B-153859, APR. 29, 1964

B-153859: Apr 29, 1964

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AT THE TIME THE GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED TO FARMINGTON THE EMPLOYEE WAS PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY AT THAT STATION. THE SHIPMENTS PRECEDED BOTH THE DATE OF HIS SELECTION FOR PERMANENT TRANSFER TO FARMINGTON AND THE DATE HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED (FEBRUARY 19. SINCE THE GOODS WERE NEITHER WEIGHED NOR MEASURED. STATES THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE AND THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE PROPER OFFICIAL. THE FACT THAT THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED PRIOR TO PROPER AUTHORIZATION WOULD NOT. WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME. SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS.

B-153859, APR. 29, 1964

TO MR. C. L. HARRIS, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 30, 1964, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE TRANSMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF NEWCOMB B. BENNETT III, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, REPRESENTING PAYMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE EMPLOYEE TRANSPORTED HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY PRIVATELY-OWNED PICKUP FROM MONTROSE, COLORADO TO FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO-- - A DISTANCE OF 160 MILES--- ON JANUARY 12 AND JANUARY 25, 1964. AT THE TIME THE GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED TO FARMINGTON THE EMPLOYEE WAS PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY AT THAT STATION. THE SHIPMENTS PRECEDED BOTH THE DATE OF HIS SELECTION FOR PERMANENT TRANSFER TO FARMINGTON AND THE DATE HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED (FEBRUARY 19, 1964).

THE EMPLOYEE HAS STATED ON HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER THAT HE HAULED HIS EFFECTS IN TWO "FULL LOADS" IN HIS OWN PICKUP, THE LOAD SPACE OF WHICH MEASURES 8 BY 4 BY 5 FEET GIVING A VOLUME OF 160 CUBIC FEET. SINCE THE GOODS WERE NEITHER WEIGHED NOR MEASURED, SUCH STATEMENT CONSTITUTES THE ONLY MEANS OF DETERMINING THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SHIPPED. USING 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT THE EMPLOYEE CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR 2,240 POUNDS AT THE COMMUTED RATE OF $6.60 PER CWT. OR $147.84.

NOTIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ACTION DATED FEBRUARY 18, 1964, STATES THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE AND THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE PROPER OFFICIAL. THEREFORE, THE FACT THAT THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED PRIOR TO PROPER AUTHORIZATION WOULD NOT, BY ITSELF, CONSTITUTE A BAR TO THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT. HOWEVER, WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME, SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS, MAY NOT BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. IN THAT REGARD, SECTION 2.1G OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED. IN SUPPORT OF CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM EMPLOYEES SHALL SUBMIT * * * (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 THE 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 RECORD IN THIS CASE FAILS TO SHOW THAT ADEQUATE WEIGHING FACILITIES WERE NOT AVAILABLE AND, THEREFORE, MR. BENNETT IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT BASIS. B-152697, NOVEMBER 18, 1963, COPY ENCLOSED. HOWEVER, IF ADEQUATE SCALES, IN FACT, WERE NOT AVAILABLE, IT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO FURNISH A LIST OF THE ITEMS TRANSPORTED TOGETHER WITH THE ACTUAL VOLUME OCCUPIED BY EACH--- BASED ON ACTUAL MEASUREMENT OR A UNIFORM TABLE, PREFERABLY PREPARED BY A COMMON CARRIER. SEE B-148627, MAY 11, 1962, COPY ENCLOSED. A STATEMENT OF ONLY THE CUBIC CAPACITY OF A TRUCK, SUCH AS WE HAVE HERE, DOES NOT ESTABLISH THE CUBIC VOLUME OF PROPERLY LOADED HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPPED SINCE SUCH VEHICLE MAY BE IMPROPERLY OR ONLY PARTIALLY LOADED.

THEREFORE, ON THE PRESENT RECORD MR. BENNETT IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.