B-171806, OCT 15, 1971

B-171806: Oct 15, 1971

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IS LIABLE FOR EXCESS LABOR COSTS INCURRED IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO HIS RETIREMENT IN 1969. WHICH NORMALLY WOULD HAVE REQUIRED TWO DAYS. WAS EXPANDED INTO A 7-DAY JOB DUE TO THE INSISTANCE OF THE WIFE OF THE MEMBER THAT SHE BE PRESENT FOR ALL PACKING AND THAT CERTAIN ITEMS RECEIVE SPECIAL PACKING TREATMENT. APPLICABLE REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT AN ADVANCE REQUEST BE MADE FOR SPECIAL PACKING AND THAT A MEMBER IS LIABLE FOR EXCESS COSTS FOR PACKING. WHEN THEY WERE NECESSITATED BY HIS WIFE'S ACTION. SECRETARY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED APRIL 23. WERE MOVED ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY FROM THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER CONCERNING AN EXTRA LABOR CHARGE OF $552 FOR PACKING AND UNPACKING WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN ITS BILL.

B-171806, OCT 15, 1971

MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS - LIABILITY OF MEMBER FOR EXCESS LABOR COSTS DECISION THAT REAR ADMIRAL FORSYTH MASSEY, USN, RETIRED, IS LIABLE FOR EXCESS LABOR COSTS INCURRED IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO HIS RETIREMENT IN 1969. THE PACKING AND CRATING OF PORTIONS OF THE GOODS, WHICH NORMALLY WOULD HAVE REQUIRED TWO DAYS, WAS EXPANDED INTO A 7-DAY JOB DUE TO THE INSISTANCE OF THE WIFE OF THE MEMBER THAT SHE BE PRESENT FOR ALL PACKING AND THAT CERTAIN ITEMS RECEIVE SPECIAL PACKING TREATMENT. THIS ADDED $552 TO THE COSTS, REPRESENTING FIVE DAYS OF EXTRA LABOR. APPLICABLE REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT AN ADVANCE REQUEST BE MADE FOR SPECIAL PACKING AND THAT A MEMBER IS LIABLE FOR EXCESS COSTS FOR PACKING, IF INCURRED. THE FACT THAT MEMBER DID NOT MAKE THE ADVANCE REQUEST, NOR CAUSED THE EXCESS COST IN AND OF HIMSELF, DOES NOT EXCUSE THE OBLIGATION TO PAY EXCESS COSTS, WHEN THEY WERE NECESSITATED BY HIS WIFE'S ACTION. THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER, UNDER ADVICE OF NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND, ERRORED IN REMOVING THE CHARGE FROM MEMBER'S PAY ADJUSTMENT AUTHORIZATION.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED APRIL 23, 1971 (FT 4610(M)), FROM THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C., CONCERNING THE LIABILITY OF REAR ADMIRAL FORSYTH MASSEY, 070031, U.S. NAVY, RETIRED, FOR EXCESS COSTS INCIDENT TO THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM QUONSET POINT, RHODE ISLAND, TO NEWTON, NEW JERSEY, IN 1969.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT PURSUANT TO PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS DATED MARCH 20, 1969, ADMIRAL MASSEY'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF THE NET WEIGHT OF 16,740 POUNDS, INCLUDING 737 POUNDS OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, WERE MOVED ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. E-7814449 FROM HIS LAST DUTY STATION, QUONSET POINT, RHODE ISLAND, TO NEWTON, NEW JERSEY, APPARENTLY HIS HOME OF SELECTION ON RETIREMENT.

IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY FROM THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER CONCERNING AN EXTRA LABOR CHARGE OF $552 FOR PACKING AND UNPACKING WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN ITS BILL, THE CARRIER, GREYHOUND VAN LINES, INC., BY LETTER DATED MARCH 24, 1970, FURNISHED THAT CENTER WITH A COPY OF DD FORM 619 "STATEMENT OF ACCESSORIAL SERVICES PERFORMED" SHOWING THAT SUCH ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIAL SERVICES WERE CERTIFIED BY THE SUPERVISORY SHIPMENT ASSISTANT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER, NAVAL AIR STATION, QUONSET POINT, RHODE ISLAND, AS HAVING BEEN PERFORMED BY THE CARRIER'S AGENT, PEOPLE'S STORAGE WAREHOUSE COMPANY, WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND. SUCH SERVICES WERE LISTED ON THAT FORM AS FOLLOWS:

"EXTRA LABOR:

ORIGIN 5 EXTRA DAYS FOR 2 MEN $5.75 PER HOUR - $460.00

DESTINATION 1 EXTRA DAY FOR 2 MEN $5.75 PER HOUR - $92.00

TOTAL $552.00

THE CARRIER ALSO FURNISHED THE CENTER WITH AN EXPLANATORY STATEMENT IT HAD OBTAINED FROM PEOPLE'S STORAGE WAREHOUSE COMPANY, WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND, CONCERNING THE EXTRA LABOR CHARGE. THAT STATEMENT, DATED MARCH 18, 1970, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXPLANATION OF THE EXTRA LABOR INVOLVED ON THIS MOVE.

"A MOVE THE SIZE OF THIS WOULD NORMALLY REQUIRE 2 DAYS PACKING. THE REASONS WHY 7 DAYS WERE UTILIZED ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"A VISUAL PERSONAL INSPECTION AND INVENTORY BY MRS. MASSEY OF EACH AND EVERY ITEM BEFORE ITEMS WERE PLACED IN BARRELS AND CARTONS. PACKERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO WORK WHILE MRS. MASSEY LEFT TO ATTEND TO HER PERSONAL AND NORMAL DAILY ROUTINE. SHE HAD TO BE PRESENT WHEN ITEMS WERE PACKED. TWO BARRELS AND 10 CARTONS WERE THE ONLY ITEMS PACKED ON ONE OF THE SEVEN PACKING DAYS. THIS WOULD NORMALLY TAKE 3 MEN 1 HOUR TO PACK. EXCESSIVE WRAPPING OF EACH ITEM, AT MRS. MASSEY'S REQUEST, WAS THE REASON SO MANY BARRELS, CARTONS AND CRATES WERE UTILIZED. APPROXIMATELY 1/3 MORE CONTAINERS THAN USUAL WERE USED ON THIS MOVE.

"AT THE REQUEST OF MRS. MASSEY, SPECIAL CRATES WERE BUILT FOR SUCH ARTICLES AS GLASS FRONT GUN RACKS, GLASS FRONT BOOK CASES, A SHIPS WHEEL, ETC. THESE ITEMS ARE USUALLY TRANSPORTED WITHOUT CRATING.

"THE SAME PROCEDURE WAS USED AT DESTINATION. MRS. MASSEY HAD TO EXAMINE AND CHECK EACH ITEM AGAINST HER OWN PERSONAL INVENTORY, WHICH RESULTED IN ONE EXTRA DAY LABOR.

"HOPE THIS WILL CLEAR UP THE MATTER WITH THE GOVERNMENT."

SUBSEQUENTLY, PAYMENT TO THE CARRIER WAS EFFECTED APRIL 1, 1970, ON VOUCHER NO. R5625, FOR $2,629.70 ($741.45 FOR LINE HAUL AND $1,888.25 FOR PACKING, UNPACKING, AND LABOR SERVICES, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXTRA LABOR CHARGE OF $552 MENTIONED ABOVE).

ON MAY 6, 1970, THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER, AFTER HAVING NOTED THAT THE PAYMENT ON THE ABOVE VOUCHER INCLUDED CHARGES FOR 498 CRATES AND CARTONS PLUS $552 FOR EXTRA LABOR, INFORMALLY REQUESTED OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION TO EXPEDITE THE AUDIT OF THE VOUCHER AND FURNISH ADVICE OF THE RESULT. UPON COMPLETION OF THE REQUESTED EXAMINATION AND AUDIT, THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION REPORTED THAT UNDER THE APPLICABLE TARIFF SCHEDULE THE CHARGES, BASED ON THE PRESENT RECORD, WERE TECHNICALLY CORRECT AS BILLED BY THE CARRIER FOR THE SERVICES RENDERED. HOWEVER, IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT THERE WAS A QUESTION WHETHER ADMIRAL MASSEY'S ENTITLEMENT EXTENDED TO ALL OF THE CHARGES BILLED BY THE CARRIER IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THOSE CHARGES WERE INCURRED.

THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER WAS ADVISED OF THE RESULT OF THE VOUCHER AUDIT BY OUR DEFENSE DIVISION LETTER DATED APRIL 8, 1971. ALSO, IN THAT LETTER AN EXPLANATION WAS FURNISHED CONCERNING ADMIRAL MASSEY'S LIABILITY FOR THE INVOLVED EXCESS LABOR COSTS, AS FOLLOWS:

"PARAGRAPH M8009, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT UPON THE MEMBER'S WRITTEN REQUEST AND AGREEMENT TO PAY ANY ADDITIONAL COST OCCASIONED THEREBY, HE MAY, IF SO DESIRED, DEVIATE FROM THE REGULATIONS IN CHAPTER 8 BY HAVING SPECIAL LOADING, AND ANY OTHER SPECIAL OR ACCESSORIAL SERVICES WHICH MAY INVOLVE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE. PACKING, CRATING, UNPACKING AND UNCRATING ARE ACCESSORIAL SERVICES.

"UNDER APPLICABLE NAVY REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND MANUAL, VOLUME V (SUBPARAGRAPH 58027-1A) AN APPLICATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FOR MEMBERS ENTITLED TO A WEIGHT ALLOWANCE, DD FORM 1299 'APPLICATION FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS,' IS REQUIRED OF THE MEMBER AND PRINTED ITEM 20C ON THE FORM READS AS FOLLOWS:

"'I WILL REMIT THE PROPER AMOUNT OR PERMIT THE APPLICATION OF AS MUCH OF MY PAY AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO COVER ALL EXCESS COST OCCASIONED BY THIS SHIPMENT.'

"UNDER THAT AGREEMENT AND PARAGRAPH M8009 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, A MEMBER IS LIABLE FOR ALL EXCESS COSTS INCLUDING EXCESS PACKING AND UNPACKING CHARGES OVER THOSE WHICH IT NORMALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY FOR THE SHIPMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLISHED TARIFF SCHEDULE. THE FACT THAT THE MEMBER'S WIFE MAY HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXCESS CHARGES AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR RELIEVING THE MEMBER OF HIS LIABILITY FOR THE CHARGES.

"PARAGRAPH 58026, NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND MANUAL, STATES THAT THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C., IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DETERMINATION OF EXCESS COSTS FOR PACKING CRATING, HAULING, STORING, UNPACKING, UNCRATING, AND TRANSPORTING OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND FOR THE COLLECTION OF THE EXCESS COSTS FROM THE MEMBER. IN OUR OPINION, THE MEMBER IS CLEARLY LIABLE FOR THE COSTS OF THE EXTRA LABOR FOR PACKING AND UNPACKING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN THIS INSTANCE. WE ARE REFERRING THE MATTER TO YOUR OFFICE IN ACCORDANCE WITH ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES FOR A DETERMINATION OF WHETHER OTHER EXCESS COSTS MAY BE INVOLVED AND THE INSTITUTION OF COLLECTION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE MEMBER FOR THE AMOUNT DETERMINED TO REPRESENT EXCESS COSTS ON THE SHIPMENT.

"WE WOULD APPRECIATE BEING ADVISED OF THE ACTION TAKEN AND OF THE AMOUNTS COLLECTED."

IN A LETTER DATED APRIL 23, 1971, THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER INFORMED THIS OFFICE THAT ONLY THE SUM OF $154.28 WAS COLLECTED FROM ADMIRAL MASSEY AS EXCESS COSTS FOR EXCESS WEIGHT INCIDENT TO THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. THE REASON FOR SUCH ACTION AND THE DETERMINATION OF THE AMOUNT DUE FROM HIM WERE EXPLAINED IN THE LETTER, AS FOLLOWS:

" *** ADMIRAL MASSEY WAS ADVISED BY LETTER OF 1 JULY 1970 THAT EXCESS COSTS OF $706.28 WERE INCURRED WHICH WERE PAYABLE BY HIM. THIS WAS COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF $154.28 EXCESS FOR PACKING AND TRANSPORTATION AND $552.00 EXCESS FOR EXTRA LABOR. BY LETTER OF 28 AUGUST 1970 ADMIRAL MASSEY REFUTED THAT PORTION FOR EXTRA LABOR, $552.00, BASED ON THE FACT THAT HE NEVER REQUESTED EXTRA LABOR AS REQUIRED BY REGULATIONS, NOR WAS HE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SIGN THE DD 619. (THE SUPPORTING DD 619 FOR EXTRA LABOR WAS SIGNED BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER, NAVAL AIR STATION, QUONSET POINT, R.I.).

"ON 4 SEPT 1970 THIS CENTER REQUESTED THE ADVICE OF COMMANDER, NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND REGARDING THE PROPER CHARGES TO BE BORNE BY THE MEMBER. THAT HEADQUARTERS BY LETTER OF 10 SEPT 1970 ADVISED THAT LABOR PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH PACKING OF RADM MASSEY'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS WITHIN THE NORMAL SCOPE OF THE CARRIER'S RESPONSIBILITY; THEREFORE, NO PAY RECORD CHECK AGE SHOULD BE ISSUED. THEIR POSITION WAS BASED ON THE FOLLOWING:

"(A) THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE PERSONAL PROPERTY TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT REGULATION (AR 55-356/NAVSUP PUB 455/AFR 75-17/MCO P4050, 34B) OR THE MILITARY RATE TENDER 1E (MRT-1E) OF 3 FEBRUARY 1970 WHICH STIPULATES PACKING AND UNPACKING SERVICES MUST BE ACCOMPLISHED IN A SPECIFIC PERIOD OF TIME.

"(B) JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PAR. M8009 STATES THAT SPECIAL ROUTING AND SERVICES CAN BE OBTAINED PROVIDED THE MEMBER REQUESTS SUCH SERVICE IN WRITING AND AGREES TO PAY ALL ADDITIONAL EXPENSES.

"(C) RADM MASSEY DID NOT REQUEST ANY ADDITIONAL SERVICES.

"(D) ITEM 120 OF THE MRT-1E PROVIDES A MEANS BY WHICH THE CARRIER CAN BILL FOR LABOR FOR SERVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR IN THE TARIFF.

"(E) ITEM 105 OF THE MRT-1E IS THE TARIFF ITEM FOR PACKING AND UNPACKING AND THEREFORE INCLUDES ASSOCIATED LABOR.

"IN VIEW OF THIS, ON 18 SEPT 1970 THIS CENTER REMOVED THE $552.00 EXTRA LABOR FROM ADM MASSEY'S PAY ADJUSTMENT AUTHORIZATION AND ISSUED A REVISED PAA IN THE AMOUNT OF $154.28 AS A CHARGE AGAINST HIS ACCOUNT FOR EXCESS WEIGHT. THE CHECK AGE FOR $154.28 WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY DISBURSING OFFICER, SYMBOL J5178 ON 30 SEPT 1970."

WHILE THE REGULATION AND PUBLICATION MENTIONED BY THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER DO NOT STIPULATE A SPECIFIC PERIOD OF TIME FOR PACKING AND UNPACKING SERVICES AS A GUIDE FOR APPLICATION IN INDIVIDUAL CASES, APPARENTLY BECAUSE THE TIME CONSUMED BY A CARRIER FOR SUCH SERVICE IS DEPENDENT UPON NUMEROUS VARIABLE FACTORS, THE RECORD CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THE FACT THAT 2 DAYS RATHER THAN 8 DAYS FOR SUCH SERVICE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED IN THIS CASE UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THE ADDITIONAL 6 DAYS WERE REQUIRED BECAUSE OF MRS. MASSEY'S EXERCISE OF SUPERVISION OVER THE PACKING OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS, THE EXCESSIVE PACKING AT HER DIRECTION AND HER ACTIVITIES WHICH DELAYED THE CARRIER'S AGENT FROM THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS DUTIES, AS HERETOFORE EXPLAINED. THEREFORE, AND SINCE THE ADDITIONAL TIME AND LABOR INVOLVED RESULTED FROM MRS. MASSEY'S SUPERVISION AND EXCESSIVE REQUIREMENTS, A SITUATION BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE CARRIER'S AGENT, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THE LACK OF A PROVISION IN THE MENTIONED REGULATION AND PUBLICATION PROVIDING A TIME LIMITATION FOR PACKING AND UNPACKING OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS ABSOLVING ADMIRAL MASSEY FROM PECUNIARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE INVOLVED EXTRA LABOR COSTS.

ALSO, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ADMIRAL MASSEY IS JUSTIFIED IN DISCLAIMING LIABILITY ON THE GROUND THAT HE DID NOT REQUEST ANY ADDITIONAL SERVICES NOR SIGN THE DD FORM 619 IN CONNECTION WITH THE PACKING AND UNPACKING OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. SUCH ADDITIONAL SERVICES WERE NECESSITATED BY THE ACTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS OF HIS WIFE AND WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT HE MUST NECESSARILY BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE EXCESS COSTS RESULTING THEREFROM. NOR MAY ADMIRAL MASSEY BE ABSOLVED OF LIABILITY BECAUSE OF THE ABSENCE OF HIS SIGNATURE ON THE FORM DD 619. THAT FORM REQUIRES CERTIFICATION OF ACCESSORIAL SERVICES BY "OWNER/MILITARY INSPECTOR/TRANSPORTATION OFFICERS)." THE SIGNATURE OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT POINT OF ORIGIN ON THAT FORM, AS INDICATED ABOVE, SERVED AS EVIDENCE OF THE RENDITION OF THE SERVICE AND AS SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY TO SUPPORT PAYMENT TO THE CARRIER FOR THE EXTRA LABOR.

ITEMS 105 AND 120 OF MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT RATE TARIFF NO. 1-E, EFFECTIVE MAY 1, 1969, RELATE TO SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OVER WHICH THE CARRIER IN NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES EXERCISES INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT AND DISCRETION IN PERFORMING ADDITIONAL SERVICES. THOSE ITEMS ARE NOT RELEVANT INSOFAR AS THEY MAY CONCERN THE PECUNIARY LIABILITY OF ADMIRAL MASSEY SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID A LESSER AMOUNT TO THE CARRIER FOR ACCESSORIAL SERVICE EXCEPT FOR THE EXCESSIVE REQUIREMENTS RESULTING IN THE EXCESS CHARGES FOR WHICH WE BELIEVE ADMIRAL MASSEY IS LIABLE.

THEREFORE, IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE ACTION OF THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER IN REMOVING THE $552 EXTRA LABOR CHARGE AGAINST ADMIRAL MASSEY WAS UNWARRANTED NOTWITHSTANDING THE POSITION OF THE COMMANDER, NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND. INASMUCH AS THAT CENTER HAS CONCLUDED THAT ADMIRAL MASSEY WAS LIABLE ONLY FOR THE EXCESS COST DUE TO EXCESS WEIGHT, WE ARE BRINGING THIS MATTER TO YOUR ATTENTION IN ORDER THAT APPROPRIATE ACTION MAY BE TAKEN TO COLLECT THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $552 DUE THE UNITED STATES. WE WOULD APPRECIATE ADVICE OF THE RESULTS OF SUCH ACTION.