B-175995, AUG 2, 1972

B-175995: Aug 2, 1972

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

ALTHOUGH THE TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED UNTIL FEBRUARY 1972. THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS VALID. THE EXECUTION OF A SERVICE AGREEMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED. BOUCHER: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16. IT IS INDICATED THAT ALTHOUGH MR. MCCRAY'S TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED ON SEPTEMBER 20. MCCRAY WAS AUTHORIZED PER DIEM. MCCRAY'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED UNDER A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. THE FORM WAS MODIFIED SO THAT MR. YOU HAVE QUESTIONED WHETHER AN AGENCY CAN. MOVING AND/OR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND ALLOWANCES AS PROVIDED IN THESE REGULATIONS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED UNLESS AND UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE SELECTED FOR SUCH TRANSFER WILL AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR TWELVE MONTHS FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TRANSFER.

B-175995, AUG 2, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - CHANGE OF STATION - ALLOWABLE TRANSPORTATION TIME - SERVICE AGREEMENT DECISION REGARDING THE PAYMENT OF A TRAVEL VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $218.45 SUBMITTED BY WILLIE J. MCCRAY, AN EMPLOYEE OF GSA, IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM FRANCONIA, VA., TO MIDDLE RIVER, MD., IN SEPTEMBER 1970, ALTHOUGH THE TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED UNTIL FEBRUARY 1972. SINCE THE TRAVEL OCCURRED WITHIN THE TWO-YEAR PERIOD PROVIDED IN SECTION 1.5 OF OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS VALID, AND PAYMENT MAY BE MADE OF THE AMOUNT DETERMINED TO BE DUE UNDER SECTION 6.6D(1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SINCE MR. MCCRAY HAD ALREADY SERVED MORE THAN ONE YEAR AT THE MIDDLE RIVER SITE, THE EXECUTION OF A SERVICE AGREEMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED, AND MAY BE DISREGARDED.

TO MR. LEROY P. BOUCHER:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1972, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT ON A TRAVEL VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $218.45 SUBMITTED BY MR. WILLIE J. MCCRAY, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA), SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION FACILITY, MIDDLE RIVER, MARYLAND, IN CONNECTION WITH MR. MCCRAY'S PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM FRANCONIA, VIRGINIA, TO MIDDLE RIVER IN SEPTEMBER 1970. THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION CONSISTS OF $18.45 AS MILEAGE AND PER DIEM FOR MR. MCCRAY, HIS WIFE AND HIS SON FOR THEIR TRAVEL, AND $200 FOR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOVE.

IT IS INDICATED THAT ALTHOUGH MR. MCCRAY'S TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED ON SEPTEMBER 20, 1970, HE CHOSE NOT TO MOVE HIS FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT THAT TIME, INSTEAD DELAYING THE MOVE UNTIL FEBRUARY OF THIS YEAR. ACCORDINGLY, BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 3F2AT129, DATED JANUARY 28, 1972, MR. MCCRAY WAS AUTHORIZED PER DIEM, TRAVEL EXPENSES AND THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE IN ORDER TO MOVE HIS FAMILY FROM THEIR RESIDENCE IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, TO BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, CLOSER TO MR. MCCRAY'S OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. MR. MCCRAY'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED UNDER A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. ON JANUARY 25, 1972, MR. MCCRAY SIGNED GSA FORM 2255, A STANDARD SERVICE AGREEMENT FORM IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE AGREES TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR 12 MONTHS FOLLOWING THE DATE OF HIS TRANSFER IN EXCHANGE FOR THE GOVERNMENT ASSUMING THE COST OF MOVING THE EMPLOYEE. IN THIS CASE, HOWEVER, THE FORM WAS MODIFIED SO THAT MR. MCCRAY AGREED TO REMAIN IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR 12 MONTHS FOLLOWING THE DATE OF ACTUAL MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

IN REGARD TO THE FOREGOING, YOU HAVE QUESTIONED WHETHER AN AGENCY CAN, "LEGALLY AUTHORIZE A RELOCATION RETROACTIVELY" AND THE VALIDITY OF THE TERMS OF THE SERVICE AGREEMENT AS SIGNED BY MR. MCCRAY. IN ADDITION YOU QUESTION THE LAPSE OF TIME BETWEEN THE REPORTING DATE AND THE DATE THAT MR. MCCRAY SIGNED THE AGREEMENT.

SECTION 1.5 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATION TO 5 U.S.C. 5724, WHICH AUTHORIZES GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"A. SERVICE AGREEMENTS

"(1) TRANSFERS WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND APPOINTMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS OF NEW APPOINTEES AND STUDENT TRAINEES TO CERTAIN POSITIONS WITHIN THE 50 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES BETWEEN OFFICIAL STATIONS WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION, MOVING AND/OR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND ALLOWANCES AS PROVIDED IN THESE REGULATIONS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED UNLESS AND UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE SELECTED FOR SUCH TRANSFER WILL AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR TWELVE MONTHS FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TRANSFER, UNLESS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED. IN CASE OF VIOLATION OF SUCH AGREEMENT, INCLUDING FAILURE TO EFFECT THE TRANSFER, ANY MONEYS EXPENDED BY THE UNITED STATES FOR SUCH TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION, AND ALLOWANCES WILL BE RECOVERABLE FROM THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED AS A DEBT DUE THE UNITED STATES. *** A SIGNED AGREEMENT FOR TWELVE MONTHS SERVICE WILL BE REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH EACH PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

"B. TIME LIMITS FOR BEGINNING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALL TRAVEL, INCLUDING THAT FOR THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY, AND TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING THAT FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS ALLOWED UNDER THESE REGULATIONS, SHOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE MAXIMUM TIME FOR BEGINNING ALLOWABLE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION WILL NOT EXCEED TWO YEARS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER OR APPOINTMENT ***"

ALTHOUGH THE REASON THAT MR. MCCRAY DELAYED THE MOVEMENTS OF HIS FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT HE DID FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS TRANSFER IS NOT INDICATED, SUCH MOVEMENTS WERE WITHIN THE 2-YEAR PERIOD ALLOWED BY THE REGULATIONS. THE MOVEMENTS WERE APPROVED BY THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY AND THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION INDICATES THAT THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE HAD BEEN MADE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S BENEFIT OR AT HIS REQUEST. IN THAT REGARD APPROVAL OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION IN JANUARY 1972 SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED AS THE "AUTHORIZATION OF A RELOCATION RETROACTIVELY," BUT INSTEAD AS THE PROPER AUTHORIZATION OF TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND DEPENDENTS WITHIN THE ALLOWABLE TIME PERIOD AND PRIOR TO ITS UNDERTAKING AS REQUIRED BY THE REGULATIONS.

WE POINT OUT THAT ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM AND MILEAGE FOR THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE BASED ON HIS TRAVEL TO REPORT TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION ON SEPTEMBER 20, 1970. THE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OF THE WIFE AND SON ON MARCH 1, 1972, WOULD THEN BE FOR CONSIDERATION AS THOUGH THEY PERFORMED SUCH TRAVEL UNACCOMPANIED BY THE EMPLOYEE. IN THAT REGARD, SINCE THE TRAVEL REQUIRED ONLY ONE AND ONE-HALF HOURS, THE PER DIEM ALLOWABLE FOR THE FAMILY WOULD BE LIMITED TO ONE QUARTER OF A DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 6.6D(1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REVISED OCTOBER 10, 1971 (TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS).

AS TO THE VALIDITY OF THE MODIFIED SERVICE AGREEMENT SIGNED BY MR. MCCRAY, THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, QUOTED ABOVE, PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN MOVING EXPENSES WILL BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT IN CONJUNCTION WITH A TRANSFER SO LONG AS THE EMPLOYEE HAS AGREED IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR 12 MONTHS FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TRANSFER. THOSE SAME REGULATIONS ALLOW THE EMPLOYEE 2 YEARS FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS TRANSFER TO CONSUMMATE HIS MOVE. THE REQUIREMENT THAT AN EMPLOYEE EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR 1 YEAR FOLLOWING THE DATE OF HIS TRANSFER IS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS ASSUMED CERTAIN EXPENSES IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S MOVE. SINCE THE LAW REQUIRES SERVICE ONLY FOR 1 YEAR FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TRANSFER, AND SINCE HE HAS ALREADY SERVED IN EXCESS OF THAT PERIOD OF TIME AT HIS NEW STATION, THE EXECUTION OF A SERVICE AGREEMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED AND MAY BE DISREGARDED.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH, TOGETHER WITH THE SUPPORTING PAPERS, FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.