B-164753, JUL. 25, 1968

B-164753: Jul 25, 1968

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YOU ASKED THAT YOU BE ALLOWED THE ACTUAL EXPENSE OF MOVING YOUR GOODS ON A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING WHICH IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE AMOUNTED TO $820.95. FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF STATION WAS REPEALED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946. THE LATTER ACT WAS IMPLEMENTED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805. REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THE EMPLOYEE ON A COMMUTATED BASIS AT RATES PER HUNDRED POUNDS AS FIXED BY ZONES IN SCHEDULE A WHICH IS ATTACHED TO AND MADE PART OF THESE REGULATIONS. * * * GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING SHALL NOT BE USED.'. WHILE EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805 AND PERTINENT SUCCEEDING ORDERS HAVE NOW BEEN SUPERSEDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO.

B-164753, JUL. 25, 1968

TO MR. THADDEUS B. SZYMANSKI:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 13, 1968, REQUESTS REVIEW OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 14, 1968, WHICH ALLOWED YOU $658.09 REPRESENTING THE AMOUNT DUE UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE AUTHORIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK, TO CAMP SPRINGS, MARYLAND, IN JUNE 1967 INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF YOUR OFFICIAL STATION TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

YOU ASKED THAT YOU BE ALLOWED THE ACTUAL EXPENSE OF MOVING YOUR GOODS ON A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING WHICH IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE AMOUNTED TO $820.95, OR $162.86 MORE THAN ALLOWED BY OUR SETTLEMENT.

THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, 54 STAT. 1105, FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF STATION WAS REPEALED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 806. THE LATTER ACT WAS IMPLEMENTED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805.

SECTION 12 OF THAT ORDER, IN PERTINENT PART, READ 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 TRANSFERS BETWEEN POINTS WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THE EMPLOYEE ON A COMMUTATED BASIS AT RATES PER HUNDRED POUNDS AS FIXED BY ZONES IN SCHEDULE A WHICH IS ATTACHED TO AND MADE PART OF THESE REGULATIONS. * * * GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING SHALL NOT BE USED.'

WHILE EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805 AND PERTINENT SUCCEEDING ORDERS HAVE NOW BEEN SUPERSEDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THE BASIC POLICY REGARDING REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS AS EXPRESSED IN THE 1946 STATUTE AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805 STILL IS CONTROLLING, EXCEPT AS AMENDED BY SECTION 1 OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516, APPROVED JULY 21, 1966, 80 STAT. 323, NOW 5 U.S.C. 5724 (C). THERE IS NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY NOW IN EXISTENCE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EMPLOYEES ON AN "ACTUAL EXPENSE" BASIS FOR TRANSFERS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES UNLESS THE AGENCY CONCERNED HAS AUTHORIZED AND SHIPPED THE EFFECTS ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAW AND REGULATIONS. WHEN, AS IN YOUR CASE, THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS UPON A TRANSFER OF STATION IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IS MADE ON THE COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING AFTER THE AGENCY HAS DENIED A REQUEST FOR THEIR SHIPMENT ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS OF REIMBURSEMENT IS MANDATORY.

A CAREFUL READING OF SECTION 6.4B OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 WILL DISCLOSE THAT THE "ACTUAL EXPENSE" METHOD CONTEMPLATES SHIPMENT ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM PATENTLY IS A SYSTEM OF APPROXIMATION WHICH, DEPENDENT UPON THE VARIABLES IN EACH SHIPMENT, WILL SOMETIMES BE FAVORABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE AND UNDER OTHER CONDITIONS OPERATE SOMEWHAT TO HIS DISADVANTAGE.

SINCE YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM ON A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING BETWEEN POINTS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR REIMBURSING YOU FOR THE ACTUAL EXPENSES SAID TO HAVE BEEN INCURRED.

THEREFORE, UPON REVIEW, OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 14, 1968, MUST BE SUSTAINED.