B-107176, MARCH 14, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 471

B-107176: Mar 14, 1952

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ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE BECOMES ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT. IN CASES WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE SHIPPED BY THE GOVERNMENT THE EXPENSES INVOLVED ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE CARRIER PICKS UP THE GOODS. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF DECEMBER 19. THAT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE CARRIER PICKS UP THE SHIPMENT IS THE ONE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH THE EXPENSE. CASES IN POINT ARE STATED BY YOUR LETTER TO BE DECISIONS RENDERED IN 26 COMP. THE BASIS FOR THE APPARENT OBJECTION TO THE SAID RULE IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: * * * THIS OFTEN RESULTS IN OBLIGATIONS AGAINST FUNDS FOR THREE FISCAL YEARS WITH PAYMENT FROM THAT OF THE THIRD FISCAL YEAR.

B-107176, MARCH 14, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 471

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE BECOMES ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT, AND IN CASES WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE SHIPPED BY THE GOVERNMENT THE EXPENSES INVOLVED ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE CARRIER PICKS UP THE GOODS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MARCH 14, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF DECEMBER 19, 1951, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY, REQUESTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE RULE, RELATIVE TO THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO HIS PERMANENT TRANSFER, THAT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE CARRIER PICKS UP THE SHIPMENT IS THE ONE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH THE EXPENSE. CASES IN POINT ARE STATED BY YOUR LETTER TO BE DECISIONS RENDERED IN 26 COMP. GEN. 961 AND 27 COMP. GEN. 25. THE BASIS FOR THE APPARENT OBJECTION TO THE SAID RULE IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THIS OFTEN RESULTS IN OBLIGATIONS AGAINST FUNDS FOR THREE FISCAL YEARS WITH PAYMENT FROM THAT OF THE THIRD FISCAL YEAR. FOR EXAMPLE, ASSUMING THAT AN EMPLOYEE WAS TRANSFERRED EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1950, AND IT WAS ESTIMATED THAT HE WOULD SPEND $1,000 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS, THAT AMOUNT WOULD HAVE BEEN OBLIGATED AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1950. IF, BECAUSE OF THE HOUSING SHORTAGE OR FOR OTHER REASONS THE GOODS WERE NOT MOVED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1950, THE OBLIGATION WOULD HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE LEDGER WHEN IT BECAME KNOWN THAT THE MOVE WOULD NOT BE MADE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1950 AND A SIMILAR OBLIGATION WOULD HAVE BEEN POSTED TO THE LEDGER COVERING THE ALLOTMENT FOR THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1951. HOWEVER, THE OBLIGATION WOULD AGAIN HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED IF THE MOVE WAS NOT MADE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1951. ASSUMING THAT THE MOVE WAS MADE DURING SEPTEMBER 1951, THE EXPENSE WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1952. HANDLING OF THE OBLIGATION IN THAT MANNER IS REQUIRED UNDER CURRENT RULINGS. HOWEVER MUCH WORK IS INVOLVED NOT ONLY IN POSTING TO THE LEDGERS BUT IN MAINTAINING A CONSTANT CHECK OF THE OBLIGATIONS AND IN CORRESPONDING WITH THE EMPLOYEE.

YOUR LETTER REFERS TO DECISIONS PUBLISHED IN 28 COMP. GEN. 337 AND 29 COMP. GEN. 103, AS SUPPORTING ANOTHER OR DIFFERENT RULE FROM THAT STATED ABOVE. HOWEVER, A CAREFUL STUDY OF THE SAID DECISIONS FAILS TO REVEAL ANY INCONSISTENCY. IN 28 COMP. GEN. 337, 338, IT WAS HELD:

* * * PAYMENT FOR THE STORAGE EXPENSES IS TO BE MADE BY THE EMPLOYEE AND THE OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR REIMBURSEMENT UPON A COMMUTED BASIS ARISES ONLY WHEN SUCH EXPENSES ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN PAID BY AN EMPLOYEE. ACCORDINGLY, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, THE INSTANT VOUCHER COVERING PAYMENT UPON A COMMUTED BASIS OF TEMPORARY STORAGE EXPENSES ACTUALLY PAID BY THE EMPLOYEE ON JULY 24, 1948, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE 1949 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

SIMILARLY, IN 29 COMP. GEN. 103, 104, IT WAS STATED:

* * * THUS, THE OBLIGATION TO PAY THE COST OF SUCH SHIPMENT PROPERLY IS THAT OF THE AGENCY WHICH AUTHORIZED THE EXPENSES TO BE INCURRED--- THE LABOR DEPARTMENT. HOWEVER, SINCE IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE, AS SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE LABOR DEPARTMENT'S CONCILIATION FUNCTIONS, CONCILIATION PERSONNEL, AND RECORDS (29 U.S.C. 172), ASSUMED OBLIGATIONS, ACTUAL AND TENTATIVE, OF THE NATURE HERE IN QUESTION, THE EXPENSES OF THE SHIPMENT CONSTITUTE A PRIOR CHARGE AGAINST APPROPRIATED FUNDS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE TO SUCH SUCCESSOR AGENCY AT THE TIME THE SHIPMENT WAS MADE. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THE GENERAL RULE IS SET FORTH IN 27 COMP. GEN. 764, ON PAGE 765, AS FOLLOWS:

THE GENERAL RULE RELATIVE TO THE AVAILABILITY OF A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION FOR SERVICES TO BE PERFORMED DURING THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR IS THAT (1) A VALID CONTRACT FOR THE SERVICES MUST HAVE BEEN MADE WITHIN THE PRIOR FISCAL YEAR, AND (2) A NEED FOR THE SERVICES MUST HAVE EXISTED WITHIN THE SAID PRIOR FISCAL YEAR.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE CASE OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE BECOMES ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT IF HE SHIPS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE OR WHEN A CARRIER PICKS UP THE GOODS PURSUANT TO A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING IF THEY ARE SHIPPED BY THE GOVERNMENT, IS THE PROPER APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED.

WHILE THIS OFFICE IS NOT INDIFFERENT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS TO WHICH YOUR LETTER REFERS, NO DEPARTURE FROM THE SETTLED RULE MAY BE AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY. IN THAT REGARD YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO SECTION 105, PUBLIC LAW 188, APPROVED OCTOBER 22, 1951, 65 STAT. 575.