Letter to the editor

Our activity uses a software application called Travel Manager Plus (TMP) for travel orders and travel claims. I believe that this software was produced by a company called Gelco Information Network. Do other activities use this?

It is extremely poor quality software, runs slowly, does not permit cut/paste operations, is painful to use, and is otherwise unsatisfactory in many ways. Our GS-4 secretaries are supposed to master the use of this terrible application.

I recently discovered that I have been shortchanged on my travels to high-cost per diem locations for the past several years, instead receiving only the allowance for low-cost locations on such travels. The reason is that my secretary has been unable to figure out that my destination of "Timbuktu" is actually in "Podunk County," and that Podunk County is a high-cost area. As a result, I have been shortchanged approximately $15 a day for 17 dates, for a total loss of approximately $250 over the past few years.

I am drawing your attention to this situation because I believe that the travel order/claims process is flawed as a result of the TMP software, and that I am not the only victim of it. I can't blame my GS-4 secretary, becausein the old days we had a travel department with presumably skilled travel professionals who would ensure that when I traveled to Timbuktu that I would get the high-cost per diem rate allowable for that area. Now, that responsibility has been offloaded to a GS-4 secretary. I had no idea that my secretary had this discretion, and I suspect that many others are in the same boat as I am.

In government, we have auditors and inspectors general and other investigators falling over each other to ensure that the taxpayer is not shortchanged in fiscal matters. However, no one is looking out for the employees who must travel using TMP, ensuring that they are properly compensated in accordance with established regulations when in high-cost per diem areas.

When I presented this info to my supervisor, he basically shrugged and said to be more alert in the future. I told him that I wasn't asking for the $250 for myself, that I was asking for an investigation of the TMP system/process to get it corrected so that it doesn't happen again to anyone else. It wasn't worth his time to "charge against that windmill."

Do other activities use this TMP software? Does anyone recognize how poor an application it is?

Name withheld by request

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