B-175505, JUN 19, 1972

B-175505: Jun 19, 1972

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IS TO RENDER THE EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBLE FOR TEMPORARY STORAGE IN EXCESS OF 60 DAYS. CARTWRIGHT IS PROPERLY ENTITLED TO THE COST OF ADDITIONAL STORAGE. SINCE THERE WAS NO MEANS BY WHICH MRS. DIGGS COULD HAVE EFFECTED TIMELY SHIPMENT TO HER NEW STATION. MACKALL: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16. YOU STATE THAT THE REMAINDER OF THE CARRIER'S CLAIM INCLUDING CHARGES FOR THE FIRST 2 MONTHS' STORAGE ARE BEING PAID. YOU ALSO ASK WHETHER IT WILL BE NECESSARY. IN THE EVENT THE CARRIER IS TO BE PAID. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH SERVE AS A BASIS FOR THE RECLAIM VOUCHER ARE DESCRIBED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: "MRS. DIGGS' HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PACKED AND LOADED BY CARTWRIGHT INTERNATIONAL VAN LINES.

B-175505, JUN 19, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF STATUTORY TIME LIMIT - PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT TO CARTWRIGHT INTERNATIONAL VAN LINES FOR THE STORAGE OF MARY DIGGS' HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO HER CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. THE SOLE PURPOSE OF SECTION 6.2C OF OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, IS TO RENDER THE EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBLE FOR TEMPORARY STORAGE IN EXCESS OF 60 DAYS, AND THE REGULATION IMPOSES ONLY A GOOD FAITH OBLIGATION ON THE CARRIER. ACCORDINGLY, CARTWRIGHT IS PROPERLY ENTITLED TO THE COST OF ADDITIONAL STORAGE. FURTHER, SINCE THERE WAS NO MEANS BY WHICH MRS. DIGGS COULD HAVE EFFECTED TIMELY SHIPMENT TO HER NEW STATION, THE STORAGE MAY BE CONSIDERED "NONTEMPORARY," PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 1.2F AND 5.2A OF THE CIRCULAR. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

TO MR. JOHN C. MACKALL:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16, 1972, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER CARTWRIGHT INTERNATIONAL VAN LINES MAY BE PAID ON A RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $88.20, REPRESENTING THE CHARGE FOR THE LAST 2 MONTHS OF A TOTAL OF 4 MONTHS' STORAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF MRS. MARY DIGGS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, INCIDENT TO HER CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION. YOU STATE THAT THE REMAINDER OF THE CARRIER'S CLAIM INCLUDING CHARGES FOR THE FIRST 2 MONTHS' STORAGE ARE BEING PAID. YOU ALSO ASK WHETHER IT WILL BE NECESSARY, IN THE EVENT THE CARRIER IS TO BE PAID, TO HOLD MRS. DIGGS LIABLE FOR THE CHARGES FOR THE ADDITIONAL 2 MONTHS' STORAGE. YOU STATE THAT OUR DECISION, 29 COMP. GEN. 317 (1950), DEALS WITH A SIMILAR MATTER.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH SERVE AS A BASIS FOR THE RECLAIM VOUCHER ARE DESCRIBED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

"MRS. MARY DIGGS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, TRANSFERRED FROM THE CENTRAL OFFICE IN WASHINGTON, D.C; TO THE DISTRICT OFFICE IN HONOLULU, HAWAII, ON THE AUTHORITY OF TRAVEL ORDER EXECUTED ON AUGUST 13, 1971. MRS. DIGGS' HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PACKED AND LOADED BY CARTWRIGHT INTERNATIONAL VAN LINES, INC; ON AUGUST 25, 1971, PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. F-5, 831,638, ISSUED ON AUGUST 24, 1971. SAID GBL AUTHORIZED STORAGE IN TRANSIT, AT DESTINATION, NOT TO EXCEED 60 DAYS. CARTWRIGHT INTERNATIONAL VAN LINES ADVISED THIS AGENCY, BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 3, 1971, THAT THE SHIPMENT HAD BEEN PLACED IN STORAGE AT PORT OF EMBARKATION DUE TO THE U.S. WEST COAST LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE AND THE IMPENDING EAST/GULF COAST LONGSHOREMAN'S STRIKE. CARRIER'S CERTIFICATE OF STORAGE AND LIABILITY CONFIRMS THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS STORED WITH COLUMBIA VAN LINES, INC; AT ORIGIN ON AUGUST 25, 1971."

APPARENTLY THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED ON DECEMBER 13, 1971, AFTER 110 DAYS IN STORAGE. ONLY THE CHARGE FOR THE FIRST 60 DAYS OF STORAGE WAS ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF THE FOLLOWING NOTATION ON THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING: "(SIT DESTINATION, NOT TO EXCEED 60 DAYS)." WE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS NOTATION WAS PUT ON THE BILL OF LADING BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATION ON ALLOWABLE TEMPORARY STORAGE WHICH AT THE TIME THE BILL OF LADING WAS PREPARED WAS FOUND IN SECTION 6.6I OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, WHICH PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"TEMPORARY STORAGE. THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TEMPORARY STORAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS *** WILL BE ALLOWED FOR A PERIOD OF 60 DAYS OR LESS. *** "

THIS PROVISION OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 DOES NOT REQUIRE THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO BE REMOVED FROM TEMPORARY STORAGE AFTER 60 DAYS; NOR DOES IT LIMIT THE TEMPORARY STORAGE FOR WHICH THE CARRIER MAY BE PAID. THE SOLE FUNCTION OF FORMER SECTION 6.6I (NOW SECTION 6.2C) WAS TO MAKE THE EMPLOYEE, RATHER THAN THE GOVERNMENT, RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST OF ANY TEMPORARY STORAGE IN EXCESS OF 60 DAYS.

OUR DECISION OF FEBRUARY 1, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 317, CITED IN YOUR LETTER, SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS REQUIRING THE CARRIER'S IGNORANCE OF THE 60-DAY LIMITATION OF SECTION 6.2C AS A CONDITION OF HIS PAYMENT FOR SERVICES PROVIDED IN GOOD FAITH. THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1971, BY WHICH THE CARRIER INFORMED THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NECESSITY FOR PLACING THE SHIPMENT IN STORAGE, IS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT THE CARRIER ACTED IN GOOD FAITH IN PROVIDING THE SERVICES. ONCE HAVING RECEIVED NOTIFICATION OF THE STORAGE AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRING IT, THE GOVERNMENT AND/OR THE EMPLOYEE WERE UNDER OBLIGATION TO EITHER PAY A REASONABLE CHARGE FOR STORAGE OR DIRECT THE CARRIER TO EFFECT AN ALTERNATE DISPOSITION OF THE SHIPMENT. MOREOVER, OUR VIEW IS THAT THE NOTATION ON THE BILL OF LADING "SIT DESTINATION, NOT TO EXCEED 60 DAYS" WAS NOT A MATERIAL CONDITION TO THE CONTRACT OF CARRIAGE AND WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO CERTIFYING A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF CARTWRIGHT INTERNATIONAL VAN LINES FOR THE ADDITIONAL STORAGE CHARGES.

WE NOTE THAT FOR THE PERIOD OF THE STORAGE THERE WAS NO MEANS BY WHICH MRS. DIGGS COULD HAVE HAD HER HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPPED TO HER NEW OFFICIAL STATION IN HAWAII. THEREFORE, THE STORAGE REASONABLY MAY BE REGARDED AS COMING WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF "NONTEMPORARY STORAGE" FOUND IN SECTION 1.2F OF OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED AUGUST 17, 1971, WHICH PROVIDES:

"'NONTEMPORARY STORAGE' MEANS STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHILE AN EMPLOYEE IS ASSIGNED TO OR IS AT AN OFFICIAL STATION OR POST OF DUTY TO WHICH HE WILL NOT OR CANNOT TRANSPORT SUCH HOUSEHOLD GOODS."

AN EMPLOYEE CAN BE ALLOWED NONTEMPORARY STORAGE IF HE QUALIFIES UNDER SECTION 5.2A OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"ELIGIBILITY. UNDER REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, AN EMPLOYEE STATIONED AT, OR AN EMPLOYEE OR NEW APPOINTEE TRANSFERRED OR APPOINTED TO, AN OFFICIAL STATION OTHER THAN ONE LOCATED IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES MAY BE ALLOWED NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHILE SO ASSIGNED IF:

"(2) THE STORAGE IS AUTHORIZED IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST *** ."

SECTION 592B PROVIDES FOR APPROVAL OF NONTEMPORARY STORAGE SUBSEQUENT TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE TRAVEL ORDER, AND SECTION 5.2C(4) PROVIDES FOR CONVERSION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM TEMPORARY TO NONTEMPORARY STORAGE.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, IF STORAGE OF THE EFFECTS BE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED AS BEING IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, THERE WILL BE NO NECESSITY FOR COLLECTING THE ADDITIONAL STORAGE CHARGES TO BE ..END :