B-182139, MAR 5, 1975

B-182139: Mar 5, 1975

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THE COST OF NEW APPLIANCES IS NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE. MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE: THIS DECISION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER A VOUCHER FOR CERTAIN MISCELLANEOUS MOVING EXPENSES MAY BE PAID. WAS AUTHORIZED TO CHANGE HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM DETROIT TO FREMONT. FRENCH'S DETROIT RESIDENCE WAS SERVED BY NATURAL GAS AND HE HAD A GAS OVEN. A GAS HOOKUP WAS UNAVAILABLE IN FREMONT AND MR. FRENCH WAS OBLIGED TO PURCHASE NEW ELECTRIC APPLIANCES AT A COST OF $1. FRENCH WAS ORIGINALLY PAID A $200 MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FPMR 101-7) PARA. 2 3.3A(2) (MAY 1973).

B-182139, MAR 5, 1975

WHERE, PURSUANT TO AN AUTHORIZED CHANGE OF RESIDENCE, AN EMPLOYEE CANNOT CONVERT HIS APPLIANCES FOR USE ON AVAILABLE UTILITIES, THE COST OF NEW APPLIANCES IS NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE.

MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE:

THIS DECISION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER A VOUCHER FOR CERTAIN MISCELLANEOUS MOVING EXPENSES MAY BE PAID.

JOE W. FRENCH, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WAS AUTHORIZED TO CHANGE HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM DETROIT TO FREMONT, MICHIGAN. MR. FRENCH'S DETROIT RESIDENCE WAS SERVED BY NATURAL GAS AND HE HAD A GAS OVEN, RANGE, REFRIGERATOR, AND DRYER. HOWEVER, A GAS HOOKUP WAS UNAVAILABLE IN FREMONT AND MR. FRENCH WAS OBLIGED TO PURCHASE NEW ELECTRIC APPLIANCES AT A COST OF $1,440.23 PLUS $340.27 FOR MATERIALS AND LABOR FOR INSTALLATION.

MR. FRENCH WAS ORIGINALLY PAID A $200 MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FPMR 101-7) PARA. 2 3.3A(2) (MAY 1973). UNDER FTR PARA. 2-3.3B (MAY 1973), AN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE IF HE CAN PRESENT ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE JUSTIFYING THE EXCESS EXPENSES. HOWEVER, THE AGGREGATE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE MAY NOT EXCEED TWO WEEKS BASIC PAY IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WITH A FAMILY. MR. FRENCH'S MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE IS $491.20. SINCE HE HAS ALREADY RECEIVED $200, MR. FRENCH IS NOW CLAIMING THE ADDITIONAL $291.20 TO WHICH HE MAY BE ENTITLED. THE ISSUE PRESENTED FOR OUR DECISION IS WHETHER EXPENSES FOR NEW APPLIANCES ARE PAYABLE WHERE THEIR PURCHASE WAS NECESSITATED BY THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF CONVERTING THE EMPLOYEE'S OLD APPLIANCES FOR USE IN THE NEW RESIDENCE.

EXPENSES WHICH ARE PAYABLE UNDER THE MISCELLANEOUS ALLOWANCE INCLUDE:

"FEES FOR DISCONNECTING AND CONNECTING APPLIANCES, EQUIPMENT, AND UTILITIES INVOLVED IN RELOCATION AND COSTS OF CONVERTING APPLIANCES FOR OPERATION ON AVAILABLE UTILITIES."

FTR PARA. 2-3.1B(1) (MAY 1973). WHETHER OR NOT THIS LANGUAGE COULD BE INTERPRETED TO INCLUDE MR. FRENCH'S EXPENSES IS PROBLEMATICAL, BUT THE ISSUE IS RESOLVED BY FTR PARA. 2-3.1C(5) WHICH SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES:

"COSTS OF NEWLY ACQUIRED ITEMS, SUCH AS THE PURCHASE OR INSTALLATION COST OF NEW RUGS OR DRAPERIES."

INSTALLATION EXPENSES FOR THESE APPLIANCES ARE NOT PAYABLE BECAUSE FTR PARA. 2-3.1B(1) ALLOWS SUCH EXPENSES ONLY FOR APPLIANCES "INVOLVED IN RELOCATION." FURTHER, THE INSTALLATION EXPENSES WERE INCURRED FOR ELECTRICAL MATERIAL AND LABOR FOR WIRING THE HOUSE, AND THEREFORE REPRESENT COSTS OF STRUCTURAL ALTERATIONS, REMODELING, OR MODERNIZATION OF LIVING QUARTERS, ALL OF WHICH ARE NOT PAYABLE. B-164111, JUNE 10, 1968.

WE CONCLUDE THAT THE VOUCHER MAY NOT BE PAID.