B-169850, SEP. 17, 1970

B-169850: Sep 17, 1970

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IS SUSTAINED. EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE A PORTION OF THE SUM FOR ATTORNEY'S FEE CONSIDERED FOR REIMBURSEMENT. WITH REGARDS TO THE $70 PAID AS AN ATTORNEYS FEE WHICH WAS CONSIDERED EXCESSIVE. ACCORDINGLY THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $35 WILL BE ISSUED TO EMPLOYEE. KASTENS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF A PORTION OF THE SETTLEMENT OF YOUR CLAIM BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION WHICH DENIED REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN EXPENSES INCIDENT TO YOUR TRANSFER ON MARCH 24. THE DISALLOWANCE OF THAT ITEM IS HEREBY SUSTAINED. APPLICATIONS SHALL BE REVIEWED BY A RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL OF THE DEPARTMENT AND IF ITEMS OF COST APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN INFLATED OR ARE HIGHER THAN NORMALLY IMPOSED FOR SIMILAR SERVICES IN THE LOCALITY.

B-169850, SEP. 17, 1970

TRANSFER - RELOCATION EXPENSES DECISION TO DEPT. OF STATE EMPLOYEE ADVISING THAT UPON REVIEW OF PRIOR CLAIM SETTLEMENT, THAT DISALLOWED CERTAIN EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRANSFER FROM DENVER, COLORADO, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., IS SUSTAINED. HOWEVER, EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE A PORTION OF THE SUM FOR ATTORNEY'S FEE CONSIDERED FOR REIMBURSEMENT. EMPLOYEE, WHO INCIDENT TO TRANSFER, OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR 30 DAYS IN FALLS CHURCH, VA., BUT WHOSE FAMILY RESIDED IN THE OLD RESIDENCE AND THERE AFTER ENJOYED THE HOSPITALITY OF FRIENDS, AT NO EXPENSE, BEFORE TRAVELING TO CALIFORNIA TO RESIDE TEMPORARILY WITH RELATIVES, MAY NOT BE PAID TEMPORARY SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE FAMILY. HOWEVER, WITH REGARDS TO THE $70 PAID AS AN ATTORNEYS FEE WHICH WAS CONSIDERED EXCESSIVE, IN THE PURCHASE OF A HOUSE, REGULATIONS STATES THAT THE CLOSING FEE ASSESSED AGAINST A PURCHASER SHOULD NOT BE IN EXCESS OF $35. ACCORDINGLY THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $35 WILL BE ISSUED TO EMPLOYEE.

TO MR. ROYAL F. KASTENS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF A PORTION OF THE SETTLEMENT OF YOUR CLAIM BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION WHICH DENIED REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN EXPENSES INCIDENT TO YOUR TRANSFER ON MARCH 24, 1967, FROM DENVER, COLORADO, TO WASHINGTON, D. C.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR A TOTAL OF $590 CONSISTS OF $520 FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR YOUR FAMILY AND $70 FOR AN ATTORNEY'S CLOSING FEE INCIDENT TO PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE AT YOUR NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNT OF $520 RELATIVE TO TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE WE POINT OUT THAT BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, PROVIDES IN SECTION 2.5(B)(5) AS FOLLOWS:

"IN COMPUTING THE LENGTH OF TIME ALLOWED FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE 30 OR 60 DAYS LIMITATIONS SPECIFIED HEREIN, SUCH TIME SHALL BEGIN TO RUN FOR THE EMPLOYEE, SPOUSE, AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHEN EITHER THE EMPLOYEE, THE SPOUSE, OR ANY MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY STARTS TO OCCUPY SUCH QUARTERS AND THE TIME SHALL RUN CONCURRENTLY. IF THE EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT ONE LOCATION WHILE THE SPOUSE AND/OR MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OCCUPY QUARTERS AT ANOTHER LOCATION THE TIME SHALL TERMINATE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED MOVES INTO PERMANENT TYPE RESIDENCE QUARTERS OR THE ALLOWABLE TIME LIMIT EXPIRES, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST."

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR 30 DAYS BEGAN TO RUN ON APRIL 1, 1967, WHEN YOU OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA, AND EXPIRED ON APRIL 30, FOR WHICH YOU FILED A CLAIM. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT YOUR FAMILY RESIDED IN YOUR OLD RESIDENCE UNTIL APRIL 25, 1967, AND THEREAFTER ENJOYED THE HOSPITALITY OF FRIENDS (PRESUMABLY AT NO EXPENSE) UNTIL THEY TRAVELED TO CALIFORNIA ON MAY 1, 1967, TO RESIDE TEMPORARILY WITH RELATIVES. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF TEMPORARY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR THE FAMILY, AND THE DISALLOWANCE OF THAT ITEM IS HEREBY SUSTAINED. SEE 48 COMP. GEN. 118 (1968).

WITH RESPECT TO THE ITEM OF $70, DISALLOWED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON THE GROUND OF BEING EXCESSIVE, WE NOTE THAT SECTION 4.3(B) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"REVIEW OF REASONABLENESS OF CHARGES. APPLICATIONS SHALL BE REVIEWED BY A RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL OF THE DEPARTMENT AND IF ITEMS OF COST APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN INFLATED OR ARE HIGHER THAN NORMALLY IMPOSED FOR SIMILAR SERVICES IN THE LOCALITY, ANY PORTIONS OF SUCH COSTS DETERMINED TO BE EXCESSIVE SHALL BE DISALLOWED. WHEN INFORMATION IS NEEDED FOR GUIDANCE PURPOSES CONCERNING LOCAL PRACTICES AND RATES, THE LOCAL INSURING OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION SERVING THE AREA IN WHICH THE RESIDENCE IS LOCATED CAN FURNISH A SCHEDULE OF CLOSING COSTS CONTAINING SUCH INFORMATION."

THE RECORD CONTAINS A LETTER FROM THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION STATING THAT AN ATTORNEY'S CLOSING FEE ASSESSED AGAINST A PURCHASER SHOULD NOT BE IN EXCESS OF $35. ACCORDINGLY, A SETTLEMENT WILL BE ISSUED IN YOUR FAVOR FOR THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $35 IN DUE COURSE.