B-123957, AUGUST 29, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 111

B-123957: Aug 29, 1955

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TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - TIME LIMITATIONS AN ADMINISTRATIVE EMBARGO WHICH PRECLUDES THE SHIPMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO CERTAIN STATIONS IN ALASKA WHERE FURNISHED LIVING QUARTERS ARE PROVIDED IS A SHIPPING RESTRICTION WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 5 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805. HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH COULD NOT BE SHIPPED BECAUSE OF SUCH EMBARGO MAY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED TO A NEW STATION WHERE LIVING QUARTERS ARE NOT FURNISHED. NOTWITHSTANDING SHIPMENT IS MADE AFTER THE TWO-YEAR TIME LIMITATION IN SAID ORDER. 1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 12. APPROPRIATE DEDUCTIONS ARE MADE FROM THE SALARIES OF SUCH EMPLOYEES FOR USE OF THE FURNISHED LIVING QUARTERS.

B-123957, AUGUST 29, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 111

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - TIME LIMITATIONS AN ADMINISTRATIVE EMBARGO WHICH PRECLUDES THE SHIPMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO CERTAIN STATIONS IN ALASKA WHERE FURNISHED LIVING QUARTERS ARE PROVIDED IS A SHIPPING RESTRICTION WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 5 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AND, THEREFORE, HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH COULD NOT BE SHIPPED BECAUSE OF SUCH EMBARGO MAY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED TO A NEW STATION WHERE LIVING QUARTERS ARE NOT FURNISHED, NOTWITHSTANDING SHIPMENT IS MADE AFTER THE TWO-YEAR TIME LIMITATION IN SAID ORDER.

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, AUGUST 29, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 12, 1955, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, IN WHICH HE CALLS OUR ATTENTION TO CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE ASSIGNMENT OF PERSONNEL OF THE WEATHER BUREAU TO STATIONS IN ALASKA AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THE WEATHER BUREAU MAY AUTHORIZE THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THE LETTER STATES THAT THE WEATHER BUREAU HAS A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED TO STATIONS IN ALASKA AT WHICH POINTS THE BUREAU PROVIDES GOVERNMENT-OWNED HOUSING, INCLUDING CERTAIN HOUSEHOLD GOODS. APPROPRIATE DEDUCTIONS ARE MADE FROM THE SALARIES OF SUCH EMPLOYEES FOR USE OF THE FURNISHED LIVING QUARTERS. PERSONNEL EMPLOYED AT SUCH LOCATIONS IN ALASKA ARE FREQUENTLY TRANSFERRED FROM STATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND ARE AUTHORIZED EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS PROVIDED UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, WITH A RESTRICTION, HOWEVER, IN THE FORM OF A GENERAL "EMBARGO" ON THE SHIPMENT OF EFFECTS DUPLICATING THOSE ALREADY PROVIDED IN THE WEATHER BUREAU LIVING QUARTERS. IT IS EXPLAINED THAT THIS ACTION WAS TAKEN TO RELIEVE THE BUREAU OF MAKING PAYMENTS FOR TRANSPORTATION OVER CONSIDERABLE DISTANCES OF SUCH HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY AT THE DUTY STATION. IT ALSO ELIMINATED THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE GOODS OF EMPLOYEES.

THE SERVICES OF SUCH EMPLOYEES NOW ARE NEEDED AT OTHER STATIONS IN ALASKA WHERE THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE LIVING QUARTERS AND EFFECTS. SINCE IN MANY CASES THE TWO-YEAR LIMIT WITHIN WHICH THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE SHIPPED ON THE ORIGINAL TRANSFER HAS EXPIRED, A QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THE AUTHORIZATION TO TRANSPORT HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM THE POINT IN THE STATES TO THE NEW STATION IN ALASKA IS LIMITED TO THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE TWO ALASKAN POINTS WHICH IN MANY CASES, IS A VERY SHORT DISTANCE.

THE LETTER POINTS OUT THE INEQUITY OF DENYING THE EMPLOYEE THE RIGHT TO SHIPMENT OF HIS GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM THE POINT IN THE STATES TO THE NEW STATION IN ALASKA WHERE THE SITUATION IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY REASON OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROHIBITION AGAINST SHIPMENTS TO CERTAIN OF YOUR ALASKAN STATIONS. AFTER NOTING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 5 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, TOLLING THE TWO-YEAR SHIPMENT PERIOD DURING ANY TIME WHICH SHIPPING RESTRICTIONS MAKE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION IMPOSSIBLE, OUR OPINION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE WEATHER BUREAU MAY AUTHORIZE THE SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO A POINT OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE TWO-YEAR LIMIT.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, GOVERNS PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES UPON TRANSFERS FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY. SECTION 5 THEREOF PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

TIME LIMIT. ALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWABLE UNDER THESE REGULATIONS SHALL BEGIN WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE, EXCEPT THAT FOR EMPLOYEES WHO ENTER UPON ACTIVE MILITARY, NAVAL, OR COAST GUARD DUTY AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF SUCH PERIOD AND ARE FURLOUGHED FOR THE DURATION OF SUCH DUTY, THE TWO- YEAR PERIOD SHALL BE EXCLUSIVE OF THE TIME SPENT ON SUCH FURLOUGH; AND FOR EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED TO POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES THE TWO-YEAR PERIOD SHALL BE EXCLUSIVE OF ANY TIME DURING WHICH SHIPPING RESTRICTIONS MAKE THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION IMPOSSIBLE. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS SHALL ENDEAVOR TO COMPLETE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION AT THE EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATES.

THIS SECTION ENVISAGED SHIPMENTS UNENCUMBERED BY AN EMBARGO AS IS HERE PRESENT AND HENCE SET OUT A REASONABLE TIME FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF DUTY STATION. THE ADMINISTRATIVE EMBARGO PLACED ON EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO STATIONS IN ALASKA AS TO THE SHIPMENT OF CERTAIN HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE REGARDED AS TANTAMOUNT TO A SHIPPING RESTRICTION WITHIN THE INTENT OF THE EXCEPTION UNDER SECTION 5 OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. ACCORDINGLY, THOSE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH WERE PRECLUDED FROM SHIPMENT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTIONS MAY BE SHIPPED FROM POINTS INSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE POINT IN ALASKA TO WHICH THE EMPLOYEE SUBSEQUENTLY HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PERMANENTLY AND WHERE THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE LIVING QUARTERS AND EFFECTS.