B-134650, JAN. 14, 1958

B-134650: Jan 14, 1958

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YOU POINT OUT THAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED TO JAPAN IN 1954 AT WHICH TIME THE GROSS WEIGHT WAS 6. THUS ESTABLISHING THAT THE NET WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS SHIPPED TO AND FROM JAPAN WERE APPROXIMATELY THE SAME. WE HAVE NOTED YOUR STATEMENTS REGARDING THE USE OF HEAVY LUMBER AND EXCESS PACKING. THE SHIPMENT IN QUESTION WAS MADE ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY YOU SHOWS THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S PAYMENT IN YOUR CASE FOR MOVEMENT OF YOUR EFFECTS WAS ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL GROSS WEIGHT AND THAT SUCH WEIGHT WAS IN EXCESS OF THE LAWFUL LIMITATION. THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE STATUTE OR REGULATIONS WHEREBY AN EMPLOYEE CAN BE RELIEVED OF LIABILITY FOR COSTS ARISING FROM SHIPPING EXCESS WEIGHT.

B-134650, JAN. 14, 1958

TO MR. JOHN J. STAUT:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3, 1957, REQUESTS RELIEF FROM PAYMENT OF THE SUM OF $520.07, REPRESENTING EXCESS COST INCURRED IN THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UPON OFFICIAL CHANGE OF DUTY STATION FROM JAPAN TO PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA. YOU SAY THAT ON SEPTEMBER 4, 1957, YOU MADE A REFUND IN THE AMOUNT OF $26.07, UNDER PROTEST, AND AGREED, ALSO UNDER PROTEST, TO REFUND THE REMAINDER IN 10 EQUAL PAYMENTS.

YOU POINT OUT THAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED TO JAPAN IN 1954 AT WHICH TIME THE GROSS WEIGHT WAS 6,278 POUNDS OR 813 CUBIC FEET AND THAT AN INVENTORY OF YOUR EFFECTS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE IN JUNE 1955, PRIOR TO YOUR RETURN FROM JAPAN, SHOWS THAT YOUR EFFECTS TOTALED 827 CUBIC FEET, THUS ESTABLISHING THAT THE NET WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS SHIPPED TO AND FROM JAPAN WERE APPROXIMATELY THE SAME. FURTHER, WE HAVE NOTED YOUR STATEMENTS REGARDING THE USE OF HEAVY LUMBER AND EXCESS PACKING, AS WELL AS THE PACKING OF CRATES WITHIN CRATES, WHICH APPARENTLY INCREASED THE GROSS WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT OF 12,890 POUNDS, COMPARED WITH THE GROSS WEIGHT OF 6,278 POUNDS SHIPPED ON YOUR OUTBOUND JOURNEY. THE SHIPMENT IN QUESTION WAS MADE ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

SECTION 1 (A) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 806, AND SECTION 1M OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED--- THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 (A) OF THE ACT--- LIMIT THE WEIGHT OF GOODS THAT MAY BE TRANSPORTED BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES TO A MAXIMUM OF 8,750 POUNDS GROSS. THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY YOU SHOWS THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S PAYMENT IN YOUR CASE FOR MOVEMENT OF YOUR EFFECTS WAS ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL GROSS WEIGHT AND THAT SUCH WEIGHT WAS IN EXCESS OF THE LAWFUL LIMITATION. THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE STATUTE OR REGULATIONS WHEREBY AN EMPLOYEE CAN BE RELIEVED OF LIABILITY FOR COSTS ARISING FROM SHIPPING EXCESS WEIGHT. SECTION 22 OF THE FOREGOING EXECUTIVE ORDER PROVIDES THAT IF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF THE WEIGHT ALLOWABLE--- 8,750 POUNDS IN A CASE SUCH AS YOURS -- IS SHIPPED ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, THE EMPLOYEE SHALL IMMEDIATELY UPON COMPLETION OF THE SHIPMENT, PAY TO THE PROPER OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE CHARGE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH EXCESS.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING SPECIFIC GROSS WEIGHT LIMITATION PRESCRIBED BY APPLICABLE LAW AND REGULATIONS AND THE ABSENCE OF ANY AUTHORITY IN OUR OFFICE TO PRESCRIBE METHODS OF PACKING AND CRATING TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT, WE MAY NOT GRANT THE RELIEF REQUESTED BY YOU. WE MUST THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REFUND OF THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID TOWARD EXCESS SHIPPING COSTS AND THAT YOUR AGENCY IS REQUIRED TO CONTINUE COLLECTIONS UNTIL YOUR INDEBTEDNESS IS FULLY LIQUIDATED.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS CASES SUCH AS YOUR IN WHICH, UNDER EXISTING LAW, WE HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO TAKE SIMILAR ACTION.