B-146500, AUG. 15, 1961

B-146500: Aug 15, 1961

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

AGC: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29. YOU WERE TRANSFERRED ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON. INCIDENT TO THESE ORDERS YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM YOUR OLD DUTY STATION TO INDIANAPOLIS. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM THE STUDENT DETACHMENT AT FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON. EFFECTIVE UPON COMPLETION OF THE COURSE OF INSTRUCTION YOU WERE THEN ATTENDING AND ASSIGNED AS PERMANENT PARTY PERSONNEL AT THE SAME INSTALLATION. NO TRAVEL WAS INVOLVED AND NO PER DIEM WAS AUTHORIZED. YOUR EFFECTS WERE PICKED UP AT YOUR RESIDENCE AT INDIANAPOLIS. YOU WERE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF THE SHIPMENT. A FULL EXPLANATION OF THE COMPUTATION OF THE COSTS INVOLVED ($205.80) WAS FURNISHED TO YOU BY THE FINANCE CENTER.

B-146500, AUG. 15, 1961

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL W. M. HOLDRIDGE, AGC:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29, 1961, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF MAY 9, 1961, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA TO HARRISON VILLAGE AT FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA.

BY ORDERS DATED APRIL 15, 1958, HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, WASHINGTON, D.C., YOU WERE TRANSFERRED ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, FOR THE PURPOSE OF UNDERGOING A COURSE OF INSTRUCTION FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY NINE MONTHS. INCIDENT TO THESE ORDERS YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM YOUR OLD DUTY STATION TO INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. BY ORDERS DATED MARCH 12, 1959, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM THE STUDENT DETACHMENT AT FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON, INDIANA, EFFECTIVE UPON COMPLETION OF THE COURSE OF INSTRUCTION YOU WERE THEN ATTENDING AND ASSIGNED AS PERMANENT PARTY PERSONNEL AT THE SAME INSTALLATION. NO TRAVEL WAS INVOLVED AND NO PER DIEM WAS AUTHORIZED.

BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. WY 9 150 515 ISSUED ON AUGUST 18, 1959, YOUR EFFECTS WERE PICKED UP AT YOUR RESIDENCE AT INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, AND DELIVERED BY VAN TO YOUR NEW RESIDENCE AT HARRISON VILLAGE, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. SINCE ORDERS ASSIGNING MEMBERS AS PERMANENT PERSONNEL AT THE SAME INSTALLATION AT WHICH THEY ATTENDED A COURSE OF INSTRUCTION IN PERMANENT DUTY STATUS DO NOT AUTHORIZE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, YOU WERE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF THE SHIPMENT. A FULL EXPLANATION OF THE COMPUTATION OF THE COSTS INVOLVED ($205.80) WAS FURNISHED TO YOU BY THE FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, BY LETTER OF MAY 24, 1960. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE AMOUNT OF $205.80 WAS COLLECTED FROM YOU BY THE GOVERNMENT. YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THIS AMOUNT WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 9, 1961.

THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 37 U.S.C. 253. THAT SECTION PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER SHALL BE ENTITLED IN CONNECTION WITH A CHANGE OF STATION TO TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, TEMPORARY STORAGE, AND UNPACKING OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO AND FROM SUCH LOCATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY CONCERNED. THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY BASICALLY IS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OR FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MILITARY PERSONNEL TO AND FROM SUCH LOCATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF STATION OF THE MEMBER. PARAGRAPH 1150-10A OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DEFINES A PERMANENT STATION AS THE POST OF DUTY OR OFFICIAL STATION (INCLUDING THE HOME YARD OR HOME PORT OF A VESSEL) TO WHICH A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED FOR DUTY OTHER THAN TEMPORARY DUTY OR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY, THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS STATIONED. ALSO, PARAGRAPH 8051-4 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES FOR NECESSARY DRAYAGE OR HAULING OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM ONE AREA TO ANOTHER WITHIN THE SAME CITY, TOWN, OR METROPOLITAN AREA, WHEN IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OR UPON DEATH OF THE OWNER, OR AS AUTHORIZED IN PARAGRAPH 8304. THE LATTER PARAGRAPH PROVIDES FOR DRAYAGE AND STORAGE INCIDENT TO ASSIGNMENT, REASSIGNMENT,OR TERMINATION OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS.

THE ORDERS OF MARCH 12, 1959, MERELY DIRECTED A CHANGE IN YOUR DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, FROM THAT OF STUDENT UNDERGOING INSTRUCTION TO DUTY WITH THE STAFF AND FACULTY OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL'S SCHOOL. YOU WERE NOT TRANSFERRED TO A "DIFFERENT DUTY STATION" AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE REGULATIONS NOR WERE YOU ASSIGNED TO GOVERNMENT QUARTERS. THEREFORE, THERE IS NO ENTITLEMENT FOR THE MOVEMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. SEE B-140962, NOVEMBER 27, 1959, IN WHICH WE HELD THAT A PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. THAT DECISION DID NOT ANNOUNCE ANY NEW INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW OR REGULATIONS BUT WAS IN ACCORD WITH PRIOR DECISIONS HOLDING THAT A CHANGE IN PERMANENT DUTY ASSIGNMENTS AT THE SAME INSTALLATION CONSTITUTES NO BASIS FOR MOVEMENT OF THE MEMBER'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. SEE B-120526, SEPTEMBER 26, 1956, AND B- 132258, AUGUST 6, 1957.

WHILE IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON MISCONSTRUED THE REGULATIONS AND ERRONEOUSLY ISSUED THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WHICH AUTHORIZED THE MOVEMENT OF YOUR EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, THE COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES DEFINITELY HAVE ESTABLISHED THE RULE THAT MONEY PAID OUT ON AN ERRONEOUS DETERMINATION OF LAW BY OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE RECOVERED BACK FROM THE RECIPIENT. SEE 22 COMP. GEN. 952. ALSO, PERSONS RECEIVING BENEFIT OF A SERVICE ERRONEOUSLY PAID FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT ARE LIABLE IN EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE TO PAY FOR SUCH SERVICE. SEE UNITED STATES V. BENTLEY, 107 F.2D 382, AND UNITED STATES V. SUTTON CHEMICAL COMPANY, 11 F.2D 24. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, SINCE THE MOVEMENT OF YOUR EFFECTS TO HARRISON VILLAGE, FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON WAS NOT LEGALLY AUTHORIZED, YOU WERE PROPERLY CHARGED WITH THE COST OF THE MOVE.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM, THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 9, 1961, IS SUSTAINED.