B-182044, APR 4, 1975

B-182044: Apr 4, 1975

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APPLICABLE AT THE TIME THE COSTS WERE INCURRED. REQUIRES THAT A CONTRACT TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE WAS REQUIRED BEFORE AN EXTENSION FOR AN ADDITIONAL 1 YEAR COULD BE APPROVED. MACH WAS OFFICIALLY PROMOTED FROM THE POSITION OF CUSTOMS INSPECTOR TO THAT OF OPERATIONS OFFICER - A PROMOTION WHICH ENTAILED HIS RELOCATING FROM AN OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IN NOYES. WAS ASSIGNED TO A PROGRAM KNOWN AS THE PS-1 PROJECT. AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF POSITION OPENINGS WAS ISSUED IN BUREAU OF CUSTOMS VACANCY NOTICE NO. 70-80 JT. THIS CIRCULAR STATED IN PART THAT: "ASSIGNMENT WILL EVENTUALLY BE TO SEATTLE. PRIOR TO ASSIGNMENT TRAINING WILL BE PROVIDED IN BUREAU HEADQUARTERS. POSITIONS WILL BE ABOLISHED UPON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AUTOMATED MERCHANDISE PROCESSING SYSTEM (AMPS) AND IF SUITABLE ASSIGNMENT IS NOT MADE PRIOR TO CONCLUSION.

B-182044, APR 4, 1975

AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE SETTLEMENT ON THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION OCCURRED ABOUT 2 1/2 YEARS AFTER HE REPORTED TO HIS NEW STATION AND WHO DID NOT ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE RESIDENCE WITHIN THE INITIAL 1-YEAR PERIOD OF HIS REPORTING TO THE NEW STATION MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED THE REAL ESTATE COSTS INCURRED SINCE SEC. 4.1E OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, APPLICABLE AT THE TIME THE COSTS WERE INCURRED, REQUIRES THAT A CONTRACT TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE WAS REQUIRED BEFORE AN EXTENSION FOR AN ADDITIONAL 1 YEAR COULD BE APPROVED.

EUGENE H. MACH - CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES:

THIS REFERS TO THE REQUEST BY MR. G.B. HODDINOTT, AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER OF THE U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, IN HIS LETTER OF JULY 31, 1974, REFERENCE FIS-3-05 A:A:A, FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION REGARDING THE REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. EUGENE H. MACH, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CUSTOMS SERVICE, INCIDENT TO MR. MACH'S TRANSFER TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON JANUARY 5, 1970, MR. MACH WAS OFFICIALLY PROMOTED FROM THE POSITION OF CUSTOMS INSPECTOR TO THAT OF OPERATIONS OFFICER - A PROMOTION WHICH ENTAILED HIS RELOCATING FROM AN OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IN NOYES, MINNESOTA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. MR. MACH REPORTED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION ON JANUARY 5, 1970, AND WAS ASSIGNED TO A PROGRAM KNOWN AS THE PS-1 PROJECT.

SUBSEQUENTLY, ON OCTOBER 20, 1970, AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF POSITION OPENINGS WAS ISSUED IN BUREAU OF CUSTOMS VACANCY NOTICE NO. 70-80 JT. THIS CIRCULAR STATED IN PART THAT:

"ASSIGNMENT WILL EVENTUALLY BE TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON. PRIOR TO ASSIGNMENT TRAINING WILL BE PROVIDED IN BUREAU HEADQUARTERS. POSITIONS WILL BE ABOLISHED UPON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AUTOMATED MERCHANDISE PROCESSING SYSTEM (AMPS) AND IF SUITABLE ASSIGNMENT IS NOT MADE PRIOR TO CONCLUSION, INDIVIDUALS WILL BE ASSIGNED TO BUREAU HEADQUARTERS AS OPERATING OFFICERS."

MR. MACH SUCCESSFULLY APPLIED FOR THE ADVERTISED OPENING. THE NOTIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ACTION (SF 50) DATED DECEMBER 9, 1970, OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED HIS REASSIGNMENT TO THE NEW PROGRAM AND POSITION; AND THE SF 50 REITERATED THE FACT OF CONTEMPLATED TRANSFER TO SEATTLE.

SUBSEQUENTLY, THE PS-1 PROJECT WHICH BROUGHT MR. MACH TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS CONSOLIDATED INTO THE AMPS PROGRAM, AND, ACCORDINGLY, MR. MACH WAS REASSIGNED, BY SF 50 DATED JULY 26, 1971, TO THE OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER (AUTOMATED MERCHANDISE PROCESSING).

THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT WHILE IN THE AMPS PROGRAM, MR. MACH WAS PROMOTED FROM OPERATIONS OFFICER TO CUSTOMS SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST (CSMS) IN THE PILOT AREA DIVISION OF THE CUSTOMS SERVICE EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 19, 1971. THE SF 50 NOTIFYING HIM OF THIS ACTION ALSO STATED THAT HE WOULD BE EVENTUALLY REASSIGNED, AFTER JUNE 1, 1972, TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.

MR. MACH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY PROMOTED IN THE CSMS POSITION BUT CHANGED FROM THE PILOT AREA DIVISION TO THE OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS DIVISION EFFECTIVE JANUARY 5, 1972; A TRANSFER WHICH ELIMINATED HIS NEED TO MOVE TO SEATTLE.

WHEN HE WAS FIRST TRANSFERRED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., MR. MACH RENTED A HOUSE IN A SUBURB OF THAT DUTY STATION. AFTER MR. MACH WAS ADVISED THAT THERE WAS NO FURTHER NEED OF A TRANSFER TO SEATTLE, HE CONTRACTED TO PURCHASE A RESIDENCE ON JANUARY 9, 1972. SETTLEMENT TOOK PLACE ON JUNE 14, 1972.

WITH RESPECT TO THE FACTS SURROUNDING MR. MACH'S MOVE TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THE DELAYED PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE, MR. HODDINOTT HAS ASKED:

1. "ON WHAT DATE SHOULD MR. MACH'S TIME LIMITATION FOR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS BEGIN?"

THE LIMITATION TO WHICH MR. HODDINOTT REFERS IS THAT DERIVED FROM THE REGULATIONS WHICH CONTROLLED ENTITLEMENTS TO REAL ESTATE COST REIMBURSEMENTS AT THE TIME OF MR. MACH'S TRANSFER TO WASHINGTON, D.C., OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, AND AUGUST 17, 1971. SPECIFICALLY SEC. 4.1E OF THE CIRCULAR PROVIDES THAT ONE OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF ELIGIBILITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT IS THAT - INITIAL ONE-YEAR PERIOD OF THE EMPLOYEE'S REPORTING TO THE NEW DUTY STATION. 171882, APRIL 2, 1971; 52 COMP. GEN. 43 (1972); AND B-172160, JULY 7, 1971. SINCE THE FACTS SURROUNDING MR. MACH'S CLAIM ESTABLISH THAT HE ENTERED INTO THE AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF HIS RESIDENCE ON JANUARY 9, 1972 (MORE THAN 2 YEARS AFTER HE REPORTED TO WASHINGTON, D.C.), THERE IS NO BASIS UPON WHICH TO AUTHORIZE AN EXTENSION OF THE TIME LIMITATION.

3. "THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING MR. MACH FOR HIS REAL ESTATE EXPENSES."

ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING, WE CONCLUDE THERE IS NO BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT.