B-138252, FEBRUARY 16, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 554

B-138252: Feb 16, 1959

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REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES MAY BE MADE TO THE EXTENT THE COST DOES NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES. ON WHICH ONLY AN ESTIMATED WEIGHT IS AVAILABLE. THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT DIVIDED INTO THE ACTUAL EXPENSE TOTAL AND THEN THAT FIGURE IS MULTIPLIED BY WEIGHT LIMITATION (7. 000) AND THE RESULT IS THE PRORATED AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSE WHICH IS PAYABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE. CARTER'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED ARE SAID TO BE AS FOLLOWS: " MR. ALL OF THIS MOVING WAS DONE ON THE SAME DAY AND THERE ARE NO WEIGH STATIONS WITHIN TEN MILES OF THE POINT OF ORIGIN OR ANYWHERE ON THE ROUTE. BOTH OF THESE COMPANIES GAVE HIM ESTIMATES WHICH WERE WITHIN 3 TO 5 DOLLARS OF EACH OTHER.

B-138252, FEBRUARY 16, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 554

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - COMMUTATION - WEIGHT EVIDENCE IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE OF THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED TRUCK AND IN A HIRED TRUCK, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, PAYMENT MAY NOT BE ALLOWED AT THE COMMUTED RATES PRESCRIBED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED; HOWEVER, ON THE BASIS OF EVIDENCE WHICH ESTABLISHES THAT THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS SHIPPED REASONABLY APPROXIMATES THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT, REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES MAY BE MADE TO THE EXTENT THE COST DOES NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES. IN THE COMPUTATION OF THE AMOUNT PAYABLE TO A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE FOR THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHICH EXCEEDED THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT LIMITATION OF 7,000 POUNDS PRESCRIBED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, AND ON WHICH ONLY AN ESTIMATED WEIGHT IS AVAILABLE, THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT DIVIDED INTO THE ACTUAL EXPENSE TOTAL AND THEN THAT FIGURE IS MULTIPLIED BY WEIGHT LIMITATION (7,000) AND THE RESULT IS THE PRORATED AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSE WHICH IS PAYABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE.

TO F. E. WALLIS, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FEBRUARY 16, 1959:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 18, 1958, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE FULL AMOUNT OF $332.50 STATED ON THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF HERBERT O. CARTER. THE VOUCHER COVERS THE MOVING OF MR. CARTER'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM NEW LONDON, R-2, NORTH CAROLINA, TO GARNER, NORTH CAROLINA, UNDER TRAVEL ORDER NO. NC-59-65 DATED AUGUST 29, 1958.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH MR. CARTER'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED ARE SAID TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

" MR. CARTER HIRED SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MOVING. HIRED A LARGE TRUCK AND ALSO EMPLOYED LABOR FOR THE PURPOSE. IN ADDITION TO THIS, HE USED HIS PERSONALLY OWNED TRUCK AND MADE TWO TRIPS WITH IT LOADED. ALL OF THIS MOVING WAS DONE ON THE SAME DAY AND THERE ARE NO WEIGH STATIONS WITHIN TEN MILES OF THE POINT OF ORIGIN OR ANYWHERE ON THE ROUTE.

"PRIOR TO DECIDING ON THIS METHOD OF MOVING, MR. CARTER CALLED TWO ESTABLISHED MOVING CONCERNS AND RECEIVED VERBAL COST ESTIMATES. HE CALLED THE NEW DIXIE LINES, INCORPORATED, AND THE MAYFLOWER COMPANY. BOTH OF THESE COMPANIES GAVE HIM ESTIMATES WHICH WERE WITHIN 3 TO 5 DOLLARS OF EACH OTHER. THE ESTIMATES WHICH THEY GAVE WERE APPROXIMATELY $285.

"THE TOTAL CASH OUTLAY MADE BY MR. CARTER IS NOT AS MUCH AS THE CHARGE WOULD HAVE BEEN BY THE REGULAR MOVING COMPANY BECAUSE HE FURNISHED CONSIDERABLE LABOR ON HIS OWN PART AND WENT TO CONSIDERABLE PERSONAL EXPENSE AND USE OF HIS OWN TIME. IT DOES NOT APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT THIS SHOULD JEOPARDIZE THE CLAIM WHICH HE HAS SUBMITTED.'

MR. CARTER HAS FURNISHED EVIDENCE OF THE CUBIC CAPACITY OF THE TRUCKS USED, BUT APPARENTLY HE IS UNABLE TO ESTABLISH THE "PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE" OCCUPIED BY THE GOODS TRANSPORTED AS REQUIRED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, AS A BASIS FOR DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT.

WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE RULED THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME, SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW OR REGULATION, MAY NOT BE ALLOWED THE COMMUTED RATES PRESCRIBED IN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. THEREFORE, MR. CARTER MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE METHOD.

WHEN, HOWEVER, AS HERE, THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE AFFORDS A BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SHIPPED REASONABLY APPROXIMATES THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR SUCH ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES. SEE OUR DECISION B-129708 OF DECEMBER 6, 1956, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED.

THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT OF GOODS TRANSPORTED IS 9,307 POUNDS. IN VIEW OF THE STATUTORY LIMIT OF 7,000 POUNDS, THE REIMBURSEMENT IN THIS CASE MAY NOT EXCEED 7000/9037 OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSE INCURRED.

WE UNDERSTAND FROM YOUR LETTER THAT ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF MR. CARTER'S TOTAL CASH OUTLAY ARISING FROM THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS AVAILABLE TO YOU. IF SUCH BE THE CASE, THE VOUCHER, SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE MENTIONED LIMITATIONS, PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ONLY FOR THE PRORATED AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM.