B-174051, DEC 8, 1971

B-174051: Dec 8, 1971

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THE EXPENSES ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE SINCE THE HOUSE WAS NOT THE RESIDENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED. THE EXPENSES OF THE ORIGINAL SALE ARE REIMBURSABLE. TO NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR OFFICE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1. THE SALE FOR WHICH EXPENSES ARE CLAIMED APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A SECOND SALE UNDER THE FACTS HEREINAFTER RELATED. IT IS REPORTED THAT ON APRIL 24. THE CHIEF OF NAVAL MATERIAL OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED THAT ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER CORONA LABORATORIES WERE TO BE RELOCATED TO THE NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER. IN AN ATTEMPT TO REMEDY A VERY UNCERTAIN SITUATION AND AT A TIME WHEN HOUSES WERE HARD TO SELL DUE TO TIGHT MONEY. THE HOUSE WAS SOLD ON MAY 5.

B-174051, DEC 8, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - SECOND SALE OF RESIDENCE DECISION REGARDING THE CLAIM OF GUENTHER ZAESCHMAR FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A HOUSE IN CONNECTION WITH A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION. ON THE FACTS IN THIS CASE, THE EXPENSES ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE SINCE THE HOUSE WAS NOT THE RESIDENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED. (SECTION 4.1, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56.) HOWEVER, THE EXPENSES OF THE ORIGINAL SALE ARE REIMBURSABLE, AND A CLAIM FOR THOSE EXPENSES MAY BE CONSIDERED IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

TO NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR OFFICE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, SIGNED BY MR. A. RICHARD CASHORE, REFERENCE 652/GEA:NB, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON THE CLAIM OF MR. GUENTHER ZAESCHMAR IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,140.12 REPRESENTING REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE AT COLTON, CALIFORNIA, INCIDENT TO TRANSFER OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION TO SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, EFFECTIVE MARCH 8, 1970. THE SALE FOR WHICH EXPENSES ARE CLAIMED APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A SECOND SALE UNDER THE FACTS HEREINAFTER RELATED.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON APRIL 24, 1969, THE CHIEF OF NAVAL MATERIAL OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED THAT ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER CORONA LABORATORIES WERE TO BE RELOCATED TO THE NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER, CHINA LAKE, CALIFORNIA, OVER A 2-YEAR PERIOD.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO REMEDY A VERY UNCERTAIN SITUATION AND AT A TIME WHEN HOUSES WERE HARD TO SELL DUE TO TIGHT MONEY, MR. ZAESCHMAR IMMEDIATELY PUT HIS HOUSE UP FOR SALE. THE HOUSE WAS SOLD ON MAY 5, 1969, AND MR. ZAESCHMAR TEMPORARILY MOVED INTO A RENTED HOUSE IN CORONA PENDING HIS TRANSFER. NO SPECIFIC DETAILS AS TO THE TERMS OF THE SALE HAVE BEEN FURNISHED.

SUBSEQUENTLY, ON DECEMBER 12, 1969, MR. ZAESCHMAR RECEIVED NOTICE THAT THE INFRARED DIVISION WOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. DURING THE INTERIM, THE PURCHASER OF THE HOUSE HAD BECOME DELINQUENT IN HIS PAYMENTS, HAVING MADE NONE SINCE SEPTEMBER 1969. AS A RESULT, MR. ZAESCHMAR REPOSSESSED THE HOUSE ON JANUARY 2, 1970, PRIOR TO HIS TRANSFER TO SAN DIEGO IN THE SUMMER OF 1970. HE DID NOT, HOWEVER, MOVE BACK TO THAT RESIDENCE. THE HOUSE WAS AGAIN SOLD ON JUNE 24, 1971, AND IT IS THE EXPENSES RELATED TO THIS SECOND SALE THAT ARE NOW CLAIMED.

YOUR DOUBT REGARDING MR. ZAESCHMAR'S ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES ARISES IN VIEW OF RESTRICTIONS ON ELIGIBILITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES IMPOSED BY THE STATUTORY REGULATIONS, SECTION 4.1 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, IMPLEMENTED BY SECTIONS C 8350-2 AND 3 AND C 10010 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 2. SECTION 4.1 OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 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 *** 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."

INSOFAR AS THE SECOND SALE IS CONCERNED, IT IS CLEAR THAT NO BASIS EXISTS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH. PRIOR TO THAT SALE THE PREMISES HAD BEEN SOLD AND WERE IN FACT OCCUPIED BY THE PURCHASER. THEREFORE, THE REQUIREMENT OF THE REGULATIONS THAT THE DWELLING BE THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS FIRST DEFINITELY INFORMED OF HIS TRANSFER HAS NOT BEEN MET.

ALTHOUGH ON THE PRESENT RECORD THE SECOND SALE DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES UNDER THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, A CLAIM COULD APPROPRIATELY BE MADE BY MR. ZAESCHMAR, AND CONSIDERED BY YOUR OFFICE, FOR REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ORIGINAL SALE MADE ON MAY 5, 1969.

IT MUST BE DEMONSTRATED FROM A REVIEW OF THE RECORD, WHICH APPEARS TO BE ESTABLISHED IN THE INSTANT CASE, THAT THE SALE OF THE DWELLING TOOK PLACE AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAD RECEIVED, PRIOR TO THE TIME THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED, A CLEAR INTENTION FROM A COMPETENT AUTHORITY THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS WERE TO BE TRANSFERRED ON OR ABOUT A CERTAIN DATE AND THAT HE WOULD BE TRANSFERRED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. SEE 48 COMP. GEN. 395, 396 (1968); B-170530, NOVEMBER 13, 1970; B-155465, NOVEMBER 18, 1964.

WE HAVE HELD IN PAST DECISIONS THAT UNOFFICIAL TELEPHONE CONTACTS LINKED WITH A NOTICE OF REDUCTION OF FORCES (B-170800, DECEMBER 22, 1970); A LETTER NOTIFYING THAT A POSITION WAS SURPLUSAGE COUPLED WITH AN OFFER TO HELP FIND ANOTHER JOB (B-165796, FEBRUARY 12, 1969); AND A VERBAL NOTIFICATION OF A TENTATIVE SELECTION FOR A POSITION (B-162842, NOVEMBER 22, 1967); CONSTITUTE A CLEAR INTENTION TO TRANSFER AN EMPLOYEE. IN THE PRESENT CASE ON APRIL 24, 1969, THE CHIEF OF NAVAL MATERIAL OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED THAT ALL ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER CORONA LABORATORIES WERE TO BE RELOCATED AT CHINA LAKE, CALIFORNIA. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF APRIL 24, 1969, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS AN APPROPRIATE STATEMENT BY A COMPETENT AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO MR. ZAESCHMAR'S RELOCATING OF HIS RESIDENCE SO AS TO ENTITLE HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES OTHERWISE PROPERLY PAYABLE WITH RESPECT TO THE ORIGINAL SALE OF THE RESIDENCE IF A CLAIM BE PRESENTED THEREFOR.

THE ENCLOSURES SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.