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International Travel

Q

I am involved in a large, international, multidivisional project at UCAR.
The project involves long international flights. Employees of certain
divisions always make the long flights in business class, while those from
another division always go economy class, ostensibly to save money (even
though the project has budgeted for business class fares). However, the
employees being inconvenienced do not benefit from this saving of money.
Why doesn't UCAR have a consistent, nondiscriminatory policy regarding
class of service?

Similarly, on this project, UCAR employees of a certain rank (say, division
director and higher), stay in fancier (and more expensive) hotels than
lower-level employees. The less fancy hotels are perfectly adequate. Again,
why doesn't UCAR treat all its employees in a consistent manner?

Answered on November 30, 2004

A

UCAR's travel policy can be found at
www.fin.ucar.edu/hr/polpro/manual/sec3/sec316.html
. The
procedures that support this policy are found at
www.fin.ucar.edu/procedures/sec3/proc316.html
. To
answer the specific questions asked, the questioner is directed to the
following sections:

• Review and Approval Process, No. 5, Field Project Travel. "All
UCAR-supported participants in a field project receive the same per diem
rate per location and air tickets in the same fare class. Decisions about
fare class and per diem rate are made jointly by Division and Program
Directors who have staff participating in the field project. These
decisions must be made prior to authorization of travel, and all field
projects that involve uniform per diem rates and standard fare classes must
be registered."

• Review and Approval Process, No. 10, Field Project Travel. "Participants
in registered field projects are reimbursed according to the business
travel provisions included in this policy. For field projects, UCAR
provides the same per diem rate (land-based and shipboard) per location and
air tickets in the same fare class for all UCAR-supported participants in
that project. Decisions about fare class and per diem rate are made jointly
by Division and Program Directors who have staff participating in the field
project. See UCAR policy 3-1-6, Travel Authorization, for information about
registering field projects."

• Transportation Expenses, No. 12A, Lodging. "Domestic and international
travelers are reimbursed for the actual reasonable costs of lodging.
Single-room accommodations are appropriate and should be requested by
employees when traveling on UCAR business. Travelers should seek
government-discount or lower rates for lodging accommodations whenever such
rates are available."

Therefore, if staff traveled with upgraded tickets, they should have made
the upgrades with their own frequent flyer miles. On lodging, UCAR policy
states reimbursement is for "actual" lodging, so that is more subjective.
If the above policies were not followed and the variances were paid for
with program or deployment funds, the Travel Office needs to be informed so
that the situation can be evaluated. However, I understand that it is not
always comfortable for individuals to report what they may perceive as an
ethics issue.

It you would like to report an ethics issue, you may do so anonymously
online (go to www.fin.ucar.edu/ethics/internal/ethicsmail.php3). UCAR
provides this Web site for its employees to anonymously register concerns
to management about the ethical conduct of an employee. These concerns are
forwarded anonymously and automatically to Katy Schmoll, who will contact
the appropriate people to evaluate the matter.

-Shelley Richards-Craig, General Accounting Manager, Finance & Administration