B-143240, AUG. 8, 1960

B-143240: Aug 8, 1960

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JR.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3. YOU WERE RELEASED FROM YOUR ORGANIZATION AT FORT BRAGG. 930 POUNDS WERE SHIPPED FROM FORT BRAGG TO FORT LEAVENWORTH ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY TO THE GOVERNMENT THE EXCESS COST FOR TRANSPORTATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $106.94. YOU CLAIM THAT THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR EFFECTS INCLUDED "APPROXIMATELY 1000 POUNDS OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS AND EQUIPMENT" FOR WHICH YOU WERE NOT GIVEN ANY CREDIT IN COMPUTING YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT. YOU CONTEND THAT THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AND THE AGENT MOVING THE EQUIPMENT AND NOT OF THE SHIPPER. IT APPEARS TO BE YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU CLAIM IS ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN NOT LISTING YOUR PROFESSIONAL BOOKS SEPARATELY INCIDENT TO THE SHIPMENT INVOLVED.

B-143240, AUG. 8, 1960

TO MAJOR ARTHUR W. PENCE, JR.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1960, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 31, 1960, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE AMOUNT COLLECTED FROM YOU AS THE EXCESS COST OF SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA, TO FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS.

BY SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 27, HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, DATED FEBRUARY 6, 1959, YOU WERE RELEASED FROM YOUR ORGANIZATION AT FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA, AND ASSIGNED TO FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS, WITH A REPORTING DATE OF NOT LATER THAN AUGUST 27, 1959, FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY 10 MONTHS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING A COURSE OF INSTRUCTION. BASED ON THESE ORDERS YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WEIGHING 10,930 POUNDS WERE SHIPPED FROM FORT BRAGG TO FORT LEAVENWORTH ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. WY-9 675 758 AT A COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $1,432.91. THE SHIPMENT EXCEEDED YOUR AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE OF 9,975 POUNDS, EXCLUSIVE OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT AS PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPHS 8001 AND 8002, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY TO THE GOVERNMENT THE EXCESS COST FOR TRANSPORTATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $106.94.

YOU CLAIM THAT THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR EFFECTS INCLUDED "APPROXIMATELY 1000 POUNDS OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS AND EQUIPMENT" FOR WHICH YOU WERE NOT GIVEN ANY CREDIT IN COMPUTING YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT. IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1960, YOU RECOGNIZE THAT THE REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT MUST BE PACKED AND MARKED SEPARATELY AND THE WEIGHT THEREOF BE SHOWN SEPARATELY ON BILLS OF LADING OR OTHER SHIPPING DOCUMENTS. HOWEVER, YOU CONTEND THAT THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AND THE AGENT MOVING THE EQUIPMENT AND NOT OF THE SHIPPER, AND IT APPEARS TO BE YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU CLAIM IS ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN NOT LISTING YOUR PROFESSIONAL BOOKS SEPARATELY INCIDENT TO THE SHIPMENT INVOLVED.

THE SHIPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IS AUTHORIZED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 37 U.S.C. 253 (C). PARAGRAPH 8003 (CHANGE 79, DATED JULY 1, 1959) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT WHEN CERTIFIED BY THE MEMBER AS NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, SHIPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT UNDER THOSE REGULATIONS SHALL BE IN THE SAME MANNER AND UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AS OTHER HOUSEHOLD GOODS EXCEPT THAT THE WEIGHT THEREOF SHALL BE WITHOUT CHARGE AGAINST THE PRESCRIBED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE. ALSO, IT PROVIDES THAT SUCH BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT WILL BE PACKED SEPARATELY AND THE CONTAINERS WILL BE MARKED "PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT," AND THAT THE WEIGHT OF SUCH CONTAINERS WILL BE SHOWN SEPARATELY ON THE BILLS OF LADING OR OTHER SHIPPING DOCUMENTS. THOSE REGULATIONS MAKE IT MANDATORY THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE BOOKS AND EQUIPMENT BE SEPARATELY ESTABLISHED WITH CERTAINTY AND THAT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE OF SUCH WEIGHT BE FURNISHED.

A MERE APPROXIMATION DOES NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW SINCE PUBLIC FUNDS MAY BE DISBURSED ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL FACTS INVOLVED. THE REGULATIONS SET FORTH THE OFFICIAL METHOD OF DETERMINING SUCH WEIGHT. A WEIGHT THUS ESTABLISHED IS EXACT AND CERTAIN. THAT METHOD WAS NOT FOLLOWED IN THIS CASE AND YOU HAVE SUBMITTED NO DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD FURNISH A BASIS FOR DETERMINING SUCH WEIGHT. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH EVIDENCE WE HAVE NO PROPER BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM. MOREOVER, NOTHING IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS SUGGESTS THAT THE OWNER'S RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO PACKING THE BOOKS, ETC., SEPARATELY AND ESTABLISHING THEIR WEIGHT WITH CERTAINTY MAY BE SHIFTED TO THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER.

THERE BEING NO WAY OF DETERMINING, ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD, THE AMOUNT TO WHICH YOU MAY BE ENTITLED, THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 31, 1960, IS SUSTAINED.