B-181311, AUG 21, 1974

B-181311: Aug 21, 1974

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SMALLEY - REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING ELTON L. INQUIRIES WERE MADE BY MR. HE WAS INFORMED THAT HE SHOULD MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS WITH A MOVER OF HIS CHOICE. THE ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE AND MR. SMALLEY WAS SUBSEQUENTLY BILLED BY THE MOVING COMPANY FOR $1. HE BELIEVES THAT HE IS BEING PENALIZED FOR HAVING RECEIVED ERRONEOUS INFORMATION. HE BELIEVES THAT HE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE TOTAL COST OF THE MOVE ON THE BASIS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID THE TOTAL AMOUNT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS HAD THE APPROPRIATE ARRANGEMENTS BEEN MADE FOR SHIPMENT BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

B-181311, AUG 21, 1974

A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, AUTHORIZED TO MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF PERMANENT DUTY STATION FROM OHIO TO MICHIGAN, WHO RECEIVED INCORRECT INFORMATION FROM A GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE AND MOVED HIS GOODS BY COMMERCIAL CARRIER INSTEAD, HAS NO BASIS UPON WHICH TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THOSE MOVING EXPENSES WHICH EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF HIS ENTITLEMENT DETERMINED ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS.

ELTON L. SMALLEY - REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING ELTON L. SMALLEY, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, THE ACTUAL EXPENSE INCURRED BY HIM FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO HIS CHANGE OF PERMANENT DUTY STATION FROM REYNOLDSBURG, OHIO, TO BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, IN JANUARY 1974.

MR. SMALLEY'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED THE TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR) AND PARAGRAPH 17 OF THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. INQUIRIES WERE MADE BY MR. SMALLEY AS TO THE PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED IN THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND HE WAS INFORMED THAT HE SHOULD MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS WITH A MOVER OF HIS CHOICE. THE ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE AND MR. SMALLEY WAS SUBSEQUENTLY BILLED BY THE MOVING COMPANY FOR $1,116.03. APPLYING THE COMMUTED RATE SCHEDULE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS REQUIRED BY 5 U.S.C. SEC.5724(C), THE ADMINISTRATIVE ALLOWANCE FOR THIS RELOCATION EXPENSE HAS BEEN COMPUTED TO BE $880.42.

MR. SMALLEY SEEKS ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $235.61, THE BALANCE DUE TO THE COMMERCIAL MOVER. HE BELIEVES THAT HE IS BEING PENALIZED FOR HAVING RECEIVED ERRONEOUS INFORMATION. ALSO, HE BELIEVES THAT HE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE TOTAL COST OF THE MOVE ON THE BASIS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID THE TOTAL AMOUNT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS HAD THE APPROPRIATE ARRANGEMENTS BEEN MADE FOR SHIPMENT BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

SECTION C7051-4 OF THE JTR, VOLUME 2, PROVIDES THAT, WHEN TRANSFER OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, SHIPMENTS MAY BE MADE UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM OR THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD.

SECTION C7051-4C(4)(A) SETS FORTH THE CRITERIA FOR USE OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD TO BE USED BY COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IN INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"(A) INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERS. EXPERIENCE WITH THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD HAS SHOWN THAT SHIPMENT BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING DOES NOT RESULT IN SAVINGS SIMPLY BECAUSE A LINE HAUL DISCOUNT IS AVAILABLE. THEREFORE, IN CASE OF INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERS, THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM WILL BE USED WITHOUT CONSIDERATION BEING GIVEN THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD, EXCEPT THAT THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD MAY BE USED IF THE ACTUAL COSTS TO BE INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR PACKING AND OTHER ACCESSORIAL SERVICES ARE PREDETERMINED (AT LEAST AS TO PRICE PER 100 POUNDS) AND IF THAT METHOD IS EXPECTED TO RESULT IN A REAL SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $100 OR MORE."

UNDER THE ABOVE-CITED SECTION, AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE AUTHORIZED SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING ONLY WHEN THE ACTUAL COSTS TO BE INCURRED FOR PACKING AND OTHER ACCESSORIAL SERVICE ARE PREDETERMINED AND THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD IS EXPECTED TO RESULT IN A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE FILE TO SHOW THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WAS MADE TO USE THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD AND THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WITHOUT SUCH PREDETERMINATION. THE ACTUAL MOVE WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING AND THE COMMUTED RATE SCHEDULE WAS CORRECTLY APPLIED TO COMPUTE THE REIMBURSEMENT DUE MR. SMALLEY. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, NO AUTHORITY EXISTS TO COMPENSATE THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COMMUTED RATE AND THE CHARGES HE WAS REQUIRED TO PAY THE COMMERCIAL CARRIER.

ALTHOUGH IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT MR. SMALLEY WAS GIVEN INCORRECT INFORMATION BY A GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE, IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT BOUND BY THE UNAUTHORIZED OR INCORRECT STATEMENTS OF ITS AGENTS. FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORPORATION V. MERRILL, 332 U.S. 380, 384 (1947); UTAH POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 243 U.S. 389, 409 (1917); BAY SOUND TRANSPORTATION COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 410 F.2D 505, 510 (1969); POSEY V. UNITED STATES, 449 F.2D 228 (1971). IN ANY CASE, HE WAS CORRECTLY REIMBURSED FOR THE METHOD OF SHIPMENT ACTUALLY USED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM OF MR. SMALLEY MAY NOT BE ALLOWED.