B-141099, NOV. 19, 1959

B-141099: Nov 19, 1959

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

BARNES: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 13. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM YOUR OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO THE ARMY PORT OF EMBARKATION. TO HAVE YOUR PERSONNEL SECTION DRAW UP THE PROPER AUTHORIZATION PAPERS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE PRIOR TO LEAVING YOUR OVERSEAS UNIT. YOU STATE THAT YOU WERE ADVISED BY FORT HAMILTON FINANCE PERSONNEL THAT YOUR ORDERS PROMOTING YOU FROM SF-4 (E-4). ARE SUFFICIENT FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM. SUCH SHIPMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED FREE OF ALL PORT ACCESSORIAL AND OCEAN TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ABOARD GOVERNMENT OWNED VESSELS. THERE IS NOTHING IN EITHER THE PERTINENT STATUTES OR THE CITED REGULATIONS WHICH PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT OF AMOUNTS EXPENDED FROM PERSONAL FUNDS FOR TRANSPORTING PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON VESSELS COMMERCIALLY OWNED AND OPERATED.

B-141099, NOV. 19, 1959

TO MR. BILLY W. BARNES:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 13, 1959, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 1959, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $141.06, REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE FROM ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, DURING MARCH 1959, INCIDENT TO YOUR RETURN FROM OVERSEAS FOR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, SERVICE NO. 54 194 796.

BY ORDERS DATED MARCH 18, 1959, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM YOUR OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO THE ARMY PORT OF EMBARKATION, BREMERHAVEN, GERMANY, AND TO REPORT TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER FOR PROCESSING AND MOVEMENT TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BY GOVERNMENT SURFACE VESSEL INCIDENT TO YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY. YOUR ORDERS DID NOT CONTAIN AN AUTHORIZATION FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

YOU ALLEGE THAT YOU REPEATEDLY ATTEMPTED, TO NO AVAIL, TO HAVE YOUR PERSONNEL SECTION DRAW UP THE PROPER AUTHORIZATION PAPERS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE PRIOR TO LEAVING YOUR OVERSEAS UNIT. ALSO, YOU STATE THAT YOU WERE ADVISED BY FORT HAMILTON FINANCE PERSONNEL THAT YOUR ORDERS PROMOTING YOU FROM SF-4 (E-4), TO SERGEANT (E-5), DATED MARCH 19, 1959, ARE SUFFICIENT FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM. YOUR ORDERS COVERING THE TRANSPORTATION IN QUESTION DID NOT PROVIDE FOR THE SHIPMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

NEITHER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 802, 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 FEBRUARY 24, 1959, PROVIDE THAT ENLISTED MEN IN GRADE E-4, WITH OVER FOUR YEARS OF SERVICE, E-5, AND ABOVE, MAY DELIVER ONE PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL AT A PORT FOR SHIPMENT PRIOR TO DEPARTURE OF THE ENLISTED MEN OR HIS DEPENDENT. SUCH SHIPMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED FREE OF ALL PORT ACCESSORIAL AND OCEAN TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ABOARD GOVERNMENT OWNED VESSELS, IF AVAILABLE, PURSUANT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS INVOLVING TRANSOCEANIC MOVEMENTS. HOWEVER, THERE IS NOTHING IN EITHER THE PERTINENT STATUTES OR THE CITED REGULATIONS WHICH PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT OF AMOUNTS EXPENDED FROM PERSONAL FUNDS FOR TRANSPORTING PRIVATELY OWNED 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 AFFECT SHIPMENT OF THEIR VEHICLES ON THEIR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. ARMY REGULATIONS NO. 55-76, DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1959, DEFINE "AUTHORIZED OCEAN SHIPPING" TO MEAN "ANY SHIPPING FURNISHED BY THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS AND THINGS.' PARAGRAPH 13 OF SAID REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A SPONSOR (MILITARY OR CIVILIAN) "IS NOT AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES BY COMMERCIAL MEANS WHEN HE PERSONALLY ARRANGES FOR SUCH SERVICE.'

THUS, ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT 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 ARE TO BE ARRANGED BY THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, AND THAT SUCH AGENCY--- NOT THE OWNERS OF THE VEHICLES--- PROPERLY DETERMINES THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION THAT SHOULD BE USED UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND ADJUSTS OR SETTLES THE CHARGES INCURRED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE EXPENSE CLAIMED.