B-181067, MAR 19, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 764

B-181067: Mar 19, 1975

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1975: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO LETTER DATED MARCH 28. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED HERE BY LETTER DATED APRIL 2. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT SINCE THE USE OF A RENTAL VEHICLE TO MOVE HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS USUALLY LESS COSTLY TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN A GOVERNMENT PROCURED SHIPMENT BY A COMMERCIAL HOUSEHOLD GOODS CARRIER. THE MILITARY SERVICES HAVE UNDERTAKEN A STUDY OF ALTERNATE METHODS OF UTILIZING RENTAL TRUCKS FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY OF MILITARY MEMBERS ON A DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE-WIDE BASIS. IT IS STATED THAT IT HAS BEEN CONCLUDED THAT THE MOST APPROPRIATE METHOD OF PROVIDING SUCH OPERATING FUNDS IS FOR THE MILITARY SERVICES TO PROVIDE SUCH FUNDS TO MILITARY MEMBERS WHO MOVE THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY RENTAL TRUCK.

B-181067, MAR 19, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 764

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - MILITARY PERSONNEL - "DO IT YOURSELF" MOVEMENT - CASH ADVANCES VOLUME 1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, MAY NOT BE AMENDED TO ALLOW ADVANCE PAYMENT FOR RENTAL VEHICLES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY, AND RELATED EXPENSES, AS THE ADVANCE PAYMENT PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303(A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, NOW APPEARING IN 37 U.S.C. 404(B) (1970), LIMIT SUCH PAYMENTS TO THE MEMBER'S PERSONAL TRAVEL, AND IN ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY, 31 U.S.C. 529 (1970) PRECLUDES THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE SUCH ADVANCE PAYMENTS.

IN THE MATTER OF ADVANCE PAYMENTS TO MILITARY MEMBERS FOR "DO IT YOURSELF" PERSONAL PROPERTY MOVING, MARCH 19, 1975:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO LETTER DATED MARCH 28, 1974, FROM THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS), REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER VOLUME 1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (1 JTR) MAY BE AMENDED TO PERMIT ADVANCE PAYMENT TO MEMBERS TO COVER THE COST OF OPERATING A RENTED VEHICLE AND RELATED EXPENSES, IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED HERE BY LETTER DATED APRIL 2, 1974, FROM THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE AND HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 74-13.

THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE STATES THAT THE CURRENT PROVISIONS OF 1 JTR, PARAGRAPH M8500, PROVIDE THAT A MILITARY MEMBER WHO PERSONALLY ARRANGES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY BY MEANS OF A RENTAL TRUCK MUST PROCURE THE TRUCK AND PACKING AIDS HIMSELF AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUBMIT A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT.

IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT SINCE THE USE OF A RENTAL VEHICLE TO MOVE HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS USUALLY LESS COSTLY TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN A GOVERNMENT PROCURED SHIPMENT BY A COMMERCIAL HOUSEHOLD GOODS CARRIER, SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE REALIZED THROUGH WIDE SPREAD USE OF RENTAL VEHICLES BY MILITARY MEMBERS. CONSEQUENTLY, THE MILITARY SERVICES HAVE UNDERTAKEN A STUDY OF ALTERNATE METHODS OF UTILIZING RENTAL TRUCKS FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY OF MILITARY MEMBERS ON A DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE-WIDE BASIS.

AS DESCRIBED BY THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY, THE USE OF A RENTAL TRUCK TO MOVE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WOULD BE OFFERED TO MILITARY MEMBERS ON A STRICTLY VOLUNTARY BASIS AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MOVE BY COMMERCIAL VAN LINE. THE RENTAL TRUCK AND PACKING AIDS WOULD BE PROCURED BY THE MILITARY SERVICES UNDER CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH RENTAL COMPANIES. IN ORDER TO MAKE SUCH A METHOD ATTRACTIVE, IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE SERVICE MEMBERS WITH FUNDS TO DEFRAY THE COSTS OF FUEL, OIL, TOLLS, AND SPECIAL PERMITS REQUIRED TO OPERATE THE VEHICLE.

IT IS STATED THAT IT HAS BEEN CONCLUDED THAT THE MOST APPROPRIATE METHOD OF PROVIDING SUCH OPERATING FUNDS IS FOR THE MILITARY SERVICES TO PROVIDE SUCH FUNDS TO MILITARY MEMBERS WHO MOVE THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY RENTAL TRUCK. SUCH FUNDS WOULD BE PROVIDED TO MILITARY MEMBERS IN ADVANCE OF THE ACTUAL MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND WOULD BE BASED ON THE OPERATING COSTS OF THE TYPE OF VEHICLE UTILIZED FOR THE NUMBER OF MILES ESTIMATED FOR THE MOVE.

THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FURTHER STATES THAT QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER SUCH AN OPERATING ALLOWANCE MAY BE PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE CURRENT PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. SEC. 406 (1970), IN VIEW OF 39 COMP. GEN. 659 (1960) WHICH RELATED TO ADVANCE PAYMENTS OF TRAILER ALLOWANCES AND WHICH HELD THAT THE AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENTS OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES, WHICH CURRENTLY APPEARS IN SEC. 406, IS LIMITED TO THE PARTICULAR ALLOWANCES SPECIFICALLY ENUMERATED THEREIN. CONSEQUENTLY, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE STATUTE AS WRITTEN MAY BE INTERPRETED TO PERMIT AMENDMENT OF 1 JTR TO AUTHORIZE CASH ADVANCES TO MEMBERS TO COVER THE COST OF OPERATING RENTAL VEHICLES AND FOR RELATED EXPENSES.

SECTION 404(A), TITLE 37, U.S.C. (1970), PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UPON A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION, OR OTHERWISE, OR WHEN AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, OR UPON SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE OR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. SECTION 404(B) STATES THAT "THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED MAY PRESCRIBE - (1) THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES ARE AUTHORIZED, INCLUDING ADVANCE PAYMENTS THEREOF; AND (2) THE ALLOWANCES FOR THE KINDS OF TRAVEL, BUT NOT MORE THAN THE AMOUNTS AUTHORIZED IN THIS SECTION."

SECTION 406(A), TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE WHO IS ORDERED TO MAKE A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION IN KIND FOR HIS DEPENDENTS, TO REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR TO A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN PLACE OF THAT TRANSPORTATION IN KIND AT A RATE TO BE PRESCRIBED, BUT NOT MORE THAN THE RATE AUTHORIZED UNDER SEC. 404(A) OF THAT TITLE. IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY CHANGE OF STATION, SEC. 406(B) PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION (INCLUDING PACKING, DRAYAGE, CRATING, TEMPORARY STORAGE, AND UNPACKING) OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, WITHIN SUCH WEIGHT ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED.

PARAGRAPH M1100-3, 1 JTR, CURRENTLY PROVIDES THAT ADVANCE PAYMENT FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

SECTION 529, TITLE 31, U.S.C. (1970), PROVIDES IN PART:

NO ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY SHALL BE MADE IN ANY CASE UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW. AND IN ALL CASES OF CONTRACTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF ANY SERVICE, OR THE DELIVERY OF ARTICLES OF ANY DESCRIPTION, FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES, PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE VALUE OF THE SERVICE RENDERED, OR OF THE ARTICLES DELIVERED PREVIOUSLY TO SUCH PAYMENT. ***

IN 39 COMP. GEN. 659, SUPRA, IT WAS HELD THAT THE AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IN SEC. 303(A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 37 U.S.C. SEC. 253 (1958), WAS LIMITED TO THE PARTICULAR ALLOWANCES SPECIFICALLY ENUMERATED. THEREFORE, IT WAS HELD THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENTS OF TRAILER ALLOWANCES, THE ADVANCE PAYMENT PROHIBITION OF SEC. 3648, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. SEC. 529 (1958), PRECLUDED THE ISSUANCE OF A REGULATION WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE ADVANCE PAYMENTS OF TRAILER ALLOWANCES.

ALTHOUGH THE CURRENT PROVISIONS WHICH WERE DERIVED FROM SEC. 303(A) AND RELATED PROVISIONS OF THE 1949 ACT ARE WORDED IN SUCH A WAY THAT A BROADER APPLICATION OF THE ADVANCE PAYMENT AUTHORIZATION MIGHT SEEM TO BE POSSIBLE, WE HAVE REVIEWED THE ORIGINAL WORDING AND THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THEREOF AND IT IS CLEAR THAT ADVANCE PAYMENTS AS AUTHORIZED THEREIN WERE INTENDED TO COVER PERSONAL TRAVEL EXPENSES ONLY. THEREFORE, SINCE THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. SECS. 404 AND 406 ARE CODIFICATIONS OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 AND AS SUCH WERE NOT INTENDED TO EXPAND ANY RIGHTS GIVEN BY THAT ACT WE FIND THAT THE CONCLUSION IN 39 COMP. GEN. 659 WITH REGARD TO THE LIMITED NATURE OF THE ADVANCE PAYMENT AUTHORITY WAS IN KEEPING WITH THE LAW. THUS, THE RATIONALE OF THAT DECISION ALSO IS FOR APPLICATION IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED BY THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, SINCE THE AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENTS IN SEC. 303(A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, WHICH NOW APPEARS IN 37 U.S.C. SEC. 404(B) IS LIMITED TO ADVANCES FOR A MEMBER'S PERSONAL TRAVEL AND DOES NOT EXTEND TO ADDITIONAL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES PROVIDED IN SEC. 303 OF THE ACT.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROVISION, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF 1 JTR TO AUTHORIZE ADVANCE PAYMENTS TO COVER THE COST OF OPERATING A RENTAL VEHICLE AND RELATED EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY; CONSEQUENTLY, THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT WOULD BE VIOLATIVE OF THE PROHIBITION OF ADVANCE PAYMENTS CONTAINED IN 31 U.S.C. SEC. 529.