B-175210, APR 20, 1972

B-175210: Apr 20, 1972

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WAS NOT MADE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1. ADDITIONAL TRANSFER EXPENSES IS LEFT TO THE AGENCY'S ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION. NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK WAS SERVED BY THE MILITARY-OWNED (FAA MILITARY-OPERATED) RADAR SITE AT PALERMO. THE MILITARY PLANNED TO PHASE OUT THIS SITE AND FAA WAS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE ALTERNATE MEANS OF CONTROLLING AIR TRAFFIC IN THE AREA. WAS PLACED IN SERVICE PENDING THE CONSTRUCTION AND TEST OF A NEW RADAR SITE AT TREVOSE. WERE DETAILED. THESE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID MILEAGE AND PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD OF THE DETAIL. WERE INITIATED TO TRANSFER EMPLOYEES FROM PALERMO AND ELWOOD TO TREVOSE. OFFICIAL CHANGES OF STATION OF 3 EMPLOYEES FROM PALERMO TO TREVOSE WERE EFFECTIVE JULY 26. ONE EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE OF STATION FROM ELWOOD TO TREVOSE WAS EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 13.

B-175210, APR 20, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - ERRONEOUS PERSONNEL ACTIONS - PROPOSED CORRECTION CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION TO RELOCATION ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56. SINCE A FINAL DETERMINATION AS TO THE FEASIBILITY OF THE RADAR LOCATION AT TREVOSE, PA., WAS NOT MADE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, PERSONNEL ACTIONS ISSUED PRIOR TO THAT DATE AND INDICATING A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION MAY BE CONSIDERED ERRONEOUS. NEW PERSONNEL ACTIONS SHOWING SEPTEMBER 1 AS THE DATE OF TRANSFERS OF STATION SHOULD BE USED FOR PURPOSES OF ENTITLEMENT TO TRANSFER OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S FORMER DUTY STATION. DUTY PERFORMED AT TREVOSE PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1, SHOULD BE CONSIDERED TEMPORARY AND TRAVEL ORDERS MAY BE ISSUED TO AUTHORIZE BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES UNDER PUB. L. 89-516. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE CLOSENESS OF THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM, MILEAGE, AND ADDITIONAL TRANSFER EXPENSES IS LEFT TO THE AGENCY'S ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION.

TO MR. JOHN H. SHAFFER:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 10, 1972, CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) TO RELOCATION ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED.

YOU SAY THAT PRIOR TO 1970, AIR TRAFFIC MOVING THROUGH CERTAIN PORTIONS OF DELAWARE, PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK WAS SERVED BY THE MILITARY-OWNED (FAA MILITARY-OPERATED) RADAR SITE AT PALERMO, NEW JERSEY. THE MILITARY PLANNED TO PHASE OUT THIS SITE AND FAA WAS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE ALTERNATE MEANS OF CONTROLLING AIR TRAFFIC IN THE AREA. AS AN INTERIM MEASURE, FAA OPERATED RADAR AT ELWOOD, NEW JERSEY, WAS PLACED IN SERVICE PENDING THE CONSTRUCTION AND TEST OF A NEW RADAR SITE AT TREVOSE, PENNSYLVANIA.

BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY AND CONTINUING THROUGH JULY 26, 1970, FAA PERSONNEL FROM PALERMO, NEW JERSEY, WERE DETAILED, ON A TEMPORARY DUTY BASIS, TO MAINTAIN AND ASSIST IN THE COMMISSIONING OF THE RADAR FACILITY AT TREVOSE. THESE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID MILEAGE AND PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD OF THE DETAIL.

PRELIMINARY TESTS ON THE TREVOSE RADAR SYSTEM INDICATED SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE SO AS THE FACILITY APPROACHED A COMMISSIONED STATUS, STANDARD FORM 50'S, NOTIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ACTIONS, WERE INITIATED TO TRANSFER EMPLOYEES FROM PALERMO AND ELWOOD TO TREVOSE. OFFICIAL CHANGES OF STATION OF 3 EMPLOYEES FROM PALERMO TO TREVOSE WERE EFFECTIVE JULY 26, 1970. ONE EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE OF STATION FROM ELWOOD TO TREVOSE WAS EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 13, 1970. ANOTHER EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE OF STATION FROM PALERMO TO TREVOSE OCCURRED ON MAY 16, 1971.

ON JULY 25, 1970, A NEW AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL FEATURE WAS INTRODUCED AND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THIS, FLIGHT CHECKS OF THE TREVOSE RADAR SYSTEM RAISED QUESTIONS AS TO ACCEPTANCE. FOR THE PERIOD JUNE TO NOVEMBER 1970, OPERATIONAL AND PERSONNEL ACTION DECISIONS WHICH APPEARED FEASIBLE PREVIOUSLY BECAME DOUBTFUL IN THE EVOLVING OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT UNDER THE NEW AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL FEATURE. TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING RELOCATION OF EMPLOYEES FROM ELWOOD AND PALERMO WERE NOT ISSUED PENDING A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE PROPER RADAR LOCATION FOR AN OPERATIONAL SITE. SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, FAA DECIDED TO CONTINUE THE FACILITY AT TREVOSE ON A PERMANENT BASIS. THE 5 EMPLOYEES WHO WERE ISSUED PERSONNEL ACTIONS ASSIGNING THEM TO TREVOSE ARE NOW REQUESTING AUTHORIZATION TO RELOCATE THEIR FAMILIES IN THE TREVOSE AREA TO AVOID DAILY COMMUTING OF 43 TO 88 MILES PER DAY.

THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE PRESENTED:

"1. MAY THE FIVE PERSONNEL ACTIONS THAT WERE ISSUED BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN ERROR AND NEW PERSONNEL ACTIONS ISSUED ASSIGNING THE EMPLOYEES TO TREVOSE, PENNSYLVANIA, EFFECTIVE ON OR AFTER 1 SEPTEMBER 1971 AT MANAGEMENT'S DIRECTION?

"2. IF THE ANSWER TO 1 ABOVE IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, MAY THE EMPLOYEES BE CONSIDERED TO BE IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS WHILE PERFORMING DUTY AT TREVOSE, PENNSYLVANIA, UNTIL THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ASSIGNMENT TO TREVOSE, PENNSYLVANIA, WHICH WILL BE INDICATED ON THE NEW PERSONNEL ACTIONS SO AS TO ENTITLE THEM TO TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL ALLOWANCES?

"3. MAY PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL ORDERS BE ISSUED TO AUTHORIZE THE EMPLOYEES BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES UNDER P. L. 89-516?

"4. IF ANSWER TO QUESTION 3 IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, WHAT DATE SHOULD BE USED AS THE REPORTING DATE FOR DUTY AT TREVOSE, PENNSYLVANIA, IN ORDER TO DETERMINE ENTITLEMENT TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S FORMER DUTY STATION?"

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUR VIEW IS THAT A SUFFICIENT BASIS EXISTS FOR REGARDING THE FIVE PERSONNEL ACTIONS ISSUED PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, SHOWING TREVOSE AS THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION AS BEING ISSUED IN ERROR. SINCE ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, IT WAS DEFINITELY KNOWN THAT TREVOSE WOULD BE THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATION, NEW PERSONNEL ACTIONS MAY BE ISSUED SHOWING THAT DATE AS THE DATE OF TRANSFERS OF STATION. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

IN VIEW OF OUR ANSWER TO QUESTION NUMBER ONE, TREVOSE WOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1, 1971. SECTION 1.1A OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, PROVIDES THAT TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AUTHORIZED THEREIN MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED. THEREFORE, TRAVEL ORDERS MAY BE ISSUED TO AUTHORIZE BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89-516. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE CLOSENESS OF THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS WE ARE TAKING NO POSITION AS TO THE PAYMENT OF ANY PER DIEM OR MILEAGE FOR THE PERIOD PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, OR TO THE PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL TRANSFER EXPENSES SUCH DETERMINATIONS BEING WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND TO BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND CIRCULAR NO. A-56. YOUR SECOND AND THIRD QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

IN LINE WITH THE ANSWERS TO YOUR FIRST AND SECOND QUESTIONS, THE DATE, SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, SHOULD BE USED AS THE REPORTING DATE TO TREVOSE FOR PURPOSES OF ENTITLEMENT TO TRANSFER OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S FORMER DUTY STATION. YOUR FOURTH QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.