B-175348, APR 12, 1972

B-175348: Apr 12, 1972

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TITUS WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE 1-YEAR LIMITATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT AND HIS PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE WAS PARTIALLY DELAYED BY THE POSSIBILITY OF IMMINENT REASSIGNMENT. SINCE SETTLEMENT WAS NOT DELAYED BY LITIGATION AND THE PURCHASE CONTRACT WAS NOT ENTERED INTO WITHIN THE INITIAL 1-YEAR PERIOD. HE WAS UNABLE TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A NEW RESIDENCE UNTIL FEBRUARY 1. SETTLEMENT WAS NOT CONSUMMATED UNTIL MARCH 20. SECTION 4.1E OF THE CIRCULAR CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENT: "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.

B-175348, APR 12, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION - REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES - ENTITLEMENT DECISION DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF HAROLD R. TITUS FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE MANPOWER ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. ALTHOUGH MR. TITUS WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE 1-YEAR LIMITATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT AND HIS PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE WAS PARTIALLY DELAYED BY THE POSSIBILITY OF IMMINENT REASSIGNMENT, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4.1E, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, CONSTITUTE A STATUTORY REGULATION, NOT SUBJECT TO WAIVER IN INDIVIDUAL CASES. 49 COMP. GEN. 145, 147 (1969). SINCE SETTLEMENT WAS NOT DELAYED BY LITIGATION AND THE PURCHASE CONTRACT WAS NOT ENTERED INTO WITHIN THE INITIAL 1-YEAR PERIOD, THE CLAIM MUST BE DISALLOWED.

TO MR. RICHARD E. MILLER:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 1, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER MR. HAROLD R. TITUS, AN EMPLOYEE IN THE MANPOWER ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER TO A NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED BELOW.

MR. TITUS REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, ON OR ABOUT JANUARY 12, 1970. MR. TITUS DID NOT IMMEDIATELY ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE A HOME BECAUSE HE FACED THE POSSIBILITY OF IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TO ANOTHER DUTY STATION. ALSO, HIS SUPERVISOR DID NOT NOTIFY HIM OF ANY REQUIREMENT TO PURCHASE A NEW HOME WITHIN 1 YEAR TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES. MR. TITUS BEGAN LOOKING FOR A HOME IN DECEMBER 1970. HOWEVER, HE WAS UNABLE TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A NEW RESIDENCE UNTIL FEBRUARY 1, 1971, AND SETTLEMENT WAS NOT CONSUMMATED UNTIL MARCH 20, 1971.

EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PURCHASE OF MR. TITUS' RESIDENCE AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969. SECTION 4.1E OF THE CIRCULAR CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENT:

"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 (1) AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION OR (2) 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 *** ."

ALTHOUGH MR. TITUS DEALT WITH THE UNCERTAINTIES CAUSED BY THE POSSIBILITY OF IMMINENT REASSIGNMENT WHICH EXISTED FOR SOME TIME AFTER HIS TRANSFER TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, IN A REASONABLE MANNER BY NOT IMMEDIATELY PURCHASING A RESIDENCE, AND DESPITE THE FAILURE OF HIS SUPERVISOR TO INFORM HIM OF THE 1-YEAR LIMITATION OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, SECTION 4.1E, THE REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED BY THIS SECTION CANNOT BE WAIVED. AS STATED IN 49 COMP. GEN. 145, 147 (1969) WITH RESPECT TO THE PORTION 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."

SINCE THE SETTLEMENT WAS NOT DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION AND SINCE THERE WAS NO PURCHASE CONTRACT ENTERED INTO WITHIN THE INITIAL 1-YEAR PERIOD, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HAS NO AUTHORITY TO EXTEND THE PERIOD IN WHICH SETTLEMENT MUST TAKE PLACE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. TITUS AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, WHICH IS RETURNED WITH SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.