B-180639, MAY 8, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 836

B-180639: May 8, 1974

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH EXPENSES UPON A SUBSEQUENT PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THE PLACE WHERE SHE WAS ON DETAIL. AN ADVANCE DECISION WAS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNTS OF $2. WHOSE DUTY STATION WAS WASHINTON. WAS DETAILED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS TO THE COLORADO RURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION. THE IPA ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT IN PART IX STATED "EDA WILL PAY FOR TRAVEL TO AND FROM ASSIGNMENT.". THE INITIAL ASSIGNMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE TO THE COLORADO RURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION WAS FOR A 6-MONTH PERIOD - JUNE 12. 1972 - BUT THIS ASSIGNMENT WAS LATER EXTENDED TO JANUARY 31. LOFFT WAS ON LEAVE FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 1 THROUGH FEBRUARY 14. LOFFT WAS DETAILED TO EDA'S ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGIONAL OFFICE FROM JUNE 30.

B-180639, MAY 8, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 836

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - EFFECTIVE DATE - TEMPORARY V. PERMANENT ASSIGNMENT EMPLOYEE WHO, INCIDENT TO A DETAIL UNDER IPA OF 1970, TRANSFERRED HER HOUSEHOLD GOODS, SOLD HER HOUSE AND PURCHASED A HOME AT THE STATION TO WHICH DETAILED WHEN NEITHER HER TRAVEL ORDER NOR ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH EXPENSES UPON A SUBSEQUENT PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THE PLACE WHERE SHE WAS ON DETAIL.

IN THE MATTER OF CERTAIN PAYMENTS MADE UNDER INTERGOVERNMENTAL PERSONNEL ACT OF 1970, MAY 8, 1974:

BY LETTER OF DECEMBER 13, 1973, AN ADVANCE DECISION WAS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNTS OF $2,479.15 AND $734.90, REPRESENTING TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE, AND OTHER RELOCATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY MS. MICHELINA M. LOFFT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED BELOW.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MS. LOFFT, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION (EDA), DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, WHOSE DUTY STATION WAS WASHINTON, D.C., WAS DETAILED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS TO THE COLORADO RURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION, DENVER, COLORADO, UNDER THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PERSONNEL ACT (IPA) OF 1970 IN JUNE 1972. TRAVEL ORDER NO. 12-EDA-958, APPROVED JUNE 5, 1972, AUTHORIZED TRAVEL COSTS AND PER DIEM FOR THE EMPLOYEE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO DENVER, COLORADO. THE IPA ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT IN PART IX STATED "EDA WILL PAY FOR TRAVEL TO AND FROM ASSIGNMENT." THE INITIAL ASSIGNMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE TO THE COLORADO RURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION WAS FOR A 6-MONTH PERIOD - JUNE 12, 1972, TO DECEMBER 12, 1972 - BUT THIS ASSIGNMENT WAS LATER EXTENDED TO JANUARY 31, 1973. MS. LOFFT WAS ON LEAVE FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 1 THROUGH FEBRUARY 14, 1973. A NEW ASSIGNMENT TO THE COLORADO LAND USE COMMISSION IN DENVER STARTED FEBRUARY 15, 1973, AND ENDED JUNE 29, 1973. AT THE COMPLETION OF HER IPA ASSIGNMENT WITH THE COLORADO LAND USE COMMISSION, MS. LOFFT WAS DETAILED TO EDA'S ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGIONAL OFFICE FROM JUNE 30, 1973, THROUGH AUGUST 18, 1973. HER PERMANENT DUTY STATION WAS CHANGED FROM WASHINTON, D.C., TO DENVER, COLORADO, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 19, 1973.

TRAVEL ORDER NO. 12-EDA-958A, ISSUED AUGUST 14, 1973, AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S HUSBAND, MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES OF $200, 30 DAYS TEMPORARY QUARTERS, SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND ALLOWANCES IN CONNECTION WITH REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MS. LOFFT SOLD HER RESIDENCE IN WASHINTON, D.C., JUNE 9, 1972, AND PURCHASED A NEW RESIDENCE IN DENVER JULY 24, 1972, IN WHICH SHE IS NOW APPARENTLY RESIDING. A BILL OF LADING SHOWS THAT PART OF HER HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS PICKED UP FROM HER WASHINGTON, D.C. RESIDENCE JUNE 8, 1972, FOR DELIVERY TO HER NEW RESIDENCE IN DENVER. ON JUNE 15, 1972, THE BALANCE OF HER HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS PICKED UP FROM A STORAGE COMPANY IN ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, FOR DELIVERY TO AN APARTMENT IN DENVER. THUS IT IS APPARENT THAT MS. LOFFT RELOCATED HER RESIDENCE IN DENVER AT THE BEGINNING OF HER IPA ASSIGNMENT.

ALL OF THE EXPENSES INVOLVED IN MS. LOFFT'S RELOCATION WERE INCURRED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HER TRANSFER TO DENVER (AUGUST 19, 1973). WE HAVE HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT OF MOVING AND RELOCATION EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR TO AND IN ANTICIPATION OF A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION MAY BE ALLOWED IF THE TRAVEL ORDER SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED INCLUDES 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." 48 COMP. GEN. 395 (1968). WHAT CONSTITUTES A CLEAR INTENTION TO TRANSFER AN EMPLOYEE DEPENDS ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN EACH CASE.

WITH RESPECT TO MS. LOFFT'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HER HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO DENVER AND OTHER RELOCATION EXPENSES, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE IN THE PRESENT RECORD OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE INTENTION TO TRANSFER MS. LOFFT AT THE TIME THESE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED. RATHER THE RECORD INDICATES THAT EDA DID NOT MAKE A DETERMINATION TO TRANSFER MS. LOFFT TO DENVER UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF HER IPA ASSIGNMENT ON JUNE 29, 1973, WHEN IT WAS DETERMINED THAT HER SERVICES COULD BE MORE EFFECTIVELY UTILIZED IN DENVER THAN IN WASHINGTON, D.C. THEREFORE, SINCE THE TRANSPORTATION AND RELOCATION EXPENSES FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED WERE INCURRED AT THE TIME MS. LOFFT WAS ASSIGNED TO DENVER UNDER THE ORIGINAL IPA DETAIL, INSTEAD OF AFTER SHE WAS DEFINITELY ADVISED SHE WAS TO BE TRANSFERRED, SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES INVOLVED.

SECTION 3375 OF TITLE 5, U.S. CODE, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN EXPENSES TO EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO A STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNDER IPA. UNDER THAT SECTION THE APPROPRIATIONS OF AN EXECUTIVE AGENCY ARE AVAILABLE TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE ON SUCH ASSIGNMENT AT THE DISCRETION OF THE AGENCY UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT. BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 11589 OF APRIL 1, 1971, THE PRESIDENT DELEGATED TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION THE AUTHORITY GRANTED HIM TO ISSUE REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO ADMINISTER THE ACT. THE COMMISSION REGULATIONS WHICH APPEAR IN PART 334 OF TITLE 5, CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, DO NOT CONTAIN ANY PROVISIONS RELATING TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES. HOWEVER, SUBCHAPTER 1-7B OF CHAPTER 334 CONTAINS INSTRUCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES WHICH INDICATE THAT AN EXECUTIVE AGENCY MAY AT ITS DISCRETION USE ITS APPROPRIATIONS TO PAY FOR CERTAIN RELOCATION EXPENSES SUCH AS THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE TO AND FROM THE ASSIGNMENT. UNDER THE CONTROLLING LAW AND REGULATIONS IT IS CLEAR THAT THE AGENCY COULD HAVE AUTHORIZED SUCH ALLOWANCES. HOWEVER, NEITHER OF THE ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENTS, COPIES OF WHICH ARE ON FILE, AUTHORIZES ANYTHING MORE THAN REIMBURSEMENT BY EDA OF THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE ASSIGNMENT. ALSO, THE TRAVEL ORDER DATED JUNE 5, 1972, AUTHORIZING THE TRAVEL OF MS. LOFFT FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO DENVER, COLORADO, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS. IN THIS CONNECTION THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE IPA AGREEMENT DID NOT INCLUDE AN ALLOWANCE FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES BECAUSE OF THE SHORT DURATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE TRANSPORTATION OF MS. LOFFT'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS WAS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER OF JUNE 5, 1972, OR IN THE ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENTS, SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH HER DETAIL UNDER IPA PROVISIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE THE VOUCHERS MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.