B-171181, DEC. 14, 1970

B-171181: Dec 14, 1970

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WHERE EMPLOYEE WAS ADVISED IN ADVANCE THAT HIS APPOINTMENT TO SERVICE IN NEW YORK WAS CONSIDERED A NEW APPOINTMENT RATHER THAN A TRANSFER. HE IS NOT ENTITLED AS SUCH TO RELOCATION EXPENSES IN THE ABSENCE OF APPROVAL OF THE AGENCY THAT AUTHORIZED THE APPOINTMENT. THE FACTS IN YOUR CASE WERE FULLY SET FORTH IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 23. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE TRAVEL ORDERS WERE NOT ISSUED AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES BY THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. SUCH EXPENSES HAVE NOT BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED BY PROPER AUTHORITY OF THAT DEPARTMENT. YOU SAY THAT YOU WERE SERVING UNDER A TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT IN THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON WHEN YOU RECEIVED A PERMANENT APPOINTMENT IN NEW YORK AND THAT SUCH AGENCY WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY HAD TO CONSIDER YOUR PERMANENT APPOINTMENT IN NEW YORK AS A NEW APPOINTMENT AND NOT A TRANSFER.

B-171181, DEC. 14, 1970

TRANSFERS - NEW APPOINTMENT - RELOCATION EXPENSES AFFIRMING PREVIOUS DECISION DENYING CLAIM OF EMPLOYEE FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF DUTY STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NEW YORK, N.Y. WHERE EMPLOYEE WAS ADVISED IN ADVANCE THAT HIS APPOINTMENT TO SERVICE IN NEW YORK WAS CONSIDERED A NEW APPOINTMENT RATHER THAN A TRANSFER, HE IS NOT ENTITLED AS SUCH TO RELOCATION EXPENSES IN THE ABSENCE OF APPROVAL OF THE AGENCY THAT AUTHORIZED THE APPOINTMENT.

TO MR. BERNARD C. MICHAELS:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 13, 1970, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1970, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO YOUR CHANGE OF DUTY STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

THE FACTS IN YOUR CASE WERE FULLY SET FORTH IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1970, AND NEED NOT BE REPEATED HERE. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE TRAVEL ORDERS WERE NOT ISSUED AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES BY THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, MARITIME ADMINISTRATION, AND SUCH EXPENSES HAVE NOT BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED BY PROPER AUTHORITY OF THAT DEPARTMENT.

YOU SAY THAT YOU WERE SERVING UNDER A TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT IN THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON WHEN YOU RECEIVED A PERMANENT APPOINTMENT IN NEW YORK AND THAT SUCH AGENCY WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY HAD TO CONSIDER YOUR PERMANENT APPOINTMENT IN NEW YORK AS A NEW APPOINTMENT AND NOT A TRANSFER. IN THAT REGARD, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE STATES THAT WHEN YOU WERE SELECTED TO FILL THE VACANCY IN NEW YORK EFFECTIVE MARCH 29, 1970, YOUR APPOINTMENT WAS CONSIDERED IN THE NATURE OF A NEW APPOINTMENT AND AS SUCH YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO RELOCATION EXPENSES. YOU WERE ADVISED IN ADVANCE TO THIS EFFECT. THE ONLY NEW APPOINTEES THAT ARE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, BUT NOT RELOCATION EXPENSES SUCH AS THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE ARE THOSE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO MANPOWER SHORTAGE POSITIONS PROVIDED THEY SIGN A WRITTEN AGREEMENT TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR 12 MONTHS FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TRANSFER.

UNDER SOMEWHAT SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES WE HAVE HELD THAT AN APPOINTMENT SUCH AS YOURS IN NEW YORK WHICH OCCURRED WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE FROM YOUR TEMPORARY POSITION IN WASHINGTON WAS NOT A NEW APPOINTMENT AND IS TO BE REGARDED AS A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF LAW. 25 COMP. GEN. 731. HOWEVER, WE POINT OUT THAT SUCH PROVISIONS OF LAW (5 U.S.C. 5724 - 5730) STATE THAT THE EXPENSES OF A TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION MAY BE PAID ONLY WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE AGENCY HEAD OR HIS DESIGNEE.

WHILE IT MAY BE THAT THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION COULD HAVE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED THE EXPENSES OF YOUR TRANSFER TO NEW YORK THE FACT REMAINS THAT SUCH AGENCY HAS NOT DONE SO. WE HAVE NO INFORMATION CONCERNING YOUR ALLEGATION THAT THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION WAS UNAWARE THAT SERVICE UNDER A TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. IN THAT CONNECTION THE AGENCY'S REPORT INDICATES THAT OTHER FACTORS MAY HAVE BEEN THE PRIME REASON FOR NOT AUTHORIZING OR APPROVING YOUR TRANSFER EXPENSES, NAMELY THE FACT THAT YOU WERE FREQUENTLY AWAY FROM THE WASHINGTON OFFICE DURING THE PERIOD OF YOUR TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT IN A PER DIEM STATUS AS WELL AS THE FACT THAT YOU DID NOT INCUR ANY ACTUAL MOVING EXPENSES WHILE EMPLOYED IN THE NEW YORK OFFICE.

REGARDLESS OF THE REASON FOR THE LACK OF PRIOR AUTHORIZATION OR SUBSEQUENT APPROVAL OF YOUR TRANSFER EXPENSES WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.