B-163788, JUN. 7, 1968

B-163788: Jun 7, 1968

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YOU ASK WHETHER THERE IS APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE THE LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SUBSECTION 4.1D OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A FURTHER CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION WAS AUTHORIZED FROM MT. VERNON BUT STATED THAT "DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL AND MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED AT A LATER DATE.'. YOU SAY THAT REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THAT ORDER WAS MADE ONLY FOR MR. VERNON BECAUSE HE WAS ANTICIPATING A FURTHER TRANSFER TO HANNIBAL. THE SETTLEMENT FOR THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE IN CHICAGO WAS MADE ON SEPTEMBER 29. VERNON WAS MERELY TEMPORARY AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION SO AS TO AFFECT HIS ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN SELLING HIS HOUSE IN CHICAGO.

B-163788, JUN. 7, 1968

TO MR. J. E. DOHERTY:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 26, 1968, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE LMSDC-F, FORWARDED HERE BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ON MARCH 8, PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 68 11, REQUESTING OUR DECISION CONCERNING PAYMENT OF THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF JOHN V. MYERS, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE ST. LOUIS DISTRICT, FOR THE AMOUNT OF $1,477.54. THAT AMOUNT REPRESENTS THE EXPENSES PAID BY MR. MYERS INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1967.

YOU ASK WHETHER THERE IS APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE THE LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SUBSECTION 4.1D OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, WHICH PRECLUDES ANY PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES FOR EXPENSES OF REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS IN A TRANSFER OF STATION SITUATION UNLESS THE SETTLEMENT DATE OF THE PURCHASE OR SALE OF A RESIDENCE OCCURS WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE REPORTS FOR DUTY AT THE NEW STATION. ALSO, YOU ASK WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH C 4106-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR), VOLUME 2, ALSO APPLY TO REAL ESTATE EXPENSES.

THE MATTER CONCERNS SUCCESSIVE CHANGES OF MR. MYERS' OFFICIAL STATION. TRAVEL ORDER NO. 77C DATED JULY 21, 1966, AS ISSUED BY THE CHICAGO DISTRICT OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED IN ITEM 1 FOR "PCS" -- PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION -- FROM CHICAGO TO MT. VERNON, ILLINOIS. BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. PB 67-27 DATED JANUARY 13, 1967, AS AMENDED, ISSUED BY THE ST. LOUIS DISTRICT ENGINEER'S OFFICE, A FURTHER CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION WAS AUTHORIZED FROM MT. VERNON TO HANNIBAL, MISSOURI.

THE ORDER OF JULY 21, 1966, IN PERTINENT PART, AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF MR. MYERS' DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM CHICAGO TO MT. VERNON BUT STATED THAT "DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL AND MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED AT A LATER DATE.' YOU SAY THAT REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THAT ORDER WAS MADE ONLY FOR MR. MYERS' TRAVEL FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPORTING FOR DUTY AT MT. VERNON ON AUGUST 2, 1966.

THE FILE INDICATES THAT MR. MYERS NEVER MOVED HIS FAMILY TO MT. VERNON BECAUSE HE WAS ANTICIPATING A FURTHER TRANSFER TO HANNIBAL, AND THAT WHEN SUCH SECOND TRANSFER DID OCCUR IN FEBRUARY 1967, HE DELAYED MOVING HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM CHICAGO TO QUINCY, ILLINOIS (VICINITY OF HANNIBAL), UNTIL AUGUST 11, 1967, BECAUSE OF HIS CHILDREN BEING IN SCHOOL AND OTHER REASONS. THE SETTLEMENT FOR THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE IN CHICAGO WAS MADE ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1967, OR MORE THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE HE REPORTED TO MT. VERNON UNDER HIS FIRST CHANGE OF STATION ORDER.

APPARENTLY MR. MYERS FEELS THAT HIS TOUR OF DUTY IN MT. VERNON WAS MERELY TEMPORARY AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION SO AS TO AFFECT HIS ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN SELLING HIS HOUSE IN CHICAGO. RATHER, HE BELIEVES SUCH ENTITLEMENT SHOULD FLOW FROM HIS TRANSFER TO HANNIBAL ON FEBRUARY 20, 1967. SUPPORT THEREOF, THERE APPEARS IN THE FILE A STATEMENT BY THE CHIEF, REAL ESTATE DIVISION OF THE ST. LOUIS DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"1. MR. JOHN V. MYERS, AN APPRAISER WITH THE CHICAGO DISTRICT, WAS INTERVIEWED BY MESSRS. LAWLER AND COLLIER OF MY STAFF FOR POSSIBLE TRANSFER TO THE ST. LOUIS DISTRICT. AS MR. MYERS WAS WELL QUALIFIED AND AVAILABLE, IT WAS OUR DESIRE TO OBTAIN HIS SERVICES PROMPTLY, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE CONTINUING DIFFICULTY IN RECRUITING.

"2.THE CANNON REAL ESTATE OFFICE WAS OPENED ON 12 SEPTEMBER 1966WITH A SKELETON STAFF. AS HAS BEEN OUR ESTABLISHED POLICY, A NEW EMPLOYEE MAY BE ASSIGNED TEMPORARILY TO AN EXISTING PROJECT REAL ESTATE OFFICE FOR ORIENTATION, PENDING TRANSFER TO PERMANENT STATION. AS THE SEVERAL TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WILL INDICATE, MR. MYERS EOD AT REND LAKE REAL ESTATE OFFICE WAS 2 AUGUST 1966. HE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY TRANSFERRED TO CANNON REAL ESTATE OFFICE, HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION, ON 20 FEBRUARY 1967.'

WE POINT OUT THAT THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO MT. VERNON CONTAINED NO APPARENT ERRORS, AND NO INDICATION THAT MR. MYERS' TRANSFER TO MT. VERNON WAS TO BE OTHER THAN AN INDEFINITE ASSIGNMENT. THEREFORE THE STATEMENT QUOTED ABOVE MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS ESTABLISHING THAT MR. MYERS' CHANGE OF DUTY STATION FROM CHICAGO TO MT. VERNON WAS NOT IN FACT A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION. SINCE THE SETTLEMENT DATE FOR THE SALE OF MR. MYERS' HOUSE IN CHICAGO OCCURRED MORE THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE HE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT MT. VERNON, THAT TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION MAY NOT BE USED AS A BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF SALE WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE BE PROPER. B 163700 DATED MAY 6, 1968.

MOREOVER, THE TRANSFER OF MR. MYERS' OFFICIAL STATION TO HANNIBAL IN FEBRUARY 1967 MAY NOT BE USED AS A BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES BECAUSE THE HOUSE WHICH HE SOLD AT CHICAGO MAY NOT BE VIEWED AS HIS ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION (MT. VERNON) WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 4.1C OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56. WE ASSUME THAT MR. MYERS DID NOT COMMUTE DAILY BETWEEN CHICAGO AND MT. VERNON, A DISTANCE OF SOME 273 MILES. SEE OUR DECISION DATED AUGUST 9, 1967, B 161606, 47 COMP. GEN. 109, WHICH HELD THAT THE LANGUAGE OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COSTS INVOLVED IN THE SALE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION DOES NOT INCLUDE A HOUSE FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE DID NOT COMMUTE ON A DAILY BASIS TO HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY MIGHT BE RESIDING THEREIN. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

AS TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION WE NOTE THAT THE TWO-YEAR LIMITATION CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH C4106-1 OF JTR VOLUME 2 APPEARS TO RELATE TO THE TWO-YEAR PERIOD PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION 1.3D OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 DURING WHICH ALL TRAVEL UNDER A TRANSFER ORDER INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS MUST BE ACCOMPLISHED. THIS WOULD HAVE NO APPLICATION TO REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH THE REGULATION OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET PRESCRIBES A LESSER LIMITATION.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR POLICY, SINCE THE VOUCHER MAY NOT BE PAID, THE VOUCHER IS RETAINED IN OUR FILE. HOWEVER, THE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS WHICH ACCOMPANIED YOUR LETTER ARE RETURNED HEREWITH AS REQUESTED BY YOU.