B-165033, SEPT. 11, 1968

B-165033: Sep 11, 1968

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THE NEW POST WAS DENVER. THE NOTIFICATION OF REDUCTION IN FORCE WAS CANCELLED. AFTER HE HAD BEEN VERBALLY INFORMED THAT THE NOTIFICATION WAS TO BE RESCINDED. HE ASSERTS THAT THE HOUSE WAS NOT LISTED PRIOR TO THAT TIME BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT. SINCE THE HOUSE WAS NOT ON THE MARKET UNTIL VERY SHORTLY BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR. SALZBRENER SAYS THAT THERE WAS A REDUCED NUMBER OF PROSPECTIVE BUYERS. THE HOUSE WAS NOT SOLD UNTIL JULY 27. PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES ONLY WHEN: "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.

B-165033, SEPT. 11, 1968

TO MR. W. M. WILSON:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 8, 1968, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST THAT WE REVIEW YOUR DISALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM OF MR. OTTO F. SALZBRENER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN SELLING HIS RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL DUTY STATION UPON TRANSFER TO A NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.

MR. SALZBRENER REPORTED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION ON MAY 10, 1967. THE NEW POST WAS DENVER, COLORADO, WHILE THE FORMER DUTY STATION HAD BEEN COLORADO SPRINGS. HOWEVER, UNDER PREVIOUS ORDERS DATED MAY 8, 1967, MR. SALZBRENER SPENT THE PERIOD FROM MAY 15 THROUGH JUNE 30 ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN THE KANSAS CITY DISTRICT. ON JULY 14, ABOUT TWO WEEKS AFTER HIS RETURN TO DENVER, HE RECEIVED A REDUCTION IN FORCE NOTIFICATION EFFECTIVE 61 CALENDAR DAYS FROM RECEIPT. BUT BY A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 15, 1967, THE NOTIFICATION OF REDUCTION IN FORCE WAS CANCELLED.

MR. SALZBRENER RELATES THAT IN LATE AUGUST, AFTER HE HAD BEEN VERBALLY INFORMED THAT THE NOTIFICATION WAS TO BE RESCINDED, HE PUT HIS COLORADO SPRINGS HOME UP FOR SALE. HE ASSERTS THAT THE HOUSE WAS NOT LISTED PRIOR TO THAT TIME BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT. SINCE THE HOUSE WAS NOT ON THE MARKET UNTIL VERY SHORTLY BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR, MR. SALZBRENER SAYS THAT THERE WAS A REDUCED NUMBER OF PROSPECTIVE BUYERS. ALTHOUGH SEVERAL POTENTIAL PURCHASERS DID IN FACT CONTACT HIM DURING SUCCEEDING MONTHS, THE HOUSE WAS NOT SOLD UNTIL JULY 27, 1968.

YOU DENIED THE CLAIM FOR COSTS INCURRED UPON THE SALE OF THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENCE BECAUSE MORE THAN A YEAR HAD ELAPSED SINCE MR. SALZBRENER REPORTED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION IN DENVER. IN THAT CONNECTION, SECTION 4.1D OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES ONLY WHEN:

"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.'

YOU ALSO FORWARDED TO MR. SALZBRENER A COPY OF OUR DECISION B 164201, MAY 27, 1968. IN THAT CASE REIMBURSEMENT WAS DENIED BECAUSE THE DATE OF SETTLEMENT WAS DELAYED BEYOND THE 1-YEAR PERIOD, EVEN THOUGH WITHOUT FAULT ON THE CLAIMANT'S PART. WE ARRIVED AT THE SAME CONCLUSION IN TWO OTHER RECENT CASES, B-163955, MAY 20, 1968; AND B 164488, JUNE 27, 1968. WE SEE NO CRITICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CITED DECISIONS AND THE PRESENT CLAIM. THE QUOTED SECTION FROM CIRCULAR NO. A-56 IS CLEAR AND CONTROLLING. SPELLS OUT THE ONLY EXCEPTION, NOT APPLICABLE HERE, CONCERNING DELAY CAUSED BY LITIGATION. THIS OFFICE CANNOT CREATE BY FIAT OTHER EXCEPTIONS TO MEET THE PARTICULAR FACTS OF INDIVIDUAL CASES.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU WERE CORRECT IN NOT ALLOWING MR. SALZBRENER'S CLAIM.