B-163936, MAY 3, 1968

B-163936: May 3, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

THE AMOUNT HE PAID FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM HIS HOME AT THE TIME HE WAS APPOINTED IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO HIS FIRST OFFICIAL STATION UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO MANPOWER SHORTAGE CATEGORY EMPLOYEES. THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5723 AUTHORIZE PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE APPOINTED TO A POSITION FOR WHICH THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HAS DETERMINED THAT THERE IS A MANPOWER SHORTAGE. THE COSTS WHICH MAY BE PAID UNDER THAT SECTION ARE THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF THE APPOINTEE AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY. THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES OF EMPLOYEES IS AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 5727.

B-163936, MAY 3, 1968

TO DEAR MR. SECRETARY:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1968, CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING MR. J. GRAHAM SULLIVAN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE, THE AMOUNT HE PAID FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM HIS HOME AT THE TIME HE WAS APPOINTED IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO HIS FIRST OFFICIAL STATION UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO MANPOWER SHORTAGE CATEGORY EMPLOYEES.

THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5723 AUTHORIZE PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE APPOINTED TO A POSITION FOR WHICH THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HAS DETERMINED THAT THERE IS A MANPOWER SHORTAGE. THE COSTS WHICH MAY BE PAID UNDER THAT SECTION ARE THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF THE APPOINTEE AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS AND HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS ALLOWED IN THE CASE OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES BY 5 U.S.C. 5724.

THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES OF EMPLOYEES IS AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 5727; HOWEVER, THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED THEREIN IS LIMITED TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES FOR EMPLOYEES IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OR RETURN FROM DUTY, OTHER THAN TEMPORARY DUTY, AT POSTS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. THAT SECTION ALSO PROVIDES THAT, EXCEPT AS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE, AN AUTHORIZATION TO TRANSPORT THE EFFECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE OR OTHER INDIVIDUAL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT AN AUTHORIZATION TO TRANSPORT AN AUTOMOBILE. THAT RESTRICTION WAS DERIVED FROM SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, CHAPTER 314, 47 STAT. 405 (5 U.S.C. 73C (1964 ED.) ( AND HAS BEEN IN FORCE SINCE THAT TIME. WE KNOW OF NO PROVISION OF LAW WHICH AUTHORIZES THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE OF A NEW APPOINTEE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN THE CASE PRESENTED.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, WE MAY NOT PERMIT PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF TRANSPORTING THE AUTOMOBILE IN QUESTION REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY AN AGENCY OFFICIAL THAT SUCH A PAYMENT WAS PROPER OR THAT HIS TRAVEL ORDERS INCLUDED SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR SHIPMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. WE HAVE ON OCCASION AUTHORIZED AGENCIES TO REFRAIN FROM COLLECTING PAYMENTS MADE TO EMPLOYEES WHICH WERE LATER DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN MADE ERRONEOUSLY. IN THOSE CASES THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS INVOLVED WERE NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR AND PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNTS IN QUESTION, PRIOR TO A DECISION OF OUR OFFICE INTERPRETING SUCH LAWS AND REGULATIONS, WAS NOT UNREASONABLE. SEE 37 COMP. GEN. 64. THAT IS NOT THE SITUATION HERE SINCE IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED FOR MANY YEARS THAT NO AUTHORITY EXISTED TO TRANSPORT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES THE PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE OF AN EMPLOYEE BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS -- OR BETWEEN THE RESIDENCE AND DUTY STATION OF A NEW APPOINTEE TO A SHORTAGE CATEGORY POSITION.

ACCORDINGLY, WE MUST ADVISE YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO REIMBURSE MR. SULLIVAN THE AMOUNT HE PAID FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION IN CONNECTION WITH HIS APPOINTMENT TO A SHORTAGE CATEGORY POSITION.