B-164814, AUG. 16, 1968

B-164814: Aug 16, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

GOODRICH: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM DATED JULY 26. WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT OF 1928. YOU WERE REASSIGNED FROM 559TH MEDICAL SERVICE FLIGHT (PACAF). THIRTY DAYS' DELAY TO BE COUNTED AS LEAVE WAS AUTHORIZED. FURTHER ORDERS WERE ISSUED WHICH CHANGED YOUR REASSIGNMENT FROM OVERSEAS TO OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE. WHILE YOU WERE BEING PROCESSED FOR DEPARTURE FROM YOUR OVERSEAS STATION. YOU WERE NOTIFIED THAT YOUR ORDERS TO FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE HAD BEEN CANCELLED AND THAT YOU WERE BEING TRANSFERRED TO OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE. YOU CONTEND THAT THE CHANGE IN ASSIGNMENT WAS KNOWN PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE ORDERS OF JUNE 2.

B-164814, AUG. 16, 1968

TO RONALD E. GOODRICH:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM DATED JULY 26, 1967, WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT OF 1928, 31 U.S.C. 236.

INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS DATED APRIL 25, 1967, YOU WERE REASSIGNED FROM 559TH MEDICAL SERVICE FLIGHT (PACAF), APO SAN FRANCISCO, TO FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, WASHINGTON, WITH EFFECTIVE DATE OF STRENGTH ACCOUNTABILITY SHOWN AS JULY 20, 1967. THIRTY DAYS' DELAY TO BE COUNTED AS LEAVE WAS AUTHORIZED, WITH LEAVE ADDRESS SHOWN AS OMAHA, NEBRASKA. ON JUNE 2, 1967, FURTHER ORDERS WERE ISSUED WHICH CHANGED YOUR REASSIGNMENT FROM OVERSEAS TO OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEBRASKA.

YOU SAY IN THE EXPLANATORY LETTER ACCOMPANYING YOUR CLAIM THAT DURING YOUR TOUR IN VIETNAM, YOUR DEPENDENTS RESIDED IN A HOME YOU HAD PREVIOUSLY BOUGHT IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA. ALTHOUGH YOU HAD REQUESTED OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEBRASKA, AS YOUR NEXT ASSIGNMENT, YOU RELATE THAT ON APRIL 25, 1967, YOU RECEIVED PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS WHICH DIRECTED YOU TO REPORT AT FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, WASHINGTON, UPON COMPLETION OF YOUR OVERSEAS TOUR. YOU STATE FURTHER THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THE ORDERS YOU BELIEVED YOU HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO SELL YOUR HOUSE AND MOVE TO FAIRCHILD AND YOU INSTRUCTED YOUR WIFE TO THAT EFFECT.

ALSO, YOU RELATE THAT ON JULY 3, 1967, WHILE YOU WERE BEING PROCESSED FOR DEPARTURE FROM YOUR OVERSEAS STATION, YOU WERE NOTIFIED THAT YOUR ORDERS TO FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE HAD BEEN CANCELLED AND THAT YOU WERE BEING TRANSFERRED TO OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEBRASKA, BY ORDERS DATED JUNE 2, 1967. HOWEVER, ON JUNE 3, 1967, BEFORE YOU RECEIVED NOTICE OF THE CHANGE IN YOUR ORDERS, YOUR WIFE HAD SIGNED A CONTRACT FOR THE SALE OF YOUR HOUSE AND SUBSEQUENTLY YOU HAD TO REPURCHASE ANOTHER HOUSE IN THE SAME AREA, SUSTAINING A LOSS OF $1,350 IN THE TRANSACTIONS. YOU CONTEND THAT THE CHANGE IN ASSIGNMENT WAS KNOWN PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE ORDERS OF JUNE 2, AND HAD YOU BEEN INFORMED IN TIME ABOUT THE CHANGE THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO NECESSITY FOR THE SALE OF YOUR HOUSE. ACCORDINGLY, YOU REQUEST CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT, 31 U.S.C. 236, AND ANY OTHER STATUTE THAT AFFORDS RELIEF.

THE ACT OF APRIL 10, 1928, 45 STAT. 413, 31 U.S.C. 236, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN THERE IS FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE A CLAIM OR DEMAND AGAINST THE UNITED STATES THAT MAY NOT LAWFULLY BE ADJUSTED BY THE USE OF AN APPROPRIATION THERETOFORE MADE, BUT WHICH CLAIM OR DEMAND IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES CONTAINS SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO BE DESERVING OF THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CONGRESS, HE SHALL SUBMIT THE SAME TO THE CONGRESS BY A SPECIAL REPORT CONTAINING THE MATERIAL FACTS AND HIS RECOMMENDATION THEREON.' WHILE THIS ACT CONTEMPLATES THE REPORTING TO THE CONGRESS FOR ITS CONSIDERATION OF CERTAIN CLAIMS FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT MAY BE INVOLVED ONLY WHEN IT IS DETERMINED THAT THE CLAIM "CONTAINS SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO BE DESERVING OF THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CONGRESS.'

WITH RESPECT TO LEGAL LIABILITY ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT, IT LONG HAS BEEN THE RULE THAT THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES ARE SUBJECT TO MODIFICATION OR REVOCATION AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF THE TRAVEL AS DIRECTED AND IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT, ANY EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE MEMBER PREPARATORY TO COMPLYING WITH THE ORDERS MUST BE BORNE BY HIM IF THE ORDERS ARE RESCINDED OR CANCELLED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF. SEE 33 COMP. GEN. 289 AND 45 ID. 34.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. 406A, A MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES AND TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDERS THAT DIRECT HIM TO MAKE A CHANGE OF STATION AND ARE LATER CANCELLED, REVOKED OR MODIFIED. HOWEVER, EXISTING LAWS DO NOT CONTEMPLATE REIMBURSEMENT TO A SERVICE MEMBER FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN PREPARATION FOR THE DIRECTED TRAVEL WHEN THE ORDERS ARE MODIFIED OR CANCELLED BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF TRAVEL BY THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENTS.

WHILE IT MAY BE THAT YOU INCURRED A LOSS IN THE TRANSACTIONS WHICH RESULTED FROM THE CHANGE IN STATION ASSIGNMENT, THE LOSS IS A FINANCIAL BURDEN WHICH IS SOLELY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. OTHER MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ALSO SUBJECT TO OCCASIONAL FINANCIAL BURDENS WHICH ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE, IN COMPLYING WITH STATUTORY OR REGULATORY PROVISIONS IN INSTANCES SUCH AS YOURS, WHERE SUCH LOSSES ARE NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT. HENCE, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THAT YOUR CLAIM CONTAINS SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS WOULD WARRANT REPORTING IT TO THE CONGRESS UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT OF 1928. ALSO, WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW WHICH WOULD AFFORD ANY RELIEF IN YOUR CASE.