B-167502, OCTOBER 16, 1969, 49 COMP. GEN. 255

B-167502: Oct 16, 1969

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

CIRCUITOUS ROUTES A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHOSE CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS ARE RESCINDED SUBSEQUENT TO THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF HIS PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION WEIGHT ALLOWANCE. NOTWITHSTANDING THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTION WAS BEYOND HIS CONTROL IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THE EXCESS WEIGHT OVER THE CIRCUITOUS ROUTE. THE AUTHORITY IN 37 U.S.C. 406A TO REIMBURSE A MEMBER FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS THAT ARE LATER CANCELED. OR MODIFIED IS LIMITED TO THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES PRESCRIBED IN 37 U.S.C. 404. 1969: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 30.

B-167502, OCTOBER 16, 1969, 49 COMP. GEN. 255

TRANSPORTATION -- HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS -- MILITARY PERSONNEL -- WEIGHT LIMITATION -- EXCESS COST LIABILITY -- CIRCUITOUS ROUTES A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHOSE CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS ARE RESCINDED SUBSEQUENT TO THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF HIS PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION WEIGHT ALLOWANCE, AND HIS REASSIGNMENT NECESSITATED THE RESHIPMENT OF THE GOODS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTION WAS BEYOND HIS CONTROL IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THE EXCESS WEIGHT OVER THE CIRCUITOUS ROUTE. THE AUTHORITY IN 37 U.S.C. 406A TO REIMBURSE A MEMBER FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS THAT ARE LATER CANCELED, REVOKED, OR MODIFIED IS LIMITED TO THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES PRESCRIBED IN 37 U.S.C. 404, 406, AND 409, AND, THEREFORE, THE MEMBER MAY NOT BE RELIEVED OF THE LIABILITY IMPOSED BY PARAGRAPH M8003 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO PAY THE COST OF SHIPPING THE EXCESS WEIGHT OVER THE CIRCUITOUS ROUTE.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, OCTOBER 16, 1969:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 30, 1969, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IS REQUIRED TO PAY THE COST OF SHIPPING EXCESS WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS CIRCUITOUSLY WHEN ORDERS ARE AMENDED. THE SUBMISSION HAS BEEN ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 69-28 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

IN HIS LETTER THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REFERS TO PARAGRAPH M8014 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS MADE AFTER RECEIPT OF COMPETENT PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS WILL BE FORWARDED OR RETURNED TO PROPER DESTINATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN CASE SUCH ORDERS ARE SUBSEQUENTLY CANCELED, AMENDED, OR REVOKED. HE ALSO REFERS TO PARAGRAPH M8007 OF THE REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT ANY EXCESS COSTS RESULTING FROM SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF THE MEMBER'S PERMANENT CHANGE OF-STATION WEIGHT ALLOWANCE PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH M8003 SHALL BE BORNE BY THE MEMBER.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT IN APPLYING THESE PROVISIONS, SOME DOUBT EXISTS AS TO THE EXCESS COST PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE MEMBER IN A SITUATION SUCH AS FOLLOWS:

A MEMBER WAS ORDERED PCS FROM BARKESDALE AFB, LA., TO MACDILL AFB, FLA., BY ORDERS DATED 7 JUNE 1966 WITH AN EDCSA OF 25 JULY 1966. IN RELIANCE ON THIS ORDER HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS, WEIGHING IN EXCESS OF HIS ALLOWANCE PRESCRIBED IN JTR, PAR. M8003, WERE SHIPPED TO MACDILL AFB, FLA. ON JULY 7, 1966, SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED, BUT PRIOR TO REPORTING TO MACDILL AFB, FLA., THE ORDERS WERE RESCINDED AND THE MEMBER WAS REASSIGNED TO USAFPMC, RANDOLPH AFB, TEX. THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED ON THROUGH TO MACDILL AFB, FLA. AND THEN TRANSSHIPPED TO RANDOLPH AFB, TEXAS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE MEMBER SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF SHIPPING THE EXCESS WEIGHT FROM BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LOUISIANA, TO MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA, THENCE TO RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS. HE STATES THAT IT IS QUITE CLEAR THAT THE MEMBER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR COST OF SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF HIS MAXIMUM WEIGHT ALLOWANCE FROM OLD TO NEW STATION OR BETWEEN OTHER POINTS REQUESTED BY THE MEMBER. HE SAYS, HOWEVER, THAT WHEN SHIPMENT IS MADE CIRCUITOUSLY BECAUSE OF AN ACTION OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH IS BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE MEMBER, THE ADDED COST RESULTING FROM SUCH ACTION GIVES RISE TO DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE MEMBER SHOULD HAVE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH ADDED COST.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS FURTHER THAT IT APPEARS THAT CONGRESS, IN ENACTING PUBLIC LAW 88-238, 77 STAT. 475, INTENDED THAT A MEMBER WOULD NOT SUFFER A PERSONAL FINANCIAL DISADVANTAGE BY REASON OF THE CANCELLATION OF THE CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDER AFTER MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM THE OLD STATION BUT PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ORDERS. APPARENTLY IT IS HIS VIEW THAT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE MEMBER SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF SHIPPING THE EXCESS WEIGHT CIRCUITOUSLY.

SECTION 406 OF TITLE 37, U.S.C. PROVIDES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION (INCLUDING PACKING AND CRATING) OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH A CHANGE OF STATION TO AND FROM SUCH LOCATIONS AND WITHIN SUCH WEIGHT ALLOWANCES AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. PARAGRAPH M8002 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WITHIN SPECIFIED WEIGHT ALLOWANCES, DESIGNATED AS NET WEIGHTS, ARE AUTHORIZED FOR SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. SUCH WEIGHTS FOR THE VARIOUS RANKS AND GRADES ARE SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH M8003. PARAGRAPH M8002-1 PROVIDES THE METHOD FOR ESTABLISHING THE NET WEIGHT WHEN THE ACTUAL NET WEIGHT OF UNPACKED AND UNCRATED HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS NOT KNOWN.

PARAGRAPH M8007-2 PROVIDES THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S MAXIMUM TRANSPORTATION OBLIGATION IS THE COST OF A THROUGH HOUSEHOLD GOODS MOVEMENT OF A MEMBER'S PRESCRIBED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE (PARAGRAPH M8003) IN ONE LOT BETWEEN AUTHORIZED PLACES AT A VALUATION EQUIVALENT TO THE LOWEST APPLICABLE RATE ESTABLISHED IN THE CARRIER'S TARIFFS. IT PROVIDES FURTHER THAT THE MEMBER WILL BEAR ALL TRANSPORTATION COSTS ARISING FROM SHIPMENT IN MORE THAN ONE LOT, FOR DISTANCE IN EXCESS OF THAT BETWEEN AUTHORIZED PLACES, AND FOR WEIGHTS IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH M8003.

IN OUR OPINION THE FOREGOING REGULATIONS PROPERLY REFLECT THE INTENT OF THE LAW AND CONTEMPLATE THE SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AS PACKED FOR SHIPMENT AT NOT TO EXCEED AN OVERALL WEIGHT ALLOWANCE OF NET WEIGHT PLUS AN ALLOWANCE FOR PACKING AND CRATING. WEIGHTS EXCEEDING THE MAXIMUM OVER ALL WEIGHT ARE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE SHIPPER.

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 23, 1963, PUBLIC LAW 88-238, 77 STAT. 475, ADDED SECTION 406A OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, WHICH PROVIDES:

UNDER UNIFORM REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTION 404 OF THIS TITLE, AND TO TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER SECTIONS 406 AND 409 OF THIS TITLE, IF OTHERWISE QUALIFIED, FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDERS THAT DIRECT HIM TO MAKE A CHANGE OF STATION AND THAT ARE LATER--

(1) CANCELED, REVOKED, OR MODIFIED TO DIRECT HIM TO RETURN TO THE STATION FROM WHICH HE WAS BEING TRANSFERRED; OR

(2) MODIFIED TO DIRECT HIM TO MAKE A DIFFERENT CHANGE OF STATION.

THE PURPOSE OF SECTION 406A IS TO REIMBURSE A MEMBER FOR EXPENSES AS PROVIDED IN SECTIONS 404, 406 AND 409 OF TITLE 37 OF THE U.S.C. FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HIMSELF AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN IT IS SHOWN THAT SUCH EXPENSES WERE INCURRED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ORDERS DIRECTING HIM TO MAKE A CHANGE OF STATION WHICH WERE LATER CANCELED, REVOKED, OR MODIFIED TO DIRECT HIM TO RETURN TO THE STATION FROM WHICH HE WAS TRANSFERRED, OR THE ORDERS WERE MODIFIED TO DIRECT HIM TO MAKE A DIFFERENT CHANGE OF STATION. THUS THE ENTITLEMENT OF THE MEMBER UNDER THAT SECTION IS LIMITED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES SPECIFIED IN SECTIONS 404, 406 AND 409 OF TITLE 37, U.S.C. AND THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS. SEE DECISION B-153872, JULY 24, 1964.

SINCE WEIGHTS EXCEEDING THE MAXIMUM OVERALL WEIGHT ARE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE SHIPPER, AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AN OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE SHIPMENT OF EXCESS WEIGHT IS NOT ONE OF THE "TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES" AUTHORIZED UNDER SECTIONS 404, 406 AND 409 OF TITLE 37, UNITED STATES CODE. SEE DECISION B-153932, JULY 16, 1964.

THEREFORE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT SECTION 406A IS NOT FOR APPLICATION IN A SITUATION SUCH AS IS HERE INVOLVED AND THE MEMBER SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO PAY THE COST OF SHIPPING THE EXCESS WEIGHT OVER THE CIRCUITOUS ROUTE.

THE QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.