B-122558, MAR 3, 1955

B-122558: Mar 3, 1955

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 21. WAS AUTHORIZED EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 24. THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE ACCOMPANIES HIS FAMILY AT HIS OWN EXPENSE IS NOT TO BE DEEMED AS PRECLUDING PAYMENT OF THE ABOVE QUOTED STATUTORY BENEFITS. THE RIGHT OF AN EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED UPON TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS GOVERNED BY SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946. SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THAT EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCIDENT TO TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED IN ANY CASE "IN WHICH THE TRANSFER IS MADE PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST.". THE TRAVEL ORDER STATES THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT AT THE REQUEST OF THE EMPLOYEE.

B-122558, MAR 3, 1955

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

D.C. MORTER, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 21, 1954, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF EDWARD J. GILLET, IN THE AMOUNT OF $292.35, FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES OF HIMSELF AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY FROM SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, TO WILMINGTON, DELAWARE.

THE EMPLOYEE BEGAN SERVING AN AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE (TWO YEARS) ON DECEMBER 1, 1952, WITH THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION AT SAN JUAN. ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1954, HE TOOK EMERGENCY ANNUAL LEAVE AND DEPARTED FROM SAN JUAN FOR THE UNITED STATES WITH HIS FAMILY (WIFE AND SON) TO BRING BACK FOR BURIAL THE BODY OF HIS INFANT SON WHO DIED SUDDENLY IN SAN JUAN. THE EMPLOYEE STATES THAT WHILE ON SUCH LEAVE HE REQUESTED A TRANSFER TO THE UNITED STATES. A TRANSFER FROM SAN JUAN TO WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, WAS AUTHORIZED EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 24, 1954. TRAVEL ORDER DATED OCTOBER 23, 1954, AUTHORIZED THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY FROM SAN JUAN TO WILMINGTON INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION.

SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 808, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 31, 1954, PUBLIC LAW 737, 68 STAT. 1008, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"*** THAT EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF ANY EMPLOYEE FROM THE POST OF DUTY OF SUCH EMPLOYEE OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE SHALL BE ALLOWED, NOT IN EXCESS OF ONE TIME, PRIOR TO THE RETURN OF SUCH EMPLOYEE TO THE UNITED STATES *** WHEN THE PUBLIC INTEREST REQUIRES THE RETURN OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY FOR COMPELLING PERSONAL REASONS OF A HUMANITARIAN OR COMPASSIONATE NATURE, SUCH AS *** DEATH OF ANY MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY ***."

THIS STATUTORY PROVISION PERMITS THE RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN REQUIRED BY "THE PUBLIC INTEREST" PRIOR TO ELIGIBILITY OF THE EMPLOYEE FOR RETURN TRANSPORTATION. THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE ACCOMPANIES HIS FAMILY AT HIS OWN EXPENSE IS NOT TO BE DEEMED AS PRECLUDING PAYMENT OF THE ABOVE QUOTED STATUTORY BENEFITS.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE MR. GILLET'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE BECAUSE OF A DEATH IN THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY, HE MAY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR OTHER WISE PROPER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES OF HIS WIFE AND SON.

THE RIGHT OF AN EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED UPON TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS GOVERNED BY SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 806. THAT SECTION AND SECTION 4 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, CONTAINING THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED THEREUNDER, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THAT EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCIDENT TO TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED IN ANY CASE "IN WHICH THE TRANSFER IS MADE PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST." THE TRAVEL ORDER STATES THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT AT THE REQUEST OF THE EMPLOYEE. HOWEVER, SINCE THE EMPLOYEE STATES THAT HE REQUESTED THE TRANSFER FROM SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, TO WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, WHILE ON EMERGENCY LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF HIS AGREED TOUR OF DUTY, THE BASIS FOR SUCH STATEMENT IN THE TRAVEL ORDER IS NOT APPARENT. UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, THE EMPLOYEE'S STATEMENT MUST BE CONSIDERED AS CONTROLLING. IT FOLLOWS THAT REIMBURSEMENT OF HIS TRAVELING EXPENSES TO THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.