B-171483, MAR 19, 1971

B-171483: Mar 19, 1971

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SECTION 23(4) REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. EVEN IF THE TRANSFER TO VIETNAM HAD ACTUALLY OCCURED THE EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH THE SALE OF CLAIMANT'S HOUSE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE. NOR WOULD ANY AUTHORITY HAVE EXISTED FOR PAYMENT OF LOSSES ON PERSONAL PROPERTY. HE CONSENTED TO THE ASSIGNMENT WHICH WAS TO BE MADE EFFECTIVE JUNE 17. BEFORE OFFICIAL TRANSFER ORDERS WERE ISSUED. INFORMATION WAS RECEIVED THAT THE USAID/VIETNAM AGENCY HAD ELIMINATED THE OVERSEA POSITION TO WHICH MR. SANDERSON WAS TO BE ASSIGNED. HE DID NOT RECEIVE OFFICIAL NOTICE OF THE CANCELLATION UNTIL SOMETIME AFTER THE REGIONAL OFFICE WAS SO NOTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENTAL OFFICE ON APRIL 29.

B-171483, MAR 19, 1971

REAL ESTATE EXPENSES - OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT DECISION DENYING REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES TO J. EVERETT SANDERSON INCIDENT TO AN EXPECTED CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM GRANGEVILLE, IDAHO TO SAIGON, VIETNAM. UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89-516, SECTION 23(4) REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. THEREFORE, EVEN IF THE TRANSFER TO VIETNAM HAD ACTUALLY OCCURED THE EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH THE SALE OF CLAIMANT'S HOUSE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE, NOR WOULD ANY AUTHORITY HAVE EXISTED FOR PAYMENT OF LOSSES ON PERSONAL PROPERTY.

TO MR. WILLIAM H. MCCRUM:

WE REFER FURTHER TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 24, 1970, AND ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF MR. J. EVERETT SANDERSON (TRAVEL VOUCHER DATED NOVEMBER 16, 1970) FOR THE SUM OF $1,065 REPRESENTING EXPENSES HE PAID AND LOSS OF VALUE IN THE DISPOSAL OF HIS HOUSE AND CERTAIN PERSONAL PROPERTY, ITEMIZED BELOW, INCIDENT TO A PROPOSED ASSIGNMENT TO VIETNAM IN THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FOREST SERVICE.

IT HAD BEEN PLANNED ADMINISTRATIVELY TO REASSIGN MR. SANDERSON FROM NEZPERCE NATIONAL FOREST, GRANGEVILLE, IDAHO (REGION 1), TO SAIGON, VIETNAM (USAID). ON MARCH 20, 1970, HE CONSENTED TO THE ASSIGNMENT WHICH WAS TO BE MADE EFFECTIVE JUNE 17, 1970. BEFORE OFFICIAL TRANSFER ORDERS WERE ISSUED, INFORMATION WAS RECEIVED THAT THE USAID/VIETNAM AGENCY HAD ELIMINATED THE OVERSEA POSITION TO WHICH MR. SANDERSON WAS TO BE ASSIGNED. HOWEVER, HE DID NOT RECEIVE OFFICIAL NOTICE OF THE CANCELLATION UNTIL SOMETIME AFTER THE REGIONAL OFFICE WAS SO NOTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENTAL OFFICE ON APRIL 29, 1970. YOU SAY HE SUBSEQUENTLY ACCEPTED ANOTHER POSITION IN THE FOREST SERVICE, REGION 2, EFFECTIVE JULY 26, 1970.

THE ITEMS CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER, LISTED BY DATES AND OTHER INFORMATION AS INDICATED BY THE RECORD, ARE AS FOLLOWS:

APRIL 8 FHA APPRAISAL $40.00 APRIL 20 LOSS IN VALUE, LUMP SUM SALE OF TRUCK, CANOPY, CAMPER TRAILER $350.00 APRIL 29 DEED PREPARED BY ATTORNEY $10.00 REDUCTION IN HOUSE PRICE $300.00 HOME FURNISHINGS INCLUDED IN DEAL (SALE) $300.00 JUNE 1 TITLE TRANSFER (ACTUALLY THE BANK CHARGE FOR "TRANSFER OF LOAN ON ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE" PRESUMABLY BY PURCHASER OF MR. SANDERSON'S GRANGEVILLE HOUSE) $15.00 JUNE 27 MOVING COST (BETWEEN LOCAL ADDRESSES IN GRANGEVILLE) $50.00

YOUR LETTER AND STATEMENT WITH THE VOUCHER SUGGEST THAT THE LISTED EXPENSES CANNOT BE PAID FROM FOREST SERVICE APPROPRIATIONS. WE CONCUR IN THAT VIEW AS HEREINAFTER INDICATED.

UNDER SECTION 23(4) OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516, NOW 5 U.S.C. 5724AA)(4), REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. THEREFORE, EVEN IF THE TRANSFER TO VIETNAM HAD ACTUALLY OCCURRED THE EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH THE SALE OF MR. SANDERSON'S HOUSE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE NOR WOULD ANY AUTHORITY HAVE EXISTED FOR PAYMENT OF LOSSES ON PERSONAL PROPERTY. THE LOCAL MOVING EXPENSES WHICH ORDINARILY WOULD BE REGARDED AS IN ANTICIPATION OF SUCH TRANSFER MAY NOT BE ALLOWED BECAUSE THE TRANSFER WAS NEVER CONSUMMATED.

RESPECTING YOUR REFERENCE TO THE MATTER AS A MERITORIOUS CLAIM (31 U.S.C. 236), WE FULLY APPRECIATE MR. SANDERSON'S PREDICAMENT UPON THE CANCELLATION OF THE OVERSEA ASSIGNMENT. UNDER THE STATED CIRCUMSTANCES WE DO NOT VIEW HIS CLAIM AS ONE WARRANTING A SPECIAL REPORT TO THE CONGRESS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 236. WE NOTE THAT SUCH ACTION WOULD CONSTITUTE PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT OVER MANY OTHER EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE INCURRED REALTY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO OVERSEA ASSIGNMENTS.

THE VOUCHER ENCLOSED WITH YOUR LETTER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.