B-161996, AUGUST 14, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 119

B-161996: Aug 14, 1967

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RECOGNIZING THAT THERE MAY BE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTION 2.4 EVEN THOUGH THE TRAILER USED AS A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD STATION WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION. 1967: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26. THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS AT A NEW OFFICIAL STATION WHEN BOTH THE OLD AND NEW STATIONS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. "A. AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS UNDER THESE REGULATIONS SHALL. THE EMPLOYEE SHALL CERTIFY IN A MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY THAT THE HOUSE TRAILER IS FOR USE AS A RESIDENCE FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AT THE DESTINATION.

B-161996, AUGUST 14, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 119

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - PERMANENT RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT - TRAILER STATUS THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN HIS OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS TO LOCATE A LOT OF SUFFICIENT ACREAGE ON WHICH TO PLACE HIS DOUBLE SIZE HOUSETRAILER MAY BE REIMBURSED TO HIM UNDER THE AUTHORITY IN SECTION 2.4A OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, PROVIDING FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN "SEEKING PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS" AT A NEW STATION, SECTION 9.1C OF THE REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSETRAILERS USED AS A RESIDENCE, RECOGNIZING THAT THERE MAY BE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTION 2.4 EVEN THOUGH THE TRAILER USED AS A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD STATION WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION.

TO REED H. JENSEN, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AUGUST 14, 1967:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26, 1967, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF HOWARD J. MAYS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOR $138.96, REPRESENTING EXPENSES OF A ROUND TRIP FROM HIS OLD DUTY STATION TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION IN ORDER TO LOCATE A LOT ON WHICH TO PLACE HIS HOUSE TRAILER.

YOUR LETTER INDICATES THAT MR. MAYS LIVED IN A DOUBLE SIZE TRAILER 55 FEET LONG BY 10 FEET WIDE ON ACREAGE AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION IN REDMOND, OREGON. YOU STATE THAT BECAUSE OF ITS SIZE MR. MAYS' TRAILER CANNOT BE ACCOMMODATED AT A REGULAR TRAILER COURT AND FOR THAT REASON HE MADE A ROUND TRIP TO GRANTS PASS, OREGON, HIS NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION, IN ORDER TO SECURE ACREAGE ON WHICH TO PLACE THE TRAILER.

YOU QUESTION WHETHER A ROUND TRIP BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS MAY BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELECTING ACREAGE FOR A TRAILER SITE IN VIEW OF PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2.4A OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, WHICH REFERS TO THE PURPOSE OF SUCH A TRIP AS "SEEKING PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS.'

WITH REGARD TO AUTHORIZATION FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF LOCATING A RESIDENCE SECTION 23 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS ADDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUB. L. 89-516, APPROVED JULY 21, 1966, 80 STAT. 323, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND TO THE EXTENT DEEMED NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, AS PROVIDED THEREIN, APPROPRIATIONS OR OTHER FUNDS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENTS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ALL OR PART OF THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES FOR WHOM THE GOVERNMENT PAYS EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION UNDER SUBSECTION (A) OF SECTION 1 OF THIS ACT:

"/2) THE EXPENSES OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AND HIS SPOUSE, NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATES PRESCRIBED IN THE TRAVEL EXPENSES ACT OF 1949 (63 STAT. 166, AS AMENDED; 5 U.S.C. 836), AND THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS AT A NEW OFFICIAL STATION WHEN BOTH THE OLD AND NEW STATIONS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, EXCLUDING ALASKA, PROVIDED THAT SUCH EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY FOR ONE ROUND TRIP IN CONNECTION WITH EACH CHANGE OF STATION OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.'

IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET IN CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, PROVIDE IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"2.4 FOR ROUND TRIP BETWEEN OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS.

"A. APPLICABILITY OF AND GENERAL POLICY FOR AUTHORIZING TRAVEL TO SEEK RESIDENCE QUARTERS. PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND SPOUSE TRAVELING TOGETHER, OR EITHER ONE OF THEM, FOR ONE ROUND TRIP BETWEEN THE LOCALITIES OF THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEEKING RESIDENCE QUARTERS MAY BE AUTHORIZED WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES WARRANT...'

WITH RESPECT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSE TRAILERS WHEN USED AS A RESIDENCE SECTION 9 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, PROVIDES IN PART:

"9.1 ELIGIBILITY.

"A. AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS UNDER THESE REGULATIONS SHALL, IN LIEU OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION, BE ENTITLED TO AN ALLOWANCE, AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A HOUSE TRAILER FOR USE AS A RESIDENCE. ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE ALLOWANCE, THE EMPLOYEE SHALL CERTIFY IN A MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY THAT THE HOUSE TRAILER IS FOR USE AS A RESIDENCE FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AT THE DESTINATION.

"C. ALLOWANCES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSE TRAILERS ARE IN ADDITION TO PAYMENT OF PER DIEM AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR EMPLOYEES AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTIONS 2.1 AND 2.2. HOWEVER, THE FACT THAT A HOUSE TRAILER CAN BE MOVED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ONLY IF THE EMPLOYEE CERTIFIES THAT IT IS TO BE USED AS A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION 9.1A, SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE EXTENT OF ALLOWANCES TO BE PAID UNDER SUBSECTIONS 2.4 AND 2.5 AND SECTION 4.'

SECTION 9.1C OF THE ABOVE REGULATIONS APPEARS TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE MAY BE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTION 2.4 OF THE REGULATIONS EVEN THOUGH A TRAILER BEING USED AS A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD STATION WOULD CONTINUE TO BE AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION.

MOREOVER, WE SEE NO REASON WHY THE LANGUAGE IN THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN "SEEKING PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS" AT THE NEW STATION SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS EMBRACING A TRIP TO LOCATE A LOT ON WHICH TO MOVE A TRAILER FOR USE AS A PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION SUCH AS HERE. WHILE IT MIGHT BE ARGUED THAT THE TERM "PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS" REFERS ONLY TO A DWELLING ACTUALLY LOCATED AT THE NEW STATION, WE BELIEVE AN INTERPRETATION TO THAT EFFECT IS TOO RESTRICTIVE AND NOT WITHIN THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.