EXPENSES OF STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER WHO HAS USED FULL NUMBER OF DAYS PERMITTED BY LAW ON PER DIEM ALLOWANCE.
State highway commissioner may draw his actual expenses, even if he has used his full per diem allowance provided by law and it is proper that actual expenses incurred by him be paid even when he requests no per diem allowance.
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March 20, 1952
Washington State Highway Commission
Olympia, Washington Cite as: AGO 51-53 No. 264
Attention: Honorable Fred G. Redmon, Chairman
Our office is in receipt of your request of March 12, 1952 for an opinion, which request reads as follows:
"An opinion is respectfully requested as to whether actual expenses incurred by a state highway commissioner in the discharge of his duties are eligible for payment in the event the state highway commissioner has used the full number of days permitted by law on a per diem allowance, and also whether actual expenses incurred in the discharge of his duties will be paid when no request is made for a per diem allowance, under the provisions of § 13, chapter 247, Laws of 1951."
Our conclusion is that a state highway commissioner may draw his actual expenses, even if he has used his full per diem allowance provided for by § 13, chapter 247, Laws of 1951. We further conclude that it is proper that actual expenses incurred by such a commissioner be paid even when he requests no per diem allowance.
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
Section 13, chapter 247, Laws of 1951, which deals with expenses of a member of the state highway commission, reads as follows:
"Each member of the state highway commission shall receive twenty-five dollars per diem for each day actually spent in the performance of his duties and his actual necessary traveling and other expenses in going to, attending and returning from meetings of the commission, and his actual and necessary traveling and other expenses incurred in the discharge of such duties as may be requested of him by a majority vote of the commission, but in no event shall a commissioner's per diem payments exceed three thousand dollars in any one year."
It is apparent that the above section allows each member of the commission a twenty-five dollar per diem allowance, but limits such allowance to three thousand dollars in any one year. No limitation is placed upon his expense allowance for traveling and other incidentals in attending meetings of the commission or performing duties requested by the commission by a majority vote. There is no requirement that the commissioner draw the per diem allowance, although he may do so when entitled to it. Therefore, we see no reason why the expenses of a commissioner should not be paid, when he is entitled thereto, for the actual performance of his duties, even though the full per diem allowance for a year has been used, nor do we see any reason why a commissioner is required to claim his per diem in a situation where he does not desire so to do.
Very truly yours,
DON CARY SMITH
Assistant Attorney General