B-164057, JUN. 5, 1968

B-164057: Jun 5, 1968

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YOU ARE IN DOUBT AS TO THE COMPUTATION OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND WHETHER THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION AND TRAILER HOOK-UP FEE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSE TRAILER AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION IS ALLOWABLE. HE IS CLAIMING 1-1/2 DAYS PER DIEM FOR HIMSELF AND FAMILY AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEN DAYS. A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED WE HELD THAT THE MAXIMUM LIMITATION FOR SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHOULD BE COMPUTED BEGINNING WITH THE QUARTER DAY AFTER THE LAST QUARTER FOR WHICH PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IS PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 6 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (EXCEPT WHERE TRAVEL IS LESS THAN 24 HOURS).

B-164057, JUN. 5, 1968

TO MR. R. P. HOGAN:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 12, 1968, REFERENCE AD571X12, BY WHICH YOU FORWARDED FOR OUR ADVANCE DECISION THE VOUCHER FOR MR. KAY R. ROBINSON, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN EXPENSES HE INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER FROM PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, TO HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT.

YOU ARE IN DOUBT AS TO THE COMPUTATION OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND WHETHER THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION AND TRAILER HOOK-UP FEE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSE TRAILER AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION IS ALLOWABLE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. ROBINSON DEPARTED PITTSBURGH AT 8 A.M., FEBRUARY 2 AND ARRIVED AT HARTFORD, FEBRUARY 3, 1968, AT 8 P.M. HE IS CLAIMING 1-1/2 DAYS PER DIEM FOR HIMSELF AND FAMILY AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEN DAYS, FEBRUARY 3 THROUGH FEBRUARY 13, 1968.

IN OUR DECISION OF MAY 31, 1967, B-161348, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED WE HELD THAT THE MAXIMUM LIMITATION FOR SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHOULD BE COMPUTED BEGINNING WITH THE QUARTER DAY AFTER THE LAST QUARTER FOR WHICH PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IS PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 6 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (EXCEPT WHERE TRAVEL IS LESS THAN 24 HOURS). OF COURSE, THE ACTUAL EXPENDITURES WOULD BE COMPUTED IN A LIKE MANNER. THAT DECISION ALSO HELD THAT ON THE DAY THE EMPLOYEE MOVES INTO HIS PERMANENT QUARTERS THE FULL MAXIMUM SHOULD BE USED TO DETERMINE ENTITLEMENT REGARDLESS OF THE TIME SUCH MOVE OCCURS. IN THIS CASE THE EMPLOYEE LEFT PITTSBURGH 8 A.M., FEBRUARY 2, ARRIVING AT HARTFORD 8 P.M. ON FEBRUARY 3, AND SHOWS MILES DRIVEN AS 477. CLAIM IS FOR 1-1/2 DAYS OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE PRESUMABLY ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED BEFORE 6 P.M. ON FEBRUARY 3 IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2.3A (2) OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 WHICH STATES THAT REASONABLE DRIVING TIME SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN 300 MILES PER DAY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCE, THE EMPLOYEE'S TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE TEN DAY PERIOD WOULD RUN FROM 6 P.M., FEBRUARY 3 THROUGH FEBRUARY 13.

SECTION 2.5D OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 CONCERNING SUBSISTENCE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS STATES THAT ACTUAL EXPENSES SHOULD BE SUPPORTED AS PROVIDED BY SUBSECTION 6.12F OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THAT SUBSECTION REQUIRES AN ITEMIZATION IN A MANNER PERMITTING REVIEW OF THE AMOUNTS SPENT DAILY FOR MEALS. ALTHOUGH MR. ROBINSON HAS SUBMITTED RECEIPTS FOR LODGING, HE DID NOT ITEMIZE AMOUNTS EXPENDED FOR MEALS BUT SUBMITTED ONLY AN ESTIMATE APPARENTLY BASED ON AN AVERAGE RATE PER DAY. AN "AVERAGE" FIGURE OF $18.50 PER DAY IS TOO GENERAL TO BE CONSIDERED AS COMPLIANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS. WE SUGGEST THAT IF HE HAS NO RECORD OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR MEALS THAT HE SUBMIT A DETAILED ESTIMATE COVERING DAILY EXPENSES OF EACH MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY FOR EACH MEAL DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION.

AN ITEM OF $60 CLAIMED BY MR. ROBINSON REPRESENTS AN EXPENSE ARISING FROM THE USE OF A SECOND COMMERCIAL CARRIER TO HAUL THE TRAILER FROM STORAGE TO ITS PERMANENT SITE. IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED FROM YOUR OFFICE THAT MR. ROBINSON HAS BEEN REIMBURSED $321.92 FOR TRANSPORTATION BY A COMMERCIAL CARRIER OF HIS TRAILER FROM PITTSBURGH TO HARTFORD (503 MILES AT 64 CENTS PER MILE). SECTION 9.3 OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 GOVERNING THE PAYMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSE TRAILERS PROVIDES THAT WHEN A HOUSE TRAILER IS TRANSPORTED BY A COMMERCIAL CARRIER THE ALLOWANCES SHALL INCLUDE THE CARRIER'S CHARGE FOR ACTUAL TRANSPORTATION IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING THE APPLICABLE TARIFF AS APPROVED BY THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION. THE ALLOWANCE SHALL INCLUDE FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE, ROAD AND TUNNEL TOLLS. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE EXPENSES INVOLVED HERE ($60) IS A CARRIER'S TRANSPORTATION CHARGE AND NOT A TOLL OR OTHER TYPE OF FEE. ASSUMING THAT THE AMOUNT OF $321.92 PREVIOUSLY PAID REPRESENTS THE APPLICABLE ICC TARIFF FOR THE TRAILER IN QUESTION OVER THE DISTANCE INVOLVED, NO FURTHER ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE. SEE B-161585, JANUARY 8, 1968 (COPY ENCLOSED).

THE ITEM OF $125 FOR "HOOK-UP FEE" IS NOT FULLY DETAILED BUT WE ASSUME THAT IT IS A CHARGE FOR BLOCKING AND UNBLOCKING THE TRAILER, CONNECTING UTILITIES AND UNPACKING HOUSEHOLD CONTENTS AND OUR ANSWER WILL BE BASES ON THAT ASSUMPTION. SECTION 9.3 OF THE CIRCULAR PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"A. WHEN A HOUSE TRAILER IS TRANSPORTED BY COMMERCIAL CARRIER,

"/3) ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT INCLUDE COSTS OF PREPARING TRAILERS FOR MOVEMENT, MAINTENANCE, REPAIRS, STORAGE, INSURANCE FOR VALUATION OF TRAILERS ABOVE CARRIERS' MAXIMUM RESPONSIBILITY, NOR CHARGES DESIGNATED IN THE TARIFFS AS -SPECIAL SERVICE.- "

WE UNDERSTAND THE TARIFF HERE INVOLVED IN THE MOVEMENT OF THE TRAILER INDICATES THAT "SPECIAL SERVICE" INCLUDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, PACKING AND UNPACKING OF HOUSEHOLD CONTENTS, UNBLOCKING AND BLOCKING TRAILERS, AND SETTING UP PLUMBING AND HEATING AND ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS. THUS THE CHARGE FOR THE "HOOK-UP FEE" IS SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED BY SECTION 9.3A (3) QUOTED ABOVE. SEE 44 COMP. GEN. 619.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.

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