B-165418, DECEMBER 11, 1968, 48 COMP. GEN. 395

B-165418: Dec 11, 1968

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ALTHOUGH HE IS NOT INFORMED UNTIL NOVEMBER 22. TENTATIVELY WAS SET FOR APRIL 1. 1966 THAT HIS PERMANENT STATION WAS BEING TRANSFERRED. 1968: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR REQUEST OF SEPTEMBER 6. WHO WAS TRANSFERRED FROM WASHINGTON. IT WAS CONTEMPLATED AT THAT TIME THAT ALL EMPLOYEES WOULD BE LOCATED DURING 1955 AND 1956. DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS IT WAS DECIDED THAT THE COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY ORGANIZATION (CSO) WOULD REMAIN IN WASHINGTON UNTIL SUCH TIME AS FUNDS COULD BE PROGRAMMED. AFTER FUNDS FOR THE DESIGN OF A BUILDING WERE APPROPRIATED. THE CSO EMPLOYEES WERE INFORMED THAT A CONTRACT FOR THE BUILDING DESIGN HAD BEEN AWARDED. THAT NO FIRM OR TENTATIVE DATE FOR RELOCATION HAD BEEN ANNOUNCED AND UNTIL AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE NO MOVE ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATED.

B-165418, DECEMBER 11, 1968, 48 COMP. GEN. 395

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - MASS TRANSFER - EFFECTIVE DATE AN EMPLOYEE WHO ON JULY 9, 1966 CONTRACTS TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE IN ANTICIPATION OF A MASS TRANSFER INCIDENT TO THE RELOCATION OF AGENCY HEADQUARTERS, ALTHOUGH HE IS NOT INFORMED UNTIL NOVEMBER 22, 1966 THAT THE MOVE, WHICH HAD BEEN ANTICIPATED FOR SEVERAL YEARS, TENTATIVELY WAS SET FOR APRIL 1, 1968--- THE DELAY IN THE MOVE OCCASIONED BY THE UNAVAILABILITY OF FUNDS FOR THE MOVE AND BUILDING CONSTRUCTION--- AND WHO MOVES INTO HIS NEW RESIDENCE APRIL 22, 1967, COMPLETING SETTLEMENT JULY 12, 1967, MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89-516 FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PURCHASE OF A NEW RESIDENCE ON THE BASIS THE EMPLOYEE ACQUIRED THE RESIDENCE AFTER HE RECEIVED DEFINITE INFORMATION ON NOVEMBER 22, 1966 THAT HIS PERMANENT STATION WAS BEING TRANSFERRED.

TO MAJOR J. E. INGLES, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, DECEMBER 11, 1968:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR REQUEST OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1968, SERIAL: D5/1532F, FOR A DECISION ON THE TRAVEL CLAIM OF MR. RONALD D. STORM, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY, WHO WAS TRANSFERRED FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MARYLAND, BY ORDERS DATED MAY 8, 1968.

YOU SAY THAT THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY COMMENCED RELOCATION FROM WASHINGTON TO FORT MEADE IN 1955. IT WAS CONTEMPLATED AT THAT TIME THAT ALL EMPLOYEES WOULD BE LOCATED DURING 1955 AND 1956. HOWEVER, DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS IT WAS DECIDED THAT THE COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY ORGANIZATION (CSO) WOULD REMAIN IN WASHINGTON UNTIL SUCH TIME AS FUNDS COULD BE PROGRAMMED, BUDGETED, APPROPRIATED AND A NEW BUILDING CONSTRUCTED AT FORT MEADE FOR ITS EMPLOYEES.

IN MARCH 1965, AFTER FUNDS FOR THE DESIGN OF A BUILDING WERE APPROPRIATED, THE CSO EMPLOYEES WERE INFORMED THAT A CONTRACT FOR THE BUILDING DESIGN HAD BEEN AWARDED, BUT THAT NO FIRM OR TENTATIVE DATE FOR RELOCATION HAD BEEN ANNOUNCED AND UNTIL AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE NO MOVE ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATED. IN JUNE 1966 THE EMPLOYEES WERE INFORMED THAT PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO INTERESTED CONTRACTORS AND BIDS WOULD BE SUBMITTED FOR EVALUATION ON OR BEFORE JUNE 22, 1966. THE EMPLOYEES WERE ALSO NOTIFIED THAT NEITHER A FIRM NOR TENTATIVE DATE FOR THE RELOCATION HAD BEEN OFFICIALLY DETERMINED.

ON NOVEMBER 22, 1966, EACH EMPLOYEE OF CSO WAS GIVEN A COPY OF A MEMORANDUM STATING THAT THE MOVE TO FORT MEADE WAS TENTATIVELY SET FOR APRIL 1, 1968. THE MEMORANDUM ALSO STATED THAT THE EMPLOYEES COULD MOVE THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO A LOCATION CLOSER TO OR MORE CONVENIENT TO FORT MEADE AND THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEES WOULD BE MADE WHEN TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED AND THE ORGANIZATION'S MOVE WAS ACCOMPLISHED.

ON JULY 9, 1966, MR. STORM ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A HOUSE TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN LAUREL, MARYLAND. HE APPARENTLY MOVED INTO HIS NEW RESIDENCE ON APRIL 22, 1967, ALTHOUGH SETTLEMENT WAS NOT MADE UNTIL JULY 12, 1967. YOU SUBMITTED FOR DECISION MR. STORM'S VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PURCHASE OF HIS HOME BECAUSE THE AGREEMENT TO PURCHASE WAS DATED PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RELOCATION. WITH REGARD TO MR. STORM'S VOUCHER YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

A. ALTHOUGH MR. STORM OBLIGATED HIMSELF UNDER CONTRACT DATED 9 JULY 1966 TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE, MAY HE BE REIMBURSED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89 516 FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PURCHASE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS PCS, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ACTUAL RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE AND INCURRENCE OF THE EXPENSES OF THE PURCHASE OF HIS RESIDENCE ACCRUED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PL 89-516 AND AFTER THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCED RELOCATION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY ORGANIZATION DATED 22 NOVEMBER 1966?

B. IS THE DATE OF THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RELOCATION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY ORGANIZATION DATED 22 NOVEMBER 1966 THE EARLIEST DATE THAT CAN BE CONSIDERED AS PROVIDING DEFINITE INFORMATION TO THE EMPLOYEE (AS CONTEMPLATED BY SECTION 4.1C AND 4.1D OF BOB CIRCULAR A-56) THAT THEY WERE TO BE TRANSFERRED * * *.

YOU ALSO DRAW OUR ATTENTION VARIOUS DECISIONS, INCLUDING 27 COMP. GEN. 97, WHEREIN REIMBURSEMENT WAS AUTHORIZED FOR THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND DEPENDENTS INCURRED IN ANTICIPATION OF, BUT PRIOR TO, TRANSFER ORDERS. YOU STATE THAT WE MAY ELIMINATE THE SUBMISSION OF ADDITIONAL CLAIMS RESULTING FROM THE MOVE TO FORT MEADE IF WE ADVISE YOU HOW FAR IN ADVANCE OF THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS AN EMPLOYEE COULD INCUR EXPENSES IN ANTICIPATION OF THE MOVE AND BE REIMBURSED.

REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN ANTICIPATION OF A TRANSFER HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED WHEN IT WAS SHOWN THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED TO THE EMPLOYEE INCLUDED AUTHORIZATION FOR THE EXPENSES ON THE BASIS OF A PREVIOUSLY EXISTING ADMINISTRATIVE INTENTION, CLEARLY EVIDENT AT THE TIME THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE, TO TRANSFER THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS. B-155465, NOVEMBER 18, 1964. WHAT CONSTITUTES A CLEAR INTENTION TO TRANSFER AN EMPLOYEE DEPENDS ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN EACH CASE AND IS NOT NECESSARILY DEPENDENT ON A TIME ELEMENT. SEE 27 COMP. GEN. 97; 29 ID. 232; ID. 293. AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER WE HAVE HELD THAT WHEN AN AGENCY PROPOSES A MASS TRANSFER TO TAKE PLACE MORE THAN 1 YEAR IN THE FUTURE AND ANNOUNCES NO TENTATIVE DATE, THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN ANTICIPATION OF THE TRANSFER. B 120435, JULY 8, 1954. WE NOTE THAT WHEN A PROPOSED MASS TRANSFER DEPENDS ON AN INTERVENING EVENT SUCH AS THE PASSAGE OF AN APPROPRIATION ACT, THERE IS NO DEFINITE ASSURANCE THAT THE TRANSFER WILL TAKE PLACE, EVEN THOUGH THE AGENCY MAKES AN ANNOUNCEMENT WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE PROPOSED TRANSFER. SEE B-123066, APRIL 19, 1955.

IN THE INSTANT CASE THE PROPOSED TRANSFER, WHICH DID NOT TAKE PLACE IN 1955 OR 1956 AS ORIGINALLY PLANNED, REMAINED INDEFINITE FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THE ANNOUNCEMENTS OF MARCH 1965 AND JUNE 1966 ADVISED THAT BUILDING PLANS WERE TO BE PREPARED AND BIDS WERE SOLICITED, RESPECTIVELY. HOWEVER, NEITHER CONTAINED A TENTATIVE TRANSFER DATE. INDEED, UNTIL A CONTRACT WAS AWARDED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A BUILDING WITH A DEFINITE COMPLETION DATE NO TENTATIVE TRANSFER DATE COULD BE ANNOUNCED. ALSO, THE MARCH 1965 ANNOUNCEMENT SPECIFICALLY ADVISED THAT UNTIL AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE, NO MOVE ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATED. THEREFORE, REIMBURSEMENT ON THE BASIS OF THE ABOVE ANNOUNCEMENTS IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

THE NOVEMBER 1966 MEMORANDUM OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED A TENTATIVE TRANSFER DATE AND ADVISED EMPLOYEES THEY COULD MOVE THEREAFTER AND BE REIMBURSED THEIR EXPENSES WHEN THE TRANSFER WAS COMPLETED. WE ASSUME THAT THE CONTRACTOR HAD BEEN NOTIFIED TO PROCEED WITH BUILDING CONSTRUCTION BY THIS TIME. ACCORDINGLY, MOVING EXPENSES INCURRED AFTER NOVEMBER 22, 1966, WOULD APPEAR TO BE REIMBURSABLE IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

WITH RESPECT TO THE DATE WHEN MR. STORM ACQUIRED HIS RESIDENCE, WE STATED IN 47 COMP. GEN. 582 THAT THE WORD "SALE" AS USED IN 5 U.S.C. 5724A AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS REFERS TO THE TRANSFER OF TITLE WHICH 1966, STATES THAT COMPLETION OF THE SALE (PURCHASE) IS CONTINGENT USUALLY DOES NOT OCCUR UNTIL TIME OF SETTLEMENT. THE CONTRACT OF JULY 9, UPON VARIOUS FACTORS SUCH AS COMPLETION OF CONSTRUCTION AND A LENDER'S APPROVAL. PREVIOUSLY INDICATED MR. STORM APPARENTLY MOVED INTO HIS NEW RESIDENCE IN APRIL 1967 AND SETTLEMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE WAS COMPLETED ON JULY 12, 1967. THEREFORE, IT REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT MR. STORM DID NOT ACQUIRE HIS RESIDENCE UNTIL AFTER HE RECEIVED DEFINITE INFORMATION ON NOVEMBER 22, 1966, THAT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION WAS BEING TRANSFERRED TO FORT MEADE, MARYLAND.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE THE VOUCHER RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE PAID, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.