B-158440, NOV. 23, 1966

B-158440: Nov 23, 1966

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WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 23. THE GRANTING OF QUARTERS OR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE PRIMARILY IS A FUNCTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED AND. WE HAVE HELD THAT TO BE CONSIDERED ELIGIBLE FOR THE ALLOWANCE IT IS NECESSARY THAT HE ESTABLISH THAT. HE HAD A FIRM COMMITMENT TO EMPLOYMENT AND THAT THE DELAY IN APPOINTMENT WAS DUE TO TIME REQUIRED FOR THE ROUTINE PROCESSING OF HIS APPOINTMENT. SUCH A COMMITMENT IS CONTAINED IN A LETTER OR NOTICE FROM THE COMMAND'S CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICE. REESE IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR A LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE.'. IN DISCUSSING YOUR CLAIM INFORMALLY WITH THE OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IT WAS AGREED THAT IT WOULD BE DESIRABLE TO OBTAIN A FURTHER REPORT IN THE MATTER FROM THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

B-158440, NOV. 23, 1966

TO MR. EDWARD J. REESE, JR.:

WE FURTHER REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 22, 1966, REQUESTING REVIEW OF YOUR CLAIM FOR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO YOUR EMPLOYMENT WITH THE U.S. ARMY MORTUARY SYSTEM, EUROPE, WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1966.

AS WE INFORMED YOU BY OUR LETTER OF MAY 26, 1966, THE GRANTING OF QUARTERS OR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE PRIMARILY IS A FUNCTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED AND, THEREFORE, WE TRANSMITTED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 22, 1966, WITH ENCLOSURE, TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR ITS CONSIDERATION.

IN REPLY THE OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PERSONNEL HAS RESPONDED, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS HELD UNIFORMLY THAT PRESENCE IN THE FOREIGN AREA MERELY IN ANTICIPATION OF ARMY CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT DOES NOT ESTABLISH, IN ITSELF, A PERSON'S ELIGIBILITY FOR THE QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. FOR A PERSON SEPARATING OR RETIRING FROM MILITARY SERVICE WHO CHOOSES TO REMAIN IN THE FOREIGN AREA, WE HAVE HELD THAT TO BE CONSIDERED ELIGIBLE FOR THE ALLOWANCE IT IS NECESSARY THAT HE ESTABLISH THAT, UPON SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE, HE HAD A FIRM COMMITMENT TO EMPLOYMENT AND THAT THE DELAY IN APPOINTMENT WAS DUE TO TIME REQUIRED FOR THE ROUTINE PROCESSING OF HIS APPOINTMENT. NORMALLY, SUCH A COMMITMENT IS CONTAINED IN A LETTER OR NOTICE FROM THE COMMAND'S CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICE. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS POLICY PROVIDES A FAIR APPLICATION OF THE PRESCRIBED ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA.

"IN OUR REVIEW, WE FOUND NOTHING TO DISTURB THE PREVIOUS DETERMINATION MADE BY THE TAUNUS DISTRICT CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICE, ON 12 JULY 1965, THAT MR. REESE IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR A LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE.'

IN DISCUSSING YOUR CLAIM INFORMALLY WITH THE OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IT WAS AGREED THAT IT WOULD BE DESIRABLE TO OBTAIN A FURTHER REPORT IN THE MATTER FROM THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. ARMY, EUROPE, IN THE LIGHT OF THE STATEMENTS FROM MAJOR CALDWELL IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CASE. THAT REPORT HAS ONLY RECENTLY BEEN RECEIVED AND IT APPEARS THAT THE POSITION OF THAT COMMAND STILL ACCORDS WITH THAT OF THE OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PERSONNEL REFERRED TO ABOVE, NAMELY, THAT THERE WAS NO FIRM COMMITMENT OF EMPLOYMENT MADE TO YOU, IT BEING NOTED THAT MAJOR CALDWELL WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH A COMMITMENT.

WE POINT OUT THAT UNDER THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, QUOTED IN OUR DISALLOWANCE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 23, 1966, TO YOU, THERE MUST HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY CONTINUOUS MILITARY OR OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT PRIOR TO APPOINTMENT IN THE CIVILIAN OVERSEAS POSITION FOR WHICH QUARTERS ALLOWANCE IS CLAIMED. OUR VIEW IS THAT A PERIOD OF SEVEN MONTHS BETWEEN YOUR RETIREMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES ARMY AND YOUR CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT--- THERE APPARENTLY BEING NO OTHER EMPLOYMENT INVOLVED DURING THAT PERIOD -- PRECLUDES ANY DETERMINATION OF "SUBSTANTIALLY CONTINUOUS EMPLOYMENT.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.