assignment overseas as deputy director of an exhibit, he occupied Government-furnished lodgings, and his per diem rate was reduced by 50 percent in accordance with regulations. He claimed that his reimbursement should have been based on the full country rate of $53 rather than on the $37 rate the agency said was dictated by an "Exhibit Code," established to set per diem rates for personnel serving at exhibits. The employee contended that his travel authorization led him to believe that he could choose between the two rates. He further contended that the "Exhibit Code" was never established and the rates were arbitrarily set, with no cost analysis. GAO found that the travel authorization could not reasonably be interpreted to allow the employee a choice of rates as he claimed. While the agency documented its intent to authorize the lower rate paid, the employee did not present evidence to support his contentions. Therefore, his entitlement was not established, and the disallowance of his claim was sustained.