A-69595, MARCH 16, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 801

A-69595: Mar 16, 1936

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IT IS PROPER TO PROVIDE BY REGULATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF UNPACKING AND UNCRATING OF EMPLOYEES' PERSONAL EFFECTS WHERE THE PACKING AND CRATING THEREOF IS NECESSARY TO THEIR TRANSPORTATION. AS FOLLOWS: A REVISION OF THE REGULATIONS OF THIS DEPARTMENT IS NOW BEING PREPARED AND IT IS OUR HOPE THAT THE REVISED EDITION MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR DISTRIBUTION WITHIN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. ONE QUESTIONABLE POINT IS THE LEGALITY OF INCLUDING A PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF UNCRATING AND UNPACKING THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4. PERSONAL PROPERTY WHICH WILL BE USED IN OFFICIAL WORK AT THE NEW STATION.

A-69595, MARCH 16, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 801

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT - EXPENSES OF TRANSFERS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265, RELATIVE TO TRANSFERS OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES BETWEEN PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE NOT HAVING SPECIFIED THE CHARGES WHICH MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES BUT PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS THEREUNDER BY THE SECRETARY, IT IS PROPER TO PROVIDE BY REGULATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF UNPACKING AND UNCRATING OF EMPLOYEES' PERSONAL EFFECTS WHERE THE PACKING AND CRATING THEREOF IS NECESSARY TO THEIR TRANSPORTATION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 16, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 3, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

A REVISION OF THE REGULATIONS OF THIS DEPARTMENT IS NOW BEING PREPARED AND IT IS OUR HOPE THAT THE REVISED EDITION MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR DISTRIBUTION WITHIN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. ONE QUESTIONABLE POINT IS THE LEGALITY OF INCLUDING A PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF UNCRATING AND UNPACKING THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY.

THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911 (36 STAT. 1265) READS AS FOLLOWS:

"HEREAFTER OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TRANSFERRED FROM OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MAY BE ALLOWED ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING CHARGES FOR TRANSFER OF THEIR EFFECTS AND PERSONAL PROPERTY USED IN OFFICIAL WORK, UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.'

THROUGH INADVERTENCE THE FISCAL REGULATIONS AS DRAFTED BY THIS DEPARTMENT FAILED TO INCLUDE SPECIFIC MENTION OF THE EXPENSES OF UNCRATING AND UNPACKING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. SUBSEQUENTLY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY RULED (C.D. 27: 261) THAT:

"WHEN AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS HAD HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSFERRED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW STATION, INCLUDING FREIGHT, PACKING, CRATING, AND DRAYAGE TO HIS NEW RESIDENCE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265, OR REGULATIONS PURSUANT THERETO, PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, TO REIMBURSE THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE COST OF UNPACKING OR UNCRATING THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT HIS NEW RESIDENCE.'

THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH HAS NOW BEEN DRAFTED FOR INCLUSION IN THE REVISED REGULATIONS:

"TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.--- AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, NOT FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE, MAY BE ALLOWED CHARGES FOR PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, TRANSPORTATION, UNCRATING AND UNPACKING OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, INCLUDING ANIMALS FOR DOMESTIC USE, AND PERSONAL PROPERTY WHICH WILL BE USED IN OFFICIAL WORK AT THE NEW STATION, EXCLUDING MOTOR VEHICLES. THE AUTHORIZATION MUST BE IN WRITING, SIGNED BY A CHIEF OF BUREAU, REGIONAL FORESTER, FOREST SERVICE, OR DISTRICT ENGINEER, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, AND MUST STATE THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S CONVENIENCE.'

THIS AMENDMENT WILL BRING THE PRACTICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT IN CONFORMITY WITH THAT OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF STATE AND COMMERCE. BEFORE INCLUDING THIS PROVISION IN THE REVISED REGULATIONS, HOWEVER, I SHOULD APPRECIATE YOUR APPROVAL OF IT.

IN DECISION TO YOU IN 7 COMP. GEN. 656, IT WAS HELD THAT THE GENERAL STATUTE PROVIDING FOR TRANSFERS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS DID NOT REPEAL THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265, APPLICABLE TO TRANSFERS WITHIN YOUR DEPARTMENT, AND AS THAT STATUTE PROVIDED FOR THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, IT WAS PROPER TO PROVIDE IN SUCH REGULATIONS FOR THE TRAVEL ORDERS AND CERTIFICATE THAT THE TRAVEL WAS NOT FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE, TO BE SIGNED BY SOME OFFICIAL OTHER THAN THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO WHOM SUCH DUTY HAD BEEN DELEGATED. AS SAID ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, DOES NOT SPECIFY OR DEFINE THE CHARGES WHICH MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE TRANSFER OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES, IT IS PROPER TO PROVIDE BY REGULATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR AMOUNTS EXPENDED NOT ONLY FOR FREIGHT, BUT ALSO FOR PACKING AND CRATING, AND UNPACKING AND UNCRATING, WHEN REASONABLY NECESSARY TO THEIR TRANSPORTATION. THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF THE REGULATIONS APPEARS TO BE WITHIN THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED UPON YOU BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, AND THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT THERETO.