B-118133, JULY 28, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 45

B-118133: Jul 28, 1954

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PERSONNEL - NOT INCIDENT TO TRANSPORTATION THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949. TO OBLIGATE GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR TEMPORARY COMMERCIAL STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHERE THE SOLE MOVEMENT OF THE EFFECTS INCIDENT TO AN ORDERED CHANGE OF STATION IS FROM RESIDENCE TO LOCAL STORAGE. EXCEPTIONS TAKEN TO PAYMENTS FOR SUCH STORAGE WILL BE CONTINUED. IN EACH OF THE NINE CASES HERE INVOLVED THE EXCEPTIONS WERE STATED ON THE BASIS THAT PAYMENT FOR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS NOT AUTHORIZED WHERE THE SOLE MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO RECALL TO ACTIVE DUTY OR OTHER PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS FROM RESIDENCE TO LOCAL STORAGE.

B-118133, JULY 28, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 45

STORAGE - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - MILITARY, NAVAL, ETC., PERSONNEL - NOT INCIDENT TO TRANSPORTATION THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, OR IN THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED THEREUNDER, TO OBLIGATE GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR TEMPORARY COMMERCIAL STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHERE THE SOLE MOVEMENT OF THE EFFECTS INCIDENT TO AN ORDERED CHANGE OF STATION IS FROM RESIDENCE TO LOCAL STORAGE, AND EXCEPTIONS TAKEN TO PAYMENTS FOR SUCH STORAGE WILL BE CONTINUED, NOTWITHSTANDING SHIPPING OFFICERS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO PROCURED THE COMMERCIAL STORAGE ACTED IN GOOD FAITH AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION OF THE REGULATIONS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO CAPTAIN JAMES M. WEIDNER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, JULY 28, 1954:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT DATED DECEMBER 16, 1953, YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30, 1953, REQUESTING A REVIEW OF EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY THE DIVISION OF AUDITS OF THIS OFFICE TO CERTAIN PAYMENTS MADE FOR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS OF THE MARINE CORPS INCIDENT TO ORDERED CHANGES IN PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS.

IN EACH OF THE NINE CASES HERE INVOLVED THE EXCEPTIONS WERE STATED ON THE BASIS THAT PAYMENT FOR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS NOT AUTHORIZED WHERE THE SOLE MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO RECALL TO ACTIVE DUTY OR OTHER PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS FROM RESIDENCE TO LOCAL STORAGE. SUCH AUDIT ACTION WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED MARCH 27, 1953, B-113278, 32 COMP. GEN. 410, AND PREVIOUS DECISIONS, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT PARAGRAPH 8006-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 814, AUTHORIZES TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT PUBLIC EXPENSE ONLY WHEN NECESSARY IN CONJUNCTION WITH ONE OR MORE OF THE SEVERAL STAGES OF TRANSPORTATION SET OUT IN SAID REGULATIONS, SUCH NECESSITY TO BE CERTIFIED TO BY PROPERLY DESIGNATED AUTHORITY HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THEY WERE STORED. ALSO, THAT DECISION INDICATED THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE EFFECTS WERE STORED MUST HAVE BEEN BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE OWNER OF THE EFFECTS AND WOULD NOT INCLUDE, AMONG OTHER THINGS, A MERE REQUEST BY AN OWNER THAT HIS EFFECTS BE PLACED IN STORAGE PENDING SUCH FUTURE DISPOSITION AS HE MAY DESIRE. SEE, ALSO, DECISION OF APRIL 16, 1954, B-117876, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, COPY ENCLOSED.

THE CONCLUSION THAT THE REGULATIONS IN QUESTION MUST BE INTERPRETED AS STATED WAS BASED ON THE FUNDAMENTAL RULE THAT REGULATIONS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS MUST NOT BE INCONSISTENT WITH LAW. THE CITED STATUTE CLEARLY DID NOT AUTHORIZE TEMPORARY STORAGE AS A SERVICE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM TRANSPORTATION, BUT MERELY AS AN INCIDENT OF TRANSPORTATION. THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS SEEM PLAINLY TO IMPOSE THE SAME RESTRICTION. SECTION 8006-1, EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 1951, EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT TEMPORARY STORAGE WILL NOT EXCEED SIX MONTHS AND MUST ACCRUE EITHER AFTER PICKUP OF THE PROPERTY AND BEFORE DISPATCH OF SHIPMENT FROM THE CARRIER'S STATION AT POINT OF ORIGIN, OR WHILE SHIPMENT WAS EN ROUTE, OR AFTER ARRIVAL OF SHIPMENT AT CARRIER'S DESTINATION. THESE PLAIN RESTRICTIONS IN THE REGULATIONS COULD NOT BE VARIED BY ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION, EVEN IF THE LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE HAD BEEN LESS PLAIN.

IT IS URGED THAT SINCE THE SHIPPING OFFICERS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO PROCURED THE COMMERCIAL STORAGE IN QUESTION ACTED IN GOOD FAITH AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION OF THE REGULATIONS, THE EXCEPTIONS SHOULD BE REMOVED. THE MATTER HAS BEEN GIVEN CAREFUL CONSIDERATION, BUT SINCE THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY TO OBLIGATE GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHERE THE SOLE MOVEMENT OF THE EFFECTS INCIDENT TO AN ORDERED CHANGE OF STATION IS FROM RESIDENCE TO LOCAL STORAGE AND SINCE THE PAYMENTS INVOLVED WERE CONTRARY TO THE PLAIN IMPORT OF EXISTING REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE MATTER, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN ALLOWING CREDIT FOR SUCH PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS CONCERNED.