B-175489, APR 27, 1972

B-175489: Apr 27, 1972

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THE EXPENSES WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED UPON THE EMPLOYEE SIGNING THE NECESSARY SERVICE AGREEMENT. LOWENTHAL'S ACCEPTANCE OF A DIFFERENT POSITION WITH THE SAME AGENCY WAS TANTAMOUNT TO CANCELLATION OF THE TRANSFER TO DENVER IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT ON APRIL 20 THE EMPLOYEE WAS OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED OF A TRANSFER OF FUNCTION FROM KANSAS CITY TO DENVER. TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED ON JUNE 4. THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN THE REQUIRED AGREEMENT TO REMAIN IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR ONE YEAR. SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 11 HE WAS OFFERED A POSITION IN KANSAS CITY AND CONSEQUENTLY ON JUNE 28 DECLINED THE TRANSFER TO DENVER. IT IS INDICATED THAT NO OFFICIAL ORDERS WERE EVER ISSUED TO THE EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZING HIS PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO DENVER.

B-175489, APR 27, 1972

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - AUTHORIZED HOUSE HUNTING EXPENSES - REIMBURSEMENT DECISION ALLOWING THE CLAIM OF HENRY LOWENTHAL, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO AN AUTHORIZED ADVANCE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP. IT APPEARS THAT IF THE TRANSFER HAD BEEN CONSUMMATED, THE EXPENSES WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED UPON THE EMPLOYEE SIGNING THE NECESSARY SERVICE AGREEMENT. MR. LOWENTHAL'S ACCEPTANCE OF A DIFFERENT POSITION WITH THE SAME AGENCY WAS TANTAMOUNT TO CANCELLATION OF THE TRANSFER TO DENVER IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM MAY BE ALLOWED TO THE EXTENT PERMISSIBLE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2.4C, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56.

TO MR. R. J. WHITE:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION ON THE CLAIM OF MR. HENRY LOWENTHAL, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY STATIONED IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO AN ADVANCE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP HE AND HIS WIFE PERFORMED BETWEEN JUNE 5 AND JUNE 12, 1970.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT ON APRIL 20 THE EMPLOYEE WAS OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED OF A TRANSFER OF FUNCTION FROM KANSAS CITY TO DENVER, COLORADO, WHICH WOULD BE EFFECTIVE ON OR BEFORE JUNE 30, 1970. ON APRIL 30 HE CONSENTED TO ACCOMPANY HIS FUNCTION TO THAT AREA. TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED ON JUNE 4, 1970, AUTHORIZING A HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP TO DENVER, COLORADO, THE PROPOSED NEW OFFICIAL STATION. APPARENTLY, BECAUSE OF INADVERTENCE, THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN THE REQUIRED AGREEMENT TO REMAIN IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR ONE YEAR. AS A RESULT OF THE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP, THE EMPLOYEE EXECUTED A REAL ESTATE PURCHASE AGREEMENT IN DENVER ON JUNE 11. THIS AGREEMENT INCLUDED A PROVISION MAKING THE PURCHASE CONTINGENT UPON HIS "DEFINITE COMMITMENT OF EMPLOYMENT IN DENVER ON OR BEFORE JUNE 18, 1970." SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 11 HE WAS OFFERED A POSITION IN KANSAS CITY AND CONSEQUENTLY ON JUNE 28 DECLINED THE TRANSFER TO DENVER. IT IS INDICATED THAT NO OFFICIAL ORDERS WERE EVER ISSUED TO THE EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZING HIS PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO DENVER, AND THAT NO OTHER OFFICIAL ACTION WAS TAKEN TO EFFECT THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER.

SECTION 2.4C OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"(1) A TRIP FOR FINDING RESIDENCE QUARTERS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNTIL AFTER AN EMPLOYEE HAS AGREED TO THE TRANSFER AND THE DATE OF THE TRANSFER HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, AND SHALL NOT BE AUTHORIZED UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A PURPOSE OF THE TRIP IS TO PERMIT THE EMPLOYEE TO DECIDE WHETHER HE WILL ACCEPT THE TRANSFER. IF AN EMPLOYEE ACCEPTS A TRANSFER AND, AFTER MAKING A TRIP TO THE NEW STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINDING PERMANENT QUARTERS, OR AFTER THE SPOUSE HAS MADE SUCH A TRIP, DECLINES THE TRANSFER, HE IS LIABLE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 1.3C.

"(3) THE TRIP FOR FINDING RESIDENCE QUARTERS SHALL NOT BE MADE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNLESS A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL ORDER HAS BEEN ISSUED WHICH INCLUDES AUTHORIZATION FOR THE ROUND TRIP, MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AND PERIOD OF TIME ALLOWED FOR THE TRIP, SPECIFIES THE DATE FOR REPORTING AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, AND INDICATES THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS SIGNED THE REQUIRED AGREEMENT. AN EMPLOYEE WILL BE IN A DUTY STATUS DURING THE AUTHORIZED ROUND TRIP PERIOD OF ABSENCE."

SINCE THE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP WAS DULY AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDERS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE ON SUCH TRIP, WE ASSUME THAT IF THE TRANSFER HAD BEEN CONSUMMATED THE EXPENSES WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED UPON THE EMPLOYEE SIGNING THE NECESSARY SERVICE AGREEMENT. AS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF ANOTHER POSITION IN KANSAS CITY, OUR VIEW IS THAT SINCE SUCH POSITION WAS IN THE SAME AGENCY THE ACCEPTANCE THEREOF WAS TANTAMOUNT TO A DIFFERENT POSITION ASSIGNMENT AND CANCELLATION OF THE TRANSFER TO DENVER IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. THUS, THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP ARE REIMBURSABLE TO THE EXTENT ALLOWABLE UNDER THE CITED REGULATIONS. SEE B- 174976, MARCH 10, 1972, AND B 170259, SEPTEMBER 15, 1970, COPIES ENCLOSED.

THE DUPLICATE VOUCHER (ORIGINAL LOST), WITH ATTACHMENTS, IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE PROPER, AFTER OBTAINING THE SIGNATURES THEREON OF THE EMPLOYEE AND THE APPROVING OFFICER.