B-162877, DEC. 18, 1967

B-162877: Dec 18, 1967

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COLORADO AS EMPLOYEE OF BUREAU OF RECLAMATION AND WHO DID NOT MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNTIL ANOTHER TRANSFER FROM COLLBRAN TO DENVER MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES SINCE THE LOCATION OF THE RESIDENCE WAS NOT ACTUAL RESIDENCE WHEN NOTICE OF TRANSFER TO DENVER WAS RECEIVED. THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE INCREASED WEIGHT LIMITATION FOR THE LAST TRANSFER. SINCE CLAIM INCLUDES SHIPMENT OF EFFECTS FROM SYRACUSE AND WAS FILED WITHIN 2 YEARS OF TRANSFER AS EMPLOYEE OF VA THAT AGENCY IS LIABLE FOR PORTION OF COST THAT CAN BE ALLOTTED TO DISTANCE BETWEEN SYRACUSE AND CLEVELAND. THE FIRST OF WHICH WAS AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. BENNETT AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SYRACUSE.

B-162877, DEC. 18, 1967

EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - PUBLIC LAW 89-516 - MULTIPLE TRANSFERS DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER OF DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR CONCERNING ENTITLEMENT OF EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89-516 INCIDENT TO SEVERAL CHANGES OF STATION: SYRACUSE TO CLEVELAND IN 1965 AS EMPLOYEE OF VA; CLEVELAND TO COLLBRAN, COLORADO ON TRANSFER TO BUREAU OF RECLAMATION IN JANUARY 1966, AND FROM COLLBRAN TO DENVER IN MAY 1967. EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT SELL HIS HOME AT A FORMER STATION WITH VA (SYRACUSE, N.Y.) UNTIL AFTER TRANSFER FROM CLEVELAND, TO COLLBRAN, COLORADO AS EMPLOYEE OF BUREAU OF RECLAMATION AND WHO DID NOT MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNTIL ANOTHER TRANSFER FROM COLLBRAN TO DENVER MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES SINCE THE LOCATION OF THE RESIDENCE WAS NOT ACTUAL RESIDENCE WHEN NOTICE OF TRANSFER TO DENVER WAS RECEIVED. WITH RESPECT TO TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE INCREASED WEIGHT LIMITATION FOR THE LAST TRANSFER. SINCE CLAIM INCLUDES SHIPMENT OF EFFECTS FROM SYRACUSE AND WAS FILED WITHIN 2 YEARS OF TRANSFER AS EMPLOYEE OF VA THAT AGENCY IS LIABLE FOR PORTION OF COST THAT CAN BE ALLOTTED TO DISTANCE BETWEEN SYRACUSE AND CLEVELAND. HOWEVER PART OF STORAGE COSTS MAY BE CHARGES TO VA.

TO MR. DALE L. ROTHROCK:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 1, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER FOR $4,455.64 IN FAVOR OF MR. LAWRENCE A. BENNETT, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, COVERING THE EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH SEVERAL CHANGES OF STATIONS SINCE DECEMBER 5, 1965, THE FIRST OF WHICH WAS AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.

THE INFORMATION OF RECORD SHOWS THAT IN DECEMBER 1965 MR. BENNETT AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, TO CLEVELAND, OHIO. AT THE TIME OF THE TRANSFER HE OWNED A HOME IN SYRACUSE IN WHICH HE WAS LIVING. BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED DECEMBER 22, 1965, HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL, BEGINNING ON OR ABOUT JANUARY 17, 1966, FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, TO COLLBRAN, COLORADO, IN TRANSFERRING TO THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. THEREAFTER, BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED MAY 18, 1967, HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM COLLBRAN, COLORADO, TO DENVER, COLORADO. ALL OF THE ABOVE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS WERE FOR PERMANENT CHANGES OF STATIONS. YOU SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"1. MAY REIMBURSEMENT BE MADE FOR THE COSTS CONNECTED WITH THE SALE OF THE HOUSE LOCATED AT HIS FORMER STATION IN SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT MR. BENNETT HAD NOT RECEIVED A SUFFICIENTLY PERMANENT ASSIGNMENT PRIOR TO HIS PRESENT ONE, AND HAD RETAINED HIS HOME THERE UNTIL SOLD IN JANUARY 1967?

"2. SINCE THE DEPARTMENT'S AUTHORIZATION TO MR. BENNETT COVERS ONLY THE MOVE FROM CLEVELAND TO COLLBRAN, COLORADO AND THEN TO DENVER, COLORADO, BUT NO ACTUAL MOVEMENT WAS MADE TO COLLBRAN, IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS OFFICE THAT PAYMENT FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY THIS DEPARTMENT CAN BE MADE ONLY FOR THE DISTANCE FROM CLEVELAND TO DENVER. MAY PAYMENT BE MADE FOR THE FULL 8,290 POUNDS FOR THIS DISTANCE UNDER THE CURRENT REGULATIONS, OR IS A PORTION OF THE DISTANCE (COLLBRAN TO DENVER) PAYABLE UNDER THESE REGULATIONS AND THE BALANCE SUBJECT TO THE PRIOR 7,000 POUND LIMITATION?

"3. MAY MR. BENNETT SUBMIT CLAIM TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AT THIS TIME FOR THE DISTANCE FROM SYRACUSE TO CLEVELAND?

WE POINT OUT THAT THE APPLICABLE LAW AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELLING AND OTHER EXPENSES INVOLVED IN TRANSFERS OF OFFICIAL STATIONS CONTAIN NO PROVISIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT US TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN OTHERWISE PROPER CHANGES OF OFFICIAL STATIONS BECAUSE OF THE TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT DURATION THEREOF.

SECTION 4.1 OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, PERTAINING TO THE ALLOWANCES FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS, PROVIDES IN PART:

"4.1 CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS UNDER WHICH ALLOWANCES MAY BE PAID. THE EXTENT ALLOWABLE UNDER THIS PROVISION, THE GOVERNMENT WILL REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES REQUIRED TO BE PAID BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF ONE RESIDENCE AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION * * * PROVIDED THAT:

"A. A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED * * *.

"C. THE DWELLING AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS FIRST DEFINITELY INFORMED THAT HE IS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION.'

THE REGULATIONS OF WHICH THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS ARE A PART WERE ISSUED IN IMPLEMENTATION OF PUB.L. 89-516 AND ARE APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 21, 1966. THUS, FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS, THERE WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY THE TRANSFER TO DENVER IN MAY 1967. REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE REGULATIONS IS AUTHORIZED ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF A DWELLING AT THE OLD OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WHICH DWELLING WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF HIS OFFICIAL TRANSFER. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE DWELLING WHICH MR. BENNETT SOLD ON JANUARY 17, 1967, WAS NOT LOCATED AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL DUTY STATION, COLLBRAN--THE LOCATION OF THE RESIDENCE IN QUESTION BEING AT SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, THE EMPLOYEE'S PLACE OF RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF HIS TRANSFER TO CLEVELAND IN DECEMBER 1965, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION--AND WAS NOT HIS ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE RECEIVED NOTICE OF TRANSFER TO DENVER.

THEREFORE, QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

REFERRING TO QUESTION 2, AND SINCE AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED THE BENEFITS OF PUB.L. 89-516 ARE APPLICABLE ONLY TO TRANSFERS OF STATION OCCURRING ON OR AFTER JULY 21, 1966, MR. BENNETT IS ENTITLED TO THE BENEFIT OF THE INCREASED WEIGHT LIMITATION FOR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH HIS LAST TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION WHICH OCCURRED IN MAY 1967. APPEARS FROM THE CARRIER'S BILL OF LADING THAT MR. BENNETT ACTUALLY SHIPPED 10,720 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, THE FIGURE OF 8,920 POUNDS BEING CONCERNED ONLY WITH STORAGE. SEE LATER COMMENTS FOR COMPUTATION.

AS TO YOUR THIRD QUESTION, IT APPEARS THAT MR. BENNETT'S PRESENT CLAIM EMBRACES THE SHIPMENT OF HIS EFFECTS FROM SYRACUSE AND WAS FILED WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS TRANSFER FROM SYRACUSE TO CLEVELAND AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. THEREFORE, WE SEE NO REASON WHY THAT AGENCY SHOULD NOT BE LIABLE FOR A PORTION OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHICH CAN BE ALLOTTED TO THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SYRACUSE AND CLEVELAND OF 332 MILES.

WE COMPUTE THE AMOUNT DUE MR. BENNETT ON A COMMUTED BASIS FOR TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AS FOLLOWS:

DISTANCE FROM SYRACUSE, NEW YORK TO DENVER, COLORADO (DISTANCE HOUSEHOLD GOODS ACTUALLY SHIPPED) 1,668 MILES LESS DISTANCE FROM COLLBRAN, COLORADO (AS SHOWN BY HIGHWAY MAP) 216 MILES OR 1,452 MILES--

ALLOW COMMUTED RATE FOR 1,452 MILES FOR 7,000 POUNDS AT $15.20 PER HUNDRED POUNDS OR 70 X $15.20 EQUALS $1,064.00

ALLOW COMMUTED RATE FOR 216 MILES FOR 10,720 POUNDS AT $6.55 PER HUNDRED POUNDS OR $6.55 X 107.2 EQUALS 702.16

ALLOW STORAGE FOR 2 MONTHS IN SYRACUSE BEGINNING JANUARY 18, 1967, 7,000 POUNDS AT $3.70 PER HUNDRED POUNDS ($3.10 PLUS $0.60) OR 70 X $3.70 EQUALS 259.00

TOTAL $2,025.16

THE AMOUNT APPORTIONED TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION FOR PAYMENT IS FOR COMPUTATION AS OLLOWS:

DISTANCE FROM SYRACUSE TO CLEVELAND 332 MILES WHICH IS APPROXIMATELY 20 PERCENT OF DISTANCE FROM SYRACUSE TO DENVER OF 1,668 MILES--

COMMUTED RATE FOR 1,668 MILES USING 7,000 POUND MAXIMUM IS $16.10 PER HUNDRED POUNDS. $16.10 X 70 EQUALS $1,127.00. 20 PERCENT OF $1,127 EQUALS $225.40, AMOUNT PAYABLE BY VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.

NO PART OF THE STORAGE IS DEEMED PAYABLE BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE SINCE IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT NO STORAGE WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY HAD THE EMPLOYEE REMAINED IN CLEVELAND IN HIS EMPLOYMENT WITH THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.

THE TOTAL AMOUNT ALLOWABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED IS $2,025.16. DEDUCTING THE $225.40 PAYABLE BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION LEAVES $1,799.76 PAYABLE BY THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION.

CONCERNING YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT AN ITEM FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT DENVER IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED THAT MR. BENNETT REPORTED MAY 7, 1967, TO DENVER INCIDENT TO HIS PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION AND HAS SUBMITTED A RECEIPT IN THE AMOUNT OF $150 FOR THE RENT OF AN APARTMENT FOR THE MONTH OF MAY PRIOR TO ENTERING HIS PERMANENT RESIDENCE ON JUNE 1, 1967. THEREFORE, WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO REIMBURSING HIM FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN THE AMOUNT CLAIMED. WE NOTE THAT THE ITEM FOR MILEAGE BETWEEN COLLBRAN AND DENVER IS BASED ON A DISTANCE OF 269 MILES FROM SPEEDOMETER READINGS. THE HIGHWAY MAP THAT WE CONSULTED INDICATES SUCH DISTANCE AS 216 MILES.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.