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DIGEST: EMPLOYEE WHO IS ISSUED GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR WEEKEND RETURN TRAVEL TO PERMANENT DUTY STATION WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR PERSONAL REASONS TO LOCATIONS OTHER THAN THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES EMPLOYEE IS ONLY ENTITLED TO THE PER DIEM AND ANY TRAVEL EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE IF EMPLOYEE HAD REMAINED AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. BELL - WEEKEND TRAVEL WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE DENIAL BY OUR CLAIMS GROUP OF A CLAIM BY DIANA J. BELL FOR WEEKEND TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE SHE WAS ON TEMPORARY DUTY. FOR THE REASONS EXPLAINED BELOW THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS GROUP IS SUSTAINED.

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B-200856, AUG 3, 1981

DIGEST: EMPLOYEE WHO IS ISSUED GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR WEEKEND RETURN TRAVEL TO PERMANENT DUTY STATION WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR PERSONAL REASONS TO LOCATIONS OTHER THAN THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES EMPLOYEE IS ONLY ENTITLED TO THE PER DIEM AND ANY TRAVEL EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE IF EMPLOYEE HAD REMAINED AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.

DIANA J. BELL - WEEKEND TRAVEL WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE DENIAL BY OUR CLAIMS GROUP OF A CLAIM BY DIANA J. BELL FOR WEEKEND TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE SHE WAS ON TEMPORARY DUTY. FOR THE REASONS EXPLAINED BELOW THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS GROUP IS SUSTAINED.

MS. BELL, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, WAS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, FROM OCTOBER 1, 1979, TO JANUARY 30, 1980. THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED A $35 PER DIEM AND HER RETURN TO DETROIT, MICHIGAN, HER PERMANENT DUTY STATION, ONE WEEKEND PER MONTH FOR THE DURATION OF HER TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT.

BASED ON THIS TRAVEL ORDER, MS. BELL WAS ISSUED TWO GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS (GTRS) VALUED AT $150 EACH FOR WEEKEND TRAVEL TO DETROIT. HOWEVER, MS. BELL'S TRAVEL VOUCHERS INDICATED THAT SHE USED ONE GTR TO FUND A PERSONAL TRIP TO MONTREAL, CANADA, FOR ONE WEEKEND IN OCTOBER AND THE OTHER GTR TO FUND A PERSONAL TRIP TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND CINCINNATI, OHIO, FOR ONE WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER. THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEDUCTED THE COST OF THE TWO GTRS FROM HER TRAVEL CLAIM STATING THAT SINCE SHE DID NOT RETURN TO HER PERMANENT DUTY STATION, AS AUTHORIZED, SHE WOULD BE REIMBURSED ONLY FOR EXPENSES AS IF SHE HAD REMAINED AT HER TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. WE ASSUME SHE HAS RECEIVED THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM FOR THE WEEKENDS THAT SHE TRAVELED FOR PERSONAL REASONS TO PLACES OTHER THAN HER OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.

OUR CLAIMS GROUP DETERMINED THAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ACTED CORRECTLY IN DISALLOWING MS. BELL'S CLAIM, CITING 55 COMP.GEN. 1291 (1976). MS. BELL HAS APPEALED THAT DECISION.

OUR DECISION, 55 COMP.GEN. 1291, CONCERNS THE PROPRIETY OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES PAYING CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES FOR WEEKEND TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED DURING A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT, BETWEEN THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND THE OFFICIAL STATION, UNDER ORDERS AUTHORIZING OR REQUIRING SUCH TRAVEL. THE ISSUE IN THE DECISION AROSE FROM FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) PARAGRAPHS 1-7.5C AND 1-8.4F, WHICH PROVIDE THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO VOLUNTARILY RETURNS FOR NONWORKDAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, IS ALLOWED ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AND PER DIEM EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED THE PER DIEM AND TRAVEL EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE EMPLOYEE REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. FURTHER, THOSE PARAGRAPHS PROVIDE THAT AT THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS, A TRAVELER MAY BE REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR NONWORKDAYS. THE ISSUE WAS WHETHER THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE AGENCIES CONCERNED WERE AVAILABLE FOR RETURN TRIP EXPENSES INCURRED AT THE REQUEST OF THE AGENCY EVEN IF IN EXCESS OF THE COSTS WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. WE CONCLUDED THAT IF, AFTER APPROPRIATE COST ANALYSIS, THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THE COSTS OF WEEKEND RETURN TRIPS ARE OUTWEIGHED BY SAVINGS IN TERMS OF INCREASED EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY, AS WELL AS REDUCED COSTS OF RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION, SUCH RETURN TRAVEL MAY BE AUTHORIZED AND THE EXPENSES MAY BE PAID. AS MS. BELL REQUESTS, A COPY OF THAT DECISION IS BEING FURNISHED HER.

NOWHERE IN THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS DOES THERE APPEAR THE AUTHORITY FOR AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS BEEN ISSUED GTRS FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION, TO USE THOSE GTRS FOR PERSONAL TRAVEL TO LOCATIONS OTHER THAN THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION. ON THE CONTRARY, PURSUANT TO FTR PARAGRAPHS 1-7.5C AND 1-8.4F, REFERRED TO ABOVE, WEEKEND TRAVEL TO LOCATIONS OTHER THAN THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION, WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY, ENTITLES THE EMPLOYEE TO THOSE EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE EMPLOYEE REMAINED AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. THIS WOULD INCLUDE THE PER DIEM AUTHORIZED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS. HOWEVER, THE EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR PERSONAL REASONS.

THEREFORE, WE SUSTAIN THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS GROUP IN DISALLOWING MS. BELL'S CLAIM.

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