B-172534, MAY 25, 1971

B-172534: May 25, 1971

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A-56 DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR BROKERAGE FEES AND A COST OF CREDIT REPORT ON THE BUYER INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A HOUSE WHICH WAS NOT THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS FIRST DEFINITELY INFORMED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY THAT HE IS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. IT IS INDICATED BY THE RECORDS THAT MR. WAS EMPLOYED IN SEPTEMBER 1969 AND HIS FIRST OFFICIAL STATION WAS COLUMBUS. HIS TRANSFER WAS AUTHORIZED FROM COLUMBUS. REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES WAS AUTHORIZED. WHICH YOU SAY HE HAD RENTED WHILE HE WAS EMPLOYED IN COLUMBUS. WAS DENIED. CROOKS HAS REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF HIS CLAIM ON THE GROUND THAT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS INCURRED AND THE REIMBURSEMENT WAS AUTHORIZED IN HIS TRANSFER ORDER.

B-172534, MAY 25, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - CHANGE OF STATION - REAL ESTATE EXPENSES DECISION DENYING CLAIM BY JAMES R. CROOKS FOR $1,115 REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE SALE OF A HOUSE INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION. SECTION 4.1D OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIR. NO. A-56 DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR BROKERAGE FEES AND A COST OF CREDIT REPORT ON THE BUYER INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A HOUSE WHICH WAS NOT THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS FIRST DEFINITELY INFORMED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY THAT HE IS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

TO MR. ARNE A. NIEMI:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 17, 1971, FORWARDED HERE BY LETTER DATED APRIL 2, 1971, OF HEADQUARTERS DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,115, IN FAVOR OF JAMES R. CROOKS, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE SALE OF A HOUSE INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM COLUMBUS, OHIO, TO BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN.

IT IS INDICATED BY THE RECORDS THAT MR. CROOKS, A RESIDENT OF MICHIGAN, WAS EMPLOYED IN SEPTEMBER 1969 AND HIS FIRST OFFICIAL STATION WAS COLUMBUS, OHIO. DUE TO ILLNESS OF HIS DAUGHTER, HIS WIFE AND FAMILY REMAINED IN MICHIGAN, AND THEREAFTER HE SOUGHT EMPLOYMENT IN MICHIGAN IN ORDER TO BE WITH HIS FAMILY. BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. DL 19-71 DATED JULY 6, 1970, HIS TRANSFER WAS AUTHORIZED FROM COLUMBUS, OHIO, TO BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, AND IN ADDITION TO OTHER EXPENSES, REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES WAS AUTHORIZED. HIS CLAIM FOR BROKERAGE FEES AND COST OF CREDIT REPORT ON THE BUYER INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE IN MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN, WHICH YOU SAY HE HAD RENTED WHILE HE WAS EMPLOYED IN COLUMBUS, OHIO, WAS DENIED. MR. CROOKS HAS REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF HIS CLAIM ON THE GROUND THAT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS INCURRED AND THE REIMBURSEMENT WAS AUTHORIZED IN HIS TRANSFER ORDER.

SECTION 4.1 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, ISSUED IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89-516, 80 STAT. 323, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

" *** 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 SALE OF ONE RESIDENCE AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION; PURCHASE (INCLUDING CONSTRUCTION) OF ONE DWELLING AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION; OR THE SETTLEMENT OF AN UNEXPIRED LEASE INVOLVING HIS RESIDENCE OR A LOT ON WHICH A HOUSE TRAILER USED AS HIS RESIDENCE WAS LOCATED AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION; PROVIDED THAT:

"D. THE DWELLING FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT OF SELLING EXPENSES IS CLAIMED WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS FIRST DEFINITELY INFORMED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY THAT HE IS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION."

THE LANGUAGE OF THE REGULATION IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND PERMITS REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF THE SALE OF A DWELLING AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION WHICH WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF HIS OFFICIAL TRANSFER. SEE 46 COMP. GEN. 703 (1967). AT THE TIME OF HIS TRANSFER, MR. CROOKS WAS NOT LIVING IN THE HOUSE IN MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN, WHICH WAS APPARENTLY RENTED, BUT WAS ACTUALLY RESIDING IN COLUMBUS, OHIO, WHILE HIS FAMILY REMAINED IN MICHIGAN.

WHILE THE TRANSFER ORDER AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES, WE NOTE SUCH AUTHORIZATION WAS A GENERAL AUTHORIZATION AND MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN UPON THE BASIS THAT REIMBURSEMENT OF ANY SUCH EXPENSES COULD ONLY BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56. EVEN IF SUCH AUTHORIZATION HAD BEEN MORE SPECIFIC, IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN REGARDED AS PROPER. THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIRCULAR ARE STATUTORY IN NATURE AND NEITHER THIS OFFICE NOR ANY EXECUTIVE AGENCY MAY WAIVE OR EXTEND THEM. ALSO, IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT THE UNITED STATES IS NOT BOUND BY UNAUTHORIZED ACTS OF ITS OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. WILBER NATIONAL BANK V UNITED STATES, 294 U.S. 120 (1935).

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY NOT BE PAID.