[Question Concerning Orders for Travel and Transportation Expenses]

B-217723: Aug 12, 1985

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The Coast Guard requested a decision as to whether retroactive travel orders may be issued to a Coast Guard employee who was appointed to a manpower shortage position but was not issued orders authorizing travel and transportation expenses for himself, his family, and household goods to his first duty station at the time of his appointment. The agency advised the employee that he had 1 year to begin allowable travel; however, he asked not to move immediately but would contact the agency to move at a later date. After the 1-year period had expired, the employee requested that he be allowed to move; therefore, the Coast Guard questioned whether it was bound by the 1-year limit. Federal regulations state that an agency may pay the travel expenses of a new appointee to a manpower shortage position and that all travel including that for the family and household goods must be accomplished as soon as possible with a maximum time for beginning allowable travel not to exceed 2 years from the effective date of the employee's appointment. Therefore, unless there is a mandatory provision in the agency's regulations that imposes a 1-year limit, the employee may be authorized travel orders. Due to administrative error, the orders should not be considered a retroactive modification of travel orders, but original travel orders. Accordingly, appropriate orders may be issued effective the date of the appointment.