B-164104, MAY 27, 1968

B-164104: May 27, 1968

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THE CLAIM IS FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM LONGMONT. STATES SUCH EXPENSES WILL BE REIMBURSED PROVIDED THAT: "D. THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. EXCEPT THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION.'. DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT THE SETTLEMENT DATE WAS MORE THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE EMPLOYEE ARRIVED AT HIS NEW STATION.

B-164104, MAY 27, 1968

TO MR. ROBERT J. SCHULLERY:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 19, 1968, REFERENCE MS-430, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A CLAIM OF $1,228.35 SUBMITTED BY MR. JERRY P. MULLEN, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY. THE CLAIM IS FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM LONGMONT, COLORADO, TO FAIRBANKS, ALASKA.

SUBSECTION 4.1 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, STATES SUCH EXPENSES WILL BE REIMBURSED PROVIDED THAT:

"D. THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, EXCEPT THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION.' DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT THE SETTLEMENT DATE WAS MORE THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE EMPLOYEE ARRIVED AT HIS NEW STATION.

THE EMPLOYEE RECEIVED NOTIFICATION OF HIS TRANSFER ON OCTOBER 1, 1966. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TRAVEL ORDERS OF OCTOBER 24, 1966, HE REPORTED TO HIS NEW STATION ON NOVEMBER 16, 1966. THE EMPLOYEE WAS INFORMED OF THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 THROUGH AN AGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT DATED AUGUST 15, 1966. HOWEVER, HE WAS UNAWARE OF THE PROVISIONS OF REVISED CIRCULAR NO. A-56 AT THE TIME OF TRANSFER SINCE ITS CONTENTS HAD NOT BEEN MADE KNOWN TO THE AGENCY FIELD INSTALLATIONS. NOT WISHING TO PREJUDICE HIS RIGHTS THE EMPLOYEE LEASED HIS HOME FOR ONE YEAR. AFTER HIS ARRIVAL IN ALASKA AND RECEIPT OF AGENCY INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING BENEFITS UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89-516, THE EMPLOYEE TOOK STEPS TO TERMINATE THE LEASE AND SELL HIS HOME. AS A RESULT OF THESE EFFORTS THE HOME WAS SOLD AND SETTLEMENT MADE ON JANUARY 31, 1968.

THE REGULATION PRESCRIBES ONLY ONE EXCEPTION WHEREBY THE DESIGNATED ONE- YEAR PERIOD CAN BE EXTENDED. SUCH EXCEPTION PROVIDES THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION. THE APPROPRIATE AGENCY OFFICIAL REFUSED TO GRANT AN EXTENSION OF TIME SINCE IN HIS OPINION THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE DO NOT INVOLVE LITIGATION. WE FIND NO REASON TO DISAGREE WITH THAT DETERMINATION. THE REGULATION, HAVING BEEN ISSUED PURSUANT TO PUBLIC LAW 89-516, 80 STAT. 323, APPROVED JULY 21, 1966, IS STATUTORY IN NATURE. OUR OFFICE CANNOT WAIVE IT, NOR EXTEND IT. SEE B-163700, MAY 6, 1968, COPY HEREWITH.