B-178683, JUN 11, 1973

B-178683: Jun 11, 1973

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DECISION THAT THERE IS NO BASIS FOR GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF THE TRIP TRANSIT INSURANCE PURCHASED ON SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PREVIOUS DISALLOWANCE OF CLAIM IS SUSTAINED UPON REVIEW HERE. WE ARE ALSO IN RECEIPT OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM CONGRESSMAN STANFORD E. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE APPOINTED AS AN ELECTRONIC ENGINEER WITH THE DEFENSE COMMUNICATION AGENCY (DCA). AT THAT TIME YOU WERE TOLD THAT BECAUSE YOU HAD NOT FULFILLED YOUR SERVICE AGREEMENT YOU WOULD BE LIABLE FOR THE COST OF YOUR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AND THEREFORE YOU PERSONALLY MADE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THIS COUNTRY. SUBSEQUENTLY IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT YOUR RESIGNATION HAD BEEN NECESSITATED BY CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND YOUR CONTROL AND YOU WERE GRANTED A WAIVER OF THE SERVICE AGREEMENT AND FOUND ELIGIBLE FOR GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF YOUR RETURN EXPENSES.

B-178683, JUN 11, 1973

DECISION THAT THERE IS NO BASIS FOR GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF THE TRIP TRANSIT INSURANCE PURCHASED ON SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PREVIOUS DISALLOWANCE OF CLAIM IS SUSTAINED UPON REVIEW HERE.

TO MR. FREDERICK L. PROCTOR:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 26, 1973, ASKING THAT WE RECONSIDER THAT PORTION OF OUR CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT DATED APRIL 19, 1973, THAT DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF $700 YOU PAID FOR TRIP TRANSIT INSURANCE IN CONNECTION WITH THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM STUTTGART, GERMANY, TO ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA. WE ARE ALSO IN RECEIPT OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM CONGRESSMAN STANFORD E. PARRIS IN YOUR BEHALF.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE APPOINTED AS AN ELECTRONIC ENGINEER WITH THE DEFENSE COMMUNICATION AGENCY (DCA), EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 1972, AND ASSIGNED TO THE DCA OFFICE IN STUTTGART, GERMANY. PRIOR TO YOUR MOVE TO STUTTGART YOU SIGNED DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FORM 1617, A STANDARD SERVICE AGREEMENT FORM IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE AGREES TO REMAIN IN SERVICE AT HIS OVERSEAS POST OF DUTY FOR A MINIMUM PERIOD OF TIME IN EXCHANGE FOR GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY TO THE OVERSEAS STATION AND SHIPMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THAT POINT. YOUR AGREEMENT PROVIDED THAT IF YOU FAILED TO SERVE AT YOUR OVERSEAS POST FOR AT LEAST 12 MONTHS YOU WOULD REPAY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF YOUR MOVE TO GERMANY AND THAT IF YOU SERVED LESS THAN 36 MONTHS YOU WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO GOVERNMENT PAID RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES.

THEREAFTER, SEVERE PERSONAL HARDSHIPS MADE IT NECESSARY FOR YOU TO RESIGN YOUR POSITION IN GERMANY ON DECEMBER 15, 1972, AND TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. AT THAT TIME YOU WERE TOLD THAT BECAUSE YOU HAD NOT FULFILLED YOUR SERVICE AGREEMENT YOU WOULD BE LIABLE FOR THE COST OF YOUR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AND THEREFORE YOU PERSONALLY MADE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THIS COUNTRY, DECLARING A VALUE FOR THOSE GOODS OF $35,000 AND INCURRING AN ADDITIONAL $700 COST FOR INSURANCE ON THE HIGHER VALUATION. SUBSEQUENTLY IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT YOUR RESIGNATION HAD BEEN NECESSITATED BY CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND YOUR CONTROL AND YOU WERE GRANTED A WAIVER OF THE SERVICE AGREEMENT AND FOUND ELIGIBLE FOR GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF YOUR RETURN EXPENSES.

YOUR COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING WAS THEN CONVERTED TO A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING AND THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS OF THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT. HOWEVER PAYMENT OF THE COST OF THE INSURANCE ON THE DECLARED VALUATION OF $35,000 WAS DISALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF PARAGRAPH C7052-7 OF VOLUME 2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR), WHICH PROVIDES, IN PART:

*** THE VALUATION OF PROPERTY AS DECLARED FOR SHIPPING PURPOSES ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WILL NOT EXCEED THAT AT WHICH THE LOWEST TRANSPORTATION RATES WILL APPLY. IF THE EMPLOYEE DESIRES A HIGHER VALUATION, HE MUST ASSUME ALL COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION IN EXCESS OF THE CHARGE AT THE LOWEST RATE.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE HIGHER VALUATION WAS NOT DECLARED WHEN YOUR GOODS WERE ORIGINALLY SHIPPED TO GERMANY.

YOU STATE THAT YOUR REASONS FOR DECLARING A $35,000 VALUE ON YOUR GOODS FOR THE RETURN TRIP WAS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY COULD HAVE BEEN REPLACED FOR ANY AMOUNT LESS THAN THAT IF LOSS OR DAMAGE HAD OCCURRED DURING TRANSIT, AND THAT BECAUSE OF THE FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS YOU HAD ALREADY INCURRED INCIDENT TO YOUR MOVE YOU DID NOT WISH TO RISK A FURTHER FINANCIAL BURDEN IN THE EVENT OF A LOSS. YOU NOTE THAT YOU WERE UNSURE WHETHER OR NOT YOU WOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE MOVING EXPENSES AND YOU THEREFORE CHOSE THE LOWEST RATES YOU COULD FIND FOR THE MOVE. THE LIABILITY COVERAGE AT THESE RATES IS SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER THAN THE $10,000 CEILING PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS ACCRUING AS A RESULT OF LOSS OR DAMAGE TO AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPPED INCIDENT TO AN AUTHORIZED MOVE. IN ADDITION YOU POINT OUT THAT YOUR GOODS WERE ACTUALLY SHIPPED ON A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING AND NOT A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING AND IN THIS REGARD HAVE APPARENTLY BEEN ADVISED THAT THE INSURANCE FEE WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID HAD THE COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING NOT BEEN CONVERTED TO A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

WHILE WE REGRET THAT YOU MAY HAVE BEEN INCORRECTLY ADVISED, THERE IS NO STATUTORY OR REGULATORY AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH AN AGENCY MAY AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE COST OF INSURANCE ON THE SHIPMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS, WHETHER SHIPPED ON A GOVERNMENT OR A COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING. THE GOVERNMENT ASSUMES LIABILITY, OTHER THAN THAT PROVIDED FOR BY THE MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S CLAIMS ACT OF 1964, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 240-241, ONLY FOR THE FREIGHT CHARGES ON A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS BASED ON THE LOWEST VALUATION AND THE COST OF ANY INSURANCE THEREON IS ONE PERSONAL TO THE EMPLOYEE. UNDER THE MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S CLAIMS ACT, CITED ABOVE, THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY MAY SETTLE CLAIMS OF UP TO $10,000 FOR THE LOSS OF, OR DAMAGE TO, HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF MILITARY PERSONNEL OR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES SHIPPED INCIDENT TO AN AUTHORIZED MOVE. HOWEVER SUCH COVERAGE IS NOT CONSTRUED AS GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF THE COST OF INSURANCE BUT RATHER AS STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE REDRESS OF EMPLOYEES WHO INCUR LOSSES TO THEIR PROPERTY INCIDENT TO THEIR GOVERNMENT SERVICE.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OF THE TRIP TRANSIT INSURANCE YOU PURCHASED ON THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND THE PREVIOUS DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.