B-174929, MAR 16, 1972

B-174929: Mar 16, 1972

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SINCE THE SUBJECT PURCHASE CONTRACT WAS NOT ENTERED INTO WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED ONE-YEAR PERIOD AND SINCE THE LIMITATION IS NOT SUBJECT TO WAIVER IN AN INDIVIDUAL CASE. THE VOUCHER IS FOR CERTAIN REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. WAS EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 7. BECAUSE OF THE TIGHT MONEY MARKET HE WAS UNABLE TO CONSUMMATE THE SALE UNTIL FEBRUARY 1. ONLY IF: "THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE *** TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE (INITIAL) YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. A-56 QUOTED ABOVE: " *** THE CIRCULAR IS A STATUTORY REGULATION WHICH HAS THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND. MULHALL WAS APPARENTLY UNABLE TO CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A DWELLING IN DALLAS UNTIL AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE 1 YEAR PERIOD BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND HIS CONTROL.

B-174929, MAR 16, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - REAL ESTATE EXPENSES - REIMBURSEMENT - STATUTORY LIMITATION DECISION DENYING THE CLAIM OF HARRY G. MULHALL FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A HOME AND INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4.1E, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, IMPOSE A ONE YEAR RESTRICTION ON REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S REPORTING DATE AT THE NEW DUTY STATION. SINCE THE SUBJECT PURCHASE CONTRACT WAS NOT ENTERED INTO WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED ONE-YEAR PERIOD AND SINCE THE LIMITATION IS NOT SUBJECT TO WAIVER IN AN INDIVIDUAL CASE, 49 COMP. GEN. 145, 147 (1969), THE VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

TO MR. MAURICE F. ROW:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURE, WHICH REQUESTS A DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER FOR $1,151 IN FAVOR OF MR. HARRY G. MULHALL, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY. THE VOUCHER IS FOR CERTAIN REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. MULHALL IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A HOME INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION.

MR. MULHALL'S TRANSFER FROM NEW YORK, NEW YORK, TO DALLAS, TEXAS, WAS EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 7, 1970. MR. MULHALL IMMEDIATELY ATTEMPTED TO SELL HIS OLD RESIDENCE IN ORDER TO BE IN A POSITION TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE AT HIS NEW STATION. HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF THE TIGHT MONEY MARKET HE WAS UNABLE TO CONSUMMATE THE SALE UNTIL FEBRUARY 1, 1971. HE RECEIVED THE PROCEEDS ABOUT 10 DAYS LATER AND ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT TO BUILD A NEW HOME ON FEBRUARY 25, 1971.

EXPENSES INCURRED IN THIS PURCHASE OF A DWELLING AT THE EMPLOYEE'S NEW OFFICIAL STATION COULD BE REIMBURSED UNDER OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, SECTION 4.1E, ONLY IF:

"THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE *** TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE (INITIAL) YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, EXCEPT THAT *** AN ADDITIONAL PERIOD OF TIME NOT IN EXCESS OF ONE YEAR MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN HE DETERMINES THAT CIRCUMSTANCES JUSTIFYING THE EXCEPTION EXIST WHICH PRECLUDE SETTLEMENT WITHIN THE INITIAL ONE YEAR PERIOD OF THE SALE/PURCHASE CONTRACTS *** ENTERED INTO IN GOOD FAITH BY THE EMPLOYEE WITHIN THE INITIAL ONE-YEAR PERIOD. *** "

AS STATED IN 49 COMP. GEN. 145, 147 (1969) WITH RESPECT TO THE SECTION OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 QUOTED ABOVE:

" *** THE CIRCULAR IS A STATUTORY REGULATION WHICH HAS THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND, THEREFORE, THE TIME LIMITATIONS THEREIN MAY NOT BE WAIVED IN AN INDIVIDUAL CASE."

ALTHOUGH MR. MULHALL WAS APPARENTLY UNABLE TO CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A DWELLING IN DALLAS UNTIL AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE 1 YEAR PERIOD BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND HIS CONTROL, THE REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN CIRCULAR NO. A-56 ARE CONTROLLING. BECAUSE THE PURCHASE CONTRACT WAS NOT ENTERED INTO WITHIN THE 1-YEAR PERIOD, THE BUREAU HAS NO AUTHORITY TO EXTEND THE PERIOD IN WHICH SETTLEMENT MUST TAKE PLACE.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, THE VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS INCURRED BY MR. MULHALL IN PURCHASING A HOUSE AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.