B-142252, APR. 1, 1960

B-142252: Apr 1, 1960

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THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY PROCESSED AND PAYMENT WAS MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE AMOUNTS STATED THEREON. AS THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED WERE PREVIOUSLY ACTED UPON. IT IS APPARENT THAT NO VOUCHER IS BEFORE YOU FOR CERTIFICATION. WAS ISSUED TO MR. 500 POUNDS WERE SHIPPED FROM SAIGON TO WASHINGTON. 118 POUNDS WERE SHIPPED FROM HONG KONG TO WASHINGTON. DETERMINATION OF ALLOWANCES "THE AMOUNT OF EFFECTS WHICH MAY BE TRANSPORTED OR STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS DETERMINED AS FOLLOWS: "/1) WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS ASSIGNED TO A STATION IN AN OVERSEAS AREA. BY WHETHER OR NOT DEPENDENTS ARE AUTHORIZED TO ACCOMPANY HIM TO HIS STATION. WE ASSUME QUARTERS WERE NOT FURNISHED MR. IS CONTROLLING CONCERNING THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES: "5.

B-142252, APR. 1, 1960

TO MISS MARGARET J. BILEK, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 9, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF THE PAYMENT MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MR. RICHARD D. KOVAR IN EXCESS OF 4,500 POUNDS AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREIGN BROADCAST INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, PURSUANT TO HIS TRANSFER ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM SAIGON, VIETNAM, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY PROCESSED AND PAYMENT WAS MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE AMOUNTS STATED THEREON.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 876, GRANTS A RIGHT TO CERTIFYING OFFICERS ,TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHERS PRESENTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.' AS THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED WERE PREVIOUSLY ACTED UPON, IT IS APPARENT THAT NO VOUCHER IS BEFORE YOU FOR CERTIFICATION. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE APPARENT ADMINISTRATIVE NEED FOR CLARIFICATION OF THE MATTER, WE SHALL PRESENT OUR VIEW CONCERNING THE PAYMENT ALREADY MADE. SEE 4 GAO 5020.20, OUTLINING THE PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING DOUBTFUL DEBT CLAIMS TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

ON DECEMBER 30, 1957, TRAVEL ORDER 11/FB-70-58 XG, WAS ISSUED TO MR. RICHARD D. KOVAR AUTHORIZING HIM TO TRAVEL, ACCOMPANIED BY DEPENDENT WIFE, FROM SAIGON, VIETNAM, TO WASHINGTON, C., PURSUANT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. THE TRAVEL ORDER ALSO AUTHORIZED THE TRANSPORTATION OF 4,500 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. ACTUALLY 4,500 POUNDS WERE SHIPPED FROM SAIGON TO WASHINGTON, D.C., BY WAY OF NEW YORK, AND 3,118 POUNDS WERE SHIPPED FROM HONG KONG TO WASHINGTON, D.C., BY WAY OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND.

IN YOUR SUBMISSION YOU QUOTE A PART OF PARAGRAPH 3B (1) OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"B. DETERMINATION OF ALLOWANCES

"THE AMOUNT OF EFFECTS WHICH MAY BE TRANSPORTED OR STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS DETERMINED AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS ASSIGNED TO A STATION IN AN OVERSEAS AREA, THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF EFFECTS WHICH MAY BE TRANSPORTED OR STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THE EMPLOYEE'S GENERAL SCHEDULE (GS) GRADE, OR EQUIVALENT, AND BY WHETHER OR NOT DEPENDENTS ARE AUTHORIZED TO ACCOMPANY HIM TO HIS STATION. (SEE PARAGRAPHS 5A AND B BELOW.)"

YOU SAY THAT PARAGRAPH 5B REFERRED TO IN PARAGRAPH 3B (1) ABOVE PROVIDES FOR A LIMITATION OF 4,500 POUNDS ON SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS TO OVERSEAS AREAS ONLY. YOU SAY THAT THIS LIMITATION DOES NOT APPLY TO SHIPMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH RETURN TRAVEL PCS TO THE UNITED STATES SUCH AS IN THE CASE OF MR. KOVAR. IN THAT REGARD, WE ASSUME QUARTERS WERE NOT FURNISHED MR. KOVAR UPON HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. YOU CONTEND THAT PARAGRAPH 5A OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS, IS CONTROLLING CONCERNING THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES:

"5. WEIGHT AND VOLUME LIMITATIONS

"A. MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE - OVERSEAS AREAS

"WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO PERMANENT-DUTY POSTS OVERSEAS WHEN FURNISHED QUARTERS ARE NOT PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT:

"/1) THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT AND VOLUME OF EFFECTS WHICH MAY BE SHIPPED OR STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ARE LISTED IN TABLE I BELOW. THE ALLOWANCES SHOWN INCLUDE THE GROSS WEIGHT OR VOLUME OF ALL CONTAINERS, BUT NO REDUCTION SHALL BE MADE WHEN EFFECTS ARE SHIPPED WITHOUT CONTAINERS . .

YOU POINT OUT THAT THE TABLE SHOWS THAT EMPLOYEES IN GRADES GS-9 THROUGH GS-12 WITH DEPENDENTS ARE AUTHORIZED A MAXIMUM WEIGHT OF 13,500 POUNDS OF EFFECTS TO BE SHIPPED OR STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. YOU SAY THAT MR. KOVAR, WHO WAS IN GRADE GS-11, HAD NO EFFECTS IN STORAGE AND THE SHIPMENT OF SOME 6,618 POUNDS WAS WELL WITHIN THE WEIGHT LIMITATION. YOUR AGENCY'S OPINION IS THAT THE INDICATION OF WEIGHT LIMITATION IN MR. KOVAR'S TRAVEL ORDER WAS IN ERROR, AND THAT THERE WAS NO ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION INVOLVED ON THE PART OF THE AUTHORIZING OFFICER TO VARY THE REGULATORY ENTITLEMENT, AND THAT MR. KOVAR WAS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT ON HIS BEHALF BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR ANY AMOUNT SHIPPED UP TO THE MAXIMUM SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 5A OF THE REGULATION.

WE HAVE INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE UPON HIS BEING TRANSFERRED OVERSEAS WAS AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF 4,500 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BECAUSE HE WAS FURNISHED GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AS HE WAS ASSIGNED TO AN EMERGENCY AREA OVERSEAS.

PARAGRAPH 5A OF THE REGULATIONS UPON WHICH YOU BASE YOUR AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN RETURNING FROM AN OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT SPECIFICALLY COVERS EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO A PERMANENT DUTY POST IN AN OVERSEAS AREA WHERE FURNISHED QUARTERS ARE NOT PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE REGULATIONS ARE UNCLEAR, HOWEVER, AS TO THE WEIGHT LIMITATION APPLICABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TRANSPORTED INCIDENT TO HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AFTER HIS SERVING A TOUR OF DUTY OVERSEAS. WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE AGENCY ACTUALLY INTENDED TO AUTHORIZE SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF A MAXIMUM OF 13,500 POUNDS OF AN EMPLOYEE'S EFFECTS INCIDENT TO HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AFTER THE COMPLETION OF A TOUR OF DUTY OVERSEAS, AND THAT AN AMENDMENT TO FR 22-1000 WILL BE MADE IN THE NEAR FUTURE AUTHORIZING SUCH SHIPMENTS.

IN VIEW OF THE UNCLEAR TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED, AND OF THE INTENTION OF YOUR AGENCY TO AMEND THE REGULATIONS TO CLARIFY THE AGENCY'S POLICY ON THE QUESTION OF THE AMOUNT OF EFFECTS AN EMPLOYEE MAY SHIP AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES, WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PAYMENTS MADE IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.