B-162879, DEC. 18, 1967

B-162879: Dec 18, 1967

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION WHICH WAS TO BE EFFECTIVE ON JUNE 27. SINCE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS IS LESS THAN 60 MILES AND SINCE BOTH EMPLOYEES WERE UNMARRIED AND POSSESSED FEW HOUSEHOLD GOODS. SUCH AUTHORITY WAS LATER CONFIRMED BY WRITTEN TRAVEL ORDERS DATED OCTOBER 11 AND 13. SINCE YOU ARE AWARE OF NO AUTHORITY BY WHICH AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE. OUR DECISION IN THE MATTER IS REQUESTED. REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ON A COMMUTED BASIS (NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD BE ALLOWABLE FOR THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE) AT SUCH RATES PER ONE HUNDRED POUNDS AS MAY BE FIXED BY ZONES IN REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT * * *" WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO SUBSTITUTE PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR PAYMENT ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS PRESCRIBED IN THE CITED ACT.

B-162879, DEC. 18, 1967

TO LIEUTENANT M. DRINKWATER, USN:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 19, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE DCRL-FRT, REQUESTING OUR ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PAYMENT OF SEPARATE TRAVEL VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF MR. BERNARD TOPF AND MR. MILES M. LARSON, EMPLOYEES OF THE DEFENSE CONTRACT AUDIT AGENCY, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THEIR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

YOU REPORT THAT ON JUNE 13, 1966, THE ASSISTANT REGIONAL MANAGER FOR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, DEFENSE CONTRACT AUDIT AGENCY, VERBALLY AUTHORIZED MR. TOPF AND MR. LARSON TO TRANSPORT THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA, TO PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION WHICH WAS TO BE EFFECTIVE ON JUNE 27, 1966. SINCE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS IS LESS THAN 60 MILES AND SINCE BOTH EMPLOYEES WERE UNMARRIED AND POSSESSED FEW HOUSEHOLD GOODS, THE ASSISTANT REGIONAL MANAGER ORALLY AUTHORIZED EACH EMPLOYEE TO TRANSPORT HIS EFFECTS IN HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WITH REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS (10 CENTS PER MILE). SUCH AUTHORITY WAS LATER CONFIRMED BY WRITTEN TRAVEL ORDERS DATED OCTOBER 11 AND 13, 1966.

IN RELIANCE UPON THE VERBAL AUTHORIZATION MR. TOPF STATES THAT HE TRANSPORTED AN ESTIMATED 750 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN HIS AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN NEWPORT BEACH AND PASADENA ON JUNE 25 AND 26, 1966. ON EACH OF THE ABOVE DATES MR. TOPF PERFORMED ONE ROUND TRIP TOTALING 106 MILES. HE, THEREFORE, HAS REQUESTED REIMBURSEMENT OF $21.20 REPRESENTING MILEAGE AT 10 CENTS FOR 212 MILES.

MR. LARSON STATES THAT HE TRANSPORTED AN ESTIMATED 650 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS BETWEEN THE SAME TWO POINTS ON JUNE 17 AND 18, 1966. PERFORMED ONE ROUND TRIP OF 72 MILES ON EACH DATE. HE HAS CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT OF $14.40 REPRESENTING MILEAGE AT 10 CENTS FOR 144 MILES.

SINCE YOU ARE AWARE OF NO AUTHORITY BY WHICH AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, OUR DECISION IN THE MATTER IS REQUESTED.

SECTION 1 (B) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-1 (B) (NOW 5 U.S.C. 5724 (C) ( PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"IN LIEU OF THE PAYMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, PACKING, CRATING, TEMPORARY STORAGE, DRAYAGE, AND UNPACKING OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, IN THE CASE OF SUCH TRANSFERS BETWEEN POINTS IN CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ON A COMMUTED BASIS (NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD BE ALLOWABLE FOR THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE) AT SUCH RATES PER ONE HUNDRED POUNDS AS MAY BE FIXED BY ZONES IN REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT * * *"

WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO SUBSTITUTE PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR PAYMENT ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS PRESCRIBED IN THE CITED ACT. THEREFORE, THE EMPLOYEES MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR EFFECTS.

WITH RESPECT TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, SECTION 2.1G OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 (JUNE 1, 1962), APPLICABLE DURING THE PERIOD HERE INVOLVED, PROVIDES IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED. IN SUPPORT OF CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM EMPLOYEES SHALL SUBMIT * * * THE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING OR CERTIFIED COPIES, OR, IF BILLS OF LADING ARE NOT AVAILABLE, OTHER EVIDENCE SHOWING POINT OF ORIGIN, DESTINATION, AND WEIGHT. IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE AT A POINT OF ORIGIN, AT ANY POINT EN ROUTE, OR AT DESTINATION, A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT, BASED ON SEVEN POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE, MAY BE USED. * * *"

UNDER THAT REGULATION THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING THE COMMUTED RATE OF PAYMENT ALLOWABLE MUST BE DETERMINED EITHER BY THE ACTUAL SCALE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS ORBY THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT OF SUCH GOODS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE SPACE OCCUPIED WHEN PROPERLY LOADED FOR SHIPMENT IN A VAN. THE STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY EACH EMPLOYEE DESCRIBING THE ARTICLES TRANSPORTED IN HIS AUTOMOBILE DOES NOT SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATION.

SINCE BOTH EMPLOYEES FAILED TO OBTAIN THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT THE TIME OF TRANSPORTATION, THEY MAY BE PAID AT THE COMMUTED RATE ONLY IF THEY ARE ABLE TO SHOW THE AMOUNT OF SPACE OCCUPIED BY THEIR GOODS AND THAT THE GOODS WERE PROPERLY LOADED IN THE SPACE AVAILABLE. IN ESTABLISHING THE AMOUNT OF SPACE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN OCCUPIED BY HIS EFFECTS IF PROPERLY LOADED, EACH EMPLOYEE MAY SUBMIT A LIST OF ITEMS TRANSPORTED TOGETHER WITH THE VOLUME OCCUPIED BY EACH BASED ON ACTUAL MEASUREMENT OR A UNIFORM TABLE, PREFERABLY PREPARED BY A COMMERCIAL CARRIER.

IF THE EMPLOYEES ARE UNABLE TO ESTABLISH THEIR ENTITLEMENT TO A COMMUTED PAYMENT BY COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS LISTED ABOVE, THEY MAY BE REIMBURSED THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED SUCH AS FOR GAS, OIL, TOLLS, ETC., IN TRANSPORTING THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS UPON COMPLYING WITH THE RULE SET FORTH IN 38 COMP. GEN. 554, 555, AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN, HOWEVER, AS HERE, THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE AFFORDS A BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SHIPPED REASONABLY APPROXIMATES THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR SUCH ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES.' SEE ALSO B-129708, DECEMBER 6, 1956 (COPY ENCLOSED).

IN ADDITION TO TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE, WE NOTE THAT EACH EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 12 CENTS PER MILE FOR CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL FROM NEWPORT BEACH TO PASADENA. IN THAT REGARD WE INVITE YOUR ATTENTION TO PARAGRAPH C8200-3.1 OF VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH PRESCRIBES A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE OF 6 CENTS PER MILE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE ALONE OCCUPIES THE AUTOMOBILE. THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCES LISTED IN PARAGRAPH C8200-3 ARE MANDATORY FOR THE CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL STATED THEREIN. SEE ALSO PARAGRAPH C8200-1.

FOR THE REASONS STATED ABOVE THE VOUCHERS MAY NOT BE PAID ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD AND ARE RETAINED IN THE FILES OF THIS OFFICE.