B-184029, JAN 26, 1976

B-184029: Jan 26, 1976

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EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO RELOCATION BENEFITS SINCE MOVE WAS A SHORT DISTANCE AND THE AGENCY DETERMINED THAT THE CHANGE IN RESIDENCE WAS NOT INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF AGENCY HEADQUARTERS. WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION (NOW CLAIMS DIVISION) IN ITS SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE DATED APRIL 1. WILLIAMS IS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ARMY COASTAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH CENTER (CERC). IT IS STATED THAT IN OCTOBER 1972. WILLIAMS AUTHORIZING A CHANGE-OF-STATION ALLOWANCE ON THE GROUND THAT HIS CHANGE OF RESIDENCE WAS MADE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE AND NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. WHICH ARE NOT IN DISPUTE. SHOW THAT THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW DUTY STATION IS 28 MILES.

B-184029, JAN 26, 1976

EMPLOYEE CHANGED HIS RESIDENCE AFTER AGENCY HAD ANNOUNCED IT WOULD RELOCATE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA, 28 MILES AWAY. EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO RELOCATION BENEFITS SINCE MOVE WAS A SHORT DISTANCE AND THE AGENCY DETERMINED THAT THE CHANGE IN RESIDENCE WAS NOT INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF AGENCY HEADQUARTERS.

STANLEY JEFFRESS WILLIAMS - RELOCATION BENEFITS - SHORT DISTANCE BETWEEN OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS:

MR. STANLEY JEFFRESS WILLIAMS HAS REQUESTED THAT A REVIEW BE MADE OF HIS CLAIM FOR TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION, AND OTHER RELATED ALLOWANCES, INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION (NOW CLAIMS DIVISION) IN ITS SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE DATED APRIL 1, 1975.

AS SET FORTH IN THE DISALLOWANCE ACTION THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. WILLIAMS IS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ARMY COASTAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH CENTER (CERC). IT IS STATED THAT IN OCTOBER 1972, SUBSEQUENT TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT CERC WOULD RELOCATE FROM 5201 LITTLE FALLS ROAD, N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE KINGMAN BUILDING, FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA, MR. WILLIAMS MOVED HIS FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM 2505 ARLINGTON BOULEVARD, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, TO 1201 WARE STREET, SW., VIENNA, VIRGINIA. THE AGENCY REFUSED TO ISSUE ORDERS TO MR. WILLIAMS AUTHORIZING A CHANGE-OF-STATION ALLOWANCE ON THE GROUND THAT HIS CHANGE OF RESIDENCE WAS MADE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE AND NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, NOR INCIDENT TO THE RELOCATION OF CERC.

IN SUMMARY THE FACTS, WHICH ARE NOT IN DISPUTE, SHOW THAT THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW DUTY STATION IS 28 MILES; THE DISTANCE FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE NEW DUTY STATION IS APPROXIMATELY 17.5 MILES; THE DISTANCE FROM THE NEW RESIDENCE TO THE NEW DUTY STATION IS 13 MILES; THE COMMUTING TIME FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE OLD DUTY STATION WAS 20 MINUTES, FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE NEW DUTY STATION 45 MINUTES, AND FROM THE NEW RESIDENCE TO THE NEW DUTY STATION 30 MINUTES. THUS, MR. WILLIAMS MOVED 4.5 MILES CLOSER TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION WITH A REDUCTION OF 30 MINUTES A DAY IN COMMUTING TIME.

PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF TRANSFERRED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ARE PROVIDED IN 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724 AS FOLLOWS:

"(A) UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND WHEN THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNEE AUTHORIZES OR APPROVES, THE AGENCY SHALL PAY FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS -

"(1) THE TRAVEL EXPENSE OF AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION OR AGENCY TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, AND THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, OR A COMMUTATION THEREOF UNDER SECTION 5704 OF THIS TITLE; AND

"(2) THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING, PACKING, CRATING, TEMPORARILY STORING, DRAYING, AND UNPACKING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS NOT IN EXCESS OF 11,000 POUNDS NET WEIGHT."

PROVISIONS FOR PAYMENT OF RELOCATION ALLOWANCES ARE PRESCRIBED IN 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724A AS FOLLOWS:

"(A) UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND TO THE EXTENT CONSIDERED NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, AS PROVIDED THEREIN, APPROPRIATIONS OR OTHER FUNDS AVAILABLE TO AN AGENCY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ALL OR PART OF THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE FOR WHOM THE GOVERNMENT PAYS EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION UNDER SECTION 5724(A) OF THIS TITLE ***."

THE BENEFITS GRANTED UNDER THE CONTROLLING STATUTORY PROVISIONS ARE CONDITIONED UPON THE PROMULGATION OF APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS AND ARE PAYABLE ONLY TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED AND ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF SUCH REGULATIONS. EXECUTIVE ORDER 11609 OF JULY 22, 1971, DELEGATED TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF GENERAL SERVICES THE AUTHORITY TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS PRESCRIBING EMPLOYEE TRAVEL AND RELOCATION ALLOWANCES. THE ADMINISTRATOR ADAPTED THE RELOCATION ALLOWANCE REGULATIONS IN OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED AUGUST 17, 1971. THE REGULATIONS PERTINENT TO THIS CASE ARE NOW SET FORTH, WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE, IN CHAPTER 2 OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973). PARAGRAPH 2-1.3 OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"2-1.3. TRAVEL COVERED. WHEN CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION OR OTHER ACTION DESCRIBED BELOW IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY SUCH OFFICIAL OR OFFICIALS AS THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY MAY DESIGNATE, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE ALLOWANCES AS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE PAYABLE IN THE CASE OF (A) TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, PROVIDED THAT: THE TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IS NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST; THE TRANSFER IS TO A NEW OFFICIAL STATION WHICH IS AT LEAST 10 MILES DISTANT FROM THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION; AND, IN CASE OF A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE RELOCATION, A DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY IS MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 2-1.5B(1) ***."

PARAGRAPH 2-1.5B(1) OF THE REGULATIONS WITH REFERENCE TO A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE RELOCATION PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"B. SHORT DISTANCE INVOLVED.

"(1) TRANSFERS. WHEN THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION INVOLVES A SHORT DISTANCE WITHIN THE SAME GENERAL LOCAL OR METROPOLITAN AREA, THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE ALLOWANCES IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S RELOCATION OF HIS RESIDENCE SHALL BE AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THE RELOCATION WAS INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION. SUCH DETERMINATION SHALL TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION SUCH FACTORS AS COMMUTING TIME AND DISTANCE BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF NOTIFICATION OF TRANSFER AND HIS OLD AND NEW POSTS OF DUTY AS WELL AS THE COMMUTING TIME AND DISTANCE BETWEEN A PROPOSED NEW RESIDENCE AND THE NEW POST OF DUTY. ORDINARILY, A RELOCATION OF RESIDENCE SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION UNLESS THE ONE- WAY COMMUTING DISTANCE FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION IS AT LEAST 10 MILES GREATER THAN FROM THE OLD RESIDENCE TO THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION. EVEN THEN, CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING A PARTICULAR CASE (E.G., RELATIVE COMMUTING TIME) MAY SUGGEST THAT THE MOVE OF RESIDENCE WAS NOT INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION."

WITH REFERENCE TO CHANGE OF STATION WITHIN THE SAME CITY OR AREA THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS SET FORTH IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE TO THE SAME EFFECT. SEE 2 JTR PARA. C4108.

WITH RESPECT TO A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE RELOCATION WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE PROVISIONS QUOTED ABOVE DO NOT ESTABLISH FIXED RULES TO BE APPLIED IN ALL CASES INVOLVING TRANSFERS BETWEEN OFFICIAL STATIONS WHICH ARE RELATIVELY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER. RATHER, THE REGULATION GIVES THE AGENCY BROAD AUTHORITY IN WHICH IT MUST DETERMINE WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE'S MOVE FROM ONE RESIDENCE TO ANOTHER IS IN FACT INCIDENT TO THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION. THE AGENCY HAS DETERMINED THAT MR. WILLIAMS' CHANGE IN RESIDENCE WAS NOT A RESULT OF THE RELOCATION OF CERC FROM LITTLE FALLS ROAD, WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE KINGMAN BUILDING. SEE B-179907, JUNE 7, 1974. ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF MR. WILLIAMS' CLAIM IS SUSTAINED.