B-112386, FEB. 29, 1956

B-112386: Feb 29, 1956

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CORBETT: REFERENCE IS MADE TO CORRESPONDENCE FROM YOUR ATTORNEY. YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. SUCH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED VIA RAIL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT. SHORTLY BEFORE YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO DEPART FOR ASUNCION. YOU REQUESTED TO BE RETRANSFERRED FROM THE POINT IV ASSIGNMENT TO THE REGIONAL OFFICE IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE REASON THAT THE POST DIFFERENTIAL RATE AT ASUNCION HAD BEEN REDUCED FROM 20 PERCENT TO 15 PERCENT WHILE YOU WERE IN WASHINGTON AND THAT THE FREQUENT CHANGES IN POST DIFFERENTIAL AND OTHER RATES BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR REQUEST YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE POINT IV ASSIGNMENT TO A POSITION IN THE SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE EFFECTIVE JUNE 16.

B-112386, FEB. 29, 1956

TO MR. FRANCIS J. CORBETT:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO CORRESPONDENCE FROM YOUR ATTORNEY, MR. JOSEPH A. KIERNAN, RELATIVE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE PACKING AND CRATING OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN CONTEMPLATION OF ACHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO ASUNCION, PARAGUAY, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT EFFECTIVE MAY 23, 1952, YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, POINT IV, ASUNCION, PARAGUAY, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT EFFECTIVE MAY 23, 1952, YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, POINT IV, ASUNCION, PARAGUAY. YOU SIGNED AN AGREEMENT TO REMAIN AT THE POST IN ASUNCION FOR AT LEAST 12 MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF TRANSFER UNDER THE POINT IV PROGRAM UNLESS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT ORDERS DATED MAY 9, 1952, WHICH DIRECTED YOU TO TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO, TO ASUNCION, VIA WASHINGTON, D.C., ALSO AUTHORIZED THE TRAVEL OF YOUR WIFE VIA THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE TO ASUNCION, AND TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. YOU AND YOUR WIFE DEPARTED FROM SAN FRANCISCO ON MAY 23, AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ON MAY 26, 1952. SUCH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED VIA RAIL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT. ON JUNE 15, 1952, SHORTLY BEFORE YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO DEPART FOR ASUNCION, YOU REQUESTED TO BE RETRANSFERRED FROM THE POINT IV ASSIGNMENT TO THE REGIONAL OFFICE IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE REASON THAT THE POST DIFFERENTIAL RATE AT ASUNCION HAD BEEN REDUCED FROM 20 PERCENT TO 15 PERCENT WHILE YOU WERE IN WASHINGTON AND THAT THE FREQUENT CHANGES IN POST DIFFERENTIAL AND OTHER RATES BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WHICH MIGHT AFFECT YOUR SALARY AND ALLOWANCES, GAVE YOU A FEELING OF FINANCIAL INSECURITY. IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR REQUEST YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE POINT IV ASSIGNMENT TO A POSITION IN THE SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE EFFECTIVE JUNE 16, 1952, AND PERFORMED THE RETURN TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE.

IN SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 5, 1953, YOU WERE ALLOWED $223.15, REPRESENTING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND TRAVEL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD MAY 23 TO JUNE 15, 1952, PURSUANT TO TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 118, DATED MAY 9, 1952.

PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 64 STAT. 204, AS AMENDED, AND THE MUTUAL SECURITY ACT OF 1951, 65 STAT. 375, PERSONS EMPLOYED IN POINT IV ACTIVITIES FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES MAY RECEIVE ALLOWANCES AND BENEFITS NOT IN EXCESS OF THOSE ESTABLISHED UNDER THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 999, AS AMENDED. BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10011, DATED OCTOBER 22, 1948, AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10085, DATED OCTOBER 28, 1949, THE SECRETARY OF STATE WAS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS GOVERNING "LIVING-QUARTERS" ALLOWANCES AND "COST-OF-LIVING" ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR ALL CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHO ARE PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN FOREIGN AREAS. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10000, DATED SEPTEMBER 16, 1948, AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10261, DATED JUNE 19, 1951, THE SECRETARY OF STATE WAS AUTHORIZED TO ESTABLISH A SALARY DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCE FOR PERSONNEL OF THE UNITED STATES SERVING AT CERTAIN POSTS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS VESTED WITH THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE THE RATES OF THE VARIOUS ALLOWANCES THAT MAY BE PAID TO AN EMPLOYEE WHILE ON DUTY ABROAD, AND SUCH RATES MAY BE REVISED EITHER UPWARD OR DOWNWARD AT ANY TIME WITHOUT THE CONSENT OR APPROVAL OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY THAT MAY BE INVOLVED. PRIOR TO YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE POINT IV ASSIGNMENT YOU WERE CHARGEABLE WITH NOTICE OF THE STATUTES AND EXECUTIVE ORDERS REFERRED TO AND OF THE FACT THAT ALLOWANCE RATES MIGHT CHANGE THEREUNDER. ACCORDINGLY, THE FACT THAT THERE WAS A DECREASE IN A RATE AFFORDS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR FAILURE TO CONSUMMATE YOUR TRANSFER, TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED TO PAY TRAVEL EXPENSES AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE PURSUANT TO PROPER AUTHORITY IS TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES. HOWEVER, SUCH OBLIGATION DOES NOT ARISE UNTIL THE TRANSFER ACTUALLY IS CONSUMMATED BY THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTRANCE ON DUTY AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION. CF. 23 COMP. GEN. 32.

WHILE YOU TRAVELED FROM YOUR OLD STATION IN SAN FRANCISCO TO WASHINGTON, D.C., YOU DID NOT REPORT FOR DUTY AT YOUR NEW STATION IN ASUNCION. THE TRANSFER WAS NEVER CONSUMMATED AND THE EXPENDITURES FOR TRAVEL AND PACKING, CRATING, AND HAULING OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ARE PROPERLY FOR REGARDING AS HAVING BEEN INCURRED FOR YOUR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE.

THE ALLOWANCE MADE IN YOUR CASE BY OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 5, 1953, FOR PER DIEM AND TRAVELING EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD MAY 23 TO JUNE 15, 1952, VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENTS MAY BE OF DOUBTFUL LEGALITY; HOWEVER, WE ARE NOT INCLINED TO DISTURB THAT SETTLEMENT AT THIS TIME.

NEVERTHELESS, WE FIND NO AUTHORITY WHATEVER TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE PACKING, CRATING, AND HAULING OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND, ACCORDINGLY, OUR SETTLEMENT IN THAT REGARD MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.