A-26566, MAY 3, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 580

A-26566: May 3, 1929

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TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE WHICH ARE AT A POINT OTHER THAN THE FORMER POST OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO HIS NEW POST. THESE CLAIMS WERE DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE FURNITURE WAS NOT AT MR. SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION WITH REFERENCE TO THE MATTER: I WAS ORDERED TO RETURN FROM PRAGUE. IT WAS INTENDED AT THE TIME THAT I SHOULD LATER PROCEED FROM WASHINGTON TO ALGIERS. IT WAS DECIDED THAT I SHOULD REMAIN IN WASHINGTON FOR PERMANENT DUTY THERE. TRANSPORTATION OF MY HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WAS ACCORDINGLY AUTHORIZED FROM (A) PRAGUE.

A-26566, MAY 3, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 580

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE WHICH ARE AT A POINT OTHER THAN THE FORMER POST OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO HIS NEW POST, SUCH TRANSPORTATION NOT BEING NECESSARILY INCURRED "IN RETURNING FROM" HIS FORMER POST.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MAY 3, 1929:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1929, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENTS NOS. 0245815 AND 0246046, EACH DATED FEBRUARY 14, 1929, DISALLOWING THE CLAIMS OF W. R. THOMPSON FOR $170 AND THE LIBERTY FREIGHT FORWARDING AND WAREHOUSE CO. (INC.) FOR $135, COVERING TRANSPORTATION ON DECEMBER 1, 1928, OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF ELBERT BALDWIN, COMMERCIAL ATTACHE, EMPLOYED UNDER THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, FROM LAKEWOOD, N.J., AND FROM NEW YORK, N.Y., RESPECTIVELY, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., IN CONNECTION WITH PERMANENT CHANGE OF POST FROM PRAGUE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THESE CLAIMS WERE DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE FURNITURE WAS NOT AT MR. BALDWIN'S FORMER POST.

THE PAPERS DO NOT DISCLOSE A COPY OF HIS ORDERS, BUT MR. BALDWIN, BY LETTER OF DECEMBER 27, 1928, SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION WITH REFERENCE TO THE MATTER:

I WAS ORDERED TO RETURN FROM PRAGUE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, TO WASHINGTON FOR DUTY IN AUGUST, 1928. IT WAS INTENDED AT THE TIME THAT I SHOULD LATER PROCEED FROM WASHINGTON TO ALGIERS, AFRICA, AND OPEN A NEW OFFICE THERE PRIOR TO 1929. AFTER MY RETURN TO WASHINGTON, HOWEVER, IT WAS DECIDED THAT I SHOULD REMAIN IN WASHINGTON FOR PERMANENT DUTY THERE. TRANSPORTATION OF MY HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WAS ACCORDINGLY AUTHORIZED FROM (A) PRAGUE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, TO WASHINGTON. THESE EFFECTS INCLUDED HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OTHER THAN FURNITURE. I HAVE HAD THE FURNITURE ABROAD WITH ME FOR REASONS TO FOLLOW. (B) NEW YORK CITY TO WASHINGTON; (C) LAKEWOOD, N.J., TO WASHINGTON. THESE EFFECTS INCLUDED FURNITURE ONLY WHICH HAD FOR THE FIRST TIME BECOME AVAILABLE TO ME FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF MY FATHER IN 1927 AND THE SALE OF THE FAMILY HOME. THIS FURNITURE I REQUIRE IN WASHINGTON FOR PERMANENT DUTY AND RESIDENCE.

THE ABOVE FURNITURE CONSISTED OF A DINING-ROOM SET, A LIVING-ROOM SET, FOUR BEDROOM SETS, PANTRY AND KITCHEN ACCESSORIES, PICTURES, RUGS, ETC., COMPRISING MORE THAN 100 ITEMS AND CHEAPER TO TRANSPORT, UNPACKED, BY VAN THAN, PACKED, BY FREIGHT.

THE AUTHORITY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION IS CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1928, 45 STAT. 88, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * TO PAY THE ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENTS OF THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION * * *, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE MAY PRESCRIBE, OF * * * EFFECTS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS, * * *.

PURSUANT TO THE ABOVE-CITED STATUTE, REGULATIONS WERE PROMULGATED OCTOBER 1, 1928, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 1928, THE DATE THIS SERVICE WAS RENDERED, WHICH REGULATIONS, IN SO FAR AS THEY ARE HERE APPLICABLE, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

5. HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS.--- THIS ITEM WILL INCLUDE THE USUAL AND NECESSARY FURNITURE AND FIXINGS FOR A HOUSEHOLD ESTABLISHMENT, BOOKS OF REFERENCE, BABY CARRIAGES, BICYCLES, AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; AND WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE DIRECTOR, THE COST OF TRANSPORTING A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND/OR PIANO WILL BE ALLOWED. (SEE PAR. 55.)

39. REGULATIONS GOVERNING.--- AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE PAYING FOR THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS IN GOING TO OR RETURNING FROM HIS POST SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE AMOUNTS ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY EXPENDED BY HIM FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, UNDER THE REGULATIONS HEREINAFTER SET FORTH.

40. QUANTITY OF EFFECTS.--- THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE SHALL DETERMINE THE QUANTITY OF EFFECTS THAT AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MAY TRANSPORT, THE PURPOSE OF THIS LIMITATION BEING TO RESTRICT SHIPMENTS TO THE EFFECTS NECESSARY AND WITH SUFFICIENT INTRINSIC VALUE TO JUSTIFY THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION. (SEE PAR. 55.)

43. BIDS REQUIRED FOR PACKING, CRATING, UNCRATING, UNPACKING, AND HAULING.--- WHERE THE COST OF PACKING, CRATING, AND HAULING, OR HAULING, UNCRATING, AND UNPACKING, EXCEEDS $25, FORMAL COMPETITIVE BIDS SHALL BE SECURED FROM AT LEAST THREE RESPONSIBLE PARTIES REGULARLY ENGAGED IN SUCH BUSINESS WHEN POSSIBLE, AND THE WORK AWARDED TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. THE BIDS MUST BE MADE A PART OF THE REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNT. HOWEVER, WHERE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SECURE THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF BIDS, A STATEMENT TO THAT EFFECT MUST ACCOMPANY THE REIMBURSEMENT AMOUNT (ACCOUNT).

55. CERTIFICATE FOR EFFECTS.--- THE ACCOUNT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS SHALL BEAR A CERTIFICATE FROM THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SUBMITTING THE SAME IN THE FOLLOWING FORM:"I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS CORRECT AND TRUE; THAT THE GOODS REFERRED TO IN THE STATEMENT AND ATTACHED VOUCHER CONSIST ONLY OF PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS; THAT THESE GOODS ARE THE PROPERTY OF MYSELF AND FAMILY AS DEFINED AND LIMITED BY THE REGULATIONS; AND THAT THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF THE EFFECTS WAS SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT THEIR SHIPMENT.

59. ACCOUNTS TO BE VERIFIED UNDER OATH.--- THE PROVISIONS OF THE APPROPRIATION ACT REQUIRE THAT ALL VOUCHERS COVERING EXPENSES AS PRESCRIBED IN THESE REGULATIONS SHALL BE SWORN TO.

THE ABOVE REGULATIONS AND THE APPROPRIATION ACT CONTEMPLATE THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHEN NECESSARILY INCURRED "IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM" HIS POST. THE INTENT OF THE STATUTE AND THE EFFECT OF THE REGULATIONS IS TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES FROM THE APPROPRIATION IN ORDER THAT THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO BEAR THE ENTIRE COST OF SHIPMENT OF HIS GOODS WHEN REQUIRED, IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT--- AND SOMETIMES ON VERY SHORT NOTICE--- TO CHANGE HIS STATION, ETC.

THE REGULATIONS DO NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN A CASE SUCH AS IS HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION; THAT IS, WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE DESIRES TO SHIP FURNITURE, OTHER THAN THAT WHICH IS AT HIS OLD POST, TO HIS NEW POST. FURTHERMORE, THE APPROPRIATION ACT, BY THE USE OF THE WORDS "IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS" AND BY LIMITING PAYMENTS TO SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE "ACTUAL AND NECESSARY" IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, DOES NOT APPEAR TO PERMIT THE SHIPMENT OF FURNITURE TO THE NEW POST IF IT IS NOT, IN FACT, AT A FORMER POST. OBVIOUSLY,"IN RETURNING FROM" A POST IT IS NOT "NECESSARY" TO SHIP ANY FURNITURE WHICH IS NOT AT THE OLD POST OR WHICH WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSPORTED TO THE OLD POST AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

THE NECESSITY FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THE FURNITURE HERE INVOLVED WAS NOT THE RETURN FROM PRAGUE BUT MR. BALDWIN'S DESIRE TO HAVE AT HIS NEW STATION FURNITURE THAT HE HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY HAD AT ANY STATION. THE ARGUMENT ADVANCED BY MR. BALDWIN TO THE EFFECT THAT THE FURNITURE WAS REQUIRED ,IN WASHINGTON FOR PERMANENT DUTY AND RESIDENCE" MIGHT BE SUFFICIENT TO AUTHORIZE ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIMS IF THE EXPENSE HAD BEEN INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH "GOING TO" HIS ORIGINAL POST. SEE DECISION OF JULY 29, 1925, A-9378. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED ,IN RETURNING FROM" HIS POST THE NECESSITY FOR HAVING THE FURNITURE, WHICH WAS NEVER AT HIS FORMER POST, TRANSPORTED TO HIS NEW POST IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO AUTHORIZE THE EXPENDITURE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENTS DISALLOWING THE CLAIMS MUST BE, AND ARE, SUSTAINED.