B-129708, DEC. 6, 1956

B-129708: Dec 6, 1956

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THE EFFECTS WERE NOT WEIGHED AND ONLY ESTIMATES OF THE CUBIC FOOTAGE AND WEIGHT HAVE BEEN FURNISHED. DETAILED EXPLANATIONS CONCERNING THEIR EFFORTS TO OBTAIN ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS ARE FURNISHED BY BOTH MR. CHANCEY AND THE PERSONS WHOSE TRUCK AND SERVICES WERE HIRED. THE EFFECTS WERE HAULED FOR $25. EVIDENTLY THE CHARGE WAS ON A MILEAGE BASIS AND WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE SUBSEQUENT ESTIMATE OF THE WEIGHT. IS AS FOLLOWS: "IT SEEMS TO THIS OFFICE THAT CHANCEY'S CLAIM DIFFERS FROM THAT DISCUSSED IN YOUR DECISION OF 31 C.G. 288 IN SEVERAL MATERIAL RESPECTS. WHEN THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC SCALES. WAS NOT READILY AVAILABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE. WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME.

B-129708, DEC. 6, 1956

TO MR. O. T. SEELY, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 24, 1956, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $103.28 ON THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF CLARENCE F. CHANCEY, COVERING HIS TRAVEL EXPENSE AND EXPENSES OF MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FROM LAKE PROVIDENCE, LOUISIANA, TO WINNSBORO, LOUISIANA, UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED MAY 31, 1956.

YOU SAY THE PORTION OF THE CLAIM ($3.78) FOR MILEAGE APPEARS ALLOWABLE, BUT THAT DOUBT ARISES AS TO THE AMOUNT OF $99.50 WHICH MR. CHANCEY CLAIMS AT THE COMMUTED RATE OF $5 PER HUNDREDWEIGHT UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, FOR THE MOVEMENT OF 1,990 POUNDS OF EFFECTS FROM LAKE PROVIDENCE TO WINNSBORO. THE EFFECTS WERE NOT WEIGHED AND ONLY ESTIMATES OF THE CUBIC FOOTAGE AND WEIGHT HAVE BEEN FURNISHED. DETAILED EXPLANATIONS CONCERNING THEIR EFFORTS TO OBTAIN ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS ARE FURNISHED BY BOTH MR. CHANCEY AND THE PERSONS WHOSE TRUCK AND SERVICES WERE HIRED. THE EFFECTS WERE HAULED FOR $25. EVIDENTLY THE CHARGE WAS ON A MILEAGE BASIS AND WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE SUBSEQUENT ESTIMATE OF THE WEIGHT. IN THAT RESPECT, YOUR LETTER, IN PART, IS AS FOLLOWS:

"IT SEEMS TO THIS OFFICE THAT CHANCEY'S CLAIM DIFFERS FROM THAT DISCUSSED IN YOUR DECISION OF 31 C.G. 288 IN SEVERAL MATERIAL RESPECTS. FIRST, MR. CHANCEY EFFECTED HIS MOVE ON A SATURDAY, A BUSINESS DAY, WHEN THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC SCALES. SECOND, HE AND HIS MOVER MADE A DILIGENT EFFECT AT THE POINT OF ORIGIN, AT HIS DESTINATION, AND AT THE SEVERAL POINTS ENROUTE TO LOCATE PUBLIC SCALES. THIRD, HIS CLAIM INCLUDES THE ACTUAL MEASUREMENTS OF THE TRUCK AND A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE LOADING THEREOF TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT WE CAN REASONABLY INFER THAT THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS DID, IN FACT, EXCEED THE WEIGHT CLAIMED.

"WE BELIEVE THIS CASE INVOLVES A CHAIN OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE REASONABLE CONTROL OF THE CLAIMANT. A COMMERCIAL MOVER, SKILLED IN THE METHODS OF MAKING MEASUREMENTS FOR CONVERSION OF THE CARGO TO A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT BASIS, WAS NOT READILY AVAILABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE. THE EMPLOYEE DID EXPECT--- AND MADE DILIGENT EFFORT--- TO ESTABLISH HIS CLAIM BY MEANS OF ACTUAL WEIGHT ON PUBLIC SCALES, BUT THESE EFFORTS MET WITH FAILURE.'

WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME, SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS, MAY NOT BE ALLOWED THE COMMUTED RATES PRESCRIBED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805 FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. HOWEVER, WHERE, AS HERE, AN ACCEPTABLE STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED WEIGHT IS FURNISHED, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE SUM WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE.

ACCORDINGLY, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $28.78--- $25 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, PLUS $3.78 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MR. CHANCEY AND HIS DEPENDENTS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE UPON A MILEAGE BASIS.