Claim for Reimbursement of Cost of Commercial Quarters
B-199953: Jun 18, 1981
- Full Report:
A civilian employee of the Air Force filed a claim for reimbursement of the cost of commercial quarters while on a temporary duty assignment on foreign military sales (FMS) business. Since the employee did not file a certificate of nonavailability of Government quarters, her claim was denied by the Air Force. The denial was based on Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) which state that, although an employee may not be required to utilize Government quarters when adequate Government quarters are available but not used, the payment of the quarters portion of per diem or actual expense allowances of any employee on temporary duty away from his designated post of duty may not be made except under the following conditions: (1) when the order-issuing authority, either prior or subsequent to the travel involved, issues a statement to the effect that the utilization of Government quarters at the temporary duty station would adversely affect the performance of the assigned personnel; and (2) when the commanding officer responsible for Government quarters at the temporary duty station furnishes a statement to the effect that utilization of Government quarters was impractical. The employee contended that, since the Government is not fully reimbursed for all costs when travelers on FMS business occupy Government quarters, her occupancy of Government quarters would not have been in the best interest of the Government. She also contended that the provisions of the applied JTR, insofar as they apply to FMS employees, are in conflict with the statutory mandate of the Arms Export Control Act. The employee did not attempt to have the commanding officer issue a statement to the effect that utilization of Government quarters was not in the best interest of the Government. The employee apparently decided that the best interest exception was applicable. Since under JTR, the employee was required to have tried to get such a statement, and since she did not comply with JTR, GAO saw no basis to further consider the claim. The determination of whether use by temporary duty employees on FMS business of Government or commercial quarters will best reflect administrative costs under the Arms Export Control Act is the responsibility of the official designated by JTR.