B-128544, AUG. 30, 1956

B-128544: Aug 30, 1956

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YOU WERE DETACHED FROM OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT AT VERDUN. YOU WERE FURTHER TRANSFERRED TO FORT BRAGG. THE ENTIRE SHIPMENT WAS DELIVERED TO FORT BRAGG. SINCE QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE THERE FOR YOU AND SINCE THERE WERE NO GOVERNMENT STORAGE FACILITIES AVAILABLE. YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE PLACED IN COMMERCIAL STORAGE. YOU SAY YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE TRANSPORTATION SERGEANT WHO PLACED THE EFFECTS IN STORAGE THAT STORAGE CHARGES WOULD BE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. YOU WERE INFORMED THAT YOU WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR STORAGE CHARGES FOR ANY PERIOD IN EXCESS OF SIX MONTHS AND THAT THE GOODS COULD NOT BE OBTAINED FROM THE STORAGE COMPANY UNTIL SUCH CHARGES HAD BEEN PAID. FOLLOWING WHICH THE GOODS WERE DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME IN BALTIMORE.

B-128544, AUG. 30, 1956

TO COLONEL WILLIAM TAYLOR MEDFORD, USAR:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22, 1956, REQUESTS REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 18, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $237.12 REPRESENTING THE COST OF STORAGE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 17, 1954, TO OCTOBER 17, 1955.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY ORDERS DATED NOVEMBER 20, 1953, YOU WERE DETACHED FROM OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT AT VERDUN, FRANCE, AND TRANSFERRED TO FORT MONMOUTH, NEW JERSEY. INCIDENT TO SUCH TRANSFER YOU REQUESTED THAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BE SHIPPED TO YOUR HOME IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, AND THAT YOUR PERSONAL EFFECTS BE SHIPPED TO FORT MONMOUTH. BY ORDERS DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1954, YOU WERE FURTHER TRANSFERRED TO FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA. WHEN THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT FORT MONMOUTH LEARNED THAT YOUR INSTRUCTIONS FOR A SPLIT SHIPMENT HAD NOT BEEN CARRIED OUT, THE ENTIRE SHIPMENT WAS DELIVERED TO FORT BRAGG. SINCE QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE THERE FOR YOU AND SINCE THERE WERE NO GOVERNMENT STORAGE FACILITIES AVAILABLE, YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE PLACED IN COMMERCIAL STORAGE. YOU SAY YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE TRANSPORTATION SERGEANT WHO PLACED THE EFFECTS IN STORAGE THAT STORAGE CHARGES WOULD BE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

IT APPEARS THAT IN FEBRUARY 1955, YOU WERE INFORMED THAT YOU WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR STORAGE CHARGES FOR ANY PERIOD IN EXCESS OF SIX MONTHS AND THAT THE GOODS COULD NOT BE OBTAINED FROM THE STORAGE COMPANY UNTIL SUCH CHARGES HAD BEEN PAID. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT YOU DID NOT MAKE PAYMENT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1955, FOLLOWING WHICH THE GOODS WERE DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME IN BALTIMORE, YOU HAVING BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE VALLEY FORGE ARMY HOSPITAL, PHOENIXVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA. THE GOVERNMENT PAID FOR SIX MONTHS' STORAGE AND YOU PAID $237.12 FOR THE REMAINING 13-MONTH PERIOD. YOU NOW CLAIM REFUND OF THAT AMOUNT ON THE BASIS THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE PLACED YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN STORAGE EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT TRANSPORTATION OFFICE PERSONNEL ADVISED YOU THAT THE STORAGE WOULD BE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, AND YOU SAY YOU SHOULD NOT BE PENALIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER'S ERROR.

THE STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IS GOVERNED BY PARAGRAPH 8006 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, 814. SECTION 303 (C) PROVIDES THAT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES SHALL BE ENTITLED IN CONNECTION WITH A CHANGE OF STATION, TO "TRANSPORTATION (INCLUDING PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, TEMPORARY STORAGE, AND UNPACKING) OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS" TO AND FROM SUCH LOCATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY CONCERNED.

PARAGRAPH 8006-1 (D) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

"D. TIME LIMIT. * * * TEMPORARY STORAGE HEREIN AUTHORIZED WHETHER IN A GOVERNMENT OR COMMERCIAL FACILITY WILL NOT EXCEED SIX MONTHS IN CONNECTION WITH ONE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OR UPON DECEASE.'

UNDER THIS REGULATION THE GOVERNMENT MAY PAY STORAGE CHARGES FOR A PERIOD NOT TO EXCEED SIX MONTHS, THE MEMBER BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST OF ANY STORAGE IN EXCESS OF THAT PERIOD. THIS IS SO EVEN THOUGH THE STORAGE CHARGES MAY HAVE BEEN INCURRED AS THE RESULT OF AN ERROR OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTE SO PROVIDING, THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF IS NOT LIABLE FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE RESULTING FROM THE NEGLIGENT ACTS OR OMISSIONS OF DUTY OF THE OFFICERS OR AGENTS EMPLOYED IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE. SEE ROBERTSON V. SICHEL, 127 U.S. 507, 515; 19 COMP. GEN. 503. SINCE THE GOVERNMENT PAID FOR SIX MONTHS' STORAGE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT THE REGULATION ALLOWS TO A MEMBER FOR STORAGE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF JUNE 18, 1956, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.

YOUR CLAIM FOR A DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE HAS BEEN RECEIVED AND WILL BE CONSIDERED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION AND, IN DUE COURSE, YOU WILL BE ADVISED OF THE ACTION TAKEN ON SUCH CLAIM.