B-181994, APR 23, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 892

B-181994: Apr 23, 1975

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HUSBAND AND WIFE - DUAL RIGHTS WHERE BOTH IN MILITARY OR FEDERAL SERVICE - TRAVELING EXPENSES SINCE AGENCY'S APPARENT REASON FOR DECLINING TO ISSUE FEMALE GS-11 EMPLOYEE TRAVEL ORDERS FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) WAS BASED ON ITS ERRONEOUS BELIEF THAT SHE COULD HAVE NO PCS ENTITLEMENTS IN HER OWN RIGHT SOLELY BECAUSE HER U.S.A.F. LIEUTENANT COLONEL HUSBAND WAS TRANSFERED AT APPROXIMATELY SAME TIME TO SAME PLACE. EMPLOYEE'S PCS ENTITLEMENTS MAY BE PAID IF AGENCY DETERMINES TRANSFER WAS IN GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST. MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - INCIDENT TO TRANSFER - SPOUSE IN ARMED SERVICES FEMALE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED AT APPROXIMATELY SAME TIME AS MILITARY MEMBER SPOUSE IS ENTITLED TO MILEAGE PLUS PER DIEM FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) TRAVEL OF HERSELF AND HER CHILDREN IF HER TRANSFER IS FOUND TO HAVE BEEN IN GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST.

B-181994, APR 23, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 892

HUSBAND AND WIFE - DUAL RIGHTS WHERE BOTH IN MILITARY OR FEDERAL SERVICE - TRAVELING EXPENSES SINCE AGENCY'S APPARENT REASON FOR DECLINING TO ISSUE FEMALE GS-11 EMPLOYEE TRAVEL ORDERS FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) WAS BASED ON ITS ERRONEOUS BELIEF THAT SHE COULD HAVE NO PCS ENTITLEMENTS IN HER OWN RIGHT SOLELY BECAUSE HER U.S.A.F. LIEUTENANT COLONEL HUSBAND WAS TRANSFERED AT APPROXIMATELY SAME TIME TO SAME PLACE, EMPLOYEE'S PCS ENTITLEMENTS MAY BE PAID IF AGENCY DETERMINES TRANSFER WAS IN GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST; THAT TRANSFER ALSO SERVES EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL NEEDS DOES NOT PRECLUDE SUCH DETERMINATION. MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - INCIDENT TO TRANSFER - SPOUSE IN ARMED SERVICES FEMALE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED AT APPROXIMATELY SAME TIME AS MILITARY MEMBER SPOUSE IS ENTITLED TO MILEAGE PLUS PER DIEM FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) TRAVEL OF HERSELF AND HER CHILDREN IF HER TRANSFER IS FOUND TO HAVE BEEN IN GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, BUT MILEAGE ALLOWANCE PAID TO MEMBER FOR TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS WOULD CONSEQUENTLY BE FOR RECOVERY, SINCE DUPLICATE PAYMENTS OF PCS ENTITLEMENTS MAY NOT BE MADE FOR SAME PURPOSE. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES - SPOUSE IN ARMED SERVICES ALTHOUGH PAYMENT OF MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE MAY BE CONSIDERED DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) ALLOWANCES WHERE EMPLOYEE'S MILITARY MEMBER SPOUSE, WHO TRANSFERRED AT SAME TIME TO SAME PLACE, RECEIVED DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE AND EMPLOYEE AND MEMBER RESIDE IN SAME HOUSEHOLD, SUCH PAYMENT WOULD NOT BE DUPLICATE PAYMENT IF MEMBER AND EMPLOYEE MAINTAIN SEPARATE HOUSEHOLDS; HOWEVER, DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE WOULD BE AT A "MEMBER WITHOUT DEPENDENTS" RATE WHERE EMPLOYEE HAS OWN PCS ENTITLEMENTS. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - SPOUSE ENTITLED TO MILITARY ALLOWANCES EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO 30 DAYS TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) TRANSFER DOES NOT CONSTITUTE DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF PCS ALLOWANCES WHERE EMPLOYEE'S MILITARY MEMBER SPOUSE RECEIVED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS FOR SAME 30 DAY PERIOD SINCE THESE ALLOWANCES ARE FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES; HOWEVER, EMPLOYEE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR MEMBER'S TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHERE EMPLOYEE AND SPOUSE MAINTAIN SEPARATE HOUSEHOLDS, SINCE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES HE IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE EMPLOYEE'S "DEPENDENT" FOR PCS ENTITLEMENT PURPOSES.

IN THE MATTER OF TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION AND RELOCATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF STATION, APRIL 23, 1975:

AN ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE OFFICER HAS REQUESTED AN ADVANCE DECISION REGARDING THE ENTITLEMENT OF MRS. CAROLYN J. MCDOWELL, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEFENSE CONTRACT ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES REGION (DCASR), DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (PCS) ORDERS INCIDENT TO HER TRANSFER FROM KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, TO DCASR, ATLANTA, GEORGIA. THIS PCS MOVE WAS OCCASIONED BY THE ACCEPTANCE OF MRS. MCDOWELL, A GS-9 OPERATING ACCOUNTANT AT KIRLAND, AFB, OF THE POSITION OF CHIEF, ACCOUNTS AND REPORTS, SUPERVISORY OPERATING ACCOUNTANT, GS-510-11, AT DCASR EFFECTIVE JULY 22, 1973.

MRS. MCDOWELL TRANSFERRED HER PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME AS HER HUSBAND, LT. COLONEL DWIGHT C. MCDOWELL, WHO RECEIVED ORDERS DATED JUNE 20, 1973, TRANSFERRING HIM FROM KIRTLAND AFB TO ROBINS AFB, WARNER ROBINS, GEORGIA. MRS. MCDOWELL WAS NOT ISSUED TRAVEL ORDERS FOR HER TRANSFER BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT SHE WAS MOVING IN CONJUNCTION WITH HER HUSBAND'S TRANSFER AND AS SUCH SHE DID NOT HAVE ANY PCS ENTITLEMENTS IN HER OWN RIGHT. MRS. MCDOWELL HAS CLAIMED THAT THIS WAS NOT THE CASE AND HER TRANSFER WAS UNRELATED TO HER HUSBAND'S TRANSFER. MRS. MCDOWELL PERFORMED HER PCS TRAVEL FROM JULY 25 TO 27, 1973.

MRS. MCDOWELL'S CLAIM IS FOR MISCELLANEOUS MOVING EXPENSES, TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE, AND PER DIEM FOR THE PCS TRAVEL OF HERSELF AND HER CHILDREN AND THE REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN SELLING HER RESIDENCE IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AND BUYING A RESIDENCE IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA. HER HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE MOVED PURSUANT TO LT. COLONEL MCDOWELL'S ORDERS, SINCE SHE WAS NOT ISSUED ORDERS DESPITE HER PROTESTS AND SHE HAD NO TIME TO OPPOSE THE DECISION NOT TO ISSUE HER ORDERS. ALSO, LT. COLONEL MCDOWELL WAS PAID A DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE AND MILEAGE FOR THE PCS TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS, I.E., HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN.

IT IS CLEAR THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S PCS TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY ONLY BE PAID IF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER WAS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724(A)(1) (1970); VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR), PARA. C4100 (CHANGE 75, DECEMBER 1, 1971). HOWEVER, IF A TRANSFER IS PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS OR HER REQUEST THEN THE PCS TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY NOT BE PAID. SEE 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724(H) (1970); B-163345, OCTOBER 22, 1969.

DCASR'S APPARENT BELIEF THAT SHE COULD HAVE NO PCS ENTITLEMENTS IN HER OWN RIGHT SOLELY BECAUSE HER MILITARY MEMBER HUSBAND WAS TRANSFERRED AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME TO THE SAME PLACE, WAS CLEARLY ERRONEOUS. THERE IS NO BASIS IN LAW FOR PRECLUDING THE PAYMENT OF PCS ALLOWANCES TO A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE, WHO HAPPENS TO BE MARRIED TO A MILITARY MEMBER ALSO BEING TRANSFERRED, IF THE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER WAS FOUND TO HAVE BEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST. CONSEQUENTLY, A MALE/FEMALE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO HAVE HIS OR HER PCS TRANSFER EXPENSES PAID, WHENEVER THE TRANSFER IS FOUND TO BE IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, EVEN IF HIS OR HER MILITARY MEMBER SPOUSE WAS ALSO BEING TRANSFERRED AT THE SAME TIME TO THE SAME PLACE, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE MARRIED COUPLE DO NOT RECEIVE DUPLICATE PAYMENTS OF PCS ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE SAME PURPOSE.

SINCE DCASR'S APPARENT REASON FOR DECLINING TO ISSUE MRS. MCDOWELL TRAVEL ORDERS WAS CLEARLY ERRONEOUS AND SINCE THERE IS NO INDICATION ON THE RECORD BEFORE US THAT ANY DETERMINATION WAS MADE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT HER TRANSFER WAS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT OR WAS PRIMARILY FOR HER OWN BENEFIT OR AT HER REQUEST, WE BELIEVE THAT PCS TRAVEL ORDERS MAY BE ISSUED FOR HER TRANSFER TO DCASR, PROVIDED THAT DCASR DETERMINES THAT HER TRANSFER WAS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST. IN THIS REGARD, WE NOTE THAT MRS. MCDOWELL IS A CAREER PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEE WHO COMPETED SUCCESSFULLY FOR A RELATIVELY HIGH LEVEL POSITION AND WAS PERMITTED TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL FOR A JOB INTERVIEW AT DCASR, PRIOR TO HER ACCEPTANCE OF THE SUPERVISORY ACCOUNTANT POSITION. THIS APPEARS TO INDICATE THAT HER SUBSEQUENT PCS TRANSFER TO DCASR WAS REGARDED AS BEING IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST. THE FACT THAT HER TRANSFER ALSO SERVED HER PERSONAL NEEDS IN VIEW OF HER HUSBAND'S TRANSFER (WHICH COULD WELL HAVE BEEN THE REASON SHE CHOSE TO APPLY FOR THE JOB AT DCASR) WOULD NOT PRECLUDE A DETERMINATION THAT THE TRANSFER WAS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST. THIS DETERMINATION, HOWEVER, MUST BE MADE BY THE AGENCY CONCERNED. SHOULD IT BE DETERMINED THAT MRS. MCDOWELL'S TRANSFER WAS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, THEN SHE CAN HAVE HER PCS ENTITLEMENTS PAID, IF THEY ARE VERIFIED AND OTHERWISE CORRECT.

HOWEVER, AS INDICATED ABOVE, LT. COLONEL AND MRS. MCDOWELL MAY NOT RECEIVE DUPLICATE PAYMENTS OF PCS ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE SAME PURPOSE. SEE B-162977, APRIL 29, 1968. IN THIS REGARD, IF MRS. MCDOWELL'S TRANSFER IS FOUND TO HAVE BEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, THEN SHE COULD BE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE PLUS APPLICABLE PER DIEM FOR HER PCS TRAVEL WITH HER CHILDREN FROM ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, IN ACCORDANCE WITH 2 JTR PARAS. C10155-1B AND C10157-1 (CHANGE 74, DECEMBER 1, 1971). THE 12 CENTS PER MILE ALLOWANCE PAID TO LT. COLONEL MCDOWELL FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS WOULD, CONSEQUENTLY, BE FOR RECOVERY. SEE 1 JTR PARA. M7000(10) (CHANGE 236, OCTOBER 1, 1972) (NOW 1 JTR PARA. M7000(11)).

ON THE OTHER HAND, ALTHOUGH THE PAYMENT OF THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE TO A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE MAY BE CONSIDERED A DUPLICATE PAYMENT, IF THE EMPLOYEE'S MILITARY MEMBER SPOUSE, WHO WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE SAME PLACE, RECEIVED A DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE AND THE EMPLOYEE AND THE MEMBER RESIDE IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD, SEE 2 JTR PARA. C8303-1-4 (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972) (CLARIFIED BY CHANGE 94, AUGUST 1, 1973), WE DO NOT BELIEVE SUCH PAYMENT WOULD BE A DUPLICATE PAYMENT IF THEY MAINTAINED SEPARATE HOUSEHOLDS, SUCH AS IS ALLEGED BY MRS. MCDOWELL TO HAVE BEEN THE CASE HERE. CF. 54 COMP. GEN. 665 (1975). IN ANY CASE, LT. COLONEL MCDOWELL'S DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE WOULD BE AT THE "MEMBER WITHOUT DEPENDANTS" RATE, IF IT SHOULD BE FOUND THAT MRS. MCDOWELL SHOULD HAVE BEEN ISSUED PCS ORDERS. 1 JTR PARAS. M9001-2, M9002 (CHANGE 222, JULY 1, 1971).

IT IS CLEAR THAT IF MRS. MCDOWELL RECEIVES 30 DAYS TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, SUCH ALLOWANCE WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE A DUPLICATE PAYMENT TO HER HUSBAND'S RECEIPT OF BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS FOR THE SAME 30-DAY PERIOD, SINCE THOSE ALLOWANCES ARE FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES IN THAT THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ALLOWANCE IS INTENDED TO LESSEN THE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP THAT EMPLOYEES FACE WHEN TRANSFERRED, WHEREAS THE PERMANENT MILITARY BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ALLOWANCES ARE IN THE NATURE OF COMPENSATION AND COVER THE NORMAL DAY-TO-DAY EXPENSES FOR FOOD AND SHELTER WHEN NOT PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 52 COMP. GEN. 962 (1973). HOWEVER, WE NOTE THAT THE LODGING RECEIPTS SUBMITTED BY MRS. MCDOWELL IN SUPPORT OF HER CLAIM INDICATE THAT HER HUSBAND SHARED THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR WHICH SHE IS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT DURING THIS PERIOD. WE DO NOT BELIEVE SHE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR HER HUSBAND'S TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, IF IT SHOULD BE FOUND THAT THEY MAINTAINED SEPARATE HOUSEHOLDS, SINCE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES HE WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED TO BE HER "DEPENDENT" FOR PCS ENTITLEMENT PURPOSES. SEE 2 JTR PARA. C1100 (CHANGE 93, JULY 1, 1973); 2 JTR PARA. C8250 (CHANGE 75, DECEMBER 1, 1971).

IF IT SHOULD BE FOUND THAT SHE WAS ENTITLED TO PCS ORDERS, THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO THE SHIPMENT OF MRS. MCDOWELL'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS PURSUANT TO HER HUSBAND'S ORDERS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, PROVIDED THAT HER 11,000 POUND WEIGHT LIMITATION WAS NOT EXCEEDED. SEE 2 JTR PARA. C7050 (CHANGE 75, DECEMBER 1, 1971).

FINALLY, HER EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF HER RESIDENCE IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AND THE PURCHASE OF HER RESIDENCE IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA, WOULD BE FOR REIMBURSEMENT, IF PROPERLY SUBSTANTIATED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FPMR 101-7) CHAPTER 2, PART 6 (MAY 1973).

APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENTS MAY BE MADE TO THOSE AMOUNTS PAID TO LT. COLONEL MCDOWELL, IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT MRS. MCDOWELL HAD PCS ENTITLEMENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS DECISION.