B-144554, DEC. 22, 1960

B-144554: Dec 22, 1960

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE REPORTED INDEBTEDNESS IN THE AMOUNT OF $388.44 IN THE CASE OF MASTER SERGEANT ELMER M. THE INDEBTEDNESS FILE WAS TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON AUGUST 18. THE TRANSMITTAL LETTER STATED THAT THE COLLECTION OF THE INDEBTEDNESS WAS BEING HELD IN ABEYANCE IN VIEW OF A LETTER FROM SERGEANT MAPP REQUESTING REVIEW OF HIS INDEBTEDNESS. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT SERGEANT MAPP WAS RETIRED NOVEMBER 30. HE WAS PAID FOR SUCH TRAVEL BASED ON A CERTIFICATE HE FILLED OUT (FC USA FORM 0 1286) STATING THAT HE SELECTED BELLE GLADE. FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WAS CHARGED $388.44. HE WAS PAID $22.91 ON A VOUCHER DATED DECEMBER 9. SUBSEQUENTLY AN INVESTIGATION AS TO THE DISCREPANCY IN THE PLACE SELECTED AS HIS HOME UPON RETIREMENT WAS UNDERTAKEN AND ON JUNE 15.

B-144554, DEC. 22, 1960

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE REPORTED INDEBTEDNESS IN THE AMOUNT OF $388.44 IN THE CASE OF MASTER SERGEANT ELMER M. MAPP, RA 6 399 692, RETIRED, ON ACCOUNT OF SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO HIS RETIREMENT NOVEMBER 30, 1957. THE INDEBTEDNESS FILE WAS TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON AUGUST 18, 1960, BY THE VALIDATION BRANCH,OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMANDER, FINANCE CENTER (SOUNDEX NO. M 100), FOR CONSIDERATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1030.20, GAO MANUAL. THE TRANSMITTAL LETTER STATED THAT THE COLLECTION OF THE INDEBTEDNESS WAS BEING HELD IN ABEYANCE IN VIEW OF A LETTER FROM SERGEANT MAPP REQUESTING REVIEW OF HIS INDEBTEDNESS. THE LETTER REQUESTED FURTHER THAT A COPY OF THE DECISION BE FURNISHED THAT OFFICE. SUBSEQUENTLY THE MEMBER CONTACTED CONGRESSMAN A. SYDNEY HERLONG, JR., WHO REQUESTED A REPORT IN THE MATTER.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT SERGEANT MAPP WAS RETIRED NOVEMBER 30, 1957, AT FORT MONMOUTH, NEW JERSEY. DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 2-7, 1957, HE AND HIS DEPENDENTS TRAVELED TO BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA. HE WAS PAID FOR SUCH TRAVEL BASED ON A CERTIFICATE HE FILLED OUT (FC USA FORM 0 1286) STATING THAT HE SELECTED BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, AS HIS HOME UPON RETIREMENT. HIS CERTIFICATE HE SHOWED HIS ADDRESS AS ROCKLEDGE, FLORIDA, AND STATED THAT HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WOULD BE SHIPPED TO TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA. APRIL 1, 1958, SERGEANT MAPP SIGNED A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING EVIDENCING RECEIPT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, THE SHIPMENT HAVING BEEN MADE FROM RED BANK, NEW JERSEY, FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WAS CHARGED $388.44. SOMETIME IN AUGUST 1958, THE MEMBER FILED A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR THE SHIPMENT OF HIS BAGGAGE TO BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, NOVEMBER 29, 1957, AND HE WAS PAID $22.91 ON A VOUCHER DATED DECEMBER 9, 1958. SUBSEQUENTLY AN INVESTIGATION AS TO THE DISCREPANCY IN THE PLACE SELECTED AS HIS HOME UPON RETIREMENT WAS UNDERTAKEN AND ON JUNE 15, 1960, THE MEMBER WAS ADVISED BY THE CHIEF, COLLECTION DIVISION, FINANCE CENTER, THAT HE WAS INDEBTED TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $388.44 BECAUSE THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, WAS TO A PLACE OTHER THAN HIS HOME OF SELECTION AND IN CONTRAVENTION OF PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SERGEANT MAPP WAS REQUESTED TO LIQUIDATE HIS INDEBTEDNESS.

THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH WERE IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE MEMBER'S RETIREMENT WERE CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPHS 1150-3B, 4158-1A, 7012-1A AND 8009-6A. PARAGRAPH 1150-3B DEFINES THE TERM "HOME OF SELECTION" AS THE PLACE SELECTED BY A MEMBER AS HIS HOME UPON RETIREMENT UNDER CONDITIONS OUTLINED IN PARAGRAPH 4158-1A. PARAGRAPH 4158 -1A SETS OUT VARIOUS CLASSES OF ELIGIBLE RETIRED PERSONNEL ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES TO A SELECTED HOME IF TRAVEL IS PERFORMED WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY. ONCE A HOME IS SELECTED AND TRAVEL THERETO IS PERFORMED, SUCH SELECTION IS IRREVOCABLE. PARAGRAPH 7012-1A PROVIDES FOR ENTITLEMENT UPON RETIREMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS TO THE HOME SELECTED BY THE MEMBER AND PARAGRAPH 8009-6A PROVIDES FOR THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THE HOME SELECTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4158. SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO ANY PLACE OTHER THAN HOME OF SELECTION IS NOT AUTHORIZED, COMPARATIVE COST NOTWITHSTANDING.

ON FEBRUARY 25, 1960, SERGEANT MAPP WAS INTERVIEWED BY AN INVESTIGATOR WITH RESPECT TO THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO A PLACE OTHER THAN THE PLACE HE HAD SELECTED AS HIS HOME. HE STATED THAT FOLLOWING RETIREMENT HE WENT TO BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, WHERE HIS FATHER RESIDES, FOR A SHORT VISIT ONLY. HE STATED FURTHER THAT HE EXECUTED THE FORM 0-1286 SOMETIME IN FEBRUARY 1958, AT WHICH TIME HE WAS LIVING IN ROCKLEDGE, FLORIDA, CLOSE TO CAPE CANAVERAL, WHERE HE WAS EMPLOYED. THE INVESTIGATOR VERIFIED THE FACT THAT THE MEMBER RESIDED IN ROCKLEDGE FROM JANUARY 15 TO APRIL 10, 1958, AND THAT ON FEBRUARY 14, 1958, HE PURCHASED A HOME IN SUNRISE BEACH, TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, INTO WHICH HE AND HIS FAMILY MOVED ON APRIL 10, 1958. IT IS NOTED THAT ON THE FORM FC USA 0-1286, WHICH HE EXECUTED IN SUPPORT OF HIS CLAIM FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS TO BELLE GLADE, HE ALSO STATED THAT HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WOULD BE SHIPPED TO ROUTE 1, TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, WHICH SUPPORTS HIS STATEMENTS THAT AT THAT TIME HE ACTUALLY INTENDED TO ESTABLISH A HOME IN TITUSVILLE AND CASTS DOUBT ON THE VALIDITY OF THE DESIGNATION OF BELLE GLADE AS THE HOME OF HIS SELECTION.

IN 36 COMP. GEN. 774-776 WE STATED:

"THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS IS TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR A MEMBER, HIS DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, TO A PLACE WHERE HE GOES TO RESIDE FOLLOWING RETIREMENT, AND UNTIL SUCH A PLACE HAS BEEN SELECTED AND TRAVEL TO IT FOR THAT PURPOSE HAS BEEN PERFORMED, NO RIGHT TO SUCH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES ACCRUES. SEE OUR DECISIONS B-123862, DATED OCTOBER 31, 1955, AND B-129742, DATED DECEMBER 19, 1956. THUS, THE INTENT TO ESTABLISH A HOME AT THE SELECTED PLACE, AT THE TIME OF TRAVEL THERETO BY A MEMBER, IS A NECESSARY CONDITION PRECEDENT TO A RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO SUCH PLACE. TRAVEL OF A MEMBER FOLLOWING HIS RETIREMENT TO A PLACE AT WHICH HE DOES NOT INTEND TO ESTABLISH A HOME, BUT MERELY TO VISIT, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS TRAVEL TO A SELECTED HOME AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS.'

ALTHOUGH THE MATTER IS NOT FREE FROM DOUBT, THE RECORD DOES INDICATE SOME MISUNDERSTANDING BY SERGEANT MAPP IN THE DESIGNATION OF THE HOME OF SELECTION. HE STATES IN HIS LETTER OF JULY 29, 1960, TO THE CHIEF, COLLECTION DIVISION, FINANCE CENTER, THAT HE WAS ADVISED ON THE PREPARATION OF HIS PAPERS FOR TRAVEL PAY AFTER RETIREMENT BY THE TRANSPORTATION AND FINANCE OFFICE AT PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA, WHICH IS NEAR HIS HOME. THE STATEMENT AS TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED DECEMBER 2-7, 1957, TO A HOME OF SELECTION MAY HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED BY THE MEMBER AS A FACTUAL STATEMENT OF THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED BY HIM AND HIS DEPENDENTS SINCE HE INDICATED ON THE SAME FORM THAT THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WOULD BE MADE TO ROUTE 1, TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE RECORD SHOWS SERGEANT MAPP INTENDED TO ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE IN TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, RATHER THAN BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, AND THAT THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WAS PROPERLY MADE TO HIS SELECTED HOME.

SINCE THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENTS ACTUALLY PERFORMED TRAVEL TO THE AREA IN WHICH HIS HOME WAS LOCATED AND PRESUMABLY HAD TRAVELED TO TITUSVILLE PRIOR TO THE FILING OF HIS APPLICATION FOR TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT, AND IN VIEW OF THE MISUNDERSTANDING IN THE MATTER, IT APPEARS THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE FOR HIS TRAVEL AND HIS DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL TO TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, AND THAT HE WAS OVERPAID FOR THE EXCESS DISTANCE TO BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA. ALSO, THE MEMBER SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REFUND $22.91 WHICH HE RECEIVED AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HIS BAGGAGE TO BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, SINCE THE SHIPMENT TO A PLACE OTHER THAN THE HOME OF SELECTION WAS NOT AUTHORIZED.

THE INDEBTEDNESS SHOULD BE RECOMPUTED ON THE BASIS STATED ABOVE AND APPROPRIATE ACTION TAKEN TO EFFECT COLLECTION OF SUCH AMOUNT.

BY LETTER OF TODAY THE HONORABLE A. SYDNEY HERLONG, JR., IS BEING ADVISED OF OUR CONCLUSIONS IN THE MATTER.