B-181156, NOV 19, 1974

B-181156: Nov 19, 1974

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TRANSFERRED NAVY EMPLOYEE WHO WAS AUTHORIZED INTRASTATE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING (GBL). IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON "ACTUAL EXPENSE" BASIS. IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON COMMUTED RATE BASIS FOR MAXIMUM OF 11. SINCE EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT WAS PROVIDED WHEN NET WEIGHT SHOWN ON CARRIER'S FREIGHT BILL CORRESPONDED WITH NET WEIGHT AS SHOWN ON ATTACHED WEIGHT CERTIFICATES. NOTWITHSTANDING CERTAIN DISCREPANCIES IN WEIGHT CERTIFICATES THAT WERE REASONABLY AND SATISFACTORILY EXPLAINED BY EMPLOYEE. MULLINAX - REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 10.

B-181156, NOV 19, 1974

1. TRANSFERRED NAVY EMPLOYEE WHO WAS AUTHORIZED INTRASTATE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING (GBL), BUT SHIPPED THEM THROUGH HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS WITH COMMERCIAL CARRIER, IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON "ACTUAL EXPENSE" BASIS, THERE BEING NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON THIS BASIS UNLESS AGENCY HAS BOTH AUTHORIZED AND SHIPPED EFFECTS UNDER GBL. 2. NAVY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE WHO HIMSELF ARRANGED FOR SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF DUTY STATION, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON COMMUTED RATE BASIS FOR MAXIMUM OF 11,000 LBS., AS AUTHORIZED IN APPLICABLE PROVISIONS IN JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOL. 2, SINCE EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT WAS PROVIDED WHEN NET WEIGHT SHOWN ON CARRIER'S FREIGHT BILL CORRESPONDED WITH NET WEIGHT AS SHOWN ON ATTACHED WEIGHT CERTIFICATES, NOTWITHSTANDING CERTAIN DISCREPANCIES IN WEIGHT CERTIFICATES THAT WERE REASONABLY AND SATISFACTORILY EXPLAINED BY EMPLOYEE.

WILLIAM K. MULLINAX - REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1973, DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF MR. WILLIAM K. MULLINAX, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, FOR THE ACTUAL EXPENSE ($1,776.26) INCURRED BY HIM IN SHIPPING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION FROM POINT MUGU, CALIFORNIA, TO CHINA LAKE, CALIFORNIA, IN AUGUST 1972.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER, DATED JULY 19, 1972, AUTHORIZED THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM OXNARD, CALIFORNIA, TO CHINA LAKE UNDER A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING (GBL). ALSO APPEARS THAT THE EMPLOYEE CLAIMS THAT HE DID NOT RECEIVE THIS ORDER UNTIL JANUARY 1973. IN ANY EVENT, HE MADE HIS OWN SHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS WITH OXNARD VAN LINES (OXNARD), AND HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED ON AUGUST 4, 1972, TO HIS NEW RESIDENCE AT RIDGCREST, CALIFORNIA - A DISTANCE OF 187 MILES.

DUE TO SEVERAL DISCREPANCIES IN THE WEIGHT TICKETS SUBMITTED WITH OXNARD'S FREIGHT BILL, THE DISBURSING OFFICER AT THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER REFUSED TO ISSUE A GBL AFTER THE FACT, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE EMPLOYING AGENCY, OR TO PROVIDE REIMBURSEMENT ON ANY OTHER BASIS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS CLAIM. THE CLAIM WAS ALSO DISALLOWED IN FULL IN OUR SETTLEMENT ACTION ON SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME GROUND. IN ADDITION, IT WAS ALSO STATED THAT WE HAVE HELD IN PRIOR DECISIONS THAT ONCE AN ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION IS MADE AS TO WHETHER THE "ACTUAL EXPENSE" OR THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS IS TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF REIMBURSING THE EMPLOYEE, IT BECOMES MANDATORY THAT THE EMPLOYEE BE REIMBURSED BY SUCH METHOD.

WITH RESPECT TO THE LATTER GROUND FOR DISALLOWING THIS CLAIM, IT SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED THAT THIS RULE IS BASED UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT WHERE THE "ACTUAL EXPENSE" METHOD IS AUTHORIZED, THE SHIPMENT IS ACTUALLY EFFECTED ON A GBL, WITH THE GOVERNMENT - NOT THE EMPLOYEE - BEING THE SHIPPER AND WITH THE GOVERNMENT ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTING THE CARRIER, ARRANGING FOR CARRIER SERVICES, AND PAYING FOR SUCH SERVICES.

THIS RULE, HOWEVER, HAS NO APPLICATION TO CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE, AS HERE, THE EMPLOYEE ASSUMES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MAKING HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS WITH A COMMERCIAL MOVER AND A GBL IS NOT IN FACT ISSUED, THERE BEING NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE ON AN "ACTUAL EXPENSE" BASIS UNLESS HIS AGENCY HAS BOTH AUTHORIZED AND SHIPPED HIS EFFECTS ON A GBL. SEE B-169392, JUNE 25, 1970. IN SUCH INSTANCES WHERE HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE NOT SHIPPED ON A GBL, THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS NECESSARILY IS FOR APPLICATION TO PRESERVE THE EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT AS CONFERRED IN 5 U.S.C. 5724(A)(2)(1970), AND AS IMPLEMENTED IN PARAGRAPH C7051-4A OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR), VOLUME 2.

SINCE THE SHIPMENT HERE DID NOT MOVE UNDER A GBL, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS UP THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT ALLOWANCE OF 11,000 LBS, AS PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH C7051-1 OF THE JTR, FOR AN EMPLOYEE WITH DEPENDENTS, PROVIDED THE EVIDENCE FURNISHED IS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THE POINT OF ORIGIN, DESTINATION AND WEIGHT (ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE) OF THE SHIPMENT. IN THIS CONNECTION, WE FIND THAT THE WEIGHT EVIDENCE AS SUPPLIED IN OXNARD'S FREIGHT BILL, INDICATING THE POINT OF ORIGIN, THE DESTINATION, AND A TOTAL NET WEIGHT OF 19,880 LBS, WHICH CORRESPONDS WITH THE NET WEIGHT FROM THE WEIGHT TICKETS FURNISHED, IS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF APPLYING THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE FOR 11,000 LBS.

WITH RESPECT TO THE DISCREPANCIES IN THE WEIGHT TICKETS, WE BELIEVE THEY WERE REASONABLY AND SUFFICIENTLY EXPLAINED BY THE EMPLOYEE INSOFAR AS AT LEAST 11,000 LBS OF THE SHIPMENT IS CONCERNED. IN REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE SETTLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE EMPLOYEE, HIS EMPLOYING AGENCY SUMMARIZED THE EMPLOYEE'S EXPLANATION OF THE DISCREPANCIES NOTED, AND STATED THEREIN THAT THE OWNER OF OXNARD AND HIS WIFE SEPARATELY OWNED SEVERAL TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES - ALL OPERATING FROM THE SAME ADDRESS - AND THAT THE NAME OF THE WIFE'S COMPANY WAS ERRONEOUSLY INSERTED ON THE WEIGHT TICKETS SUBMITTED WITH OXNARD'S FREIGHT BILL. IT WAS ALSO EXPLAINED THAT SEVERAL VEHICLES WERE USED TO TRANSPORT THIS LARGE SHIPMENT AND THAT THE TARE WEIGHT OF ONE WAS NOT OBTAINED UNTIL A MONTH AFTER THE GROSS WEIGHT WAS RECORDED, WHICH IN OUR VIEW WOULD NOT DETRACT FROM THEIR EVIDENTIARY VALUE WHEN THE TRUCK LICENSE NUMBERS WERE THE SAME ON BOTH TICKETS. SEE B-169672, MAY 26, 1970.

APPLYING THE COMMUTED RATE SCHEDULE IN TABLE 3 OF GSA BULLETIN A-2, SUPP. 32, MAY 4, 1971, TO A DISTANCE OF 187 MILES FOR THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE OF 11,000 LBS., WE FIND THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $990, WHICH WE NOTE IS THE PRECISE FIGURE THAT WAS INSERTED ON HIS TRAVEL ORDER AS REPRESENTING AN ESTIMATE OF EXPENSE OTHER THAN THE TRAVEL AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE ARE AUTHORIZING OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION TO ISSUE A SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE TO MR. MULLINAX ALLOWING PAYMENT OF $990 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF 11,000 LBS. OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS.