B-170530, NOV. 13, 1970

B-170530: Nov 13, 1970

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TRANSFERS - AGENCY TRANSFER - EFFECTIVE DATE DECISION REGARDING CLAIMS FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE MOVED TO PARKLAWN BUILDING FROM VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN WASHINGTON ON THE BASIS OF THE DATE OF NOTICE OF TRANSFER. WHO PRESENTS MEMORANDUM CONTAINING OFFICIAL'S ENDORSEMENT THAT SEPTEMBER 1968 WAS TIME WHEN EMPLOYEES WERE NOTIFIED OF MOVE MAY HAVE SUCH EVIDENCE REGARDED AS OFFICIAL NOTICE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES. EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR THERETO ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE. REVISED (1966) WHICH WAS AMENDED JUNE 26. NOTE THAT YOUR OFFICE IS HOLDING SIMILAR CASES PENDING OUR DECISION. AS FOLLOWS: "ACTIVE PLANNING FOR OUR MOVE TO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING IN ROCKVILLE IS NOW UNDERWAY.

B-170530, NOV. 13, 1970

TRANSFERS - AGENCY TRANSFER - EFFECTIVE DATE DECISION REGARDING CLAIMS FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE MOVED TO PARKLAWN BUILDING FROM VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN WASHINGTON ON THE BASIS OF THE DATE OF NOTICE OF TRANSFER. EMPLOYEE WHO INCURRED RELOCATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS OF TRANSFER OF AGENCY IN SEPTEMBER 1968, BUT BEFORE OFFICIAL MEMORANDUM OF APRIL 2, 1969, WHO PRESENTS MEMORANDUM CONTAINING OFFICIAL'S ENDORSEMENT THAT SEPTEMBER 1968 WAS TIME WHEN EMPLOYEES WERE NOTIFIED OF MOVE MAY HAVE SUCH EVIDENCE REGARDED AS OFFICIAL NOTICE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES. WHERE RELOCATION EXPENSE CLAIM OF ANOTHER EMPLOYEE DOES NOT CONTAIN EVIDENCE OF OFFICIAL NOTICE OF RELOCATION BEFORE MEMORANDUM OF APRIL 2, 1969, EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR THERETO ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE.

TO MR. CHARLES E. EBY:

YOUR OFFICE LETTERS DATED MARCH 4 AND AUGUST 3, 1970, REQUEST OUR ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL VOUCHER CLAIMS OF MR. THOMAS C. DEITRICK AND MRS. G. GLORIA HOLLIS PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED (1966) WHICH WAS AMENDED JUNE 26, 1969. NOTE THAT YOUR OFFICE IS HOLDING SIMILAR CASES PENDING OUR DECISION.

THE MATTER CONCERNS THE MOVE OF CERTAIN PERSONNEL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FROM VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN THE METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON, D. C. AREA TO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING, ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND. THE FILE CONTAINS A COPY OF A MEMORANDUM DATED APRIL 2, 1969, FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR, HEALTH SERVICES AND MENTAL HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (HSMHA), PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, ADDRESSED TO "ALL STAFF, WASHINGTON AREA" WHICH READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"ACTIVE PLANNING FOR OUR MOVE TO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING IN ROCKVILLE IS NOW UNDERWAY. THE BUILDING IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND WE EXPECT IT TO BE COMPLETED BY LATE OCTOBER 1969. AT THAT TIME, HSMHA PLANS TO START RELOCATING ALL OF ITS WASHINGTON AREA PROGRAMS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH, INTO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING.

"'PARKLAWN' WILL PROVIDE 14 FLOORS AND AN ADDITIONAL FOUR FLOORS BELOW THE GROUND LEVEL. IN OCTOBER 1969, 850,000 SQUARE FEET WILL BE OCCUPIED BY HSMHA AND CPEHS. IN JUNE 1971, 150,000 MORE SQUARE FEET WILL BE AVAILABLE, WHEN THE NIMH IS SCHEDULED TO MOVE. THE INITIAL MOVE, EXPECTED TO START IN OCTOBER, WILL INVOLVE APPROXIMATELY 3,000 STAFF FROM HSMHA, 2,000 FROM CPCHS, AND 170 HEALTH RELATED STAFF FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY. *** "

OUR DECISIONS ARE TO THE EFFECT THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN ANTICIPATION OF A TRANSFER MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED UNLESS THE RECORD CLEARLY SHOWS THAT AT THE TIME THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED COMPETENT AUTHORITY HAD INFORMED THE EMPLOYEE THAT ON OR ABOUT A CERTAIN DATE OR UPON THE OCCURRENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVELY SCHEDULED EVENT HE WILL BE TRANSFERRED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. B-162504, DECEMBER 19, 1967; B 162842, NOVEMBER 22, 1967; B-161795, JUNE 29, 1967; AND 48 COMP. GEN. 395 (1968). IT IS THE POSITION OF THE HEALTH SERVICES AND MENTAL HEALTH ADMINISTRATION THAT THE MEMORANDUM OF APRIL 2, 1969, CONSTITUTES THE FIRST OFFICIAL NOTICE TO THE HSMHA EMPLOYEES AFFECTED THAT THE RELOCATION OF THEIR OFFICES INTO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING WOULD BEGIN IN OCTOBER 1969.

WE HAVE CAREFULLY REVIEWED THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED BY MR. DEITRICK WITH HIS LETTER OF MARCH 2, 1970, AND BY MRS. HOLLIS WITH HER LETTER OF JANUARY 29, 1970.

IN OUR VIEW, THE NEWSPAPER REPORTS IN 1968, COPIES OF WHICH WERE FURNISHED BY THE CLAIMANTS, AS WELL AS COMMON KNOWLEDGE OF THE MOVE WITHIN THE AGENCY ARE TOO GENERAL AND INDEFINITE TO BE REGARDED AS APPROPRIATE NOTICE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THEIR TRANSFER TO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING AT AN APPROXIMATE DATE IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER, MRS. HOLLIS' MEMORANDUM DATED SEPTEMBER 21, 1969, AND MR. THEODORE D. WOOLSEY'S INDORSEMENT THEREON DATED OCTOBER 15, 1969, EVIDENCE THAT IN SEPTEMBER 1968 HE OFFICIALLY INFORMED THE EMPLOYEES OF THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS THAT THEY WOULD BE MOVING TO THE PARKLAWN BUILDING BY APPROXIMATELY THE FALL OF 1969. THAT ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. WOOLSEY, WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS AN APPROPRIATE STATEMENT BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO MRS. HOLLIS' RELOCATION OF HER RESIDENCE. AS TO MR. DEITRICK'S CLAIM, SINCE EVIDENCE OF A SIMILAR NATURE HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED WITH RESPECT TO TRANSFER OF HIS EMPLOYING OFFICE (REGIONAL MEDICAL PROGRAMS SERVICE) UNTIL THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATED APRIL 2, 1969, WE HAVE NO REASON TO DISAGREE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISAPPROVAL OF HIS CLAIM.

THE VOUCHER AND PAPERS RELATING TO MRS. HOLLIS' CLAIM ARE RETURNED HEREWITH FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5724-5724A, AND BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED. SEE SECTION 1.3A(2) OF THAT CIRCULAR. THE VOUCHER AND OTHER PAPERS CONCERNING MR. DEITRICK'S CLAIM ALSO ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.