B-168063, NOV. 7, 1969

B-168063: Nov 7, 1969

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MAY BE ALLOWED SINCE ADDITIONAL TIME WAS NECESSITATED BY LATER SCHEDULED DELIVERY OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND AGENCY WOULD HAVE APPROVED EXTENSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS TRAVEL HANDBOOK. REVISED GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING $15.30 ITEM AS "ELEVATOR CHARGE FROM MOVER" IS DISALLOWED SINCE NEITHER LAW NOR REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE ADDITIONAL ACTUAL EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF REIMBURSEMENT ON COMMUTED BASIS. HODGES: THIS WILL REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 7. LALLY'S CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR OCCUPATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR 10 DAYS IN ADDITION TO A 15-DAY PERIOD FOR WHICH HE WAS REIMBURSED UNDER A PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED VOUCHER AND FOR AN ITEM OF $15.30 DESCRIBED AS "ELEVATOR CHARGE FROM MOVER" INCLUDED ON A REVISED BILL OF LADING FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

B-168063, NOV. 7, 1969

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES--TRANSFERS--RELOCATION EXPENSES--TEMPORARY QUARTERS--TIME LIMITATION UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM CAMBRIDGE, MASS; TO WASHINGTON, D.C; WHERE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION APPEARED TO LIMIT TEMPORARY QUARTERS OCCUPANCY TO 15 DAYS ACCORDING TO HIS ESTIMATE, CLAIM FOR EXTENSION OF ADDITIONAL 10 DAYS, TOTAL NOT EXCEEDING 30-DAY LIMITATION IN BUREAU OF BUDGET CIR. NO. A-56, MAY BE ALLOWED SINCE ADDITIONAL TIME WAS NECESSITATED BY LATER SCHEDULED DELIVERY OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND AGENCY WOULD HAVE APPROVED EXTENSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS TRAVEL HANDBOOK, IF IT HAD BEEN REQUESTED. HOWEVER, REVISED GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING $15.30 ITEM AS "ELEVATOR CHARGE FROM MOVER" IS DISALLOWED SINCE NEITHER LAW NOR REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE ADDITIONAL ACTUAL EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF REIMBURSEMENT ON COMMUTED BASIS.

TO MRS. DOLORES T. HODGES:

THIS WILL REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 7, ENCLOSING FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION THE RECLAIM VOUCHER OF NICHOLAS LALLY FOR EXPENSES ATTRIBUTABLE TO OCCUPATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER FROM CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., EFFECTIVE JULY 14, 1969. MR. LALLY'S CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR OCCUPATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR 10 DAYS IN ADDITION TO A 15-DAY PERIOD FOR WHICH HE WAS REIMBURSED UNDER A PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED VOUCHER AND FOR AN ITEM OF $15.30 DESCRIBED AS "ELEVATOR CHARGE FROM MOVER" INCLUDED ON A REVISED BILL OF LADING FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. LALLY OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT A MOTEL AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION DURING THE PERIOD JULY 13 THROUGH AUGUST 6, A TOTAL OF 25 DAYS. ALTHOUGH THE TIME OF OCCUPATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS DOES NOT EXCEED THAT ALLOWED BY 5 U.S.C. 5724A (A) (3) AND SECTION 2.5 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, AS REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, YOUR QUESTION IS RAISED BY THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION UNDER WHICH MR. LALLY'S TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED APPEARS TO CONTEMPLATE ALLOWANCE OF A MAXIMUM OF 15 DAYS OCCUPATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS. THIS IS BECAUSE THE NUMBER 15 APPEARS IN THE SPACE PROVIDED ON THE REQUEST PORTION OF THE AUTHORIZATION FORM FOR A STATEMENT OF THE NUMBER OF DAYS REQUIRED FOR THIS PURPOSE.

IN SUPPORT OF HIS RECLAIM, MR. LALLY STATES:

"I WAS LED TO BELIEVE THAT -REQUEST- PORTION OF FORM HUD 25A WAS INTENDED TO BE AN ESTIMATE. ON THIS ASSUMPTION REQUESTED 15 DAYS, KNOWING THAT 30 DAYS WAS MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE. FOUR DAYS AFTER ARRIVAL (JULY 17, 1969) REQUESTED DELIVERY FROM MOVER. HE WAS UNABLE TO SCHEDULE DELIVERY BEFORE AUGUST 7, 1969.'

AN EXAMINATION OF THE TRAVEL FORM IN QUESTION SHOWS THAT IT CONSISTS OF A REQUEST BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR VARIOUS RELOCATION SERVICES INCLUDING THE NUMBER OF DAYS FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS REFERRED TO ABOVE; THE SERVICE AGREEMENT REQUIRED BY LAW; A RECOMMENDATION BY THE EMPLOYEE'S SUPERVISOR; AN APPROVAL BY THE OFFICIAL HAVING AUTHORITY TO TAKE FINAL PERSONNEL ACTION ON THE CHANGE OF STATION; AND A SEPARATE SECTION ENTITLED "TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION.' THE RECOMMENDATION PORTION CONTAINS ONE BLOCK FOR APPROVAL OF ALL ITEMS OF THE EMPLOYEE'S REQUEST AND ANOTHER BLOCK FOR EXCEPTIONS. THE "ALL ITEMS" BLOCK WAS CHECKED IN SUCH RECOMMENDATION. THE "TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION" SECTION AUTHORIZES THE EMPLOYEE TO INCUR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRANSFER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW AND REGULATIONS "AS INDICATED" , WHICH PRESUMABLY MEANS IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS REQUEST AND RECOMMENDATION OF HIS SUPERVISOR.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISALLOWANCE OF MR. LALLY'S CLAIM FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR THE PERIOD JULY 29 THROUGH AUGUST 6 WAS BASED ON OUR DECISION B-163025 OF JANUARY 18, 1968. IN THAT DECISION IT WAS HELD THAT WHEN A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPEARED TO LIMIT OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS TO 10 DAYS THE EMPLOYEE COULD NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR A LONGER PERIOD. HOWEVER, SUBSEQUENT TO THAT DECISION ADDITIONAL FACTS WERE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE AND IN OUR DECISION B- 163025, AUGUST 12, 1968, COPY ENCLOSED, THE PREVIOUS DECISION WAS MODIFIED. IN THAT CASE THE EMPLOYEE, AS IN MR. LALLY'S CASE, REGARDED HIS REQUEST FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE FOR LESS THAN 30 DAYS TO BE IN THE NATURE OF AN ESTIMATE, NOT A BINDING LIMITATION. IN OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 12, 1968, WE HELD THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS ENTITLED TO AN ALLOWANCE FOR THE 30-DAY MAXIMUM PERIOD DESPITE THE FORM OF THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IN APPROVING A TRAVEL ADVANCE TO THE EMPLOYEE TO COVER AN ADDITIONAL 3 WEEKS SUBSISTENCE LED HIM TO THE BELIEF THAT NO FURTHER ACTION WAS REQUIRED TO EFFECT AN AMENDMENT TO HIS TRAVEL ORDER; ALSO, THAT IT WAS AGENCY POLICY TO ALLOW THE MAXIMUM 30-DAY PERIOD OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED BY AN AMENDMENT TO THE ORDER HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE CONFUSION INVOLVED.

IN MR. LALLY'S CASE, THE DELAY INCURRED IN THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS NOT FORESEEN WHEN HE SPECIFIED 15 DAYS AS THE TIME NECESSARY FOR OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT THE NEW STATION. WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE AGENCY THAT HAD MR. LALLY REQUESTED AN EXTENSION OF TIME FOR OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS THE ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROVED. IN THAT CONNECTION IT IS NOTED THAT THE TRAVEL HANDBOOK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS WITH RESPECT TO AGENCY POLICY GOVERNING ALLOWANCE OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS: "47. SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS. (SEE BOB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, SECTION 2.5) THE OFFICIAL WHO APPROVES THE AUTHORIZATION FOR CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING THAT AN ALLOWANCE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IS NECESSARY. AFTER THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF APPROVED TEMPORARY QUARTERS, THE OFFICIAL SHOULD REVIEW THE NEED FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM SET FORTH IN BOB CIRCULAR NO. A-56. IF AN EXTENSION IS NOT JUSTIFIED, THE OFFICIAL SHOULD INFORM THE EMPLOYEE OF THE DATE REIMBURSEMENT WILL CEASE, WHICH IN NO EVENT SHALL BE A DATE PRIOR TO THE NOTIFICATION DATE, AND SHALL ASSURE HIMSELF THAT ONLY THE AMOUNT NECESSARY IS CLAIMED ON THE EMPLOYEE'S VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT.'

THE PROVISION WOULD APPEAR TO CONTEMPLATE THE EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE BEYOND THAT WHICH MIGHT BE REQUESTED ON THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WHEN SUCH EXTENSION IS FOUND NECESSARY. THIS WOULD SUPPORT THE EMPLOYEE'S STATEMENT THAT HE UNDERSTOOD HIS REQUEST FOR 15 DAYS TO BE AN ESTIMATE, SUBJECT TO EXTENSION IF REQUIRED.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED ABOVE WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO ALLOWANCE OF THE ADDITIONAL 10 DAYS OF OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS.

WITH REGARD TO THE ITEM OF $15.30 DESCRIBED AS "ELEVATOR CHARGE FROM MOVER" , IT IS NOTED THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS PREVIOUSLY ALLOWED AT THE COMMUTED RATE, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 6 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56. SINCE NEITHER THE LAW NOR THE REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN EXCESS OF REIMBURSEMENT ON THE COMMUTED BASIS, THIS ITEM IS FOR DISALLOWANCE. B-159836, AUGUST 12, 1966, COPY ENCLOSED.

THE FILE INDICATES THAT MR. LALLY HAS BEEN PAID PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR ONE-HALF DAY FOR JULY 13, 1969, PLUS A FULL DAYS ALLOWANCE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT HE WAS ONLY ENTITLED TO ONE- FOURTH DAY FOR THE LATTER. SEE B-161348, MAY 31, 1967, COPY HEREWITH.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER AND ATTACHMENTS ARE RETURNED FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.