B-175791, JUL 3, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 8

B-175791: Jul 3, 1972

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IS NOT ENTITLED TO RELOCATION EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT. AS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES UNTIL A TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IS CONSUMMATED OR CANCELED IN VIEW OF THE FACT AN EMPLOYEE MAY SEPARATE FROM THE SERVICE PRIOR TO TRANSFER. WHICH IS EXPECTED TO BE READY FOR OCCUPANCY EARLY IN 1974. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE IMPENDING MOVE WAS MADE BY MEMORANDUM DATED JULY 1. IT WAS THIS OFFICIAL NOTICE THAT PROMPTED MRS. SETTLEMENT WAS MADE FEBRUARY 18. ALL EMPLOYEES IN THE WASHINGTON AREA HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF THE INTENDED MOVE TO RESTON. ALTHOUGH TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS FOR THE TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION HAVE NOT AND WILL NOT BE ISSUED UNTIL SHORTLY BEFORE THE ACTUAL MOVE.

B-175791, JUL 3, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 8

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - HOUSE PURCHASE - AGENCY ACTIVITY RELOCATION PENDING AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY WHO ON THE BASIS OF AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO ALL EMPLOYEES IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA, DATED JULY 1, 1971, OF THE AWARD OF A BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT ON JUNE 28, 1971, INCIDENT TO THE IMPENDING MOVE EARLY IN 1974 OF THE AGENCY TO RESTON, VIRGINIA, RELOCATED HER RESIDENCE FROM HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND, TO HERNDON, VIRGINIA, PURSUANT TO WHICH SHE AND HER HUSBAND HAD ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT ON DECEMBER 28, 1971, FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE RESIDENCE AND MADE SETTLEMENT FEBRUARY 18, 1972, IS NOT ENTITLED TO RELOCATION EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT, ALTHOUGH THE JULY 1, 1971, ANNOUNCEMENT ESTABLISHED NOTICE OF THE AGENCY'S MOVE, AS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES UNTIL A TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IS CONSUMMATED OR CANCELED IN VIEW OF THE FACT AN EMPLOYEE MAY SEPARATE FROM THE SERVICE PRIOR TO TRANSFER.

TO F. G. USHER, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 3, 1972:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,790.90 IN FAVOR OF MRS. MARY L. RATLIFF, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU SAY THAT THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAS A HEADQUARTERS BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN RESTON, VIRGINIA, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO BE READY FOR OCCUPANCY EARLY IN 1974. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE IMPENDING MOVE WAS MADE BY MEMORANDUM DATED JULY 1, 1971, FROM THE ACTING DIRECTOR, TO ALL EMPLOYEES IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA. IT WAS THIS OFFICIAL NOTICE THAT PROMPTED MRS. RATLIFF TO RELOCATE HER RESIDENCE FROM HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND, TO HERNDON, VIRGINIA. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MRS. RATLIFF AND HER HUSBAND ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT ON DECEMBER 28, 1971, FOR THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE IN HERNDON, VIRGINIA, AND SETTLEMENT WAS MADE FEBRUARY 18, 1972. MRS. RATLIFF HAS SIGNED THE APPROPRIATE SERVICE AGREEMENT.

ALL EMPLOYEES IN THE WASHINGTON AREA HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF THE INTENDED MOVE TO RESTON, ALTHOUGH TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS FOR THE TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION HAVE NOT AND WILL NOT BE ISSUED UNTIL SHORTLY BEFORE THE ACTUAL MOVE. WITH REGARD TO MRS. RATLIFF'S VOUCHER, YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

QUESTION 1: DOES THE ACTING DIRECTOR'S MEMORANDUM CONSTITUTE "OFFICIAL NOTICE" ON THE BASIS OF WHICH SURVEY MAY REIMBURSE EMPLOYEES FOR APPROPRIATE EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH THE MOVE OF HEADQUARTERS TO RESTON?

QUESTION 2: MAY I CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT AT THIS TIME? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD BE THE EARLIEST DATE THAT I COULD CERTIFY IT FOR PAYMENT?

REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN ANTICIPATION OF A TRANSFER HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED WHEN IT WAS SHOWN THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED TO THE EMPLOYEE INCLUDED AUTHORIZATION FOR THE EXPENSES ON THE BASIS OF A PREVIOUSLY EXISTING ADMINISTRATIVE INTENTION, CLEARLY EVIDENT AT THE TIME THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE TO TRANSFER THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS. SEE 48 COMP. GEN. 397(1968), AND DECISIONS CITED THEREIN.

IN REGARD TO QUESTION 1 THE MEMORANDUM OF JULY 1, 1971, ADVISING THE EMPLOYEES THAT A BUILDING CONTRACT HAD BEEN ENTERED INTO ON JUNE 28, 1971, AND INDICATING THAT THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY INSTALLATIONS WOULD MOVE TO RESTON UPON COMPLETION THEREOF EARLY IN 1974 IS ACCEPTABLE AS ESTABLISHING NOTICE WITHIN THE DECISION CITED ABOVE.

CONCERNING QUESTION 2 THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAW OR REGULATIONS FOR PAYMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES SUCH AS HERE CLAIMED UNLESS AND UNTIL TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER IS CONSUMMATED OR CANCELED. THIS IS SO BECAUSE AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE PRIOR THERETO.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH.