B-105417, SEPTEMBER 27, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 116

B-105417: Sep 27, 1951

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WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE EXPENSES OF INTERAGENCY TRANSFERS SHALL BE PAYABLE FROM THE FUNDS OF THE DEPARTMENT TO WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 4. THE RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF LEAVE IS EXPLAINED AS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED UPON THE BASIS OF A PRIOR DECISION OF THIS OFFICE. WHEREIN IT WAS STATED THAT EXISTING COMMITMENTS THEREFOR MAY BE DISCHARGED. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE HAD COMPLETED HIS ASSIGNMENT UNDER THE CONTRACT IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD UPON WHAT BASIS HE WAS ON LEAVE. - THERE NOT APPEARING TO HAVE BEEN ANY RENEWAL OF THE CONTRACT. THE MATTER IS SUBMITTED IN VIEW OF MR. HEMPSTEAD HAD COMPLETED THE 24 MONTHS' OF SERVICE PRESCRIBED IN HIS EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT YOUR OFFICE "FEELS THAT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS OBLIGATED TO MAKE SUCH AUTHORIZATION BUT QUESTIONS THE BASIS ON WHICH IT CAN DO SO.

B-105417, SEPTEMBER 27, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 116

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - INTERAGENCY TRANSFERS UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE EXPENSES OF INTERAGENCY TRANSFERS SHALL BE PAYABLE FROM THE FUNDS OF THE DEPARTMENT TO WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED, AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES AFTER COMPLETION OF AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WHO ACCEPTS AN APPOINTMENT IN ANOTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FROM FUNDS OF THE FIRST DEPARTMENT FOR THE COST OF RETURNING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THE UNITED STATES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, SEPTEMBER 27, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 4, 1951, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE FACTS SET FORTH BELOW MAY REIMBURSE A FORMER EMPLOYEE, MR. JAMES H. HEMPSTEAD, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.

IN MAY 1949, MR. HEMPSTEAD, WHO HAS COMPETITIVE CIVIL SERVICE STATUS, TRANSFERRED FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL OFFICE AT SAN FRANCISCO TO THE REGIONAL OFFICE AT HONOLULU, HAWAII. AT THAT TIME, IN COMPLIANCE WITH VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS HE SIGNED AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT PROVIDING FOR 24 MONTHS' SERVICE. ON OR ABOUT JUNE 15, 1951, SUBSEQUENT TO COMPLETION OF THE PRESCRIBED TOUR OF DUTY, MR. HEMPSTEAD AND HIS DEPENDENTS RETURNED TO OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING ANNUAL LEAVE. THE RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF LEAVE IS EXPLAINED AS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED UPON THE BASIS OF A PRIOR DECISION OF THIS OFFICE, 29 COMP. GEN. 160, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED THAT EXISTING COMMITMENTS THEREFOR MAY BE DISCHARGED. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE HAD COMPLETED HIS ASSIGNMENT UNDER THE CONTRACT IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD UPON WHAT BASIS HE WAS ON LEAVE--- THERE NOT APPEARING TO HAVE BEEN ANY RENEWAL OF THE CONTRACT. WHILE REPORTEDLY ON LEAVE, MR. HEMPSTEAD RECEIVED AN INDEFINITE APPOINTMENT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AT BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, EFFECTIVE JULY 26, 1951, AND RESIGNED HIS POSITION WITH THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. NO BREAK IN SERVICE OCCURRED. THE MATTER IS SUBMITTED IN VIEW OF MR. HEMPSTEAD'S REQUEST TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION FOR AUTHORIZATION FOR THE SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM HONOLULU, HAWAII, HIS LAST DUTY STATION WITH THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, TO BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, HIS NEW STATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

AS MR. HEMPSTEAD HAD COMPLETED THE 24 MONTHS' OF SERVICE PRESCRIBED IN HIS EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT YOUR OFFICE "FEELS THAT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS OBLIGATED TO MAKE SUCH AUTHORIZATION BUT QUESTIONS THE BASIS ON WHICH IT CAN DO SO," PARTICULARLY AS SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 600 (60 STAT. 806), AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1950, PUBLIC LAW 830 (64 STAT. 985), PROVIDES THAT IN THE CASE OF AN INTERDEPARTMENTAL TRANSFER, THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AUTHORIZED THEREIN SHALL BE PAYABLE BY THE DEPARTMENT TO WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, AS AMENDED, SUPRA, PROVIDES IN SECTION 1, 60 STAT. 806, SO FAR AS APPEARS PERTINENT --

THAT (A) UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE, ANY CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO, IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, IS TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER, INCLUDING TRANSFER FROM ONE DEPARTMENT TO ANOTHER, FOR PERMANENT DUTY, SHALL, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED HEREIN, WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY SUCH SUBORDINATE OFFICIAL OR OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED AS THE HEAD THEREOF MAY DESIGNATE FOR THE PURPOSE, BE ALLOWED AND PAID FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF AND THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY * * * AND THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, PACKING, CRATING, TEMPORARY STORAGE, DRAYAGE, AND UNPACKING OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS * * * PROVIDED FURTHER: THAT IN CASE OF TRANSFER FROM ONE DEPARTMENT TO ANOTHER SUCH EXPENSES SHALL BE PAYABLE FROM THE FUNDS OF THE DEPARTMENT TO WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES AND RETURN THEREFROM SHALL BE ALLOWED TO THE SAME EXTENT AND SUBJECT TO THE SAME LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED FOR NEW APPOINTEES UNDER SECTION 7 OF THIS ACT.

ALSO, SECTION 7 OF SAID ACT, 64 STAT. 985, AS AMENDED, FURTHER PROVIDES--

* * * THAT EXPENSES OF RETURN TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION UPON SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE SHALL BE ALLOWED WHETHER SUCH SEPARATION IS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT OR FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, BUT SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED UNLESS SUCH PERSONS SELECTED FOR APPOINTMENT OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES SHALL HAVE SERVED FOR A MINIMUM PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN ONE NOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS PRESCRIBED IN ADVANCE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED OR UNLESS SEPARATION IS FOR REASONS BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED.

THE TERM,"TRANSFER," AS USED IN SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, WAS PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED IN A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE, 27 COMP. GEN. 757, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED THAT THE TERM REFERRED TO "ALL BONA FIDE CHANGES OF OFFICIAL STATION WITHIN THE SAME AGENCY AND ALSO TO ALL SUCH CHANGES OF EMPLOYMENT BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS * * * PROVIDED THE SERVICE IN THE TWO AGENCIES IS CONTINUOUS, THAT IS, WITHOUT ANY BREAK OF ONE OR MORE WORK DAYS.' IT THEREFORE APPEARS THAT THE SITUATION CONSIDERED INVOLVES A TRANSFER, BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS, WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 1.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON THE FACTS APPEARING, IT WOULD NOT APPEAR THAT THE FUNDS OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION ARE AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO MR. HEMPSTEAD OF THE COST OF SHIPPING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THE UNITED STATES.