B-158317, JAN. 25, 1966

B-158317: Jan 25, 1966

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

WHICH IS YOUR PRESENT RESIDENCE. IT WAS NECESSARY FOR YOU TO RENT FURNITURE DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 22 TO MARCH 9. THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED UPON SECTION 251.2B OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (GOVERNMENT CIVILIANS. FOREIGN AREAS) WHICH PROVIDES THAT A HOUSE OR APARTMENT MAY NOT BE DESIGNATED AS "TEMPORARY LODGING" UNLESS THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT IT IS OCCUPIED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS. THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF OUR OFFICE ALSO DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION REFERRED TO ABOVE WAS MADE UNDER PROPER AUTHORITY. YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT THE DETERMINATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CLAIM IS INEQUITABLE SINCE YOU ALLEGEDLY SAVED THE GOVERNMENT $131.82 BY MOVING INTO THE UNFURNISHED APARTMENT ON FEBRUARY 22.

B-158317, JAN. 25, 1966

TO MR. IRVING D. WOOLF:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1966, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 14, 1965, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $156.18, REPRESENTING A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE ALLEGED TO BE DUE FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 22 THROUGH MARCH 8, 1965.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU TRANSFERRED FROM BEIRUT, LEBANON, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., UNDER DEPARTMENT OF STATE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 5 63326, DATED OCTOBER 16, 1964. FOLLOWING A PERIOD OF AUTHORIZED LEAVE IN SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA, YOU AND YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY PROCEEDED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., ARRIVING HERE ON FEBRUARY 9, 1965. YOU OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 9 THROUGH FEBRUARY 10, 1965, AT THE PRESIDENTIAL GARDENS IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, AND DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 11 THROUGH FEBRUARY 21, 1965, AT THE ARNA VALLEY FURNISHED APARTMENTS IN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA. ON FEBRUARY 22, 1965, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MOVED INTO AN UNFURNISHED APARTMENT AT THE AMERICANA PARK APARTMENTS IN ADELPHI, MARYLAND, WHICH IS YOUR PRESENT RESIDENCE. SINCE YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS DID NOT ARRIVE FROM YOUR OVERSEAS POST UNTIL MARCH 9, 1965, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR YOU TO RENT FURNITURE DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 22 TO MARCH 9, 1965.

ON YOUR APPLICATION FOR PAYMENT OF THE HOME SERVICE TRANSFER ALLOWANCE, AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 221 (2) OF PUBLIC LAW 86-707, 74 STAT. 794, YOU CLAIMED TEMPORARY LODGING EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $36 FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 9 THROUGH FEBRUARY 10, $136 FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 11 THROUGH FEBRUARY 21, AND $156.18 FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 22 THROUGH MARCH 8. YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE APPROVED TEMPORARY LODGING EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $172 FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 9 THROUGH FEBRUARY 21, 1965, BUT DISALLOWED THE AMOUNT OF $156.18 CLAIMED FOR TEMPORARY LODGING DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 22 THROUGH MARCH 8, 1965. THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED UPON SECTION 251.2B OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (GOVERNMENT CIVILIANS, FOREIGN AREAS) WHICH PROVIDES THAT A HOUSE OR APARTMENT MAY NOT BE DESIGNATED AS "TEMPORARY LODGING" UNLESS THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT IT IS OCCUPIED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS. PURSUANT TO THAT REGULATION, YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HAS DETERMINED THAT "NO HOUSE OR APARTMENT MAY BE DESIGNATED AS TEMPORARY LODGING IF IT LATER BECOMES PERMANENT.' THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF OUR OFFICE ALSO DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION REFERRED TO ABOVE WAS MADE UNDER PROPER AUTHORITY.

YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT THE DETERMINATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CLAIM IS INEQUITABLE SINCE YOU ALLEGEDLY SAVED THE GOVERNMENT $131.82 BY MOVING INTO THE UNFURNISHED APARTMENT ON FEBRUARY 22, 1965.

THE TERM "HOME SERVICE TRANSFER ALLOWANCE" IS DEFINED IN THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (SECTION 251.1A) AS MEANING "AN ALLOWANCE FOR EXTRAORDINARY, NECESSARY, AND REASONABLE EXPENSES, NOT OTHERWISE COMPENSATED FOR, INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE INCIDENT TO ESTABLISHING HIMSELF AT A POST OF ASSIGNMENT IN THE UNITED STATES (SEC. 040A) BETWEEN ASSIGNMENTS TO POSTS IN FOREIGN AREAS.' ONE ELEMENT OF THE HOME SERVICE TRANSFER ALLOWANCE IS A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE WHICH IS INTENDED TO COVER NECESSARY AND REASONABLE HOTEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE AT A POST OF ASSIGNMENT WHILE LOCATING AND ARRANGING FOR SUITABLE PERMANENT QUARTERS. 42 COMP. GEN. 637.

WHILE AN EMPLOYEE WITH A FAMILY IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR A PERIOD OF UP TO 30 DAYS UNDER SECTION 252.22 OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS, HE DOES NOT ACQUIRE A VESTED RIGHT TO BE PAID A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE FULL 30 DAYS. THE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE ONLY UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE IS ABLE TO SECURE PERMANENT QUARTERS OR UNTIL THE OCCURRENCE OF ONE OF THE OTHER EVENTS LISTED IN SECTION 252.22. IN THAT REGARD, WE INVITE YOUR ATTENTION TO 6 FAM 114 WHICH READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS: "* * * TRAVELERS ARE EXPECTED TO MAKE A CONSCIENTIOUS EFFORT TO MINIMIZE COSTS OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL * * *.'

IN THE CASE BEFORE US, THE RECORD REVEALS THAT ON FEBRUARY 22, 1965, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MOVED INTO AN APARTMENT UNDER A ONE-YEAR LEASE AND HAVE RESIDED THERE SINCE THAT DATE. IN VIEW OF SUCH EVIDENCE WE ARE LEAD TO CONCLUDE THAT THE DETERMINATION OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT THE APARTMENT OCCUPIED BY YOU ON AND AFTER FEBRUARY 22, 1965, WAS NOT A "TEMPORARY LODGING" WAS NEITHER ARBITRARY NOR CAPRICIOUS. CONSEQUENTLY, WE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN SUBSTITUTING OUR JUDGMENT IN THE MATTER FOR THAT OF THE DEPARTMENT.