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YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS THEY RELATE TO THE TIME THAT PER DIEM COMMENCES AND ENDS FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF YOUR AGENCY WHEN THEY ARE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE MAJORITY OF YOUR REGIONAL OFFICES ARE. LOCATED IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE REMOVED FROM THOSE AREAS WHICH HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED AS CRITICAL TARGET AREAS IN THE EVENT OF ENEMY ATTACK. MANY OF THE TRIPS MADE BY THE EMPLOYEES OF THESE REGIONAL OFFICES NECESSITATE THE USE OF COMMON CARRIERS WHICH DEPART FROM MAJOR TERMINALS THAT ARE LOCATED DISTANCES OF FROM 24 TO 111 MILES FROM THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THE EMPLOYEES ARE STATIONED.

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B-139359, DEC. 11, 1959

TO HONORABLE LEO A. HOEGH, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CIVIL AND DEFENSE MOBILIZATION:

ON OCTOBER 9, 1959, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS THEY RELATE TO THE TIME THAT PER DIEM COMMENCES AND ENDS FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF YOUR AGENCY WHEN THEY ARE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

YOU POINT OUT THAT THE MAJORITY OF YOUR REGIONAL OFFICES ARE, AS A MATTER OF OFFICIAL POLICY, LOCATED IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE REMOVED FROM THOSE AREAS WHICH HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED AS CRITICAL TARGET AREAS IN THE EVENT OF ENEMY ATTACK. MANY OF THE TRIPS MADE BY THE EMPLOYEES OF THESE REGIONAL OFFICES NECESSITATE THE USE OF COMMON CARRIERS WHICH DEPART FROM MAJOR TERMINALS THAT ARE LOCATED DISTANCES OF FROM 24 TO 111 MILES FROM THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THE EMPLOYEES ARE STATIONED. OFTENTIMES IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT IT WOULD BE LESS EXPENSIVE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO USE AUTOMOBILES AS A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO THESE MAJOR TERMINALS INSTEAD OF THEIR USING THE LOCALLY AVAILABLE COMMON CARRIERS FOR THAT PURPOSE.

THE AUTHORIZATION AND USE OF AUTOMOBILES FROM THE DUTY STATION OR RESIDENCE TO THE MAJOR TERMINAL AND THE RESULTING RETURNS TO THE DUTY STATION OR RESIDENCE RAISES THE QUESTION OF WHEN THE PER DIEM STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEES COMMENCES AND ENDS.

SECTION 6.9 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"THE TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM, OR ARRIVAL AT, A PLACE SHALL BE REGARDED AS THE HOUR AT WHICH THE TRAIN, AIRPLANE, BOAT, OR OTHER CONVEYANCE USED BY THE EMPLOYEE IS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE FROM, OR ACTUALLY ARRIVES AT, ITS TERMINAL, WHETHER LOCATED WITHIN OR BEYOND THE OFFICIAL STATION. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE DRIVES A PRIVATELY OR GOVERNMENT OWNED CONVEYANCE TO OR FROM A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION THE TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM, AND RETURN TO, HIS OFFICIAL STATION OR OTHER PLACE AT WHICH OFFICIAL TRAVEL BEGINS OR ENDS SHALL BE REGARDED AS THE HOUR THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY LEAVES, OR RETURNS TO, HIS OFFICE, PLACE OF ABODE, OR OTHER PLACE AT WHICH THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL BEGINS OR ENDS: PROVIDED, THAT WHEN THE TIME OF DEPARTURE IS WITHIN 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO THE END OF A QUARTER DAY, OR THE TIME OF RETURN IS WITHIN 30 MINUTES AFTER THE BEGINNING OF A QUARTER DAY, PER DIEM FOR EITHER SUCH QUARTER DAY SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATEMENT WITH THE TRAVEL VOUCHER EXPLAINING THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR THE HOUR OF DEPARTURE OR RETURN.'

YOU CONTEND HERE THAT THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PRECLUDE PER DIEM COMMENCEMENT UNTIL THE TIME OF THE SCHEDULED DEPARTURE FROM THE MAJOR TERMINAL. YOU REASON THAT TO DO SO WOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THOSE EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN REMOTE AREAS WHICH ARE NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIERS OR WHICH HAVE COMMON CARRIER FACILITIES THAT FURNISH INADEQUATE SERVICE BECAUSE THEY AFFORD POOR CONNECTIONS WITH THE MAJOR CARRIERS. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, IS TO PROTECT THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR HAVING TO PAY OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THEIR TRAVEL FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND THAT TO PENALIZE EMPLOYEES IN CIRCUMSTANCES, WHEN, ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION, THE OVERALL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TRIP IS LESS THAN IT COULD BE IF THE EMPLOYEES TRAVELED BY COMMON CARRIER, IS CONTRARY TO THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED.

THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET HAS SPECIFIC AUTHORITY TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS UNDER THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED. SEE SECTION 7 OF THAT ACT, AS NOW CODIFIED AT 5 U.S.C. 480.

OUR VIEW OF SECTION 6.9 (C) OF THE REGULATION AS NOW WRITTEN IS THAT FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES IT ESTABLISHES THE TIMES OF DEPARTURE AND OF ARRIVAL AS THE TIME THE COMMON CARRIER USED IS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE ITS TERMINAL AND THE TIME IT ACTUALLY ARRIVES THERE, WHETHER OR NOT THE TERMINAL IS LOCATED WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THE OFFICIAL STATION. 38 COMP. GEN. 511, B-139359, JULY 1, 1959. BEFORE REACHING THIS CONCLUSION, THE MATTER WAS DISCUSSED INFORMALLY WITH A BUREAU OF THE BUDGET REPRESENTATIVE.

WHILE IT IS EVIDENT THAT UNDER THIS REGULATION THE POINTS AT WHICH A TRAVELER'S PER DIEM WOULD BEGIN AND END MIGHT DIFFER DEPENDING ON THE MEANS OF TRAVEL USED AND THAT THE RESULTING DIFFERENCE IN TIME FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES MIGHT BE CONSIDERABLE IN THE CASES YOU PRESENT, WE BELIEVE THAT THE REGULATION IS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED ON THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BY THE ACT.

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