B-154336, JUN. 17, 1964

B-154336: Jun 17, 1964

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THE RECORD SHOWS THAT FRESNO WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S FIRST DUTY STATION. TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WERE AUTHORIZED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 73B 3. THE TRAVEL WAS ACCOMPLISHED AND THE EFFECTS WERE TRANSPORTED BY PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND RENTED U-HAUL TRAILER ON JANUARY 6. THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR MILEAGE (222 MILES AT 12 CENTS) FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE AND HIMSELF WAS NOT QUESTIONED. WAS REDUCED TO THE ACTUAL RENTAL COST OF THE TRAILER ($28.25) FOR THE REASON THAT NO WEIGHT CERTIFICATE WAS FURNISHED. IF BILLS OF LADING ARE NOT AVAILABLE. IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE AT THE POINT OF ORIGIN. MAY BE USED * * *" YOU SAY THAT IT IS CUSTOMARY IN CASES OF THIS TYPE TO FURNISH THE EMPLOYEE A FORM LETTER OUTLINING THE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES.

B-154336, JUN. 17, 1964

TO MR. M. E. BOOTH, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, FOREST SERVICE, CALIFORNIA REGION:

BY LETTER DATED APRIL 24, 1964 (RECEIVED JUNE 2, 1964), FILE 6540, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER FOR $118.75, CLAIMED BY ROLAND A. PEARSON, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, AS ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM SAN GABRIEL, CALIFORNIA, TO FRESNO, CALIFORNIA.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT FRESNO WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S FIRST DUTY STATION. TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WERE AUTHORIZED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 73B 3. (B). THE TRAVEL WAS ACCOMPLISHED AND THE EFFECTS WERE TRANSPORTED BY PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND RENTED U-HAUL TRAILER ON JANUARY 6, 1964. THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR MILEAGE (222 MILES AT 12 CENTS) FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE AND HIMSELF WAS NOT QUESTIONED. HOWEVER, HIS CLAIM FOR $147, REPRESENTING 1,848 (AS 2,000) POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT THE COMMUTED RATE OF $7.35 PER HUNDRED POUNDS, WAS REDUCED TO THE ACTUAL RENTAL COST OF THE TRAILER ($28.25) FOR THE REASON THAT NO WEIGHT CERTIFICATE WAS FURNISHED.

SECTION 2.1G OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS OLLOWS:

"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 * * *"

YOU SAY THAT IT IS CUSTOMARY IN CASES OF THIS TYPE TO FURNISH THE EMPLOYEE A FORM LETTER OUTLINING THE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES. MR. PEARSON SAYS HE DID NOT RECEIVE SUCH LETTER AND APPARENTLY THE AGENCY DOES NOT CONTEND OTHERWISE. MR. PEARSON ALSO SAYS HE CALLED THE SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE BY TELEPHONE SEEKING INFORMATION AS TO HIS WEIGHT ALLOWANCE AND IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION OF THE EMPLOYEE IN SAN FRANCISCO INFORMED HER THAT HE HAD NOT RECEIVED THE FORM LETTER, THAT HE WAS MOVING BY MEANS OF A U-HAUL TRAILER AND THAT IT WAS FULLY LOADED. HE SAYS FURTHER THAT SHE TOLD HIM TO TURN IN A RECEIPT FOR THE TRAILER RENTAL AND TO KEEP A RECORD OF THE MILEAGE, WHICH HE DID. HOWEVER, HE CONTENDS HE WAS NOT AWARE OF THE REQUIREMENT OF A WEIGHT CERTIFICATE. THE PERSONNEL CLERK WHO RECEIVED THE TELEPHONE CALL REMEMBERS TELLING MR. PEARSON TO RECORD HIS TIME OF DEPARTURE, TIME OF ARRIVAL AND SPEEDOMETER READINGS, BUT DOES NOT RECALL TELLING HIM OF THE NEED FOR A WEIGHT CERTIFICATE.

THE DIMENSIONS OF THE U-HAUL TRAILER USED BY THE EMPLOYEE HAVE BEEN VERIFIED AND THE EMPLOYEE HAS STATED THAT IT WAS FULLY LOADED. ADDITION HE HAS FURNISHED AN ESTIMATE OF THE GLOBAL VAN LINES WHICH INCLUDES AN ITEMIZED LIST OF THE GOODS SHIPPED AND THE VOLUME OCCUPIED BY EACH ITEM. ON THIS BASIS THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT WAS SLIGHTLY IN EXCESS OF THE WEIGHT CLAIMED BY THE EMPLOYEE.

MR. PEARSON WAS MOVING TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION AND APPARENTLY WAS NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. UPON HIS TELEPHONIC INQUIRY IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT HE WAS APPRISED OF THE NECESSITY FOR A WEIGHT CERTIFICATE AND THEREFORE HE DID NOT HAVE THE EFFECTS WEIGHED. IN VIEW THEREOF AND SINCE THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT APPEARS TO BE SUFFICIENTLY DOCUMENTED TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE REGULATIONS, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.