B-129696, DEC. 13, 1956

B-129696: Dec 13, 1956

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YOU SAY THE EMPLOYEE'S HOTEL ROOMS WERE USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS DURING THE DAY AND OCCUPANCY BY THE EMPLOYEE AT NIGHT FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 1954 TO FEBRUARY 1956. OUR UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED AND PAID THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE PERIOD INVOLVED. BECAUSE OF THE HIGHER PRICED ACCOMMODATIONS MADE NECESSARY BY THEIR USE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS HE HAS BEEN ALLOWED THE AMOUNTS PAID FOR HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS LESS SUCH AMOUNTS AS WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED FOR "MINIMUM RATE" SINGLE ROOMS AT THE SAME HOTELS DURING THE SAME SEASON. * * * " THE HIRE OF A ROOM FOR OFFICIAL USE IS COVERED BY SECTION 10.2 OF THE REGULATIONS AND PROVIDES. A SEPARATE CHARGE THEREFOR WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED.'.

B-129696, DEC. 13, 1956

TO MR. CONRAD N. SWINDELL, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1956, RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE NOVEMBER 2, 1956, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE RECLAIM VOUCHER ENCLOSED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF ANDREW T. RADIGAN MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU SAY THE EMPLOYEE'S HOTEL ROOMS WERE USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS DURING THE DAY AND OCCUPANCY BY THE EMPLOYEE AT NIGHT FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 1954 TO FEBRUARY 1956. OUR UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED AND PAID THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE PERIOD INVOLVED. ADDITION, BECAUSE OF THE HIGHER PRICED ACCOMMODATIONS MADE NECESSARY BY THEIR USE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS HE HAS BEEN ALLOWED THE AMOUNTS PAID FOR HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS LESS SUCH AMOUNTS AS WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED FOR "MINIMUM RATE" SINGLE ROOMS AT THE SAME HOTELS DURING THE SAME SEASON.

THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, 5 U.S.C. 835-842, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO, GOVERN THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. SECTION 6.1 OF THE REGULATIONS DEFINES THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCLUDES ALL CHARGES FOR MEALS, LODGING, PERSONAL USE OF ROOM DURING DAYTIME, BATHS, ALL FEES AND TIPS TO WAITERS, PORTERS, BAGGAGE MEN, BELL BOYS, HOTEL MAIDS, DINING ROOM STEWARDS AND OTHERS ON VESSELS, HOTEL SERVANTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, TELEGRAMS AND TELEPHONE CALLS RESERVING HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS, LAUNDRY, CLEANING AND PRESSING OF CLOTHING, FANS AND FIRES IN ROOMS, * * * "

THE HIRE OF A ROOM FOR OFFICIAL USE IS COVERED BY SECTION 10.2 OF THE REGULATIONS AND PROVIDES, AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN NECESSARY TO ENGAGE A ROOM AT A HOTEL OR OTHER PLACE IN ORDER TO TRANSACT OFFICIAL BUSINESS, A SEPARATE CHARGE THEREFOR WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED.' IN THIS CONNECTION SEE ALSO SECTIONS 1.2 AND 2.1 OF THE REGULATIONS.

OUR DECISION OF JUNE 29, 1943, B-35306, INVOLVING A SIMILAR SITUATION, HELD THAT---

" * * * IT WOULD APPEAR EQUITABLE AND PROPER THAT THE CLAIM FOR HIRE OF OFFICE SPACE BE THE CHARGE MADE FOR THE SUITE YOU OCCUPIED, LESS SUCH AMOUNT AS WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED YOU FOR A SINGLE ROOM AT THE SAME HOTEL FOR LODGING PURPOSES.'

WHEN IT IS NECESSARY FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES TO SECURE HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS AT RATES IN EXCESS OF THOSE CHARGED FOR SINGLE ROOMS AVAILABLE AT THE SAME HOTEL FOR LODGING PURPOSES, THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD SO STATE ON THE VOUCHER AND SHOW THE RATE AT TIME RESERVATION IS MADE FOR THE LOWEST AVAILABLE SINGLE ROOM AT THE SAME HOTEL FOR LODGING PURPOSES.

SINCE YOU SAY THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN ALLOWED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNTS HE ACTUALLY PAID FOR HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS AND THE AMOUNTS HE WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED FOR A MINIMUM RATE SINGLE ROOM AT THE SAME HOTELS DURING THE SAME SEASON, IT APPEARS HE HAS BEEN PAID THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT THAT MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ABOVE-CITED LAW, REGULATIONS AND OUR DECISION. WHILE THE RATE FIGURES SUBMITTED BY THE EMPLOYEE ARE AT VARIANCE WITH THOSE USED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS, NO DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE HAS BEEN FURNISHED BY THE EMPLOYEE TO SUPPORT THE RATES SUBMITTED BY HIM. THE OTHER CONTENTIONS OF THE EMPLOYEE HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY CONSIDERED BUT THEY DO NOT WARRANT ANY CHANGE IN OUR CONCLUSION.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.