B-150680, MAR. 27, 1963

B-150680: Mar 27, 1963

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AFROW: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 22. WHILE YOU WERE SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES. SUBMITTED WITH THE ENCLOSURES IS A COPY OF OUR LETTER. WE DO NOT HAVE BEFORE US SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE SHIPMENT WAS PROPER OR WHETHER THE AUTHORIZATION WOULD AFFORD ANY BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE.'. YOU HAVE NOW FURNISHED A COPY OF THE AUTHORIZATION FROM HEADQUARTERS. IS APPROVED FROM TOBYHANNA. THE DOCUMENTS SUPPORTING THE AUTHORIZATION FOR SHIPMENT SHOW THAT IT WAS GRANTED IN RESPONSE TO YOUR APPLICATION OF MAY 15. WERE ADVANCED AS THE REASONS FOR REQUESTING SUCH SHIPMENT. AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE SHIPMENT YOU AGREED TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FULL COSTS OF SHIPMENT IF YOUR RELEASE ORDERS WERE NOT ISSUED.

B-150680, MAR. 27, 1963

TO MR. MITCHELL L. AFROW:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 22, 1963, WITH ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY YOUR WIFE FROM TOBYHANNA, PENNSYLVANIA, TO CHELSEA, MASSACHUSETTS, WHILE YOU WERE SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.

SUBMITTED WITH THE ENCLOSURES IS A COPY OF OUR LETTER, B-150680, DATED FEBRUARY 5, 1963, TO THE HONORABLE LEVERETT SALTONSTALL, UNITED STATES SENATE, CONTAINING THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

"REGARDING THE STATEMENTS MADE BY LIEUTENANT AFROW TO YOUR STAFF CONCERNING THE SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO HIS HOME PRIOR TO HIS DISCHARGE, HE HAS NOT FURNISHED A COPY OF THE AUTHORIZATION FOR SUCH SHIPMENT AND, HENCE, WE DO NOT HAVE BEFORE US SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE SHIPMENT WAS PROPER OR WHETHER THE AUTHORIZATION WOULD AFFORD ANY BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE.'

YOU HAVE NOW FURNISHED A COPY OF THE AUTHORIZATION FROM HEADQUARTERS, SECOND UNITED STATES ARMY, FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MARYLAND, DATED MAY 21, 1962, FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY OF DA MESSAGES 488963, 16 JANUARY 1957, 493541, 31 JANUARY 1957, AND PARAGRAPH 8015-1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF 1ST LT. MITCHELL L. AFROW, 05002966, IS APPROVED FROM TOBYHANNA, PENNSYLVANIA TO BEVERLY, MASSACHUSETTS, PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF SEPARATION ORDERS.'

THE DOCUMENTS SUPPORTING THE AUTHORIZATION FOR SHIPMENT SHOW THAT IT WAS GRANTED IN RESPONSE TO YOUR APPLICATION OF MAY 15, 1962, WHEREIN THE ANTICIPATED COMPLETION ON OCTOBER 2, 1962, OF YOUR TWO-YEAR OBLIGATED TERM OF DUTY AND THE "COST OF SUPPORTING TWO APARTMENTS" DURING THE INTERIM AFTER JULY 9, 1962, WERE ADVANCED AS THE REASONS FOR REQUESTING SUCH SHIPMENT. IN PROCESSING YOUR APPLICATION, THE ADJUTANT AT TOBYHANNASIGNAL DEPOT ATTACHED A STATEMENT DATED MAY 16, 1962, THAT PERSONNEL RECORDS INDICATED THE DATE OF YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE TO BE OCTOBER 2, 1962. AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE SHIPMENT YOU AGREED TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FULL COSTS OF SHIPMENT IF YOUR RELEASE ORDERS WERE NOT ISSUED.

PARAGRAPH 8015-1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CITED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE SHIPMENT IN THE AUTHORIZATION OF MAY 21, 1962, PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF ORDERS EXCEPT IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, EXIGENCY OF THE SERVICE, OR WHEN REQUIRED BY SERVICE NECESSITY, AS DETERMINED BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICE CONCERNED. THAT REGULATION IS ISSUED UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 406 OF TITLE 37, U.S.C. WHICH PROVIDES IN PART THAT A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE ,WHO IS ORDERED TO MAKE A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION" IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, WITHIN SUCH WEIGHT ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, AND THAT WHEN ORDERS DIRECTING A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION FOR THE MEMBERS HAVE NOT BEEN ISSUED THE SECRETARIES MAY AUTHORIZE THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ONLY UNDER UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES.

IT HAS BEEN OUR VIEW THAT THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN NO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED RELATES GENERALLY TO EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH THE MEMBER HAS LITTLE OR NO CONTROL. IN THIS CONNECTION, WE HAVE HELD THAT PERSONAL FINANCIAL MATTERS MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED AND CODIFIED IN 37 U.S.C. 406. SEE 38 COMP. GEN. 28; AND B 147826, JANUARY 18, 1962 (COPIES ENCLOSED). HENCE, IT IS QUESTIONABLE WHETHER THE EXPENSE OF MAINTAINING TWO APARTMENTS AS STATED IN YOUR APPLICATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN VIEWED AS CONSTITUTING AN "EMERGENCY" WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTE AND REGULATIONS. HOWEVER THAT MAY BE, THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE MOVEMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR SUCH REASON AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF YOUR ORDERS. IN THIS REGARD IT MAY BE NOTED THAT THE QUOTED COMMENT IN THE LETTER TO SENATOR SALTONSTALL RELATED TO YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND NOT TO YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR DEPENDENTS.

AS STATED IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 5, 1963, PARAGRAPH 7000-9 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS LIMITS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A MEMBER'S DEPENDENTS WHO DEPART THE OLD PERMANENT STATION PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS, TO THOSE CASES WHERE THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE THAT THE MEMBER WAS ADVISED PRIOR TO THE DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL THAT SUCH ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED. THE ENCLOSURES SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER DO NOT CONTAIN SUCH A STATEMENT NOR DO THEY INDICATE THAT ORDERS EFFECTING YOUR RELEASE WERE ACTUALLY IN THE PROCESS OF BEING ISSUED AT THE TIME OF YOUR DEPENDENT'S DEPARTURE. WHILE YOU AND THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES WERE AWARE WHEN YOU APPLIED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS THAT THE SCHEDULED TERMINATION DATE OF YOUR ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT WAS OCTOBER 2, 1962, THIS FACT HAD BEEN KNOWN FROM THE TIME OF YOUR ENTRY ON ACTIVE DUTY AND YOUR RELEASE DATE WAS MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF YOUR APPLICATION. WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS IN ADVANCE OF ORDERS CONTEMPLATE MOVEMENT DURING THE COMPARATIVELY SHORT PERIOD BETWEEN THE TIME IT IS DEFINITELY DETERMINED TO ISSUE THE ORDERS AND THE DATE ON WHICH ORDERS ACTUALLY ARE ISSUED. GENERAL INFORMATION AS TO THE TIME OF EVENTUAL RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, EVEN IF CORRECT, AS WAS THE CASE HERE, IS INSUFFICIENT TO MEET THE REQUIREMENT OF THE REGULATIONS. 34 COMP. GEN. 241. IT SEEMS CLEAR FROM YOUR AGREEMENT TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF SHIPPING YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN CASE YOUR RELEASE ORDERS WERE NOT ISSUED AS SCHEDULED THAT THERE HAD BEEN NO DEFINITE DETERMINATION TO ISSUE SUCH ORDERS AT THE TIME YOUR DEPENDENTS PERFORMED THE TRAVEL TO CHELSEA, MASSACHUSETTS.

ACCORDINGLY, THE MATERIAL FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL.