B-182198, JAN 13, 1975

B-182198: Jan 13, 1975

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY CLAIMING ADDITIONAL MILEAGE INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION IS ENTITLED ONLY TO RATE SPECIFIED ON TRAVEL ORDERS AND IN EFFECT AT TIME OF TRAVEL. ALTHOUGH RATE WAS INCREASED SUBSEQUENT TO TRAVEL. SINCE RIGHTS VEST WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER ORDERS. 168884. SINCE NO EVIDENCE WAS SUBMITTED OF LACK OF SCALES AT POINT OF ORIGIN. NO BILL OF LADING OR OTHER EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS WAS PROVIDED AS REQUIRED BY OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. CLAIM OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY FOR MINIMUM MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION IS ALLOWABLE UNDER 2 JTR PARA. 8303 -1.1 SINCE EVIDENCE WAS FURNISHED THAT EXPENSES RELATED TO OBTAINING AN AUTOMOBILE TITLE AND LICENSE WHICH FALL PROPERLY IN THE MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORY.

B-182198, JAN 13, 1975

1. CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY CLAIMING ADDITIONAL MILEAGE INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION IS ENTITLED ONLY TO RATE SPECIFIED ON TRAVEL ORDERS AND IN EFFECT AT TIME OF TRAVEL, ALTHOUGH RATE WAS INCREASED SUBSEQUENT TO TRAVEL, SINCE RIGHTS VEST WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER ORDERS. 168884, MARCH 5, 1970. 2. CLAIM OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ON COMMUTED BASIS BASED ON CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT, SINCE NO EVIDENCE WAS SUBMITTED OF LACK OF SCALES AT POINT OF ORIGIN, AND NO BILL OF LADING OR OTHER EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS WAS PROVIDED AS REQUIRED BY OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1971. COMP. GEN. DECISIONS CITED. 3. CLAIM OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY FOR MINIMUM MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION IS ALLOWABLE UNDER 2 JTR PARA. 8303 -1.1 SINCE EVIDENCE WAS FURNISHED THAT EXPENSES RELATED TO OBTAINING AN AUTOMOBILE TITLE AND LICENSE WHICH FALL PROPERLY IN THE MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORY. B-163632, APRIL 9, 1968. 4. CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES FOR SETTLEMENT OF UNEXPIRED LEASE UNDER PROVISIONS OF 2 JTR PARA. C8353 IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT SINCE $10 REPRESENTS RENTAL DEPOSIT FORFEITED BECAUSE OF DIRTY APARTMENT, WHICH IS NOT RELATED TO TERMINATING LEASE PRIOR TO TERM, AND THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT $3.85 RENT FOR ONE DAY'S RENT AFTER EMPLOYEE VACATED APARTMENT WAS A LEASE TERMINATION EXPENSE. 5. CLAIM OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMY FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR ONE-HALF DAY PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BASED ON ALLEGATION THAT TIME OF ARRIVAL ON ORIGINAL VOUCHER WAS ERRONEOUSLY STATED AS 11:30 A.M., WHEN ACTUAL ARRIVAL WAS 11:30 P.M., IS ALLOWABLE IN VIEW OF REASONABLENESS OF TRAVEL TIME AND FACT THAT TOTAL TRAVEL TIME WAS STILL LESS THAN ALTERNATE METHOD OF COMPUTATION USING 300 MILES PER CALENDAR DAY FOR OFFICIAL DISTANCE TRAVELED, AS PROVIDED IN 2 JTR PARA. C10155-1B.

JOHN J. PATCH - RELOCATION EXPENSES:

BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 29, 1974, A DISBURSING OFFICER, U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT, GALVESTON, TEXAS, FORWARDED THE FILE AND REQUESTED OUR DECISION REGARDING THE RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER OF JOHN J. PATCH, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, PRESENTED FOR CERTIFICATION. ON SEPTEMBER 24, 1974, AN ADDITIONAL STATEMENT BY THE EMPLOYEE IN SUPPORT OF HIS CLAIM WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER.

PURSUANT TO TRAVEL ORDER NO. 72-846, DATED DECEMBER 5, 1972, MR. PATCH TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS FROM GALVESTON, TEXAS, TO SHERIDAN, ILLINOIS. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A REIMBURSEMENT RATE OF 6 CENTS PER MILE, AND TO INCUR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES AND EXPENSES FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS NOT TO EXCEED 5,000 POUNDS. THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS SUBSEQUENTLY AMENDED ON FEBRUARY 13, 1974, TO AUTHORIZE UNEXPIRED LEASE EXPENSES.

CLAIMS FOR MILEAGE AT 8 CENTS PER MILE (THE RATE IN EFFECT AFTER FEBRUARY 8, 1974) INSTEAD OF 6 CENTS, MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES OF $100, AND EXPENSES FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON A COMMUTED BASIS WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED. MR. PATCH HAS RECLAIMED THESE EXPENSES, ONE-HALF DAY ADDITIONAL PER DIEM BECAUSE OF ALLEGED ERROR IN REPORTING ARRIVAL TIME, AND LEASE TERMINATION EXPENSES OF $13.85.

THE TRAVEL ORDER OF DECEMBER 5, 1972, WAS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS CONCERNING THE RATE OF MILEAGE, 6 CENTS PER MILE. MOREOVER, THE RATE SET WAS THE PROPER RATE UNDER CONTROLLING REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. AS WE STATED IN B-168884, MARCH 5, 1970:

"IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT LEGAL RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES IN REGARD TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE VEST AS AND WHEN THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER THE ORDERS, AND THAT SUCH ORDERS MAY NOT BE REVOKED OR MODIFIED RETROACTIVELY SO AS TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE RIGHTS WHICH HAVE BECOME FIXED UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTES OR REGULATIONS UNLESS ERROR IS APPARENT ON THE FACE OF THE ORDERS, OR ALL THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE THAT SOME PROVISION PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED AND DEFINITELY INTENDED HAD BEEN OMITTED THROUGH ERROR AND INADVERTENCE IN PREPARING THE ORDERS, 23 COMP. GEN. 713, 24 ID. 439, 28 ID. 732."

HENCE, NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR PAYMENT OF MILEAGE RATE IN EXCESS OF THE RATE SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER AND IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM ALLOWED AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT PAYMENT ON A COMMUTED BASIS FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEE FAILED TO FURNISH THE CUBIC FOOT MEASUREMENT OF THE GOODS. 2 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR) PARA. C10201 (CHANGE 84, OCTOBER 1, 1972) PROVIDES THAT:

"*** WHEN THE EMPLOYEE FAILS TO FURNISH THE ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE (CUBIC FOOT MEASUREMENT) WEIGHT OF A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, PAYMENT UPON A COMMUTED BASIS IS NOT AUTHORIZED. IN SUCH CASES, REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED BY THE EMPLOYEE, PROVIDED THAT SUCH AMOUNT DOES NOT EXCEED THAT PAYABLE AT THE COMMUTED RATE, AND PROVIDED FURTHER THAT THE EMPLOYEE FURNISHES AN ACCEPTABLE STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED WEIGHT (28 COMP. GEN. 95). ***"

THE EMPLOYEE NOW ALLEGES THAT THE CLAIMED EXPENSES WERE BASED ON AN ACTUAL MEASUREMENT OF HIS AUTOMOBILE'S TRUNK, REAR SEAT AND RIGHT FRONT SEAT CAPACITIES, AMOUNTING TO 100 CUBIC FEET, ALL OF WHICH WAS OCCUPIED BY HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. HE ALSO STATES THAT THE OFFICER APPROVING HIS TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED A MINIMUM EXPENSE FOR 500 POUNDS SHIPPED ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS, AND APPROVED HIS METHOD OF MEASURING THE CUBIC FOOT CAPACITY OF HIS CAR IN ADVANCE.

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY ERRONEOUS ADVICE HE MAY HAVE RECEIVED, WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME, SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS, MAY NOT BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. IN THAT REGARD, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, SECTION 6.2B(4), WHICH IS THE CONTROLLING STATUTORY REGULATION, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"*** IF NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS AVAILABLE AT POINT OF ORIGIN, AT ANY POINT EN ROUTE, OR AT DESTINATION, A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT, BASED ON 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE, MAY BE USED. ***."

CIRCULAR NO. A-56, SECTION 6.3A(3), PROVIDES THAT:

"*** CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM SHALL BE SUPPORTED BY A RECEIPTED COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING INCLUDING ANY ATTACHED WEIGHT CERTIFICATE COPIES IF SUCH A BILL WAS ISSUED. IF NO BILL OF LADING WAS INVOLVED OTHER EVIDENCE SHOWING POINTS OF ORIGIN AND DESTINATION AND THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS MUST BE SUBMITTED. EMPLOYEES WHO TRANSPORT THEIR OWN HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE CAUTIONED TO ESTABLISH THE WEIGHT OF SUCH GOODS BY OBTAINING PROPER WEIGHT CERTIFICATES SHOWING GROSS WEIGHT (WEIGHT OF VEHICLE AND GOODS) AND TARE WEIGHT (WEIGHT OF VEHICLE ALONE) IF IT IS AT ALL POSSIBLE BECAUSE COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS FOR PAYMENT AT COMMUTED RATES ON THE BASIS OF CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT AS CONTAINED IN 6.2B(4) MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE."

IN THIS CASE THE EMPLOYEE HAS FURNISHED NO EVIDENCE OF THE LACK OF SCALES TO PERMIT DETERMINATION OF THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTED. MOREOVER, EVEN IF HE DOES SHOW THAT SCALES WERE NOT AVAILABLE, WE MAY NOT ACCEPT HIS STATEMENT ON THE VOUCHER ESTIMATING THE WEIGHT AND DESCRIBING THE ARTICLES TRANSPORTED IN THE AUTOMOBILE AS ESTABLISHING THE REASONABLE WEIGHT THEREOF FOR PAYMENT PURPOSES. EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF SUCH WEIGHT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO EXPLAIN HOW HE MEASURED THE CUBIC CAPACITY OCCUPIED BY THE ARTICLES TRANSPORTED IN THE AUTOMOBILE. ALSO, HE WOULD HAVE TO SHOW THE VOLUME OCCUPIED BY EACH ARTICLE BASED ON ACTUAL MEASUREMENT OR A UNIFORM TABLE, PREFERABLY PREPARED BY A COMMERCIAL CARRIER. B-170065, OCTOBER 20, 1970; B-162879, DECEMBER 18, 1967; 48 COMP. GEN. 115, 118 (1968). REGARDING AN ALLEGED "EXPRESS AGREEMENT" THAT A MINIMUM OF 500 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT $27.80 PER 100 POUNDS WOULD BE PAID THE EMPLOYEE, SUCH AN AGREEMENT WOULD BE CONTRARY TO THE APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS. CF. 46 COMP. GEN. 348 (1966). CONSEQUENTLY THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT ON THE PRESENT RECORD.

MR. PATCH'S CLAIM FOR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE OF $100 FOR EMPLOYEE WITHOUT DEPENDENTS WAS DENIED BECAUSE HE FAILED TO ESTABLISH ANY EXPENSES IN THE MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORY. SEE B-163632, APRIL 9, 1968. HOWEVER, THE RECORD NOW CONTAINS A PHOTOSTAT OF A RECEIPT FOR $31 BY THE STATE OF ILLINOIS FOR HIS AUTOMOBILE TITLE AND LICENSE. THIS EXPENSE IS SPECIFICALLY INCLUDED IN THE MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORY, 2 JTR PARA. 8300 (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972), AND THUS MR. PATCH IS ENTITLED TO THE $100 MINIMUM MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE AS PROVIDED BY 2 JTR PARA. 8303- 1.1 (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972).

THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR LEASE TERMINATION EXPENSES UNDER 2 JTR PARA. C8353 (CHANGE 83, SEPTEMBER 1, 1972) CONSISTS OF $10 IN RENT DEPOSIT WHICH WAS FORFEITED BECAUSE OF THE MANAGEMENT'S CONTENTION THAT THE APARTMENT WAS LEFT DIRTY, AND $3.85 REPRESENTING ONE UNUSED DAY OF THE EMPLOYEE'S FINAL 2-WEEK RENTAL PERIOD. 2 JTR PARA. C10011 (CHANGE 75, DECEMBER 1, 1971) PROVIDES, REGARDING EXPENSES FOR SETTLEMENT OF AN UNEXPIRED LEASE, THAT:

"*** ALLOWABLE COST ITEMS WILL BE LIMITED TO THOSE PAYMENTS MADE BY THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED WHICH REPRESENT UNAVOIDABLE EXPENSES DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO TERMINATION OF A LEASE PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION DATE. ***"

THE RENTAL DEPOSIT FORFEITED IS UNRELATED TO PRIOR TERMINATION OF THE LEASE, AND IS NOT ALLOWABLE. WHILE MR. PATCH STATES THAT HE MADE BONA FIDE ATTEMPTS TO TERMINATE THE TENANCY, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE $3.85 CLAIMED WAS AN UNAVOIDABLE SETTLEMENT EXPENSE. CF. B-162503, OCTOBER 13, 1967.

MR. PATCH CLAIMS THAT HIS RETURN WAS ERRONEOUSLY RECORDED AS 11:30 A.M. ON HIS ORIGINAL CLAIM VOUCHER WHEN HE ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT 11:30 P.M. ON THE SAME DAY. ALTHOUGH THE VOUCHER (DD FORM 1351-2) SIGNED BY THE EMPLOYEE CLEARLY STATES THAT TIME IS COMPUTED ON A 24-HOUR CLOCK, THE TRAVEL TIME ALLEGED IS NOT UNREASONABLE AND LESS THAN THE ALTERNATE METHOD OF COMPUTATION (300 MILES PER CALENDAR DAY FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE OF 1,152 MILES, 2 JTR PARA. C10155-1B (CHANGE 80, JUNE 1, 1972)). THEREFORE, IT APPEARS THE TIME WAS ENTERED IN ERROR AND MAY BE CORRECTED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE EMPLOYEE'S RECLAIM OF MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES OF $100 AND ONE-HALF DAY ADDITIONAL PER DIEM MAY BE PAID, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. THE OTHER EXPENSES CLAIMED MAY NOT BE PAID.