B-136590, AUG. 8, 1958

B-136590: Aug 8, 1958

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CAGNON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5. WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $160 REPRESENTING EXPENSES STATED TO HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE FROM ROTTERDAM. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM YOUR OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO THE ARMY PORT OF EMBARKATION AT BREMERHAVEN. IT IS NOTED THAT THEY WERE AMENDED ON DECEMBER 2. - SOME THREE DAYS PRIOR TO THE DATE YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO REPORT TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT BREMERHAVEN. - WHEN THE FOLLOWING PROVISION WAS DELETED THEREFROM. YOU POINT OUT THAT TRANSPORTATION OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED BY EXISTING ARMY REGULATIONS. THAT YOU WERE DENIED THE USE OF GOVERNMENT MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AND THAT YOU HAD NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO SHIP YOUR AUTOMOBILE TO NEW YORK.

B-136590, AUG. 8, 1958

TO MR. EDWARD R. CAGNON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5, 1958, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 23, 1958, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $160 REPRESENTING EXPENSES STATED TO HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE FROM ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, DURING DECEMBER 1957, WHILE SERVING AS AN ENLISTED MEMBER (GRADE SP- 3), OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY.

BY ORDERS DATED NOVEMBER 19, 1957, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM YOUR OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO THE ARMY PORT OF EMBARKATION AT BREMERHAVEN, GERMANY, AND TO REPORT TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER ON DECEMBER 5, 1957, FOR PROCESSING AND MOVEMENT TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BY GOVERNMENT SURFACE VESSEL TO BE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE. ALTHOUGH YOUR ORIGINAL ORDERS CONTAINED AUTHORIZATION FOR THE SHIPMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, IT IS NOTED THAT THEY WERE AMENDED ON DECEMBER 2, 1957--- SOME THREE DAYS PRIOR TO THE DATE YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO REPORT TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT BREMERHAVEN--- WHEN THE FOLLOWING PROVISION WAS DELETED THEREFROM; "EM AUTH SHPMT PQV EXPENSE AND TPA IN CONUS.'

YOU ALLEGE THAT ON NOVEMBER 21, 1957, AFTER RECEIVING ORDERS TO RETURN HOME, YOU PURCHASED A ,VOLKSWAGON," IT BEING ASSUMED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD TRANSPORT THE VEHICLE TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IN COMPLIANCE WITH YOUR ORDERED TRANSFER. ALSO, YOU POINT OUT THAT TRANSPORTATION OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED BY EXISTING ARMY REGULATIONS, BUT THAT YOU WERE DENIED THE USE OF GOVERNMENT MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AND THAT YOU HAD NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO SHIP YOUR AUTOMOBILE TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AT PERSONAL EXPENSE. YOUR CLAIM FOR THE EXPENSES SO INCURRED HAS BEEN DISALLOWED SINCE ON THE DATE YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO REPORT FOR OCEAN TRANSPORTATION, THE TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED, AND NO PROVISION IS FOUND WHICH PERMITS REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED BY A MEMBER IN HAVING HIS AUTOMOBILE TRANSPORTED FROM AN OVERSEAS LOCATION TO A UNITED STATES PORT BY A COMMERCIAL CARRIER.

SECTION 617 OF THE NATIONAL MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1950, 63 STAT. 1020, APPROVED OCTOBER 29, 1949, READS, AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE OR ARMY ARE ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, MOTOR VEHICLES OWNED BY THEM FOR THEIR PERSONAL USE (NOT TO EXCEED ONE VEHICLE PER PERSON) MAY BE TRANSPORTED TO THEIR NEW POSTS OF DUTY ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS.'

THE ACT EXPRESSLY LIMITS THE SHIPMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES WHICH MAY BE MADE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMY TO WATER TRANSPORTATION ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS.

NEITHER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, AS AMENDED, NOR THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT THERETO PROVIDE FOR TRANSPORTATION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES. ARMY REGULATIONS NO. 55-76, DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1955 (PARAGRAPHS 5A AND 3A), PROVIDE THAT ARMY (MILITARY) PERSONNEL, WITHOUT REGARD TO GRADE OR RANK, UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS RETURNING THEM TO THE UNITED STATES, MAY SHIP ONE PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE ON A ,SPACE REQUIREMENT" BASIS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE THROUGH THE PORTS OF EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION NORMALLY USED BY GOVERNMENT VESSELS. THESE SHIPMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED FREE OF ALL PORT ACCESSORIAL AND OCEAN TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ABOARD GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS PURSUANT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS INVOLVING TRANSOCEANIC MOVEMENT. HOWEVER, THERE IS NOTHING IN EITHER THE ABOVE QUOTED STATUTE OR THE CITED REGULATIONS WHICH PURPORTS TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT OF AMOUNTS EXPENDED FOR TRANSPORTING PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES ON VESSELS COMMERCIALLY OWNED AND OPERATED.

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WAS ENLARGED BY PUBLIC LAW 538, APPROVED MAY 28, 1956, 70 STAT. 187, WHICH AMENDED SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, AS AMENDED, BY ADDING AT THE END THEREOF A NEW SUBSECTION READING AS FOLLOWS:

"/C) THAT NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, PRIVATELY OWNED AMERICAN SHIPPING SERVICES MAY BE UTILIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES OWNED BY GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL WHENEVER TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH VEHICLES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW.'

YOU WILL NOTE THAT THIS ACT CONTAINS NO EXPRESS PROVISION FOR REIMBURSING OWNERS WHO EFFECT SHIPMENT OF THEIR VEHICLES ON THEIR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. ITS PURPOSE OF COURSE, IS TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF AMERICAN COMMERCIAL VESSELS--- IN ADDITION TO GOVERNMENT OWNED OR OPERATED VESSELS--- FOR TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL. ARMY REGULATIONS NO. 55-167, DATED NOVEMBER 27, 1957, IN EFFECT DURING DECEMBER 1957, PROVIDES THAT THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE SHALL PROCURE THE REQUIRED SPACE FOR CARGO TO BE SHIPPED ON COMMERCIAL VESSELS. PARAGRAPH 3B THEREOF, READS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * THE RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF SHIPPER, CARRIER, AND RECEIVER FOR CARGO TRANSPORTED IN COMMERCIAL SPACE PROCURED BY MSTS SHALL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH CONTRACTS OR AGREEMENTS MADE BY MSTS, WHICH NORMALLY WILL CONFORM TO USUAL COMMERCIAL PRACTICE.'

THUS, ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT ON DECEMBER 5, 1957, YOUR ORDERS DID NOT AUTHORIZE THE MOVEMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, IT CLEARLY IS APPARENT FROM THE CITED REGULATIONS THAT ALL TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENTS ON COMMERCIAL VESSELS WERE TO BE ARRANGED BY THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, AND THAT SUCH AGENCY--- NOT THE OWNERS OF VEHICLES--- WOULD ADJUST OR SETTLE THE CHARGES THEREFOR. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE EXPENSES CLAIMED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 23, 1958, MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.

INASMUCH AS THE PAPERS FILED HERE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM NOW CONSTITUTE A PART OF THE PERMANENT RECORD UPON WHICH THE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED, THEY ARE REQUIRED TO BE RETAINED HERE, AND MAY NOT BE RETURNED TO YOU. COMP. GEN. 819, 823.