B-180515, OCT 2, 1974

B-180515: Oct 2, 1974

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ALTHOUGH AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO THE CANAL ZONE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN AN AMOUNT LESS THAN THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM. HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR RENTAL CHARGES FOR FURNISHINGS AND APPLIANCES IN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FURNISHED TO HIM IN THE CANAL ZONE SINCE THE RENTAL CHARGES WERE REQUIRED BY 5 U.S.C. 5911 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS. DREYER WAS TRANSFERRED FROM KELLY AIR FORCE BASE. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP 2. HE WAS ALSO AUTHORIZED NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS REMAINING HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN THE UNITED STATES. HE LIVED IN GOVERNMENT RENTAL HOUSING AND WAS SUPPLIED WITH GOVERNMENT-OWNED FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES. 750 POUNDS WHEN THE EMPLOYEE HAS DEPENDENTS AND WILL BE FURNISHED GOVERNMENT HOUSING.

B-180515, OCT 2, 1974

ALTHOUGH AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO THE CANAL ZONE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN AN AMOUNT LESS THAN THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM, THE GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZING THE NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS REMAINING GOODS, HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR RENTAL CHARGES FOR FURNISHINGS AND APPLIANCES IN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FURNISHED TO HIM IN THE CANAL ZONE SINCE THE RENTAL CHARGES WERE REQUIRED BY 5 U.S.C. 5911 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS.

ALVIN D. DREYER - REIMBURSEMENT FOR RENTAL OF FURNITURE BY TRANSFERRED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE IN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS:

AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, IN A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 1, 1973, HAS REQUESTED A DECISION REGARDING A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF RENTAL FEES FOR FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES PAID BY A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO THE CANAL ZONE. HE ALSO REQUESTED INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER THIS DECISION MAY BE USED IN PROCESSING ANY SIMILAR CLAIMS.

MR. ALVIN D. DREYER WAS TRANSFERRED FROM KELLY AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS, TO THE CANAL ZONE BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED FEBRUARY 27, 1970. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP 2,750 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. HE WAS ALSO AUTHORIZED NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS REMAINING HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN THE UNITED STATES, THE COMBINED WEIGHT OF GOODS SHIPPED AND STORED NOT TO EXCEED 11,000 POUNDS. WHILE IN THE CANAL ZONE, HE LIVED IN GOVERNMENT RENTAL HOUSING AND WAS SUPPLIED WITH GOVERNMENT-OWNED FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES, FOR WHICH HE PAID A SEPARATE RENTAL CHARGE. IN 1973 HIS AIR FORCE UNIT AMENDED ITS REGULATIONS AND NO LONGER CHARGES RENT FOR THE FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES. MR. DREYER SEEKS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE RENTALS PAID FROM APRIL 1, 1970, TO JUNE 30, 1973, THE DATE OF THE AMENDMENT. POINTS OUT THAT VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PARAGRAPH C7052-LB, LIMITS THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO 2,750 POUNDS WHEN THE EMPLOYEE HAS DEPENDENTS AND WILL BE FURNISHED GOVERNMENT HOUSING. ON THE BASIS OF THIS REGULATION, HE CONTENDS THAT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES FREE OF ADDITIONAL CHARGE. BELIEVES THAT THE RESCINDED UNIT REGULATION REQUIRING THE FURNITURE RENTAL CHARGE WAS AT VARIANCE WITH THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATION, QUOTED ABOVE, AND THEREFORE WAS IMPROPER.

SECTION 5724, TITLE 5, U.S.C. PROVIDES THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE PRESIDENT, THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY MAY AUTHORIZE A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE TO SHIP HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS NOT IN EXCESS OF 11,000 POUNDS NET WEIGHT. UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5726(B) PERMANENT STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS MAY ALSO BE AUTHORIZED EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN:

"(1) THE DUTY STATION IS ONE TO WHICH HE CANNOT TAKE OR AT WHICH HE IS UNABLE TO USE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS; OR

" (2) THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED AUTHORIZES STORAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY."

UNDER THE ABOVE STATUTES, THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY MAY LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO BE SHIPPED OVERSEAS AND AUTHORIZE NONTEMPORARY STORAGE INSTEAD. IN THIS CASE IT APPEARS THAT IT WAS FOUND TO BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY TO PROVIDE FOR NONPERMANENT STORAGE FOR MR. DREYER'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN EXCESS OF 2,750 POUNDS AND TO PROVIDE HIM WITH GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND FURNITURE.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5911(C), AN AGENCY IS REQUIRED TO CHARGE RENT FOR QUARTERS AND "FACILITIES" PROVIDED TO EMPLOYEES, BASED ON THEIR "REASONABLE VALUE," (DEFINED BY 5 U.S.C. 5911(A)(6) TO INCLUDE FURNITURE, EQUIPMENT, UTILITIES, ETC.), EXCEPT WHEN SUCH QUARTERS AND FACILITIES ARE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED TO BE PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE BY A STATUTE. IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS - BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULARS NOS. A-15 AND A- 45, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE INSTRUCTION 4165.42, AIR FORCE REGULATION 87-16 - REQUIRE THAT FURNISHINGS BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN SETTING THE RENTAL VALUE OF THE QUARTERS. ALSO, NONE OF THESE REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT A CHARGE WILL NOT BE MADE WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP LESS THAN THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS STATED IN 5 U.S.C. 5724. REGARDING THE REDUCTION IN THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS AUTHORIZED TO BE SHIPPED, SECTION 6 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-15, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE SHIPMENT OF MR. DREYER'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, PROVIDED THAT A REDUCTION IN THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT SHOULD BE MADE WHEN AN EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO OCCUPY GOVERNMENT QUARTERS. IN THIS CONNECTION WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE THAT THE STATEMENT IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS REGARDING FURNISHINGS FOR GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WAS NOT INTENDED TO AUTHORIZE FURNISHINGS FOR GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND WAS IN THE NATURE OF AN EXPLANATORY OR ADVISORY COMMENT ONLY.

AS NOTED ABOVE, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-45 AND DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT FURNISHINGS BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN SETTING THE RENTAL OF THE QUARTERS AND PROVIDE NO AUTHORITY FOR NOT COLLECTING RENTAL BASED ON FURNISHINGS. ACCORDINGLY, THE AMENDED REGULATIONS OF MR. DREYER'S UNIT, WHICH DISCONTINUED THE RENTAL CHARGE ARE IMPROPER. UNDERSTAND THE CHANGE WAS BASED ON A RECURRING PROVISION IN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACTS, SUCH AS SECTION 627 OF PUBLIC LAW 91-171, APPROVED DECEMBER 29, 1969, WHICH AUTHORIZED THE PROVISION OF FURNISHINGS, WITHOUT CHARGE, IN OTHER THAN PUBLIC QUARTERS BY MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA. SINCE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE INVOLVED, THIS PROVISION IS INAPPLICABLE IN THE PRESENT CASE. THEREFORE, WE ARE ADVISING THE ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT TO AMEND ITS REGULATION. HOWEVER, SINCE THERE HAS BEEN NO PRIOR RULING IN THIS AREA, WE ARE ADVISING THE ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT THAT THE AMENDMENT MAY BE MADE PROSPECTIVELY.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED THAT THE RENT FOR MR. DREYER'S QUARTERS MAY HAVE INCLUDED AN ITEM FOR THE USE OF FURNITURE OR APPLICANCES OR BOTH. IF THIS WERE THE CASE, THEN THE EMPLOYEE WOULD, IN EFFECT, HAVE BEEN PAYING TWICE FOR THE USE OF THE SAME ITEMS, AND WOULD BE ENTITLED TO A REFUND TO THE EXTENT OF THE DUPLICATION. HOWEVER, THE RENTS FOR THE FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN STATED SEPARATELY FROM THE RENT FOR THE QUARTERS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO INDICATE THAT THERE WAS IN FACT ANY SUCH DUPLICATION.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, MR. DREYER IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE RENTAL CHARGES PAID BY HIM FOR THE USE OF FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES DURING THE PERIOD 1970-73. ALSO, THIS DECISION SHOULD BE FOLLOWED IN CONSIDERING SIMILAR CLAIMS.