B-176397, SEP 1, 1972

B-176397: Sep 1, 1972

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - SALE OF RESIDENCE DECISION THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE THAT ARE INCURRED AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN NOTIFIED OF HIS SELECTION BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR A POSITION WHICH IS IN GRADE GS-16. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY FOR ADMINISTRATION REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE THAT ARE INCURRED AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN NOTIFIED OF HIS SELECTION BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR A POSITION WHICH IS IN GRADE GS-16. THE SITUATION IS EXPLAINED IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 27. MAY TAKE SEVERAL WEEKS BEFORE FINAL CSC APPROVAL IS GIVEN. WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "4.1 CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS UNDER WHICH ALLOWANCES ARE PAYABLE.

B-176397, SEP 1, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - SALE OF RESIDENCE DECISION THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE THAT ARE INCURRED AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN NOTIFIED OF HIS SELECTION BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR A POSITION WHICH IS IN GRADE GS-16, 17, OR 18 AND WHICH REQUIRES A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION, BUT BEFORE THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HAS GIVEN THE NECESSARY APPROVAL OF THE EMPLOYEE'S QUALIFICATIONS AND SUITABILITY. IN VIEW OF THE DECISION AT 48 COMP. GEN. 395 (1968) AND THE LIMITATIONS PROPOSED BY THE DEPARTMENT, GAO WOULD NOT OBJECT TO THE REIMBURSEMENT OF APPROPRIATE REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

BY LETTER DATED JUNE 27, 1972, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY FOR ADMINISTRATION REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE THAT ARE INCURRED AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN NOTIFIED OF HIS SELECTION BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR A POSITION WHICH IS IN GRADE GS-16, 17 OR 18 AND WHICH REQUIRES A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION, BUT BEFORE THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HAS GIVEN THE NECESSARY APPROVAL OF THE EMPLOYEE'S QUALIFICATIONS AND SUITABILITY.

THE SITUATION IS EXPLAINED IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1972, AS FOLLOWS:

"FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL SUPPLEMENT 990-1, BOOK III, SECTION 9.5(B), PROVIDES THAT AN EMPLOYEE BE ASSIGNED TO A POSITION IN GRADE GS-16, 17 OR 18, ONLY AFTER CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVAL OF HIS QUALIFICATIONS AND SUITABILITY. TOTAL PROCESSING TIME IN APPROVING EXECUTIVE ASSIGNMENT REQUESTS, AFTER INITIAL SELECTION, MAY TAKE SEVERAL WEEKS BEFORE FINAL CSC APPROVAL IS GIVEN. MEANWHILE, IF THE ASSIGNMENT REQUIRES A CHANGE OF STATION, THE EMPLOYEE HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE MOVE, INCLUDING PUTTING HIS HOUSE UP FOR SALE. A PROBLEM OCCURS WHEN, AS OCCASIONALLY HAPPENS, A BUYER WANTS TO COMPLETE THE PURCHASE IMMEDIATELY."

WHETHER REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVAL MAY BE REIMBURSED DEPENDS UPON THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 4.1 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED AUGUST 17, 1971, WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"4.1 CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS UNDER WHICH ALLOWANCES ARE PAYABLE. THE EXTENT ALLOWABLE UNDER THIS PROVISION, THE GOVERNMENT WILL REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES REQUIRED TO BE PAID BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF ONE RESIDENCE AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION; *** PROVIDED THAT:

"D. OCCUPANCY REQUIREMENTS. THE DWELLING FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT OF SELLING EXPENSES IS CLAIMED WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS FIRST DEFINITELY INFORMED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY THAT HE IS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. ***"

WE HELD IN 48 COMP. GEN. 395, 396 (1968), THAT:

"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."

WE HAVE ALSO PREVIOUSLY HELD THAT THE PURPOSES OF THAT PORTION OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 QUOTED ABOVE WERE MET WHEN AN EMPLOYEE HAD BEEN VERBALLY NOTIFIED OF HIS TENTATIVE SELECTION FOR A POSITION REQUIRING A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION. B-162842, NOVEMBER 22, 1967, COPY ENCLOSED.

WE NOTE THAT THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1972, WOULD BE TO GIVE THE EMPLOYEE WRITTEN NOTIFICATION AT THE TIME A REQUEST IS SUBMITTED TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR APPROVAL OF HIS ASSIGNMENT TO A POSITION IN GRADE GS-16, 17 OR 18, WHERE THE ASSIGNMENT INVOLVES A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION. THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ADVISED THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THIS APPROVAL HE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT TO REMAIN WITH THE GOVERNMENT FOR ONE YEAR FOLLOWING THE TRANSFER, AND THAT HE WOULD THEN BE ISSUED A DOCUMENT AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT, WITHIN APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, OF THE COSTS OF HIS RELOCATION. HE WOULD ALSO BE ADVISED THAT IF HE COMPLETES THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN THE INTERIM, REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSES WILL BE CONTINGENT ON COMPLETION OF THE TRANSFER AND WILL NOT BE MADE UNTIL THAT TIME. WE ALSO NOTE THAT IN THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HAS RARELY DISAPPROVED OF AN APPLICANT RECOMMENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR ONE OF THE POSITIONS IN QUESTION.

IN VIEW OF OUR DECISIONS CITED ABOVE AND SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS DETAILED IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1972, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO THE REIMBURSEMENT OF APPROPRIATE REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED ABOVE.