Payment of Special Allowances, Not Specifically Authorized by Statute, to Inspectors of the Office of the Inspector General, Foreign Service, Department of State

ID-77-46: Published: Jul 27, 1977. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 1977.

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The State Department has been paying inspectors of its Office of the Inspector General, Foreign Service, a special allowance based on absences from their residences in the United States for periods of more than 30 days while performing inspections of U.S. diplomatic and consular establishments. The payments are in addition to the maximum per diem allowed under Government travel regulations, and are made from the "Emergencies in the Diplomatic and Consular Service" appropriation.

The Department justifies the extra allowance on the grounds that, because of severe travel requirements, Foreign Service inspectors incur extraordinary expenses, including costs for additional home insurance because their homes are vacant for extended periods, home maintenance costs incurred during their extended absences, and travel costs of spouses to inspection sites to reduce the strain on family units. Payment of the special allowances does not appear to arise from any condition which could fairly be characterized as either unforeseen or an emergency, nor does the special allowance appear to be of a confidential character. Benefits and allowances paid to Federal employees are not generally kept confidential. The special allowance, combined with the per diem paid, exceeds the established maximum per diem rates for civilian officers and Government employees on official travel in foreign areas.

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