B-151308, MAY 7, 1963

B-151308: May 7, 1963

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YOU SAY THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED IN A U-HAUL VAN TRUCK PURSUANT TO TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 3-3-601. TERRELL FAILED TO SECURE THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SO TRANSPORTED SINCE HE SAYS A COPY OF THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS NOT RECEIVED BY HIM AT THAT TIME AND HE BELIEVED HE WOULD NOT BE REIMBURSED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION. THERE ALSO IS FURNISHED A STATEMENT BY TWO PERSONS WHO WERE HIRED BY MR. THEY SAY THE VEHICLE WAS COMPLETELY LOADED WITH HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS AND THAT ALL INSIDE SPACE WAS COMPLETELY OCCUPIED. TERRELL IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE (APPLICABLE IF SHIPMENT HAD BEEN BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND PORTLAND) FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BASED UPON THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT.

B-151308, MAY 7, 1963

TO MR. J. F. O-SHEA, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1963, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE TRANSMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF ROBERT M. TERRELL, JR., AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COVERING PAYMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

YOU SAY THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED IN A U-HAUL VAN TRUCK PURSUANT TO TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 3-3-601, OCTOBER 8, 1962, INCIDENT TO HIS CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO PORTLAND, OREGON, (EFFECTS ACTUALLY TRANSPORTED FROM NEW JERSEY TO PORTLAND, OREGON). HOWEVER, MR. TERRELL FAILED TO SECURE THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SO TRANSPORTED SINCE HE SAYS A COPY OF THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS NOT RECEIVED BY HIM AT THAT TIME AND HE BELIEVED HE WOULD NOT BE REIMBURSED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION. IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATEMENT OF THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT MR. TERRELL HAS FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT A STATEMENT BY THE VAN LINE GIVING THE INSIDE MEASUREMENTS OF THE VAN TRUCK TOGETHER WITH THE REGISTERED CUBIC FOOT LOADING SPACE OF THE VEHICLE (728 CUBIC FEET). THERE ALSO IS FURNISHED A STATEMENT BY TWO PERSONS WHO WERE HIRED BY MR. TERRELL TO UNLOAD THE VAN AT PORTLAND, OREGON. THEY SAY THE VEHICLE WAS COMPLETELY LOADED WITH HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS AND THAT ALL INSIDE SPACE WAS COMPLETELY OCCUPIED. THE RECEIPTS FURNISHED INDICATE EXPENDITURES OF AT LEAST $432.90 IN CONNECTION WITH THE RENTAL OF THE TRUCK.

YOU NOW REQUEST TO BE ADVISED IF MR. TERRELL IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE (APPLICABLE IF SHIPMENT HAD BEEN BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND PORTLAND) FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BASED UPON THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT.

SECTIONS 1.10A AND 2.1G OF THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, CIRCULAR NO. A-56, EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 1962, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"1.10 A. STATEMENT OF WEIGHT. WHEN CHARGES FOR TRANSPORTATION ARE BASED UPON WEIGHT, THE ACTUAL (NOT ESTIMATED) WEIGHT SHALL BE SHOWN.

"2.1 G. DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED. IN SUPPORT OF CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM EMPLOYEES SHALL SUBMIT (1) THE ORIGINAL OR A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE RECEIPTED WAREHOUSE BILL FOR TEMPORARY STORAGE AND (2) IN SUPPORT OF TRANSPORTATION, THE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING OR CERTIFIED COPIES, OR, IF BILLS OF LADING ARE NOT AVAILABLE, OTHER EVIDENCE SHOWING POINT OF ORIGIN, DESTINATION AND WEIGHT. IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE AT POINT OF ORIGIN, AT ANY POINT EN ROUTE, OR AT DESTINATION, A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT BASED ON SEVEN POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE, MAY BE USED. * * *.'

THE FOREGOING METHODS ARE PRECISE AND EXCLUSIVE IN DETERMINING THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND EFFECTS TRANSPORTED IN THOSE CASES WHERE REIMBURSEMENT IS SOUGHT ON A COMMUTED BASIS UNDER SECTION 1 (B) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-1 (B) AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO. AN EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED BASIS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS MUST BE BASED UPON THE ACTUAL WEIGHT SHOWN BY BILLS OF LADING OR IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH BILLS OTHERWISE ESTABLISHED BY EVIDENCE OF EQUAL PROBATIVE VALUE. IN THE ALTERNATIVE WHEN SCALES ARE NOT AVAILABLE A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT BASED UPON SEVEN POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE OCCUPIED IS ACCEPTABLE.

IN VIEW OF THE EVIDENCE AS TO THE CAPACITY OF THE TRUCK AND THE LOADING THEREOF AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT MR. TERRELL'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN WEIGHT RECEIPTS RESULTED FROM NOT BEING AWARE THAT HE MIGHT BE ENTITLED TO ANY PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WE FEEL THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY MET IN THIS INSTANCE FOR PAYMENT TO BE MADE AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR 728 CUBIC FEET OR 5,096 POUNDS.

THEREFORE, THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, IT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.