B-173961, SEP 27, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 187

B-173961: Sep 27, 1971

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MOVED HIS RESIDENCE WHICH WAS LOCATED 26 MILES FROM THE NEW DUTY STATION TO WITHIN 14 MILES OF THE NEW STATION IN ORDER TO REDUCE HIS TRAVEL TIME FROM 1 HOUR TO 20 MINUTES. THAT THE RELOCATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE FOR THE RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE WITHIN THE SAME GENERAL LOCAL AREA WAS INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION. 1971: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 24. LIPSCOMB'S OLD RESIDENCE IN ARLINGTON AND THE NEW DUTY STATION AT DULLES IS REPORTED TO BE 26 MILES AND TO TAKE APPROXIMATELY 1 HOUR TO TRAVEL IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC AS OPPOSED TO A COMMUTING TIME OF ABOUT 20 MINUTES FROM THE MANASSAS RESIDENCE TO DULLES OVER A DISTANCE OF 14 MILES. LIPSCOMB ASSERTS HE IS ELIGIBLE FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE FROM ARLINGTON.

B-173961, SEP 27, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 187

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - DISTANCE BETWEEN OLD AND NEW STATIONS BEFORE PAYMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES MAY BE MADE TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF DUTY STATION LOCATED 30 MILES FROM HIS OLD DUTY STATION, MOVED HIS RESIDENCE WHICH WAS LOCATED 26 MILES FROM THE NEW DUTY STATION TO WITHIN 14 MILES OF THE NEW STATION IN ORDER TO REDUCE HIS TRAVEL TIME FROM 1 HOUR TO 20 MINUTES, AN AGENCY DETERMINATION MUST BE MADE, PURSUANT TO SECTION 1.3A OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, THAT THE RELOCATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE FOR THE RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE WITHIN THE SAME GENERAL LOCAL AREA WAS INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

TO LUELLA S. HOWARD, SEPTEMBER 27, 1971:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 24, 1971, AND ENCLOSURES, INQUIRING AS TO WHETHER THE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES OF MR. JACK C. LIPSCOMB MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN VIEW OF NATIONAL SAFETY TRANSPORTATION BOARD (NTSB) ORDER 1500.1A, SECTION V, PARAGRAPH 2F.

THE MATTER CONCERNS THE TRANSFER OF MR. LIPSCOMB FROM HIS DUTY STATION AT 800 INDEPENDENCE AVENUE, S.W., WASHINGTON, D.C., TO DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. A DISTANCE OF 30 MILES EXISTS BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN MR. LIPSCOMB'S OLD RESIDENCE IN ARLINGTON AND THE NEW DUTY STATION AT DULLES IS REPORTED TO BE 26 MILES AND TO TAKE APPROXIMATELY 1 HOUR TO TRAVEL IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC AS OPPOSED TO A COMMUTING TIME OF ABOUT 20 MINUTES FROM THE MANASSAS RESIDENCE TO DULLES OVER A DISTANCE OF 14 MILES.

PURSUANT TO THIS CHANGE OF DUTY STATIONS, MR. LIPSCOMB ASSERTS HE IS ELIGIBLE FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE FROM ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, TO MANASSAS, VIRGINIA. HE SUBMITTED A REQUEST TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE FOR APPROVAL OF A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION TO PROVIDE FOR SUCH EXPENSES.

BY MEMORANDA UNDER DATES OF JULY 9 AND JULY 28, 1971, APPROVAL OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS DENIED BY MR. RICHARD SPEARS, GENERAL MANAGER OF NTSB. IN THE CITED MEMORANDA, MR. SPEARS STATED THAT THE REQUEST WAS DENIED ON THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS:

1. NTSB IS "NOT PRACTICING A POLICY OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR HOUSEHOLD MOVES IN THE WASHINGTON AREA NOR DO WE INTEND TO INITIATE SUCH A POLICY."

2. THE "INTENT OF NTSB ORDER 1500.1A, SECTION V, PARAGRAPH 2F IS NOT TO PROVIDE FOR A GROSS COMPENSATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S RELOCATION EXPENSES IN THE KIND OF SITUATION PRESENTED BY MR. LIPSCOMB."

3. A LACK OF PRIOR APPROVAL OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 3 OF SECTION I OF THE REFERENCED NTSB ORDER IS FATAL TO THE CLAIM.

SECTION V, PARAGRAPH 2F OF NTSB ORDER 1500.1A STATES:

DISTANCE LIMITATION. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE ALLOWANCES AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION ARE PAYABLE PROVIDED THAT THE TRANSFER TO A NEW OFFICIAL STATION IS AT LEAST 10 MILES DISTANT FROM THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION, AND, IN CASE OF A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE RELOCATION, THE SAFETY BOARD HAS DETERMINED THAT THE RELOCATION WAS INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION.

THE ABOVE AGENCY REGULATION IS BASED UPON SECTION 1.3A OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

(1) WHEN CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION OR OTHER ACTION DESCRIBED BELOW IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY SUCH OFFICIAL OR OFFICIALS AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT MAY DESIGNATE, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE ALLOWANCES AS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE PAYABLE IN THE CASE OF (A) TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, PROVIDED THAT: THE TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IS NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST; THE TRANSFER IS TO A NEW OFFICIAL STATION WHICH IS AT LEAST TEN MILES DISTANT FROM THE OLD STATION; AND, IN CASE OF A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE RELOCATION, A DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY IS MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 1.3A(2) ***

(2) WHEN THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION INVOLVES A SHORT DISTANCE WITHIN THE SAME GENERAL LOCAL OR METROPOLITAN AREA, THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE ALLOWANCES IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE MAY BE AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THE RELOCATION WAS INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION. SUCH DETERMINATION SHOULD TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION SUCH FACTORS AS COMMUTING TIME AND DISTANCE BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF NOTIFICATION OF TRANSFER AND HIS OLD AND NEW POSTS OF DUTY AS WELL AS THE COMMUTING TIME AND DISTANCE BETWEEN A PROPOSED NEW RESIDENCE AND THE NEW POST OF DUTY. ORDINARILY, A RELOCATION OF RESIDENCE SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION UNLESS THE ONE-WAY COMMUTING DISTANCE FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION IS AT LEAST TEN MILES GREATER THAN FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION. EVEN THEN, CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING A PARTICULAR CASE, E.G., RELATIVE COMMUTING TIME, MAY SUGGEST THAT THE MOVE OF RESIDENCE WAS NOT INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION.

AS INDICATED BY SECTION 1.3, IT IS A MATTER FOR AGENCY DETERMINATION WHETHER THE CHANGE OF RESIDENCE IN CASES INVOLVING A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE RELOCATION IS INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION. SEE B-163955, MARCH 14, 1969; B-172756, JUNE 29, 1971; AND B-167171, AUGUST 8, 1969. UNLESS AND UNTIL SUCH A DETERMINATION HAS BEEN MADE AS REQUIRED BY SAID SECTION 1.3, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM.

THE ENCLOSURES ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED.