B-169476, JUNE 22, 1970, 49 COMP. GEN. 865

B-169476: Jun 22, 1970

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IF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE FOR THE COMPLETION OF PRESCRIBED TOURS OF DUTY AND THE EXECUTION OF RENEWAL AGREEMENTS ARE COMPLIED WITH. UPON DETERMINATION THE STORAGE IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR IS APPROPRIATE FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY. STATES IN EFFECT THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IS CONTEMPLATING THE ADOPTION OF A PROGRAM OF GRANTING LEAVE WITHOUT PAY FOR APPROXIMATELY 1 YEAR TO OVERSEAS SCHOOL TEACHERS SO THEY CAN RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES TO STUDY IN AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN FURTHERANCE OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL GROWTH. IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PROGRAM QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN AS TO (1) WHETHER THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS MAY BE STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE DURING THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY AND (2) WHETHER ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE TEACHERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS.

B-169476, JUNE 22, 1970, 49 COMP. GEN. 865

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT -- TEACHERS EMPLOYED IN OVERSEAS AREAS -- LEAVES OF ABSENCE THE GRANT OF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY (LWOP) FOR APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR TO OVERSEAS SCHOOL TEACHERS TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES TO STUDY IN AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN FURTHERANCE OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL GROWTH MAY BE AUTHORIZED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5728, IF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE FOR THE COMPLETION OF PRESCRIBED TOURS OF DUTY AND THE EXECUTION OF RENEWAL AGREEMENTS ARE COMPLIED WITH, AND THE GOVERNMENT MAY ASSUME THE EXPENSE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS STORAGE FOR THE PERIOD OF THE LWOP PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 5726, UPON DETERMINATION THE STORAGE IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR IS APPROPRIATE FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY, WITH PROVISION FOR RECOUPMENT OF THE EXPENSES PAID SHOULD A TEACHER FAIL TO RETURN TO THE OVERSEAS POST UPON EXPIRATION OF THE LWOP, AND MAY PAY THE COST OF THE ROUNDTRIP TRAVEL FOR TEACHERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS UNDER THE AUTHORITY IN 5 U.S.C. 5728, PROVIDING FOR THE TAKING OF LEAVE.

TO THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JUNE 22, 1970:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 18, 1970, STATES IN EFFECT THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IS CONTEMPLATING THE ADOPTION OF A PROGRAM OF GRANTING LEAVE WITHOUT PAY FOR APPROXIMATELY 1 YEAR TO OVERSEAS SCHOOL TEACHERS SO THEY CAN RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES TO STUDY IN AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN FURTHERANCE OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL GROWTH.

IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PROGRAM QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN AS TO (1) WHETHER THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS MAY BE STORED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE DURING THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY AND (2) WHETHER ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE TEACHERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS.

CONCERNING THE STORAGE QUESTION, YOU REFER TO 20 U.S.C. 905 (DERIVED FROM THE ACT OF JULY 17, 1959), AND THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND BUREAU OF THE BUDGET WHICH SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF TEACHERS DURING THE SUMMER RECESS PERIOD WHEN AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR THEY AGREE IN WRITING TO SERVE THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR. ALSO, YOU REFER TO SECTION 6.7A(2) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, WHICH QUOTES THE STATUTORY CONDITIONS FOR ENTITLEMENT TO STORAGE AND RELATED TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. SUCH STATUTORY CONDITIONS AS SET FORTH IN 5 U.S.C. 5726 ARE AS FOLLOWS:

(1) THE DUTY STATION IS ONE TO WHICH HE CANNOT TAKE OR AT WHICH HE IS UNABLE TO USE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS; OR

(2) THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED AUTHORIZES STORAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY.

WE ASSUME FROM YOUR LETTER THAT IT IS DESIRED TO MAKE A DETERMINATION UNDER CONDITION (2) QUOTED ABOVE BUT DOUBT EXISTS WHETHER THIS PROVISION WOULD BE APPLICABLE IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION CONTAINED IN 20 U.S.C. 905 WHICH LIMITS STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF OVERSEAS TEACHERS TO THE SUMMER RECESS PERIOD.

THE QUOTED PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5726 ABOVE WERE DERIVED FROM THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1960, 74 STAT. 796, AMENDING THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED. THE ENACTMENT DATE OF SUCH AMENDMENT WAS SUBSEQUENT TO THE ACT OF JULY 17, 1959, 20 U.S.C. 905. MOREOVER, THE 1960 AMENDMENT IS GENERAL IN ITS APPLICATION AND CLEARLY STORAGE COULD BE AUTHORIZED UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A DUTY STATION OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IS ONE TO WHICH A TEACHER COULD NOT TAKE OR AT WHICH HE COULD NOT USE HIS EFFECTS. OUR VIEW IS THAT THE PROVISIONS OF 20 U.S.C. 905 DO NOT RESTRICT THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY IN MAKING A DETERMINATION THAT STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR AN OVERSEAS TEACHER IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR IS APPROPRIATE FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY. APPARENTLY, A DETERMINATION OF PUBLIC INTEREST IN SITUATIONS SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED WOULD BE RELATED TO THE RECRUITMENT OF OVERSEAS TEACHERS AND TO THEIR OBTAINING DESIRABLE TRAINING FOR FUTURE ASSIGNMENTS. AND WE ASSUME CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO APPROPRIATE PROVISION BEING MADE FOR RECOUPMENT BY THE UNITED STATES OF STORAGE EXPENSES PAID IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE A TEACHER MIGHT FAIL TO RETURN TO HIS OVERSEAS POST UPON EXPIRATION OF HIS PERIOD OF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY. ACCORDINGLY, WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO AUTHORIZING THE STORAGE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED.

TURNING NOW TO THE QUESTION OF ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR THE TEACHERS GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, IT IS INDICATED THAT AS A CONDITION TO THE GOVERNMENT PAYING SUCH EXPENSES THE TEACHERS WOULD BE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE RENEWAL TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENTS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE SIMILAR TO THE NORMAL SITUATIONS WHERE TEACHERS ARE RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING LEAVE AFTER COMPLETION OF PRESCRIBED TOURS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES (5 U.S.C. 5728).

WE UNDERSTAND THAT ORDINARILY OVERSEAS TEACHERS ARE AUTHORIZED TO RETURN ON LEAVE (LEAVE WITHOUT PAY) TO THE UNITED STATES AFTER COMPLETION OF 2- YEAR TOURS OF DUTY. HOWEVER, YOU POINT OUT THE DIRECTIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PERMIT ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF TEACHERS AFTER THE FIRST SCHOOL YEAR FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE IN A LEAVE WITHOUT PAY STATUS. SUCH TRAVEL IS CONTINGENT UPON TEACHERS SIGNING A RENEWAL AGREEMENT FOR ANOTHER 2-YEAR PERIOD.

THE STATUTE, 5 U.S.C. 5728, AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER CONTAIN NO RESTRICTIONS AS TO HOW MUCH LEAVE MAY BE GRANTED OR WHETHER IT SHOULD BE PAID LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY. AS LONG AS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE AS TO COMPLETION OF PRESCRIBED TOURS OF DUTY AND EXECUTION OF RENEWAL AGREEMENTS ARE COMPLIED WITH, WE SEE NO REASON WHY TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED FOR A REASONABLE GRANT OF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, SUCH AS HERE. ACTUALLY THE PROGRAM FOR ATTENDING AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE DURING THE SUMMER RECESS IS SIMILAR TO THE NEW PROPOSAL.

YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.