B-144439, DEC. 6, 1960

B-144439: Dec 6, 1960

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WAS FROM JUDGE SORG'S FORMER RESIDENCE AT ST. THE COST WAS $508.55. THE COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR THE SHIPMENT UNDER THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET REGULATIONS IN EFFECT IN JUNE 1959 IS STATED TO BE $406. WE HAVE HELD THAT STATUTE TO APPLY TO THE JUDICIAL BRANCH AS WELL AS TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. YOU INFORM US THAT YOUR RECORDS ESTABLISH THAT THE FIRST TWO REQUIREMENTS ARE MET SINCE THE TRAVEL EXPENSES PAID THE JUDGE FOR THE YEAR AFTER THE TRANSFER WERE ABOUT $4. JUDGE SORG'S STATION IS DETERMINED BY HIM UNDER 28 U.S.C. 456 WHICH READS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "THE OFFICIAL STATION OF EACH CIRCUIT AND DISTRICT JUDGE. SHALL BE THAT PLACE WHERE A DISTRICT COURT IS REGULARLY HELD AND AT OR NEAR WHICH THE JUDGE PERFORMS A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF HIS JUDICIAL WORK.

B-144439, DEC. 6, 1960

TO WARREN OLNEY III, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1960, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER JUDGE HERBERT P. SORG OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 806, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-1, FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS CHANGE OF STATION WITHIN THE DISTRICT FROM ERIE TO PITTSBURGH IN JUNE 1959.

YOU SAY THE ACTUAL MOVEMENT OF THE SHIPMENT, WHICH TOTALED 11,060 POUNDS, WAS FROM JUDGE SORG'S FORMER RESIDENCE AT ST. MARYS, PENNSYLVANIA, TO HIS NEW RESIDENCE AT MT. LEBANON, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PITTSBURGH 28, PENNSYLVANIA, A DISTANCE OF 128 MILES. THE COST WAS $508.55. THE COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR THE SHIPMENT UNDER THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET REGULATIONS IN EFFECT IN JUNE 1959 IS STATED TO BE $406, BASED ON THE WEIGHT LIMITATION SPECIFIED THEREIN.

SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZES A COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS UPON THE TRANSFER OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER BETWEEN POINTS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. WE HAVE HELD THAT STATUTE TO APPLY TO THE JUDICIAL BRANCH AS WELL AS TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 204; 27 COMP. GEN. 313. THE STATUTE SPECIFIES THAT THE TRANSFER MUST BE (1) IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT; (2) NOT MADE PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, AND (3) NOT MADE AT HIS OWN REQUEST.

YOU INFORM US THAT YOUR RECORDS ESTABLISH THAT THE FIRST TWO REQUIREMENTS ARE MET SINCE THE TRAVEL EXPENSES PAID THE JUDGE FOR THE YEAR AFTER THE TRANSFER WERE ABOUT $4,000 LESS THAN IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR. CONCERNING THE THIRD REQUIREMENT, YOU SAY THAT, SHORT OF ACTION BY THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL UNDER 28 U.S.C. 134 (C), JUDGE SORG'S STATION IS DETERMINED BY HIM UNDER 28 U.S.C. 456 WHICH READS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THE OFFICIAL STATION OF EACH CIRCUIT AND DISTRICT JUDGE, INCLUDING EACH DISTRICT JUDGE IN THE TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, SHALL BE THAT PLACE WHERE A DISTRICT COURT IS REGULARLY HELD AND AT OR NEAR WHICH THE JUDGE PERFORMS A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF HIS JUDICIAL WORK, WHICH IS NEAREST THE PLACE WHERE HE MAINTAINS AN ACTUAL ABODE IN WHICH HE CUSTOMARILY LIVES.

"EACH CIRCUIT JUDGE AND EACH DISTRICT JUDGE WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION IS NOT FIXED EXPRESSLY IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF THIS SECTION SHALL UPON HIS APPOINTMENT AND FROM TIME TO TIME THEREAFTER AS HIS OFFICIAL STATION MAY CHANGE, NOTIFY THE DIRECTOR OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS IN WRITING OF HIS ACTUAL ABODE AND HIS OFFICIAL STATION.'

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT STATUTE, JUDGE SORG NOTIFIED YOU THAT ON JUNE 29, 1959, HE HAD MOVED HIS PERMANENT RESIDENCE TO MT. LEBANON, PITTSBURGH 28, AND DESIGNATED PITTSBURGH AS HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

WE ASSUME THAT THE VOLUME OF WORK AT PITTSBURGH RATHER THAN THE PERSONAL DESIRE OF JUDGE SORG WAS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR HIS CHANGE OF STATION FROM ERIE TO PITTSBURGH. IF SUCH IS THE CASE, PAYMENT OF THE COMMUTED ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN CONNECTION WITH THE CHANGE OF STATION WOULD NOT BE PRECLUDED BY THE STATUTORY PROVISION THAT SUCH PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE IF THE TRANSFER IS PERFORMED PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST.