A-88180, SEPTEMBER 23, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 273

A-88180: Sep 23, 1937

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WILL BE APPLIED IN DETERMINING THE GROSS WEIGHT. WHERE THE COST OF SHIPMENT BY MOTOR VAN OF EMPLOYEE'S EFFECTS ON CHANGE OF STATION IS LESS THAN BY ORDINARY FREIGHT. THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE SAVINGS EFFECTED. ANY EXCESS SHIPMENT OVER CHANGE OF STATION ALLOWANCE IS FOR COMPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF PRO RATA COST OF SUCH AMOUNT. APPLYING THE GROSS WEIGHT OF ARTICLES WHICH WERE SHIPPED UNPACKED. IT APPEARS THAT THERE WAS SHIPPED. T. OTIS TO MOVE THE EFFECTS FOR $175 WAS ACCEPTED. THE BASIS FOR THIS ACTION WAS THAT 5. 000 POUNDS WAS THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE OF THE EMPLOYEE. COLLECTION OF $31.89 ADDITIONAL WAS REQUESTED TO BE MADE FROM MR. IT IS SUGGESTED BY LETTER OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

A-88180, SEPTEMBER 23, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 273

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE ON CHANGE OF STATION - CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT COMPUTATION ON SHIPMENT BY MOTOR VAN THE PROVISIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1937, 49 STAT. 1842, AND ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULARS OF INSTRUCTION RELATING TO THE SHIPMENT OF AUTHORIZED CHANGE OF STATION ALLOWANCES OF EMPLOYEES OF THE PROCUREMENT DIVISION, PUBLIC BUILDINGS BRANCH, CLEARLY INDICATE PACKING AND CRATING OF ALL EFFECTS IN A MANNER SUITABLE FOR ORDINARY FREIGHT SHIPMENTS, AND THE COST OF SHIPMENT BY MOTOR VAN, ALTHOUGH ENTIRELY OR PARTIALLY UNPACKED, MAY NOT EXCEED THE COST OF SHIPMENT BY ORDINARY FREIGHT LINES OF THAT WEIGHT WHICH WOULD BE PROPER FOR A SIMILAR QUANTITY AFTER BEING PACKED, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION FREIGHT CHARGES AND CHARGES FOR PACKING, CRATING, AND DRAYAGE, AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF SOME OTHER ALLOWANCE FOR TARE, A 25 PERCENT INCREASE, FOUND TO BE AN EQUITABLE ALLOWANCE FOR SUCH PURPOSE IN SIMILAR CASES ARISING IN OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS, WILL BE APPLIED IN DETERMINING THE GROSS WEIGHT. WHERE THE COST OF SHIPMENT BY MOTOR VAN OF EMPLOYEE'S EFFECTS ON CHANGE OF STATION IS LESS THAN BY ORDINARY FREIGHT, THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE SAVINGS EFFECTED, AND ANY EXCESS SHIPMENT OVER CHANGE OF STATION ALLOWANCE IS FOR COMPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF PRO RATA COST OF SUCH AMOUNT, APPLYING THE GROSS WEIGHT OF ARTICLES WHICH WERE SHIPPED UNPACKED, DETERMINED BY INCREASING THE ACTUAL WEIGHT BY 25 PERCENT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED LETTER OF JULY 10, 1937, FROM THE OFFICE MANAGER OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS BRANCH OF THE PROCUREMENT DIVISION, RESPECTING A REQUEST BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE FOR COLLECTION FROM H. D. WASHBURN, CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, PROCUREMENT DIVISION, PUBLIC BUILDINGS BRANCH, AS EXCESS COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS VIA MOTOR VAN FROM LAKE PLACID, N.Y., TO GOWANDA, N.Y., ON NOVEMBER 19, 1936, ON CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION.

IT APPEARS THAT THERE WAS SHIPPED, UNPACKED, 5,485 POUNDS OF EFFECTS; THAT THE PROPOSAL OF S. T. OTIS TO MOVE THE EFFECTS FOR $175 WAS ACCEPTED; AND THAT THE EMPLOYEE ASSUMED $15.48 THEREOF, REPRESENTING 485/5485THS OF $175, A VOUCHER IN THE SUM OF $159.52, REPRESENTING 5000/5485THS OF $175, HAVING BEEN PAID TO THE CONTRACTOR. THE BASIS FOR THIS ACTION WAS THAT 5,000 POUNDS WAS THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE OF THE EMPLOYEE.

COLLECTION OF $31.89 ADDITIONAL WAS REQUESTED TO BE MADE FROM MR. WASHBURN, BY LETTER OF APRIL 8, 1937, ON ACCOUNT OF EXCESS WEIGHT OVER AUTHORIZED ALLOWANCE OF 5,000 POUNDS, BASED ON INCREASING THE NET WEIGHT BY 25 PERCENT TO ASCERTAIN THE GROSS WEIGHT WHEN PACKED. IT IS SUGGESTED BY LETTER OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, PROCUREMENT DIVISION, PUBLIC BUILDINGS BRANCH, DATED JULY 10, 1937, THAT UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1936, 49 STAT. 1842, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1937, UNDER THE TITLE "PROCUREMENT DIVISION--- PUBLIC BUILDINGS BRANCH," AND CIRCULARS OF INSTRUCTIONS, THE LIMITATION OF 5,000 POUNDS REFERS TO NET WEIGHT.

THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1936, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

FOR * * * TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS OF ALL EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN FIELD ACTIVITIES, NOT TO EXCEED FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS AT ANY ONE TIME, TOGETHER WITH THE NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PACKING AND DRAYING SAME; * * *

THE CIRCULARS OF INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

SHIPMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY MUST BE MADE BY FREIGHT AND ON GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING IN THE SAME MANNER AS REQUIRED IN THE SHIPMENT OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, AND WHEN SO SHIPPED MUST NOT EXCEED THE LIMITATION OF 5,000 POUNDS ALLOWED BY LAW. YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL NOT TO SHIP ON THE SAME BILL OF LADING PROPERTY OF AN OFFICIAL AND PERSONAL CHARACTER. SEPARATE BILLS OF LADING MUST BE USED FOR EACH KIND, AND, AS REQUIRED BY THE INSTRUCTIONS PRINTED ON THE BACK OF THE BILL OF LADING, THE EXACT WEIGHT OF EACH PACKAGE SHIPPED MUST BE INDICATED THEREON.

SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHOULD BE MADE AT THE RESTRICTED OR LIMITED VALUATION SPECIFIED IN THE TARIFF OR CLASSIFICATION AT OR UNDER WHICH THE LOWEST RATE IS AVAILABLE, AS PROVIDED FOR IN PARAGRAPH 5 OF THE INSTRUCTIONS PRINTED ON THE BACK OF THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

IF THE WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY EXCEEDS 5,000 POUNDS, THE EXCESS WEIGHT MUST BE SHIPPED ON A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING AND THE CHARGES THEREON BE PAID FROM YOUR PRIVATE FUNDS. YOU MUST NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SHIP MORE THAN 5,000 POUNDS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

3. YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE SHIPPED BY MOTOR VAN PROVIDED THE EXPENSE THEREFOR DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND SHIPMENT BY FREIGHT. IN SUCH CASE THE ATTACHED GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING ARE NOT TO BE USED, BUT MUST BE RETURNED PROMPTLY TO THIS OFFICE. COMPETITIVE BIDS SHOULD BE OBTAINED AND A STATEMENT ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER SHOWING WHAT IT WOULD COST TO SHIP BY FREIGHT, INCLUDING CRATING AND DRAYAGE. SUBMIT VOUCHER FOR THE EXPENSE INCURRED, AND FURNISH EVIDENCE OF THE EXACT WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THERE IS NO QUESTION, EITHER UNDER THE LAW OR THE CIRCULAR REGULATIONS, BUT THAT THE LIMIT OF PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT IS FREIGHT ON 5,000 POUNDS; AND THAT, IF SHIPPED BY RAIL, THAT LIMIT IS THE GROSS WEIGHT. THE CIRCULAR FOR CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERS IN CONNECTION WITH ASSIGNMENTS CLEARLY AND CORRECTLY LIMITS THE AMOUNT THAT MAY BE PAID FOR VAN SHIPMENT TO "THE COST OF CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND SHIPMENT BY FREIGHT," NECESSARILY THE GROSS WEIGHT PACKED AND CRATED FOR SHIPMENT BY FREIGHT.

IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS AND BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN CONFRONTED WITH THE DUTY OF DETERMINING THE LIMIT OF WEIGHT ON SHIPMENTS OF CHANGE-OF-STATION HOUSEHOLD-EFFECTS ALLOWANCE WHERE PART OF THE ALLOWANCE WAS SHIPPED BY VAN AND PART BY RAIL, THE PAYMENT OF COST BY VAN SHIPMENT BEING DETERMINED AS SET FORTH IN THE CIRCULAR FOR CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERS IN CONNECTION WITH ASSIGNMENTS, AND THE VAN PAYMENT WAS BASED ON THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE FOR PACKING, CRATING, AND SHIPPING BY FREIGHT, AND THEN THE NET WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SO SHIPPED WAS USED TO DETERMINE THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S WEIGHT LIMIT FOR ADDITIONAL SHIPMENTS ON SUCH CHANGE OF STATION. AS THE PURPOSE OF THE WEIGHT LIMIT IS TO LIMIT THE OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT, IT IS EVIDENT THAT 80 PERCENT OF THE WEIGHT LIMIT CANNOT BE SHIPPED BY VAN AT THE COST OF PACKING, CRATING, DRAYING, AND SHIPPING BY FREIGHT THE ENTIRE ALLOWANCE AND THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE STILL BE ENTITLED TO SHIPMENT OF 20 PERCENT OF HIS ALLOWANCE BY FREIGHT, AND IT WAS THEREFORE NECESSARY TO REDUCE HIS SHIPMENTS TO A COMMON BASIS. THE WAR DEPARTMENT, FROM ITS EXPERIENCE, HAS DETERMINED THAT 25 PERCENT IS AN EQUITABLE PORTION OF TARE ON FREIGHT SHIPMENTS AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINATION BY OTHER DEPARTMENTS AS TO WHAT IS AN EQUITABLE PORTION FOR TARE, THAT RATE HAS BEEN APPLIED TO CASES ARISING IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS, EITHER BY DECISION OR IN CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS, SUCH AS THE RECLAMATION SERVICE OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, THE COAST GUARD, THE NAVY, AND OTHERS. IF, WHERE ADDITIONAL SHIPMENTS ARE REQUIRED, THE EMPLOYEE'S ALLOWANCE FOR SHIPMENT BY VAN OF UNCRATED AND UNPACKED GOODS MUST BE LIMITED TO 80 PERCENT OF HIS GROSS ALLOWANCE, THE SAME RULE MUST APPLY WHERE ADDITIONAL SHIPMENTS ARE NOT IN QUESTION; THAT IS, THE ALLOWANCE BEING REQUIRED TO BE SO ESTABLISHED IN ONE CASE, IT MUST APPLY IN ALL CASES. IT HAS BEEN ALSO AN INVARIABLE RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS WHERE A METHOD OF SHIPMENT IS ADOPTED WHICH REDUCES THE COST, THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE SAVING, THE RIGHT BEING A RIGHT TO SERVICE IN KIND AND NOT TO AN ALLOWANCE WHICH CAN BE COMMUTED IN MONEY.

THE 5,000 POUNDS LIMITATION ACCORDINGLY MUST BE CONSIDERED A GROSS WEIGHT LIMITATION, I.E., WEIGHT PACKED AND CRATED FOR RAIL OR WATER SHIPMENT. 25-PERCENT INCREASE TO COVER TARE IN DETERMINING WHAT THE WEIGHT WILL BE WHEN PACKED AND CRATED HAS BEEN FOUND TO BE AN EQUITABLE ALLOWANCE FOR SUCH PURPOSES. WHEN SHIPMENT IS BY RAIL AND THE GOODS ARE ACTUALLY PACKED AND CRATED THERE IS NO QUESTION AS TO THE TOTAL WEIGHT SHIPPED. IT IS ONLY IN CASES OF VAN SHIPMENT, WHERE PACKING IS NOT ALWAYS REQUIRED OR NECESSARY, THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT OF THE PACKING MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.

IN THE PRESENT CASE THE ACTUAL COST OF THE SHIPMENT AS MADE WAS $175 FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT OF 6,856 POUNDS (5,485 PLUS 1,371). THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP 5,000 POUNDS. THE DIFFERENCE (6,856 LESS 5,000), OR 1,856, IS THE EXCESS WEIGHT. THE EXCESS COST, ACCORDINGLY, IS 1856/6856THS OF $175, OR $47.47. AS THE OWNER HAS ASSUMED $15.48 THEREOF, THE DIFFERENCE OF $31.89 IS DUE THE UNITED STATES.

ATTENTION IS CALLED TO THE FACT THAT THIS COMPUTATION IS BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT NO PART OF THE SHIPMENT WAS PACKED, BOXED, OR CRATED. THIS IS NOT USUALLY TRUE, AS CHINAWARE, GLASSWARE, AND OTHER FRAGILE OBJECTS ARE PACKED FOR PROTECTION EVEN WHEN SHIPPED BY VAN, AND BOOKS ARE USUALLY BOXED. IF PORTIONS OF THE SHIPMENT HERE IN QUESTION WERE SO PACKED FOR VAN SHIPMENT UPON RECEIPT OF EVIDENCE THEREOF AND OF THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SO PACKED AND CRATED, ADJUSTMENT OF THE FOREGOING BALANCE DUE WILL BE MADE.