B-181360, JAN 22, 1975

B-181360: Jan 22, 1975

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THE REGULATIONS ARE STATUTORY IN EFFECT AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED BY THE GAO. TRICE - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TIME LIMITATION ON MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: THIS MATTER IS BEFORE US BASED ON A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION FROM THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER OF MR. THE FACTS IN THE CASE ARE NOT IN DISPUTE. 600 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED TO GAITHERSBURG. 740 POUNDS OF THIS SHIPMENT WERE PLACED IN TEMPORARY STORAGE IN WASHINGTON. WHEN THEY WERE DELIVERED TO MR. HE WAS BILLED $125 COVERING DELIVERY AND HANDLING CHARGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $34.25. THE AMOUNT OF $159.25 ON THE TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY WAS NOT PAID ON THE GROUND THAT MR.

B-181360, JAN 22, 1975

EMPLOYEE, INCIDENT TO TRANSFER, WHO PLACED PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN STORAGE AND HAD THEM DELIVERED TO HIS HOME MORE THAN 2 YEARS FROM DATE OF TRANSFER, MAY NOT RECOVER HANDLING AND DELIVERY CHARGES AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE 2-YEAR PERIOD OF LIMITATION, AS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 1.3D OF OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, AND SECTION 2-1.5A(2) OF FPMR 101-7. THE REGULATIONS ARE STATUTORY IN EFFECT AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED BY THE GAO. SEE 49 COMP. GEN. 145 (1969).

VIRGIL G. TRICE - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TIME LIMITATION ON MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS:

THIS MATTER IS BEFORE US BASED ON A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION FROM THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER OF MR. VIRGIL G. TRICE FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH HIS CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS, TO GERMANTOWN, MARYLAND.

THE FACTS IN THE CASE ARE NOT IN DISPUTE. MR. TRICE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT GERMANTOWN ON MARCH 15, 1971. ON JUNE 18, 1971, 8,600 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED TO GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND. SOME 2,740 POUNDS OF THIS SHIPMENT WERE PLACED IN TEMPORARY STORAGE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND REMAINED THERE UNTIL MAY 1973, WHEN THEY WERE DELIVERED TO MR. TRICE'S RESIDENCE IN GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND, AND HE WAS BILLED $125 COVERING DELIVERY AND HANDLING CHARGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $34.25, FOR A TOTAL OF $159.25.

SECTION 5724 OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. PERTAINING TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED, AUTHORIZES, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE, THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER. THE AMOUNT OF $159.25 ON THE TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY WAS NOT PAID ON THE GROUND THAT MR. TRICE HAD REPORTED FOR DUTY IN MARCH OF 1971, AND THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE DELIVERED TO HIS HOME IN MAY 1973 WHICH PERIOD EXCEEDED THE 2-YEAR REQUIREMENT AS SET FORTH IN SECTION 1.3D OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULAR NO. A 56, REVISED, JUNE 26, 1969, ISSUED PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 5724 APPLICABLE AT THE TIME WHEN THE TRANSFER TOOK PLACE.

SECTION 1.3D, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, PROVIDED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"*** ALL TRAVEL, INCLUDING THAT FOR THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY, AND TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING THAT FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS ALLOWED UNDER THESE REGULATIONS, SHOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE MAXIMUM TIME FOR BEGINNING ALLOWABLE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION WILL NOT EXCEED TWO YEARS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER ***."

SIMILAR PROVISIONS ARE CONTAINED IN SECTION 2-1.5A(2) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FPMR 101-7) IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE MOVED OUT OF STORAGE AND DELIVERED.

IN APPLYING THE WORDS "TRANSPORTATION WILL NOT EXCEED TWO YEARS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER" APPEARING IN SECTION 1.3D OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, IT IS PROPER TO COMPUTE THE BEGINNING OF THE 2-YEAR PERIOD FROM THE TIME THE COMMON CARRIER'S LIABILITY ATTACHES TO THE SHIPMENT, NAMELY, THE TIME THE CARRIER RECEIVES THE GOODS WITH AN ORDER TO FORWARD THEM TO A PARTICULAR DESTINATION. SEE 20 COMP. GEN. 568 (1941).

MR. TRICE AUTHORIZED SHIPMENT TO A SPECIFIC LOCATION IN GAITHERSBURG OF A GREATER PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN JUNE 1971, BUT HE APPARENTLY HAD NO ROOM FOR THE 2,740 POUNDS THAT HE PLACED IN STORAGE AT THAT TIME. INSTEAD, HE PLACED THEM IN STORAGE AND ACCORDING TO THE RECORD, NO INSTRUCTIONS WERE GIVEN AS TO THE LOCATION TO WHICH THE GOODS WERE TO BE DELIVERED AT A LATER DATE. IN ANY CASE THE CARRIER DID NOT DELIVER THE STORED GOODS TO MR. TRICE'S NEW HOME UNTIL MAY 1973, MORE THAN 2 YEARS AFTER HE MOVED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER OF MR. TRICE IS ACCOMPANIED BY A JUSTIFICATION OF THE REQUEST FOR PAYMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY TO DELIVER THE GOODS AROSE WHEN THE GOODS WERE PLACED IN STORAGE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AND THAT IT DID NOT MATTER IF THEY WERE DELIVERED BEFORE OR AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE 2-YEAR PERIOD OF LIMITATION. WE DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS CONTENTION. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE REGULATORY PROVISION WAS TO COMPLETE THE GOVERNMENT'S TRAVEL OBLIGATIONS "AS SOON AS POSSIBLE." MOREOVER, THE 2-YEAR PERIOD OF LIMITATION, AS SET FORTH IN SECTION 1.3D OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, AND SECTION 2-1.5A(2) OF FPMR 101-7, ARE STATUTORY REGULATIONS WHICH HAVE THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED OR MODIFIED BY OUR OFFICE. SEE 49 COMP. GEN. 145 (1969).

ACCORDINGLY, THE RECLAIM VOUCHER OF MR. TRICE MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.