B-139775, JULY 16, 1959, 39 COMP. GEN. 40

B-139775: Jul 16, 1959

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WHILE EN ROUTE TO A NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS USED TO TOW A HOUSE TRAILER LOADED WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS. WAS REQUIRED TO TURN THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND EFFECTS OVER TO A COMMERCIAL TRUCKING FIRM FOR THE BALANCE OF THE TRIP MAY BE PAID A COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS FOR THE DISTANCE TO THE NEW STATION. PROVIDED THAT THE AMOUNT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE TRAILER BY COMMERCIAL HAULER AT 20 CENTS A MILE BETWEEN THE SAME POINTS. IF BECAUSE OF CONDITIONS BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE EMPLOYEE AND IF ACCEPTABLE TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THE USE OF BOTH METHODS IS REQUIRED.

B-139775, JULY 16, 1959, 39 COMP. GEN. 40

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - HOUSE TRAILER SHIPMENT - COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION AN EMPLOYEE WHO, WHILE EN ROUTE TO A NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS USED TO TOW A HOUSE TRAILER LOADED WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, WAS REQUIRED TO TURN THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND EFFECTS OVER TO A COMMERCIAL TRUCKING FIRM FOR THE BALANCE OF THE TRIP MAY BE PAID A COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS FOR THE DISTANCE TO THE NEW STATION, IF ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED, AND PROVIDED THAT THE AMOUNT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE TRAILER BY COMMERCIAL HAULER AT 20 CENTS A MILE BETWEEN THE SAME POINTS. WHILE A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WHICH WOULD PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, OR IN LIEU THEREOF THE TRANSPORTATION OF A HOUSE TRAILER, WOULD BE WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION, ONLY ONE METHOD FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE SHOULD BE USED RATHER THAN A COMBINATION OF THE TWO FOR DIFFERENT PORTIONS OF THE DISTANCE BUT, IF BECAUSE OF CONDITIONS BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE EMPLOYEE AND IF ACCEPTABLE TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THE USE OF BOTH METHODS IS REQUIRED, ALLOWANCE UNDER THE SEPARATE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE RESPECTIVE PORTIONS OF THE DISTANCE MAY BE PAID, BUT THE TOTAL PAYMENT MAY NOT EXCEED THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD EITHER OF THE METHODS BEEN USED FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JULY 16, 1959:

ON MAY 29, 1959, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT ON A RECLAIM VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. ARTHUR S. JOHNSON FOR $300. THE VOUCHER REPRESENTS MONEYS DEDUCTED FROM HIS ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 93-339 AUTHORIZED MR. JOHNSON TO TRAVEL FROM MONTEREY PARK, CALIFORNIA, TO SOUTH ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. THAT AUTHORIZATION ALSO AUTHORIZED PER DIEM OF $11, EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY, AND MILEAGE OF EIGHT CENTS WHEN THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELS ALONE OR WHEN TWO OR MORE PERSONS TRAVEL TOGETHER. MR. JOHNSON AND HIS WIFE STARTED THE JOURNEY BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS USED ALSO TO TOW THE HOUSE TRAILER LOADED WITH HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS. AFTER COMPLETING 568 MILES AND BECAUSE OF REPEATED BREAKDOWNS, MR. JOHNSON WAS FORCED AT HOLBROOK, ARIZONA, TO TURN HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OVER TO A TRUCKING COMPANY FOR COMPLETION OF THE MOVE. MR. JOHNSON COMPLETED THE JOURNEY BY AUTOMOBILE WITH WHICH HE TOWED THE EMPTY TRAILER. AS EVIDENCED BY A RECEIPT, HE PAID THE NORTH AMERICAN VAN LINES, INC., $302.50 FOR MOVING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WEIGHING 1,805 POUNDS FROM HOLBROOK, ARIZONA, TO SOUTH ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA.

MR. JOHNSON SUBMITTED HIS ORIGINAL CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT AS FOLLOWS:

CHART 1. 568 MILES AT 19 CENTS PER MILE, TOWING HOUSE TRAILER FROM

MONTEREY PARK, CALIFORNIA, TO HOLBROOK, ARIZONA

(11 CENTS PER MILE FOR HOUSE TRAILER AND 8 CENTS PER

MILE FOR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE/--------------------- $107.92 2. 1,451 MILES AT 8 CENTS PER MILE, TRANSPORTATION OF SELF

AND WIFE BY PERSONAL CAR, BETWEEN HOLBROOK, ARIZONA

AND SOUTH ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA------------------------ 116.08 3. 6 DAYS PER DIEM AT $11.00---------------------------------- 66.00 4. MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS UNLOADED FROM HOUSE TRAILER

FROM HOLBROOK, ARIZONA, TO MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA,

A DISTANCE OF 1,451 MILES (COMPUTED AS 1,500 MILES)

NET WEIGHT 1,805 LBS. (COMPUTED AS 2,000 LBS.),

COMMUTED RATE AT 17.24 CWT. (COMPUTED AS $15.00/--------- 300.00

THE FIRST THREE ITEMS TOTALING $290 WERE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT AND THE FOURTH ITEM OF $300 WAS SUSPENDED. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY AND FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE BETWEEN MONTEREY PARK AND SOUTH ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA.

TITLE IX OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS ADDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-37, TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 1, DATED AUGUST 8, 1958, AUTHORIZES MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A HOUSE TRAILER. THE TRAILER WOULD HAVE TO BE USED FOR DWELLING PURPOSES AND ITS MOVEMENT WOULD HAVE TO BE IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. TO QUALIFY FOR THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE THE EMPLOYEE OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE HAD TO BE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS.

SECTION 31 (B) OF THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET PRESCRIBES THE RATE OF PAYMENT TO THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSE TRAILER UNDER VARIOUS CONDITIONS. THE REGULATIONS DO NOT SPECIFICALLY COVER A SITUATION SUCH AS THAT SET FORTH HEREIN. HOWEVER, SINCE THE NECESSITY FOR HIRE OF A COMMON CARRIER TO MOVE THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM HOLBROOK TO MINNEAPOLIS AROSE BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE EMPLOYEE, AND SINCE THE TRAILER WAS ACTUALLY TOWED TO THE EMPLOYEE'S NEW DUTY STATION TO BE USED FOR DWELLING PURPOSES AS REQUIRED BY THE REGULATIONS, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL FOR PAYMENT OF A COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM HOLBROOK TO THE NEW DUTY STATION, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE SUM ALLOWED FOR MOVEMENT OF THE GOODS BETWEEN SUCH POINTS DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSE TRAILER BETWEEN THE SAME POINTS BY COMMERCIAL HAULER AT 20 CENTS PER MILE AS COULD HAVE BEEN DONE UNDER THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION.

TWO FURTHER QUESTIONS ARE PRESENTED:

A FURTHER QUESTION PRESENTS ITSELF WITH RESPECT TO AUTHORIZING THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSE TRAILERS IN THE FUTURE. WOULD IT BE PROPER TO AUTHORIZE IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION THE EXPENSES OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF A TRAILER OR OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS ON THE BASIS THAT REIMBURSEMENT COULD BE MADE FOR EITHER ITEM OR WHERE BOTH ARE INVOLVED, AS IN THIS CASE, REIMBURSEMENT COULD BE MADE FOR THE ITEM CALLING FOR THE GREATER AMOUNT?

IT IS NOTED THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1958, P.L. 85-326 STATES THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO TRANSPORTS HIS HOUSE TRAILER AND IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS IS ENTITLED TO AN ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSE TRAILER "IN LIEU OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION.' ARE WE CORRECT IN ASSUMING THAT WHERE A TRANSFER OFFICIAL STATION IS INVOLVED AND THE EMPLOYEE TRANSPORTS HIS HOUSE TRAILER AND ALSO SHIPS HOUSEHOLD GOODS SEPARATELY THAT HE MAY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR ONLY ONE OF THE TWO TRANSPORTATION ITEMS?

IT WOULD SEEM TO BE WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO ISSUE A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION PROVIDING FOR BOTH THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS OR, IN LIEU THEREOF, THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSE TRAILER UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS. WE BELIEVE, HOWEVER, AS INDICATED ABOVE, THAT THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS CONTEMPLATE, GENERALLY, THAT ONLY ONE OF THE TWO AUTHORITIES WILL BE USED FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE RATHER THAN A COMBINATION THEREOF FOR DIFFERENT PORTIONS OF THE TRIP. IF, AS WAS THE SITUATION HERE, BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, USE OF BOTH AUTHORIZATIONS IS NECESSARY, BUT FOR DIFFERENT PORTIONS OF THE TRIP, ALLOWANCE UNDER SEPARATE AUTHORIZATIONS FOR THE RESPECTIVE PORTIONS MAY BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS. THE TOTAL PAYMENT IN SUCH CASES SHOULD NOT EXCEED THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT HAD EITHER OF THE AUTHORITIES BEEN USED FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE. THE FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

THE FINAL QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.