B-153386, FEB. 25, 1964

B-153386: Feb 25, 1964

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THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU ARE A UNITED STATES CITIZEN HIRED LOCALLY AT VERONA. AT WHICH TIME YOU WERE DETERMINED ELIGIBLE FOR AND SIGNED A TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENT WHICH SPECIFIED YOUR PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT AS WASHINGTON. WERE ISSUED AUTHORIZING YOUR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES AND ALSO AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. YOU WERE ERRONEOUSLY REIMBURSED $299.36 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM VERONA TO FLORENCE. THE RIGHT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM SERVICE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO RETURN TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO THE UNITED STATES IN PROPER CIRCUMSTANCES IS GRANTED BY SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946.

B-153386, FEB. 25, 1964

TO MR. GUIDO PIGNATELLI:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR REGISTERED LETTER NO. 2031, RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE JANUARY 3, 1964, CONCERNING YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $299.36 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM VERONA TO FLORENCE, ITALY.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU ARE A UNITED STATES CITIZEN HIRED LOCALLY AT VERONA, ITALY, EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 24, 1958, AT WHICH TIME YOU WERE DETERMINED ELIGIBLE FOR AND SIGNED A TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENT WHICH SPECIFIED YOUR PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT AS WASHINGTON, D.C.

YOU RESIGNED OVERSEAS JANUARY 4, 1961, DUE TO THE ILLNESS OF YOUR FATHER WHO RESIDED IN ITALY. TRAVEL ORDERS, DATED JANUARY 16, 1961, WERE ISSUED AUTHORIZING YOUR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES AND ALSO AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. HOWEVER, YOU ELECTED TO TRAVEL TO FLORENCE, ITALY, INSTEAD OF RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES FOR SEPARATION. YOU WERE ERRONEOUSLY REIMBURSED $299.36 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM VERONA TO FLORENCE, ITALY.

THE RIGHT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM SERVICE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO RETURN TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO THE UNITED STATES IN PROPER CIRCUMSTANCES IS GRANTED BY SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 808, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3. SECTION 7 PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/A) APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF NEW APPOINTEES, EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES AND EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT TO PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, AND FOR SUCH EXPENSES ON RETURN OF EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACES OF THEIR ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED UNLESS AND UNTIL THE PERSON SELECTED FOR APPOINTMENT SHALL AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR TWELVE MONTHS FOLLOWING HIS APPOINTMENT, UNLESS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED AND IN CASE OF VIOLATION OF SUCH AGREEMENT ANY MONEYS EXPENDED BY THE UNITED STATES ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE RECOVERABLE FROM THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED AS A DEBT DUE THE UNITED STATES * * *"

THE RIGHT TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION UPON SEPARATION IS ALLOWABLE ONLY IF THE SEPARATED EMPLOYEE RETURNS TO THE UNITED STATES INCIDENT TO HIS SEPARATION AND WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME THEREOF. IN 28 COMP. GEN. 285, AT PAGE 289, WE SAID:

"WHERE AN EMPLOYEE DOES NOT RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AS AN INCIDENT TO THE TERMINATION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, THE STATUTES MAY NOT REASONABLY BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF ANY OF THE EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH THE RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEE, HIS FAMILY, OR HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS TO THE UNITED STATES. THAT IS, WHERE AN EMPLOYEE FOR VOLUNTARY PERSONAL REASONS ELECTS NOT TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AFTER THE DATE THAT HIS ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN TERMINATED, THEN HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES IS NOT IN FACT INCIDENTAL TO THE TERMINATION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND NONE OF THE EXPENSES OF THAT RETURN IS PAYABLE UNDER SECTION 7 OF THE STATUTE, SUPRA. THE ORDER AUTHORIZING THE RETURN TRAVEL OF THE EMPLOYEE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY PROVIDE ONLY FOR THE LAPSE OF A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME--- THE LENGTH OF WHICH TO BE DEPENDENT UPON ALL THE ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES, SUCH AS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE EXISTENCE OF AVAILABLE FACILITIES UNDER THE CONDITIONS MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER- - BETWEEN THE TERMINATION OF THE DUTY AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE TRAVEL.'

SEE ALSO 37 COMP. GEN. 502.

THEREFORE, SINCE THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO FLORENCE, ITALY, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO INSIST ON REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.

PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER PAYABLE TO THE "U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE" AND FORWARDED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

U. S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

POST OFFICE BOX 2610

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20013 REFERENCE SHOULD BE MADE TO DW-Z-1382250-DEM.