B-153515, JANUARY 4, 1967, 46 COMP. GEN. 595

B-153515: Jan 4, 1967

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OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - EFFECTIVE DATE SINCE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IS THE DATE OF ENTRANCE ON DUTY AT THE NEW STATION. 1966 ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE MOVING EXPENSES AND OTHER BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21. WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT WHICH WERE INCURRED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT IS NOT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OF THE TYPE THAT PERMITS A RETROACTIVE CHANGE IN THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSFER TO ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT. ERRORS WHICH MAY BE RETROACTIVELY CORRECTED TO INCREASE OR DECREASE BENEFITS TO EMPLOYEES ARE ADMINISTRATIVE OR CLERICAL ERRORS ALTERING THE INTENT OF THE OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTION.

B-153515, JANUARY 4, 1967, 46 COMP. GEN. 595

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - EFFECTIVE DATE SINCE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IS THE DATE OF ENTRANCE ON DUTY AT THE NEW STATION, EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED EFFECTIVE JULY 18, 1966 ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE MOVING EXPENSES AND OTHER BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1966, AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, WHICH CONDITION THE ALLOWANCE OF THE BENEFITS UPON THE EMPLOYEE REPORTING FOR DUTY AT THE NEW STATION AND INCURRING REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES ON OR AFTER JULY 21, 1966. ADMINISTRATIVE ERRORS - CORRECTION - EFFECTIVE DATE - TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES THE ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION THAT EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516, APPROVED ON JULY 21, 1966, WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT WHICH WERE INCURRED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT IS NOT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OF THE TYPE THAT PERMITS A RETROACTIVE CHANGE IN THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSFER TO ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT. ERRORS WHICH MAY BE RETROACTIVELY CORRECTED TO INCREASE OR DECREASE BENEFITS TO EMPLOYEES ARE ADMINISTRATIVE OR CLERICAL ERRORS ALTERING THE INTENT OF THE OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTION. HOWEVER, DELAYED DOCUMENTATION OF A STATION CHANGE UNTIL AFTER AN EMPLOYEE BEGAN TO WORK AT HIS NEW STATION WOULD NOT PREVENT THE CHANGE FROM BECOMING EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY IF THE CHANGE HAD BEEN ORDERED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY AND THE EMPLOYEE HAD BEEN NOTIFIED OF THE CHANGE.

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, JANUARY 4, 1967:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21, 1966, CONCERNING THE APPLICABILITY OF MOVING EXPENSES AND OTHER BENEFITS AS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89-516, 80 STAT. 323, 5 U.S.C. 5724, TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 7, WHO WERE TRANSFERRED WITH THEIR OFFICES FROM DALLAS TEXAS, TO FORT WORTH, TEXAS, IN JULY 1966.

BY MEMORANDUM OF MARCH 25, 1966, CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 7, WERE INDIVIDUALLY NOTIFIED THAT THE LOCATION OF THEIR OFFICE WAS TO BE MOVED FROM DALLAS TO FORT WORTH ON OR ABOUT JULY 15, 1966. ALL EMPLOYEES CONCERNED WERE OFFERED AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRANSFER TO THE NEW LOCATION IN THE SAME GRADE, POSITION AND SALARY. ON JULY 14, 1966, THE ACTING REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, REGION 7, BY GSA ORDER NO. 7ADM 3800.2, ADVISED THE EMPLOYEES WHO HAD INDICATED THEY WOULD ACCEPT TRANSFERS TO FORT WORTH AS FOLLOWS:

A. EFFECTIVE MONDAY, JULY 18, 1966, ALL DESIGNATED EMPLOYEES, EXCEPT THOSE IN THE OFFICE OF REGIONAL DATA AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND THE OFFICE OF THE REGIONAL INTERAGENCY ADPS COORDINATOR, SHALL REPORT TO THEIR OFFICES IN THE FEDERAL OFFICE BUILDING, 819 TAYLOR STREET, FORT WORTH, TEXAS.

B. EFFECTIVE MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 1966, ALL DESIGNATED EMPLOYEES IN THE OFFICE OF REGIONAL DATA AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND THE OFFICE OF THE REGIONAL INTERAGENCY ADPS COORDINATOR SHALL REPORT TO THEIR OFFICES IN THE FEDERAL OFFICE BUILDING, 819 TAYLOR STREET, FORT WORTH, TEXAS.

ON JULY 22, 1966, THE CHANGE OF STATION OF THE EMPLOYEES COVERED BY SUBPARAGRAPH "A" WAS DOCUMENTED BY THE PRINTING OF "790 MASS CHANGE" LISTS ISSUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, SUPPLEMENT 296-31, TABLE 6. THOSE LISTS, COPIES OF WHICH WERE FURNISHED THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED ON JULY 25, CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

EFFECTIVE ON JULY 16, 1966, THE EMPLOYEES LISTED BELOW WERE CHANGED FROM GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 7, DALLAS, TEXAS, TO GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 7, FORT WORTH, TEXAS * * *.

YOU ASK WHETHER THE EMPLOYEES WHO REPORTED FOR DUTY IN FORT WORTH ON JULY 18 PURSUANT TO THE ORDER OF JULY 14 AND THE MASS CHANGE PRINTED JULY 22 ARE ENTITLED TO THE ADDITIONAL BENEFITS WHICH WERE AUTHORIZED FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516, AS IMPLEMENTED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 6, JULY 26, 1966, AND CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, OCTOBER 12, 1966.

EXCEPT FOR THE PROVISION RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO ISOLATED DUTY STATIONS CIRCULAR NO. A-56 CONDITIONED THE ALLOWANCE OF THE BENEFITS AUTHORIZED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516 UPON (1) THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER OF STATION (THE DATE HE REPORTS FOR DUTY AT THE NEW STATION) BEING ON OR AFTER JULY 21, THE DATE OF ENACTMENT, AND (2) THE INCURRING OF REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES ON OR AFTER THAT DATE.

YOU SUGGEST THAT JULY 25, THE DATE THE EMPLOYEES WHO BEGAN TO WORK IN FORT WORTH ON JULY 18 WERE FURNISHED COPIES OF THE MASS CHANGE DOCUMENT, SHOULD BE CONSIDERED THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THEIR TRANSFER FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSIDERING THEIR ELIGIBILITY FOR PAYMENT OF BENEFITS PROVIDED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516. AS NOTED ABOVE THE CONTROLLING REGULATION PROVIDES THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER IS THE DATE HE REPORTS FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW STATION. FURTHER, OUR OFFICE HAS HELD THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IS THE DATE HE ACTUALLY ENTERS ON DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. 28 COMP. GEN. 285, 288; 26 ID. 293; 23 ID. 32. A DELAY IN ISSUING FORMAL DOCUMENTATION OF SUCH A CHANGE OF STATION UNTIL AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEGUN TO WORK AT THE NEW STATION DOES NOT PREVENT THE CHANGE FROM BECOMING EFFECTIVE ON THE DAY THE EMPLOYEE REPORTS FOR DUTY AT THE NEW STATION IF THE CHANGE WAS ORDERED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY AND IF THE EMPLOYEE WAS PROPERLY NOTIFIED OF SUCH CHANGE. 30 COMP. GEN. 94; 24 ID. 593.

PRESUMABLY THE ACTING REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR HAD AUTHORITY TO DIRECT EMPLOYEES CONCERNED TO TRANSFER TO THEIR NEW STATION ON JULY 18. THE MASS CHANGE DOCUMENT SUPPORTS THAT VIEW IN THAT IT DID NOT ORDER THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED TO REPORT TO FORT WORTH BUT CONFIRMED THE FACT THAT THEY HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED TO FORT WORTH ON JULY 16--- THE SATURDAY BEFORE THE MONDAY REPORTING DATE SPECIFIED IN THE ORDER OF JULY 14. ALSO, THE ORDER OF JULY 14 WAS APPARENTLY FURNISHED ALL EMPLOYEES CONCERNED.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS PRESENTED WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO HOLD THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE DIRECTED TO REPORT TO WORK IN FORT WORTH ON JULY 18 AND DID SO REPORT WAS JULY 18.

IN REQUIRING THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED TO REPORT TO THEIR NEW DUTY STATION IN FORT WORTH PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 ON JULY 21, 1966, OFFICIALS OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ERRONEOUSLY ASSUMED THAT THE EMPLOYEES SO TRANSFERRED WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES AS AUTHORIZED BY THE NEW LAW IF SUCH EXPENSES WERE INCURRED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT. ERRORS WHICH MAY BE RETROACTIVELY CORRECTED TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE BENEFITS ALLOWABLE TO EMPLOYEES ARE ADMINISTRATIVE OR CLERICAL ERRORS WHICH ALTER THE SPECIFIC INTENT OF THE OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTION. SINCE THE ACTING REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR INTENDED THAT THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED WOULD WORK IN FORT WORTH ON AND AFTER JULY 18 THE ACTION TAKEN WAS NOT THE RESULT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OF THE TYPE WHICH WILL PERMIT A RETROACTIVE CHANGE IN THE EFFECTIVE DATE.

WE NOTE FROM THE RECORD THAT EIGHT EMPLOYEES WHO REPORTED FOR DUTY ON JULY 18 HAD RECEIVED TRAVEL ORDERS AND HAD MOVED PRIOR TO THAT DATE. ALSO, THE RECORD INDICATES THAT OTHERS WHO REPORTED FOR DUTY ON AUGUST 29, 1966, RECEIVED TRAVEL ORDERS AND MOVED PRIOR TO JULY 18, 1966.

THE BENEFITS AUTHORIZED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516 WERE MADE SUBJECT TO REGULATIONS TO BE ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESIDENT BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11290, JULY 21, 1966, DELEGATED HIS AUTHORITY IN THAT REGARD TO THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET. THE PROVISION OF SECTION 25 (B) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS ADDED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516, 5 U.S.C. 5726 (B), TO WHICH YOU REFER, IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO PAYMENTS FOR THE NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN ISOLATED LOCATIONS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. THERE IS NO INDICATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED SECTION 25 (B) TO BE APPLICABLE TO THE OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, OR WHETHER IT WAS INTENDED TO BE A RESTRICTION OR A LIBERALIZATION. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE INCLUSION OF SECTION 25 (B) MAY BE INTERPRETED AS LIMITING THE REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET WITH REGARD TO OTHER SECTIONS OF THE SAME LAW.

FURTHER, THERE IS NO SPECIFIC INDICATION IN THE HISTORY OF PUBLIC LAW 89- 516 THAT THE REGULATORY AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE PRESIDENT WAS LIMITED TO THE EXTENT THAT HE WAS REQUIRED TO ALLOW PAYMENT OF ALL EXPENSES AUTHORIZED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516 ON THE BASIS OF THE DATE REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE WAS TRANSFERRED TO HIS NEW STATION. IN THAT CONNECTION WE NOTE THAT IF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET HAD NOT RESTRICTED AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT ON THE BASIS OF THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED TO HIS NEW STATION EMPLOYEES WHO WERE TRANSFERRED AS MUCH AS 2 YEARS BEFORE THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 COULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED AS ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES WHICH WERE INCURRED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT. THIS IS SO BECAUSE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS PERMITTED ALLOWABLE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO BEGIN WITHIN 2 YEARS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER. ALSO, WE NOTE THAT PRIOR TO ISSUING THE REGULATIONS ON OCTOBER 12, 1966, THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, HAD BEEN INFORMED OF YOUR AGENCY'S OBJECTIONS TO THE PROVISION LIMITING THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT TO EMPLOYEES REPORTING FOR DUTY AT THEIR NEW DUTY STATIONS ON OR AFTER JULY 21, 1966.

FOR THE REASONS STATED WE MUST HOLD THAT EMPLOYEES WHO WERE ORDERED TO REPORT AND REPORTED FOR WORK IN FORT WORTH, THEIR NEW DUTY STATION, ON JULY 18, 1966, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE ADDITIONAL BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89-516.

IN VIEW OF THE EQUITIES INVOLVED IN FAVOR OF THE EMPLOYEES WE HAVE ADVISED CONGRESSMAN JIM WRIGHT BY LETTER OF TODAY THAT WE WOULD SUPPORT LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN THE 90TH CONGRESS FOR THEIR RELIEF.