B-171901, APR 6, 1971

B-171901: Apr 6, 1971

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IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $110.55 INCIDENT TO THE RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE WHICH DID NOT INVOLVE AN OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION. HORINE'S CLAIM AROSE WHEN HE WAS REQUIRED TO MOVE FROM GOVERNMENT QUARTERS LOCATED AT THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS STATION TO PRIVATE LODGING. YOU REPORT THAT: "THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS STATION IS LOCATED ON PRIVATE LAND WITHIN THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST. THE MOST RECENT LEASE FOR THIS LAND IS DATED NOVEMBER 1. RESIDENCY WAS REQUIRED. AT THAT TIME THE RESIDENCE WAS UTILIZED TO QUARTER A TANKER CREW. RESIDENCY WAS NOT REQUIRED ON HIS PART. HORINE WAS NEEDED AND ENCOURAGED TO AVOID VIOLATING THE LEASE AGREEMENT. A DECISION WAS MADE TO REMOVE THE STATION AND TERMINATE OUR LEASE WITH THE LANDOWNERS. *** " YOU ALSO STATE THAT YOU ARE IN THE PROCESS OF REIMBURSING THE EMPLOYEE.

B-171901, APR 6, 1971

REAL ESTATE EXPENSES - SAME DUTY STATION DECISION DENYING CLAIM BY ANDY J. HORINE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF $110.55 REPRESENTING REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE. AN EMPLOYEE WHO RELOCATES HIS RESIDENCE, FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT, BUT DOES NOT CHANGE HIS OFFICIAL STATION DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4.1 OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIR. NO. A- 56, AND CANNOT RECOVER REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO.

TO MR. PAUL J. GRAINGER:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 26, 1971, AND ENCLOSURES (REFERENCE 6540) IN WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER MR. ANDY J. HORINE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $110.55 INCIDENT TO THE RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE WHICH DID NOT INVOLVE AN OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION.

YOU STATE THAT MR. HORINE'S CLAIM AROSE WHEN HE WAS REQUIRED TO MOVE FROM GOVERNMENT QUARTERS LOCATED AT THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS STATION TO PRIVATE LODGING. SPECIFICALLY, YOU REPORT THAT:

"THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS STATION IS LOCATED ON PRIVATE LAND WITHIN THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST. THE MOST RECENT LEASE FOR THIS LAND IS DATED NOVEMBER 1, 1942, AND REQUIRES THAT THE FOREST SERVICE MAINTAIN A 'RANGER OR GUARD STATION' ON THE PROPERTY. UNTIL MARCH 28, 1965, RESIDENCY WAS REQUIRED. AT THAT TIME THE RESIDENCE WAS UTILIZED TO QUARTER A TANKER CREW. WHEN MR. HORINE MOVED INTO ARROWHEAD SPRINGS STATION, RESIDENCY WAS NOT REQUIRED ON HIS PART. BUT UNDER THE TERMS OF THE LEASE, THE FOREST SERVICE HAD A LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY TO MAINTAIN (OR OCCUPY) IT AS A 'RANGER OR GUARD STATION' AND OCCUPANCY BY MR. HORINE WAS NEEDED AND ENCOURAGED TO AVOID VIOLATING THE LEASE AGREEMENT.

"DUE TO INADEQUATE BUILDING MAINTENANCE FUNDS AND THE LACK OF POTABLE WATER, A DECISION WAS MADE TO REMOVE THE STATION AND TERMINATE OUR LEASE WITH THE LANDOWNERS. *** " YOU ALSO STATE THAT YOU ARE IN THE PROCESS OF REIMBURSING THE EMPLOYEE, AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE, FOR THE COST OF MOVING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS INTO PRIVATE LODGING.

SECTION 4.1 OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, IN IMPLEMENTING 5 U.S.C. 5724 AND 5724A, STATES IN PERTINENT PART:

" *** TO THE EXTENT ALLOWABLE UNDER THIS PROVISION, THE GOVERNMENT WILL REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES REQUIRED TO BE PAID BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE *** PURCHASE (INCLUDING CONSTRUCTION) OF ONE DWELLING AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION *** ; PROVIDED THAT:

"A. A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED *** "

IN THE INSTANT CASE MR. HORINE MERELY CHANGED HIS RESIDENCE AND CONTINUED HIS EMPLOYMENT AT THE SAME DUTY STATION. ELIGIBILITY FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE UNDER CIRCULAR NO. A-56 IS EXPRESSLY CONDITIONED UPON SUCH COSTS BEING INCURRED PURSUANT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. SEE B 163088, FEBRUARY 28, 1968, COPY ENCLOSED.

WHILE OUR DECISIONS RECOGNIZE THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORTING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS LOCALLY IN OR OUT OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS MAY BE AUTHORIZED (ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE) AS BEING IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH DECISIONS MAY NOT BE EXTENDED TO THE EXPENSES OF THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE RESULTING FROM BEING REQUIRED TO VACATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AT AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION. IN SUCH A SITUATION THE EXPENSE OF MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS AN ADDITIONAL ONE. HOWEVER, THE PURCHASE OR RENTAL OF A RESIDENCE WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY AT THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN DISCRETION AND EXPENSE AT THE TIME OF HIS EMPLOYMENT IN THE LOCALITY IF NO GOVERNMENT QUARTERS HAD BEEN AVAILABLE.

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