B-173936, NOV 19, 1971

B-173936: Nov 19, 1971

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ALTHOUGH IT DOES APPEAR THAT THERE ARE INCONSISTENCIES IN THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED AND THAT THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER REFUSES TO TAKE ANY ACTION ON THE MATTER. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR GAO TO ALLOW PAYMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE. WHICH CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED JUNE 24. YOU WERE ORDERED TO LEAVE THAILAND ON OR ABOUT JULY 1. YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PICKED UP FOR SHIPMENT. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE TRANSIT TIME FOR YOUR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM THAILAND TO MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE WAS DETERMINED TO BE 98 DAYS. WERE PAID TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 2. IT APPEARS THAT THE TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE WAS DETERMINED BY THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF DAYS TRANSIT TIME FOR THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

B-173936, NOV 19, 1971

MILITARY PERSONNEL - TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE OVERSEAS DECISION SUSTAINING DENIAL BY CLAIMS DIVISION OF A CLAIM FOR TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 26 THROUGH APRIL 1, 1970. PARAGRAPH M4303-2E(3), JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REQUIRES THAT ADDITIONAL ENTITLEMENT TO TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE MUST BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER CONCERNED. THEREFORE, ALTHOUGH IT DOES APPEAR THAT THERE ARE INCONSISTENCIES IN THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED AND THAT THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER REFUSES TO TAKE ANY ACTION ON THE MATTER, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR GAO TO ALLOW PAYMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE.

TO MAJOR DONALD T. SANDLER:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 21, 1971, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 26 THROUGH APRIL 1, 1970, WHICH CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED JUNE 24, 1971.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT BY SO A-37 DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1970, YOU WERE ORDERED TO LEAVE THAILAND ON OR ABOUT JULY 1, 1970, AND REPORT TO MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA. ON MARCH 15, 1970, YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PICKED UP FOR SHIPMENT. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE TRANSIT TIME FOR YOUR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM THAILAND TO MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE WAS DETERMINED TO BE 98 DAYS. YOU ENTERED INTO HOTEL-LIKE ACCOMMODATIONS IN THAILAND ON MARCH 15, 1970, AND WERE PAID TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 2, 1970, THROUGH JUNE 30, 1970, AT THE RATE OF $27 PER DAY. IT APPEARS THAT THE TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE WAS DETERMINED BY THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF DAYS TRANSIT TIME FOR THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, LESS TRAVEL TIME OF 8 DAYS. YOU SAY THAT YOUR TRAVEL TIME WAS ONLY 1 DAY AND THEREFORE YOU SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO AN ADDITIONAL 7 DAYS OF TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 26, 1970, THROUGH APRIL 1, 1970.

YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON THE BASIS THAT UNDER PARAGRAPH M4303-2E(3) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ADDITIONAL PERIODS OF TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE MUST BE AUTHORIZED BY THE MAJOR OVERSEAS COMMANDER DESIGNATED BY THE SERVICE CONCERNED, AND IN YOUR CASE THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER REFUSED TO EITHER APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE THE ADDITIONAL PERIOD OF TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE.

IN YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 21, 1971, YOU SAY THAT YOUR TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE WAS FOR 98 DAYS LESS AN ARBITRARY TRAVEL TIME OF 8 DAYS. YOU SAY THAT THIS ARBITRARY DETERMINATION OF TRAVEL TIME WAS MADE BY AN AIR FORCE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER. YOU ALSO SAY THAT THE ORGANIZATION TO WHICH YOU WERE ATTACHED WAS MANNED JOINTLY BY ARMY, NAVY, AND AIR FORCE PERSONNEL, ALTHOUGH THERE WAS ONLY ONE OVERSEAS COMMANDER. HOWEVER, YOU SAY FURTHER THAT IN THE OFFICE CONCERNED THE TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE DOCUMENTATION IS PREPARED BY THREE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS. THE AIR FORCE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER DEDUCTS MAXIMUM TRAVEL TIME, WHEREAS THE PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY AND NAVY DEDUCT ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME CONTEMPLATED BY THE MEMBER. YOU ALSO INDICATE THAT THE OFFICER IN CHARGE, AN ARMY WARRANT OFFICER, CERTIFIES ALL THE DOCUMENTS FOR THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER. YOU FEEL THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE AIR FORCE THAT YOU ARE BEING PENALIZED.

IN COMMUNICATION DATED NOVEMBER 13, 1970, HEADQUARTERS, U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE COMMAND, THAILAND, IT IS STATED THAT THE ADMINISTRATION OF YOUR CASE WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH NORMAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES. IT IS ALSO INDICATED THAT HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE PICKED UP AND SHIPPED UPON RECEIPT OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS. THAT COMMUNICATION ALSO PROVIDES THAT THE LENGTH OF TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE IS BASED ON AVERAGE TRANSIT TIME OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THE NEW DUTY STATION LESS LEAVE AND TRAVEL TIME. IT IS FURTHER STATED IN EFFECT THAT, SINCE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS FOR AIR FORCE PERSONNEL AUTHORIZE MAXIMUM TRAVEL TIME, AIR FORCE FINANCE PERSONNEL SUBTRACT THE MAXIMUM TRAVEL TIME DAYS FROM THE TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE ENTITLEMENTS. HOWEVER, IN THAT COMMUNICATION IT IS STATED THAT THE ARMY FINANCE REPRESENTATIVES ACCEPT THE WORD OF THOSE PERSONNEL WHO STATE THEY PLAN TO TRAVEL BY AIR RATHER THAN BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AND PAY TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE ACCORDINGLY.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE RECORD GIVES NO INDICATION THAT THIS INCONSISTENCY WAS CALLED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER AT THE TIME, NOR DOES THE RECORD INDICATE THAT A REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE WAS MADE AT AN APPROPRIATE TIME.

THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH M4303-2E(3), JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REQUIRE THAT ADDITIONAL ENTITLEMENT TO TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE MUST BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER CONCERNED.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, IT APPEARS THAT INCONSISTENCIES IN THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED DO EXIST; HOWEVER, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THIS OFFICE TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE, SINCE ENTITLEMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL PERIOD WAS NOT APPROVED AS REQUIRED BY THE REGULATIONS.

SINCE THE OVERSEAS COMMANDER HAS NOT APPROVED THE ADDITIONAL LODGING ALLOWANCE IN YOUR CASE, WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE DISALLOWANCE OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION.