B-169018, MAR. 30, 1970

B-169018: Mar 30, 1970

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EXTENSION REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSE TO TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE SIGNING HOUSE PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITHIN 1 YEAR FROM REPORTING DATE BUT EFFECTING SETTLEMENT THEREAFTER IS DENIED SINCE PURCHASE WAS NOT CONSUMMATED WITHIN REQUIRED PERIOD AND DELAY WAS NOT CAUSED BY LITIGATION. SUCH AUTHORITY COULD NOT SUPPORT SUBJECT CLAIM SINCE REVISION WAS NOT APPLICABLE RETROACTIVELY. IT IS STATED THAT MR. UNTIL THAT TIME IT WAS NOT HIS INTENT TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE IN PAGE ALTHOUGH HOMES WERE AVAILABLE. THE APPLICATION WAS ACCEPTED BY THE BANK ON APRIL 29. THE SETTLEMENT DATE WAS JUNE 30. 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-169018, MAR. 30, 1970

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES--TRANSFERS--RELOCATION EXPENSES--"SETTLEMENT DATE" LIMITATION ON PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS--EXTENSION REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSE TO TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE SIGNING HOUSE PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITHIN 1 YEAR FROM REPORTING DATE BUT EFFECTING SETTLEMENT THEREAFTER IS DENIED SINCE PURCHASE WAS NOT CONSUMMATED WITHIN REQUIRED PERIOD AND DELAY WAS NOT CAUSED BY LITIGATION---SOLE EXCEPTION IN BOB CIR. NO. A-56, SEC. 4.1D, TO WARRANT EXTENSION. ALTHOUGH LIBERALIZED PROVISION (4.1E) IN JUNE 26, 1969 REVISION PERMITS AGENCY TO EXTEND 1-YEAR PERIOD ON SALE/PURCHASE AGREEMENTS SIGNED WITHIN 1-YEAR PERIOD, EVEN ABSENT LITIGATION, SUCH AUTHORITY COULD NOT SUPPORT SUBJECT CLAIM SINCE REVISION WAS NOT APPLICABLE RETROACTIVELY.

TO MR. R. T. ERICKSON:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 5, 1970, REFERENCE 4-360, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION FROM OUR OFFICE AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT THE CLAIM OF MR. JAMES H. CALHOON FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER FROM MONTROSE, COLORADO, TO PAGE, ARIZONA.

IT IS STATED THAT MR. CALHOON REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION MAY 13, 1968. HE SIGNED A PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR A RESIDENCE ON MARCH 27, 1969, 10 1/2 MONTHS AFTER ARRIVAL IN PAGE. UNTIL THAT TIME IT WAS NOT HIS INTENT TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE IN PAGE ALTHOUGH HOMES WERE AVAILABLE. APPLIED FOR A LOAN WITH A BANK IN ARIZONA ON APRIL 4, 1969. THE APPLICATION WAS ACCEPTED BY THE BANK ON APRIL 29, 1969. THE SETTLEMENT DATE WAS JUNE 30, 1969.

SECTION 4.1 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, IN EFFECT DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION, ESTABLISHING THE CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS UNDER WHICH REAL ESTATE ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED BY THAT SECTION MAY BE PAID, PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"D. 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."

THE REGULATION PRESCRIBES ONLY ONE EXCEPTION WHEREBY THE DESIGNATED ONE- YEAR PERIOD CAN BE EXTENDED. SINCE THE PURCHASE WAS NOT DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION AND WAS NOT CONSUMMATED WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE MR. CALHOON REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION (MAY 14, 1969) THE CLAIM MAY NOT BE ALLOWED. ON JUNE 26, 1969, THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET AMENDED SECTION 4.1D OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 (RENUMBERED AS SECTION 4.1E) TO ALLOW EXTENSIONS OF THE ONE-YEAR TIME LIMITATION IN APPROPRIATE CASES. HOWEVER, THERE WAS NO RETROACTIVE EFFECT GIVEN TO THAT LIBERALIZED PROVISION AND IT WOULD NOT BE APPLICABLE IN MR. CALHOON'S CASE.

YOU SUBMIT SEVERAL QUESTIONS FOR GUIDANCE IN PROCESSING OTHER CLAIMS CONCERNING THE EXTENSION OF TIME FOR THE PURCHASE OR SALE OF A RESIDENCE INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER. SECTION 4.1E OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"E. THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE (INITIAL) YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, EXCEPT THAT (1) AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION OR (2) AN ADDITIONAL PERIOD OF TIME NOT IN EXCESS OF ONE YEAR MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN HE DETERMINES THAT CIRCUMSTANCES JUSTIFYING THE EXCEPTION EXIST WHICH PRECLUDED SETTLEMENT WITHIN THE INITIAL ONE-YEAR PERIOD OF THE SALE/PURCHASE CONTRACTS OR LEASE TERMINATION ARRANGEMENT ENTERED INTO IN GOOD FAITH BY THE EMPLOYEE WITHIN THE INITIAL ONE-YEAR PERIOD. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE DETERMINED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE TO JUSTIFY THE EXCEPTION UNDER (2) ABOVE SHALL BE SET FORTH IN WRITING."

WE POINT OUT THAT UNDER THE REVISED REGULATION IT IS THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHO MUST MAKE THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER AN EXTENSION OF TIME SHOULD BE GRANTED. THEREFORE, WE MAY NOT COMPLY WITH YOUR REQUEST TO RENDER OUR DECISION AS TO WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD JUSTIFY THE GRANTING OF AN EXTENSION OF TIME IN FUTURE CASES COMING BEFORE YOU FOR CERTIFICATION.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.