Request for Reimbursement of Telephone Installation and Maintenance

B-199793: Sep 11, 1980

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An authorized certifiying officer asked if a District Commander was entitled to be reimbursed for the costs associated with installing and maintaining a telephone in his office at his quarters in order to conduct official business. The District Commander was in charge of the Cuban Refugee Freedom Flotilla, thus he had to be available at all times for daily contact with the local, State, and Federal agencies involved. The extra telephone activity at his residence, due to this assignment, created a burden on his immediate family and the additional telephone was installed to relieve this burden. Regulations prohibit the payment of costs associated with the installation of telephones in private residences by Government employees even though the telephones are extensively used for the transaction of public business. Exceptions have been made only when the private residence in question serves as the only location available for the conduct of official business. Since the District Commander was already provided with an office by the Coast Guard, the relief sought could not be granted. He could not be reimbursed by the Government for the costs associated with installing and maintaining a telephone in his office in his residence in order to carry out his official duties.