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Two employees of the Internal Revenue Service appealed Claims Division settlements which disallowed payment of their claims for actual subsistence expenses incurred while on temporary duty. The employees were temporarily assigned to a training program. They reduced their expense for lodging by lodging together. The cost of their meals combined with lodging expenses were near the maximum daily allowable for reimbursement of subsistence expenses in their temporary duty area. The agency determined that the amount claimed by the employees for meals did not meet Government requirements for prudence and reasonableness. It reduced the amount allowable and provided partial reimbursement to both employees. The agency found the grievances filed by the employees not to be grievable. The employees argued that they never exceeded the maximum daily allowance. They concluded that the agency policy was arbitrary or capricious as applied in their case, since they reduced their cost of lodgings by rooming together. An employee is entitled to reimbursement for only reasonable expenses for meals; and it is the responsibility of the agency to determine the reasonableness of expenses claimed. GAO will not question the agency's action in the absence of evidence that the determination was erroneous, arbitrary, or capricious. Since the employees did not meet their burden proof, the Claims Division disallowances were upheld.


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