B-170068, AUG. 5, 1970

B-170068: Aug 5, 1970

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TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE WHO WAS PAID ON COMMUTED RATE BASIS FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH HE CLAIMS COULD HAVE MOVED MORE CHEAPLY ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COSTS SINCE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DETERMINED TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS SHOULD BE MADE ON COMMUTED RATE RATHER THAN ACTUAL EXPENSE RATE BASIS. CRUGNALE: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3. SINCE THIS WAS AN INTRASTATE MOVE. THIS WAS MORE COSTLY THAN THE AMOUNT ALLOWED ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS WHICH USES ICC TARIFF RATES. THE EMPLOYEE CONTENDS HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS COULD HAVE BEEN MOVED ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. SAYS SUCH EXPENSES ARE CLAIMED IN LIEU OF PER DIEM FOR HOUSE HUNTING EXPENSES.

B-170068, AUG. 5, 1970

TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE -- HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER DENYING CERTIFICATION OF VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE, REHOBOTH BEACH, DEL., TO NEW RESIDENCE, NEWARK, DEL., AND "OTHER" EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF THE NEW RESIDENCE. TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE WHO WAS PAID ON COMMUTED RATE BASIS FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH HE CLAIMS COULD HAVE MOVED MORE CHEAPLY ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COSTS SINCE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DETERMINED TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS SHOULD BE MADE ON COMMUTED RATE RATHER THAN ACTUAL EXPENSE RATE BASIS.

TO MISS ANNE M. CRUGNALE:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1970, REFERENCE A:F:F:V:AMC/SDM, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $106 IN FAVOR OF MR. WILLIAM E. BARRETT, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY, COVERING EXPENSES INCURRED IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 1970, IN CONNECTION WITH MOVING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM OLD RESIDENCE, REHOBOTH BEACH, DELAWARE, TO NEW RESIDENCE, NEWARK, DELAWARE, AND "OTHER" EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PURCHASE OF HIS NEW RESIDENCE.

MR. BARRETT ARRANGED FOR SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS HIMSELF AND CLAIMED EXPENSES INCURRED BASED ON AN INTRASTATE HOURLY RATE. YOUR OFFICE REIMBURSED HIM ON THE COMMUTED BASIS FOR TRANSPORTING 5,130 POUNDS NET OVER A DISTANCE OF 80 TO 90 MILES IN ACCORDANCE WITH TABLE NO. 1 OF SUPPLEMENT NO. 21, ATTACHMENT A TO GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION BULLETIN FPMR. THIS RESULTED IN A DISALLOWANCE OF $73.40.

SINCE THIS WAS AN INTRASTATE MOVE, THE EMPLOYEE HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SHIP HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON AN HOURLY RATE BASIS ON A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING. THIS WAS MORE COSTLY THAN THE AMOUNT ALLOWED ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS WHICH USES ICC TARIFF RATES. THE EMPLOYEE CONTENDS HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS COULD HAVE BEEN MOVED ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, CITING SECTION 22.02 OF U. S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE MANUAL SUPPLEMENT 17G-124 (REV. 1), DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1970.

YOUR OFFICE ALSO DISALLOWED $32.60 COVERING LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS MADE BY MR. BARRETT IN CONNECTION WITH PURCHASING A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW LOCATION FOR THE REASON THAT REGULATIONS DO NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES.

THE EMPLOYEE CLAIMS THE TELEPHONE EXPENSES AS "OTHER EXPENSES OF SALE AND PURCHASE OF DWELLINGS" AS OUTLINED IN SECTION 21(7) OF MANUAL SUPPLEMENT 17G-124, AND SAYS SUCH EXPENSES ARE CLAIMED IN LIEU OF PER DIEM FOR HOUSE HUNTING EXPENSES. ALTHOUGH HE RECEIVED A MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE OF $200, HE SAYS THIS WAS USED FOR THE PURPOSE INTENDED BY PARAGRAPH 20.1 OF THE MANUAL AND NOT FOR HOUSE HUNTING EXPENSES. HE CONTENDS THAT ALLOWABLE HOUSE HUNTING EXPENSES WOULD HAVE BEEN $189 (6 DAYS $31.50) AND, THEREFORE, THAT THE AMOUNT CLAIMED FOR TELEPHONE CALLS ($32.60) REPRESENTS A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $156.40.

THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS COVERING TRANSFER AND RELOCATION EXPENSES UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5724 AND 5724A ARE CONTAINED IN BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969. THE U. S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE MANUAL SUPPLEMENT 17G-124 (REV. 1) WAS ISSUED TO CONFORM WITH BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, AND DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY ADDITIONAL ENTITLEMENTS.

SECTION 6.4 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 OUTLINES A GENERAL POLICY WITH RESPECT TO TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND PLACES UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DECIDING, BASED UPON THE GUIDELINES ENUMERATED THEREIN, WHETHER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM OR THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD WILL BE USED. ONCE THAT DETERMINATION IS ADMINISTRATIVELY MADE, PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ACCORDINGLY.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, NO DETERMINATION APPARENTLY WAS MADE TO SHIP THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. AS A RESULT, HE MADE HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS AND WAS ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED COST BASIS AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 6.4 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE REGULATIONS MAKE NO PROVISION FOR ALLOWANCE OF ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS.

WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNT CLAIMED FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS IN LOCATING A NEW RESIDENCE, SECTION 4.2D, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, DOES NOT INCLUDE THIS AS AN ITEM OF EXPENSE FOR ALLOWANCE IN CONNECTION WITH RESIDENCE TRANSACTIONS AND SECTION 4.2G OF THAT CIRCULAR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"OTHER EXPENSES OF SALE AND PURCHASE OF RESIDENCES. INCIDENTAL CHARGES MADE FOR REQUIRED SERVICES IN SELLING AND PURCHASING RESIDENCES MAY BE REIMBURSABLE IF THEY ARE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE SELLER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION OR IF CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE PURCHASER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, TO THE EXTENT THEY DO NOT EXCEED AMOUNTS CUSTOMARILY CHARGED IN THE LOCALITY OF THE RESIDENCE." A LIKED PROVISION IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 21.7 OF THE MANUAL SUPPLEMENT CITED BY THE EMPLOYEE. ACCORDINGLY, LONG-DISTANCE CALLS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED AS AN EXPENSE OF PURCHASING A RESIDENCE. FURTHER, WE FIND NOTHING IN THE REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO HOUSE HUNTING TRIPS WHICH MIGHT PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TELEPHONE CALLS IN ATTEMPTING TO FIND A RESIDENCE IN LIEU OF ACTUALLY MAKING A TRIP FOR THAT PURPOSE.

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

IT IS SUGGESTED THAT REQUESTS FOR ADVANCE DECISIONS BE ADDRESSED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL. SEE TITLE 1, SECTION 11, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR THE GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES.