B-181631, OCT 9, 1974

B-181631: Oct 9, 1974

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH LIABILITY TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EXCESS COST OF SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE WAIVED. WAIVER OF CERTAIN CLAIMS OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AGAINST A PERSON ARISING OUT OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY OR ALLOWANCES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ARE AUTHORIZED WHEN COLLECTION ACTION WOULD BE AGAINST EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE AND NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES. IKEDA - TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION IN CERTIFYING MR. WAS TRANSFERRED FROM NORTH CANTON. HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING E- 8. WHICH WAS 6.

B-181631, OCT 9, 1974

1. GAO HAS NO AUTHORITY TO RELIEVE EMPLOYEE OF INDEBTEDNESS ARISING FROM EXCESS COST OF SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION SINCE 5 U.S.C. 5724 LIMITS THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT WHICH MAY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO 11,000 POUNDS AND NO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO PERMIT TRANSPORTATION IN EXCESS OF THAT WEIGHT LIMITATION. 2. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH LIABILITY TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EXCESS COST OF SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE WAIVED. WAIVER OF CERTAIN CLAIMS OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AGAINST A PERSON ARISING OUT OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY OR ALLOWANCES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ARE AUTHORIZED WHEN COLLECTION ACTION WOULD BE AGAINST EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE AND NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT SUCH AUTHORITY DOES NOT EXTEND TO INDEBTEDNESS RESULTING FROM PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE AND ALLOWANCES AND RELOCATION EXPENSES PAYABLE UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5724A.

ROBERT Y. IKEDA - TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION IN CERTIFYING MR. ROBERT Y. IKEDA TO BE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $501.96 BECAUSE OF EXCESS SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION.

MR. IKEDA, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WAS TRANSFERRED FROM NORTH CANTON, OHIO, TO EL PASO, TEXAS, IN JULY OF 1971. HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING E- 8,791,922, DATED JULY 7, 1971. PRIOR TO THE MOVE, ALLIED VAN LINES ESTIMATED THE WEIGHT AS 8,400 POUNDS. THE ACTUAL WEIGHT TURNED OUT TO BE 14,760 POUNDS, WHICH WAS 6,360 POUNDS OVER THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT AND 3,760 POUNDS OVER THE 11,000-POUND WEIGHT LIMITATION. MR. IKEDA CONTENDS THAT THE ALLIED VAN LINES, NOT HE, SHOULD BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE EXCESS COST.

AUTHORITY FOR TRANSPORTING THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS FOUND AT 5 U.S.C. 5724, WHICH ALSO ESTABLISHES THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT OF THE GOODS AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSPORTED AS 11,000 POUNDS. THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS TO THAT STATUTE ARE FOUND IN OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE TRAVEL. SECTION 6.3 OF THAT CIRCULAR PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES UNDER EITHER A COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM OR AN ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD. UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, AN EMPLOYEE MAKES HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRANSPORTING THE GOODS, PAYS THE CARRIER, AND THEN IS REIMBURSED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE SCHEDULES. WHEN THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD IS USED, THE GOVERNMENT ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR AWARDING CONTRACTS AND FOR OTHER NEGOTIATIONS WITH CARRIERS, AND THE PROPERTY IS THEN SHIPPED ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING AND THE GOVERNMENT PAYS THE TRANSPORTATION VOUCHERS DIRECTLY TO THE CARRIER. HOWEVER, UNDER EITHER METHOD, THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT WHICH MAY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS SUBJECT TO THE 11,000-POUND LIMITATION, AND NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR EMPLOYEE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO PERMIT TRANSPORTATION IN EXCESS OF THAT WEIGHT LIMITATION. THEREFORE, REGARDLESS OF THE REASONS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THE EXCESSIVE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, THE LAW DOES NOT PERMIT PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CHARGES INCURRED INCIDENT TO SHIPMENT OF THE EXCESS WEIGHT. THIS IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH THE SHIPMENT WAS MADE BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING UNDER WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS REQUIRED TO PAY THE CHARGES AND THEN COLLECT ANY AMOUNT ATTRIBUTABLE TO EXCESS WEIGHT FROM THE EMPLOYEE.

REGARDING FURTHER APPEAL, OUR DECISIONS ARE BINDING UPON THE EXECUTIVE AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT. HOWEVER, AFTER THE EMPLOYEE HAS REFUNDED THE COST OF SHIPPING THE EXCESS WEIGHT TO THE GOVERNMENT, HE MAY, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 28 U.S.C. 1346, ID. 1491, CONCERNING MATTERS COGNIZABLE IN THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES AND IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS, PRESS A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXCESS COST.

WE KNOW OF NO AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH LIABILITY TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EXCESS COSTS MAY BE WAIVED. WAIVERS OF CERTAIN CLAIMS OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST A PERSON ARISING OUT OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY OR ALLOWANCES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ARE AUTHORIZED WHEN COLLECTION WOULD BE AGAINST EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE AND NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5584.

HOWEVER, SUCH WAIVER AUTHORITY DOES NOT EXTEND TO INDEBTEDNESS RESULTING FROM PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND ALLOWANCES AND RELOCATION EXPENSES PAYABLE UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5724A. SEE 4 CFR 91.2(C).