13:0023(4)NG - NFFE Local 29 and Army Engineer District, Kansas City, MO -- 1983 FLRAdec NG



[ v13 p23 ]
13:0023(4)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 13 FLRA No. 4
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 29
 Union
 
 and
 
 U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT,
 KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-597
 
                DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES
 
    The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority
 pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and presents issues
 relating to the negotiability of the following Union proposal:  /1/
 
          Reimbursement of travel expenses will be received by the
       employee within 15 calendar days after the travel voucher is
       submitted.  When the employee has not received reimbursement
       within this time frame, the employer will pay the employee
       interest on monies owed the employee at the current prime interest
       rate;  plus any interest charges the employee may have incurred by
       the use of his/her personal credit or charge card or accounts;
       from the date the voucher was submitted.  (Only the underscored
       portion is in dispute.)
 
    The proposal has two requirements.  First, when an employee has not
 been reimbursed for travel expenses within an established time frame,
 the employee would be paid interest on the amount owed him/her at the
 current prime interest rate.  Second, the employee would also be
 reimbursed for any interest charges incurred through the employee's use
 of personal credit resources to cover travel expenses.  The Agency
 generally contends that there is no statutory basis for the payment of
 interest such as proposed by the Union, and the Union responds that no
 statute or regulation forbids the payment of such interest.
 
    Contrary to the Union, the Authority finds that the proposal is
 inconsistent with applicable Federal law and Government-wide regulation.
  Specifically, the payment of travel expenses is addressed by 5 U.S.C.
 5701-5709.  Among other things, those provisions establish, with certain
 exceptions not relevant hereto, that "only actual and necessary travel
 expenses may be allowed," /2/ and authorize the Administrator of General
 Services to prescribe implementing regulations.  /3/ The regulations so
 prescribed are published in the GSA publication "Federal Travel
 Regulations" which are incorporated into the Federal Property Management
 Regulations (FPMR) and apply generally to official travel of civilian
 employees of Government agencies.  /4/ Therefore, the Federal Travel
 Regulations constitute a Government-wide rule or regulation within the
 meaning of section 7117(a)(1) of the Statute.  National Treasury
 Employees Union, Chapter 6 and Int