B-183429, MAY 15, 1975

B-183429: May 15, 1975

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WAS AUTHORIZED SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO FORT MYERS. AFTER GOODS WERE SHIPPED. WHICH WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED. IS UPHELD BECAUSE GOODS WERE ALREADY ON TRUCK TO FORT MYERS BY TIME CARRIER COULD BE CONTACTED TO DIVERT SHIPMENT. JR. - SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE Z-2529529 DATED FEBRUARY 12. REPRESENTING THE AMOUNT HE PAID TO HAVE 3. GASPERI WAS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. WAS ISSUED AUTHORIZING TRAVEL FOR HIM AND HIS WIFE TO JACKSONVILLE. THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED UNDER GBL NOS. THE GBL'S INDICATE THAT THE GOODS WERE RECEIVED FOR SHIPMENT ON JULY 25. THAT THE PREFERRED DELIVERY DATE WAS SEPTEMBER 5.

B-183429, MAY 15, 1975

UPON SEPARATION FROM FEDERAL SERVICE, CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF ARMED SERVICES IN CANAL ZONE, WAS AUTHORIZED SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO FORT MYERS, FLORIDA. AFTER GOODS WERE SHIPPED, HE REQUESTED DIVERSION TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, WHICH WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED. DENIAL OF EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF COST OF FORWARDING SHIPMENT TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, IS UPHELD BECAUSE GOODS WERE ALREADY ON TRUCK TO FORT MYERS BY TIME CARRIER COULD BE CONTACTED TO DIVERT SHIPMENT.

ARMANDO J. GASPERI, JR. - SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE Z-2529529 DATED FEBRUARY 12, 1975, BY THE TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF MR. ARMANDO J. GASPERI, JR., FOR $240, REPRESENTING THE AMOUNT HE PAID TO HAVE 3,630 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS BACK HAULED TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, AFTER DELIVERY TO FORT MYERS, FLORIDA.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MR. GASPERI WAS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, IN THE CANAL ZONE. UPON HIS RETIREMENT FOR DISABILITY, TRAVEL ORDER NO. CPO 72-381, DATED JULY 5, 1972, WAS ISSUED AUTHORIZING TRAVEL FOR HIM AND HIS WIFE TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, AND SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS, IN TWO LOTS, TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, AND FORT MYERS, FLORIDA. THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED UNDER GBL NOS. F-8,878,317 AND F8,878,316 RESPECTIVELY. THE GBL'S INDICATE THAT THE GOODS WERE RECEIVED FOR SHIPMENT ON JULY 25, 1972, AND THAT THE PREFERRED DELIVERY DATE WAS SEPTEMBER 5, 1972. THE GBL ALSO PROVIDED FOR 60-DAY STORAGE IN TRANSIT AND DIRECTED THAT THE CARRIER NOTIFY THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT HOMESTEAD AIR FORCE BASE (AFB), FLORIDA, UPON ARRIVAL OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS, PRIOR TO DELIVERY TO RESIDENCE OR PLACING IN STORAGE. THE GOODS SENT TO FORT MYERS ACTUALLY REACHED THEIR DESTINATION ON AUGUST 28, 1972.

DUE TO A CHANGE IN MR. GASPERI'S PLANS, HE ADVISED THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT HOMESTEAD AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA, BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 17, 1972, THAT HE WISHED THAT THE GOODS DESTINED FOR FORT MYERS BE DIVERTED TO JACKSONVILLE. THE LETTER WAS DATED 2 DAYS AFTER THE GOODS LEFT THE CANAL ZONE ON AUGUST 15, 1972. THERE IS NO INDICATION IN THE RECORD AS TO WHEN THIS LETTER WAS ACTUALLY RECEIVED, ALTHOUGH MR. GASPERI STATES THAT IT APPEARS THAT THIS LETTER WAS RECEIVED ON AUGUST 18, 1972.

MR. GASPERI RECEIVED NO COMMUNICATION FROM THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT HOMESTEAD AIR FORCE BASE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS; AND IT WAS NOT UNTIL SOME TIME IN SEPTEMBER THAT HE EVEN INQUIRED AS TO WHETHER HIS INSTRUCTIONS WERE BEING COMPLIED WITH. UPON INQUIRY, HE WAS NOTIFIED BY THE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT OFFICER AT HOMESTEAD AFB THAT WHEN HIS LETTER DATED AUGUST 17, 1972, REQUESTING THAT THE GOODS BE DIVERTED FROM THE ORIGINAL DESTINATION, WAS RECEIVED THE CARRIER WAS CONTACTED AT THAT TIME. INASMUCH AS THE GOODS WERE ALREADY ON A FLAT BED TRUCK EN ROUTE TO FORT MYERS, THE CARRIER COULD NOT EFFECT THE DIVERSION. THEREFORE, NO ACTION COULD BE TAKEN UNTIL THE SHIPMENT ARRIVED AT FORT MYERS, AT WHICH TIME A BACKHAUL TO JACKSONVILLE WAS REQUIRED. MR. GASPERI WAS ALSO ADVISED THAT IF HOMESTEAD AFB HAD BEEN ADVISED OF HIS DECISION PRIOR TO THE SHIPMENT DEPARTING FROM THE PORT OF DEBARKATION, THE SHIPMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN DIVERTED WITHOUT EXCESS TRANSPORTATION CHARGES. HE WAS ALSO INFORMED THAT THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS HAD BEEN SENT TO FORT MYERS PURSUANT TO HIS ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS, AND THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO PAY $240 TO COVER DIVERSIONARY CHARGES FOR DELIVERY TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. ON SEPTEMBER 25, 1972, MR. GASPERI PAID THE $240, AND HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE THEN DELIVERED TO HIM. HE NOW CLAIMS THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THIS $240, BECAUSE THE DELIVERY TO FORT MYERS WAS CAUSED BY THE ERRORS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHO FAILED TO EXECUTE THE INSTRUCTIONS IN HIS LETTER DATED AUGUST 17, 1972.

THE ENTITLEMENT OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE SEPARATED FROM SERVICE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, TO TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS SET FORTH IN 5 U.S.C. 5722 (1970) WHICH PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 5722 TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF NEW APPOINTEES; POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES

"(A) UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND SUBJECT TO SUBSECTIONS (B) AND (C) OF THIS SECTION, AN AGENCY MAY PAY FROM ITS APPROPRIATIONS -

"(1) TRAVEL EXPENSES OF A NEW APPOINTEE AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT TO THE PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES; AND

"(2) THESE EXPENSES ON THE RETURN OF AN EMPLOYEE FROM HIS POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACE OF HIS ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES."

THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES FOR SEPARATION, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF SHIPMENT, WERE CONTAINED IN OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, SEC. 1.11D (AUGUST 17, 1971) AND PROVIDED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"D. RETURN FOR SEPARATION. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS ELIGIBLE FOR RETURN TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO HIS PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE UPON SEPARATION *** HE MAY RECEIVE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO AN ALTERNATE LOCATION PROVIDED THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION TO HIS RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS ASSIGNED TO AN OVERSEAS STATION, HOWEVER, UNDER DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ORDINARILY AN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES UPON SEPARATION ONLY TO THE COUNTRY OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF ASSIGNMENT TO SUCH DUTY."

SIMILAR PROVISIONS ARE CONTAINED IN 2 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PARA. C7053-5C (CHANGE 71, SEPTEMBER 1, 1971).

THE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS AUTHORIZED MR. GASPERI TO HAVE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS MOVED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO HIS PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT OR A DIFFERENT PLACE DESIGNATED BY HIM WITHIN THE COUNTRY WHERE HIS ACTUAL RESIDENCE WAS LOCATED. UPON COMPLETION OF THE MOVEMENT TO THAT DESIGNATED PLACE AS SHOWN ON THE TRAVEL ORDER AND GBL - IN MR. GASPERI'S CASE, TO FORT MYERS - ENTITLEMENT TO FURTHER SHIPMENT WAS EXHAUSTED.

MR. GASPERI, HOWEVER, STATES THAT HIS CLAIM SHOULD BE ALLOWED BECAUSE ERRORS OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL CAUSED THE SHIPMENT TO GO TO FORT MYERS RATHER THAN TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. SINCE THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED TO THE DESTINATION AS SHOWN ON THE GBL AND TRAVEL ORDER, AND THE EMPLOYEE DID NOT NOTIFY THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL OF THE REQUEST FOR THE DIVERSION IN TIME TO HAVE THE DOCUMENTS AMENDED BEFORE THE SHIPMENT WAS MADE, WE DO NOT AGREE THAT THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED TO THE WRONG DESTINATION AS THE RESULT OF AN ERROR ON THE PART OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.

ACCORDINGLY, WE MUST SUSTAIN THE ACTION OF OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION IN DISALLOWING THE CLAIM.