B-166010, MARCH 3, 1969 48 COMP. GEN. 574

B-166010: Mar 3, 1969

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A-56 TO SUPPORT A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS THE ORIGINAL OR A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING. OR IF THE BILL OF LADING IS UNAVAILABLE. WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT IS ACCEPTABLE. IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE. THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE BASED ON THE POUNDS SHOWN ON THE TRANSPORTATION INVOICE. NOTWITHSTANDING HIS ACTUAL COSTS MAY HAVE BEEN LESS. BY WHICH AN ADVANCE DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER YOU MAY PROPERLY PAY THE ATTACHED TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. YOUR REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO US BY THE PER DIEM. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED WAS NOT OBTAINED FROM WEIGHING SCALES.

B-166010, MARCH 3, 1969 48 COMP. GEN. 574

TRANSPORTATION--HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS--COMMUTATION--WEIGHT EVIDENCE THE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED BY SECTION 6.4D (3) OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 TO SUPPORT A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS THE ORIGINAL OR A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING, OR IF THE BILL OF LADING IS UNAVAILABLE, OTHER EVIDENCE SHOWING POINT OF ORIGIN, DESTINATION, AND WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT IS ACCEPTABLE. IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE, A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT BASED ON 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE MAY BE USED. WHERE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT A CLAIM FOR SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS DOES NOT ESTABLISH THE CUBIC FEET OF PROPERLY LOADED SPACE, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE BASED ON THE POUNDS SHOWN ON THE TRANSPORTATION INVOICE, NOTWITHSTANDING HIS ACTUAL COSTS MAY HAVE BEEN LESS.

TO MAJOR J. E. INGLES, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, MARCH 3, 1969:

WE REFER TO YOUR REQUEST OF JANUARY 8, 1969, YOUR SERIAL: D5/0024F, BY WHICH AN ADVANCE DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER YOU MAY PROPERLY PAY THE ATTACHED TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. FRANK D. BROUSE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, TO REIMBURSE HIM AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO CHANGE IN HIS OFFICIAL STATION UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS OF MAY 8, 1968. YOUR REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO US BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 22, 1969, UNDER PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 69-4.

THE ONLY QUESTION PRESENTED RELATES TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF MR. BROUSE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR MOVING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT THE COMMUTED RATE AS PRESCRIBED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5724 (C), INSTEAD OF ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED WAS NOT OBTAINED FROM WEIGHING SCALES. DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED TO SUPPORT AN EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE IS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 6.4D (3) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A 56 WHICH IS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

(3) DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED. CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM SHALL BE SUPPORTED BY * * * THE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING OR CERTIFIED COPIES, OR, IF BILLS OF LADING ARE NOT AVAILABLE, OTHER EVIDENCE SHOWING POINT OF ORIGIN, DESTINATION AND WEIGHT. IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE AT POINT OF ORIGIN, AT ANY POINT EN ROUTE, OR AT DESTINATION, A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT, BASED ON 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE, MAY BE USED. * * *

IN CASES INVOLVING THE LOCAL TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN WHICH THERE WAS NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT CHARGES BE BASED ON WEIGHT AND MILEAGE AND CHARGES WERE BASED ON HOURLY OR JOB RATES, WE HAVE HELD THAT THE NONAVAILABILITY OF SCALES NEED NOT BE FURTHER DEMONSTRATED. B-153134, JANUARY 22, 1964; B-150433, DECEMBER 17, 1962. IN SUCH CASES WE HAVE AUTHORIZED PAYMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE BASED ON A SHOWING OF THE AMOUNT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE OCCUPIED BY THE EFFECTS USING THE 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT FORMULA SPECIFIED IN THE CONTROLLING REGULATION TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT DUE. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN THIS CASE DOES NOT CLEARLY ESTABLISH THE VOLUME OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE OCCUPIED BY THE EFFECTS. A COPY OF WHAT WAS APPARENTLY THE ORIGINAL BILL PRESENTED TO MR. BROUSE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INVOLVED INDICATES THAT 8,700 POUNDS OF EFFECTS WERE TRANSPORTED, BUT A STATEMENT FROM THE MOVERS DATED MORE THAN 2 MONTHS LATER INDICATES THAT THE EFFECTS OCCUPIED 1,512 CUBIC FEET OF VAN SPACE GIVING A WEIGHT OF 10,584 POUNDS UNDER THE PRESCRIBED FORMULA.

WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED ESTABLISHES THAT MR. BROUSE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OCCUPIED 1,512 CUBIC FEET OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE. IT DOES APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT THE WEIGHT OF THOSE EFFECTS WAS AT LEAST THE 8,700 POUNDS INDICATED ON THE ORIGINAL BILL. THEREFORE, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO YOUR ALLOWING HIM PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF 8,700 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT THE COMMUTED RATE LESS THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. IN THAT CONNECTION, WE NOTE THAT PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT DUE UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM MAY NOT BE WITHHELD BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEE'S COSTS FOR MOVING HIS EFFECTS WERE LESS THAN THE COMMUTED RATE PAYMENT. 32 COMP. GEN. 321.

AS TO YOUR OTHER QUESTIONS INVOLVING LOCAL MOVES WHEN THE CARRIERS' CHARGES ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE BASED ON THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS, WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT DESIRABLE TO ATTEMPT TO SET FORTH A SEPARATE INTERPRETATION OF THE WORDS "PROPERLY LOADED VAN" AS USED IN THE REGULATIONS WHICH WOULD BE APPLICABLE TO LOCAL MOVES RATHER THAN LONG DISTANCE MOVES. HOWEVER, IN A GIVEN CASE WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO REQUIRING A STATEMENT FROM THE CARRIER INDICATING THE VOLUME OF VAN SPACE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN OCCUPIED BY SUCH EFFECTS HAD THEY BEEN LOADED WITH A VIEW TO THE MOST EFFICIENT USE OF SUCH SPACE.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.