FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
February 9, 2001
|To:||Assistant Regional Directors for Budget and
Administration, Regions 1 - 7
Attn: Regional Finance Officers
|From:||Assistant Director - Business Management and Operations|
|Subject:||Mandatory Use of Travel Management System - Waiver Process for Obtaining Lodging Accommodations and Rental Cars|
As you are aware, considerable concern has been expressed regarding
the mandatory use of the
Department of the Interiorís current Travel Management Center (TMC), Omega World Travel,
for making hotel and rental car reservations. In certain situations, it may be impractical to make
advance reservations through our TMC.
We have determined that the following circumstances listed below are
reasonable for an automatic
Training/conference planning/meeting - When an employee is attending
training, conference and/or
meeting for which a block of rooms has been reserved.
- Unplanned travel - Traveling from one temporary duty point (TDY) to
another TDY point, stopping
along the way and staying at the first available hotel/motel.
- Fish distribution travel - Drivers are on restricted time driving
schedules, such as 10 hours total
driving time per day.
- International travel - When the host government, host organizations,
or embassies make the
arrangements, reservations may continue to be made by them.
- Law Enforcement Covert Operations - Undercover travel will continue as usual.
- National Conservation Training Center - Lodging and rental car reservations
will continue to be
made by the traveler.
- Fire emergency, or other events, (e.g., prescribed fires, oil spills,
or acts of God) when advance
notice of need precludes reasonable opportunity to use TMC services.
- Lodging necessitated by canceled flights or travel interruptions caused
by weather conditions,
particularly when the occurrence is outside normal business hours.
- Lodging provided by an airline due to travel interruptions.
- Travelers lodging and rental car at military bases (e.g., Elmendorf
in Anchorage and Eilson in
Fairbanks) where reservations are not booked through travel agents.
- Travel to sites (remote towns, villages, etc.) where commercial lodging is generally unavailable.
- Special accommodations for the disabled.
- Migratory bird survey and/or banding programs.
- Lodging for non-government employees at government expense, generally paid by purchase order.
Waiver from the Mandatory Use of the TMC for Lodgings and Rental Cars:
Assistant Regional Directors for Budget and Administration are delegated
the authority to waive
the requirement to use Omega when circumstances and/or situations are deemed impractical.
This authority may be redelegated to the appropriate management officials. Redelegations of
waiver approval authority should be in writing and written records maintained. Delegated
officials may waive mandatory use whenever good judgment indicates it is impractical to use
Omega. Waivers should not be approved based upon the personal preference of travelers
or to avoid minor inconveniences. However, it may include instances where Omega says
there are no vacancies, but a direct call to the hotel indicates there is a vacancy. Officials
approving waivers are to retain written records of the waiver and the reasons for the waiver
until Departmental policy on waivers is clarified. Waivers are to be documented through
the use of the attached form.
We anticipate the Service will soon begin use of Omegaís Worldspan Trip
system. There are two potential advantages to Trip Manager. The first is that it allows the traveler
to make reservations directly, effectively bypassing Omega personnel, and potentially resolving
some of the current Omega problems. The second is the elimination of the current fee paid to
Omega for each transaction. The policy on Omega will be evaluated after Trip Manager has
been pilot tested by the Service. After an analysis of the test results, appropriate adjustments
may be made.
If additional information is required, please contact Mazie Murphy,
Chief, Branch of Financial
Policy and Region 9 Finance, at 703-358-1742, ext 5.