B-154507, AUGUST 7, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 65

B-154507: Aug 7, 1964

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1964: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 3. THIS REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 64-21 BY THE PER DIEM. IT IS STATED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS POINTED OUT THAT MANY MEMBERS. WHO HAVE SNOW TIRES. ARE SUBJECTED TO PERSONAL HARDSHIPS WHEN IN CONNECTION WITH CHANGES OF STATION THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TRANSPORT IN THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES SUCH AUTOMOBILE SPARE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES. ITEMS WHICH WILL BE REQUIRED AT DESTINATION PRIOR TO ARRIVAL OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IN SUCH SITUATIONS THE GOVERNMENT MUST UNDERWRITE THE COST OF SHIPPING THE DISPLACED BAGGAGE. PROVIDES THAT IN CONNECTION WITH A TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION A MEMBER WITHIN A PRESCRIBED GRADE OR RANK IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE (INCLUDING PACKING.

B-154507, AUGUST 7, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 65

TRANSPORTATION - AUTOMOBILES - TIRES, ETC. ALTHOUGH AUTOMOBILE TIRES, SPARE PARTS, EXTRA WHEELS, ETC., DO NOT CONSTITUTE "HOUSEHOLD FFECTS" AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 8000-2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 406, THE REGULATIONS MAY BE AMENDED TO AUTHORIZE THE INCLUSION OF SUCH ITEMS IN HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPMENTS IN VIEW OF THE BROAD ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.

COMPTROLLER CAMPBELL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AUGUST 7, 1964:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 3, 1964, FROM THE UNDER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THIS OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO AN AMENDMENT OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO INCLUDE AUTOMOBILE TIRES, SPARE PARTS, EXTRA WHEELS, ETC., AS ACCEPTABLE ITEMS IN HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPMENTS. THIS REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 64-21 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

IT IS STATED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS POINTED OUT THAT MANY MEMBERS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH SEVERAL DEPENDENTS, WHO HAVE SNOW TIRES, EXTRA WHEELS, TIRE CHAINS, CAR REPAIR TOOL SETS, BATTERY CHARGERS, SPARE PARTS, ACCESSORIES, ETC., ARE SUBJECTED TO PERSONAL HARDSHIPS WHEN IN CONNECTION WITH CHANGES OF STATION THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TRANSPORT IN THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES SUCH AUTOMOBILE SPARE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES, THUS DISPLACING LUGGAGE SPACE NECESSARY FOR THEIR PERSONAL BAGGAGE, INCLUDING NECESSARY UNIFORM CHANGES, THE BAGGAGE OF THEIR DEPENDENTS, AND ITEMS WHICH WILL BE REQUIRED AT DESTINATION PRIOR TO ARRIVAL OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IN SUCH SITUATIONS THE GOVERNMENT MUST UNDERWRITE THE COST OF SHIPPING THE DISPLACED BAGGAGE.

THE PERTINENT STATUTE, 37 U.S.C. 406, PROVIDES THAT IN CONNECTION WITH A TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION A MEMBER WITHIN A PRESCRIBED GRADE OR RANK IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE (INCLUDING PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, TEMPORARY STORAGE AND UNPACKING) OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, SUBJECT TO SUCH CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS, TO AND FROM SUCH PLACES, AND WITHIN SUCH WEIGHT ALLOWANCES AS ARE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. WHILE THAT SECTION DOES NOT DEFINE THE TERM "HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS" THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS, PARAGRAPH 8000-2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED PURSUANT THERETO, DEFINE THE TERM AS INCLUDING HOUSEHOLD GOODS, CLOTHING, BAGGAGE, ALL OTHER PERSONAL EFFECTS OF A SIMILAR CHARACTER, AND PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS AND EQUIPMENT UNDER THE CONDITIONS DESCRIBED IN SUBPARAGRAPH 3 OF THAT PARAGRAPH, AND SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTS FROM THAT DEFINITION ,AUTOMOBILES AND PARTS" ALONG WITH OTHER LISTED ITEMS. APPARENTLY THE INCLUSION OF AUTOMOBILE PARTS AMONG THE SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED ITEMS WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED BY CHANGE 135 OF THE REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1964.

SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, CH. 314, 47 STAT. 405, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73C, PROVIDES THAT NO LAW OR REGULATION AUTHORIZING OR PERMITTING THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF THE EFFECTS OF OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, OR OTHER PERSONS, SHALL BE CONSTRUED OR APPLIED AS INCLUDING OR AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE, WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS NOT MATERIAL HERE. SUCH PROVISION MIGHT ALSO BE VIEWED AS BARRING THE SHIPMENT OF AUTOMOBILE SPARE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES. SINCE THESE ITEMS ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THE STATUTE, HOWEVER, IT HAS NOT BEEN SO APPLIED.

THE TERMS "BAGGAGE" AND "HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS" ARE GENERAL TERMS NOT LENDING THEMSELVES TO PRECISE DEFINITION. IN ORDINARY AND USUAL USAGE, HOWEVER, THEY REFER TO PARTICULAR KINDS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE HOME AND PERSON. AS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD, THE TERM "HOUSEHOLD GOODS" REFERS TO FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS OR EQUIPMENT--- ARTICLES OF A PERMANENT NATURE--- USED IN AND ABOUT A PLACE OF RESIDENCE FOR THE COMFORT AND ACCOMMODATION OF THE MEMBERS OF A FAMILY. THUS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE LACK OF PRECISENESS OF THE TERM, IT LONG HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THAT VARIOUS ITEMS, SUCH AS BOATS, AIRPLANES AND HOUSE TRAILERS DO NOT COME WITHIN ITS SCOPE. AND, A STRICT INTERPRETATION OF THE TERM WOULD SEEM TO ALSO REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT AUTOMOBILE SPARE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES DO NOT CONSTITUTE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. IT IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH ITEMS, WHEN NOT IN USE ON THE MEMBER'S AUTOMOBILE, ARE USUALLY KEPT IN THE HOUSE OR GARAGE ALONG WITH OTHER HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND GENERALLY ARE TREATED BY THE MEMBER AS SUCH.

CONSEQUENTLY, WHILE THE MATTER IS NOT ENTIRELY FREE FROM DOUBT,IT IS CONCLUDED THAT IN VIEW OF THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE AS TO THE NEED FOR SUCH REGULATIONS, AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE BROAD AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARIES TO PRESCRIBE APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS AS PROPOSED. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.