B-187173, OCT 4, 1976

B-187173: Oct 4, 1976

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WHO WAS HIRED AS NEW APPOINTEE TO MANPOWER-SHORTAGE POSITION. HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXCESS EXPENSES SINCE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS LIMIT ENTITLEMENT TO COMMUTED RATE. 2. HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ADDITIONAL AMOUNT SINCE AGENCY WAS NOT REQUIRED TO FURNISH ESTIMATE. GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BOUND BY IT SINCE REIMBURSEMENT WAS LIMITED TO COMMUTED RATE AND GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE BOUND BEYOND ACTUAL AUTHORITY CONFERRED UPON ITS AGENCY BY STATUTE OR REGULATION. BEARD - TRANSPORATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST DATED AUGUST 11. BEARD WAS AUTHORIZED AN OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION. 405 WAS MADE FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS ($2.

B-187173, OCT 4, 1976

1. EMPLOYEE, WHO WAS HIRED AS NEW APPOINTEE TO MANPOWER-SHORTAGE POSITION, INCURRED EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED UNDER COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM FOR TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXCESS EXPENSES SINCE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS LIMIT ENTITLEMENT TO COMMUTED RATE. 2. NEW APPOINTEE TO MANPOWER-SHORTAGE POSITION, INCURRED EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED UNDER COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM FOR TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND CLAIMED DIFFERENCE ON BASIS THAT AGENCY HAD NOT GIVEN HIM ESTIMATED ENTITLEMENT. HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ADDITIONAL AMOUNT SINCE AGENCY WAS NOT REQUIRED TO FURNISH ESTIMATE. ALSO, IF ESTIMATE HAD BEEN FURNISHED, GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BOUND BY IT SINCE REIMBURSEMENT WAS LIMITED TO COMMUTED RATE AND GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE BOUND BEYOND ACTUAL AUTHORITY CONFERRED UPON ITS AGENCY BY STATUTE OR REGULATION.

T. N. BEARD - TRANSPORATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST DATED AUGUST 11, 1976, BY MR. ROBERT E. REID, JR., CHIEF., PAYROLL, TRAVEL AND COMMERCIAL ACCOUNTS BRANCH, OFFICE OF THE CONTROLLER, UNITED STATES ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION (ERDA), FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER HE MAY APPROVE FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. T. N. BEARD, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGENCY, IN THE AMOUNT OF $343.15. THE AMOUNT CLAIMED REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT PAID BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY SOTRAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND THE AMOUNT REIMBURSED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR SUCH SERVICES UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, INCIDENT TO HIS HIRE AS A NEW APPOINTEE TO A MANPOWER-SHORTAGE POSITION IN GERMANTOWN, MARYLAND.

BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NUMBER 66935 DATED APRIL 13, 1976, MR. BEARD WAS AUTHORIZED AN OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION, AS A MANPOWER-SHORTAGE APPOINTEE, TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. (GERMANTOWN, MARYLAND). A TOTAL ESTIMATE IN THE AMOUNT OF $3,405 WAS MADE FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS ($2,955) AND FOR TEMPORARY STORAGE ($450) THEREOF. THE ACTUAL AMOUNT PAID BY MR. BEARD FOR THE AFOREMENTIONED SERVICES TOTALED $3,820.48. UTILIZING THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, THE GOVERNMENT REIMBURSED HIM $3,477.33. MR. BEARD RECLAIMS THE DIFFERENCE OF $343.15.

MR. BEARD CONTENDS THAT HE WAS NOT ADVISED THAT THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM WOULD NOT COVER PACKING AND UNPACKING CHARGES FOR HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND THAT HE WAS NOT GIVEN THE ESTIMATED COMMUTED RATE FOR SHIPMENT OF SUCH EFFECTS BY PERSONNEL AND TRAVEL OFFICIALS OF THE AGENCY WHEN INTERVIEWED FOR EMPLOYMENT. THE SOLE ISSUE FOR DECISION IS WHETHER, IN LIGHT OF THE AFORE STATED CONTENTIONS, MR. BEARD MAY BE REIMBURSED THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

APPOINTEES TO MANPOWER-SHORTAGE POSITIONS ARE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN ACCORDANCE WITH 5 U.S.C. 5723 (1970), WHICH PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF THE APPOINTEE, PAYMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED IN 5 U.S.C. 5724. IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 2-1.5F(3) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973), SET FORTH AS ALLOWABLE EXPENSES OF SHORTAGE-CATEGORY APPOINTEES AND AS PERTINENT HERE, "(D) TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS SET FORTH IN 2- 8 * * * ."

PARAGRAPH 2-8.3 PROVIDES, AS TO TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WITHIN THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES, FOR USE OF THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM AND THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD. THE COMMUTED RATE INCLUDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, COST OF PACKING, CRATING, AND UNPACKING INCIDENT TO TRANSPORTATION, AND OTHER ACCESSORIAL CHARGES. SUBPARAGRAPH 2-8.3C(3) STATES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT IT IS THE GENERAL POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT COMMUTED RATES SHALL BE USED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL TRANSFER IS INVOLVED. SUBPARAGRAPH 2- 8.4C(4)(A) PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERS. AGENCY EXPERIENCE WITH THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD HAS SHOWN THAT SHIPMENT BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING DOES NOT RESULT IN SAVINGS SIMPLY BECAUSE A LINE-HAUL DISCOUNT IS AVAILABLE. THEREFORE, THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM SHALL BE USED FOR INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERS WITHOUT CONSIDERATION BEING GIVEN THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD, EXCEPT THAT THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD MAY BE USED IF THE ACTUAL COSTS TO BE INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR PACKING AND OTHER ACCESSORIAL SERVICES ARE PREDETERMINED (AT LEAST AS TO PRICE PER 100 POUNDS) AND IF THAT METHOD IS EXPECTED TO RESULT IN A REAL SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $100 OR MORE.

AS TO TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, PARAGRAPH 2-8.5B(1) STATES THAT WHEN GOODS ARE SHIPPED UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM COSTS OF TEMPORARY STORAGE ARE NOT TO EXCEED THE COMMUTED RATES FOR STORAGE AS CONTAINED IN GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) BULLETIN FPMR A 2. HENCE, THE AFORE STATED REGULATORY PROVISIONS REQUIRE, AS TO INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERS, THE UTILIZATION OF THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM IN THE TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY SOTRAGE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WITHOUT CONSIDERATION BEING GIVEN TO THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD.

AS THE COMMUTED RATE INCLUDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, PACKING, CRATING, AND UNPACKING COSTS INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY STORAGE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS, MR. BEARD'S INITIAL CONTENTION IS INCORRECT.

MR. BEARD ALSO CONTENDS THAT HE WAS NOT GIVEN THE ESTIMATED COMMUTED RATE FOR SHIPMENT AND STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BY PERSONNEL AND TRAVEL OFFICIALS OF THE AGENCY WHEN HE WAS INTERVIEWED FOR EMPLOYMENT. EXPLAINED IN FTR PARAGRAPH 2-8.3A(1), UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM THE EMPLOYEE MAKES HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND TEMPORARY STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. HE SELECTS AND PAYS THE CARRIER OR TRANSPORTS HIS GOODS BY NONCOMMERCIAL MEANS AND IS REIMBURSED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCHEDULES OF COMMUTED RATES WHICH ARE CONTAINED IN GSA BULLETIN FPMR A-2, COMMUTED RATE SCHEDULE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

COSTS OF TEMPORARY STORAGE ARE STATED SEPARATELY IN THE SCHEDULE OF COMMUTED RATES. ALTHOUGH MR. BEARD WAS A NEW APPOINTEE, WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY LAW OR REGULATION THAT REQUIRED AGENCY OFFICIALS TO ADVISE HIM OF THE ESTIMATED COMMUTED RATE APPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. IN FACT, MAKING SUCH ESTIMATE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PRACTICAL SINCE THE WEIGHT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO BE SHIPPED WOULD HAVE TO BE KNOWN, AS WELL AS THE APPLICABLE RATE PER HUNDRED POUNDS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS MILEAGE GUIDES, FOR THE DISTANCE THE GOODS WERE TO BE SHIPPED AS SHOWN IN THE COMMUTED RATE SCHEDULE. WHILE IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE TRANSPORTATION AND SOTRAGE EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. BEARD WERE IN EXCESS OF THOSE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, NEITHER THE LAW NOR THE REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE CONSIDERATION OF ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN EXCESS OF REIMBURSEMENT ON THE COMMUTED RATE BASIS WHEN HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE SHIPPED AND STORED UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM. 54 COMP.GEN. 638 (1975).

EVEN IS PERSONNEL AND TRAVEL OFFICIALS OF ERDA HAD SUPPLIED MR. BEARD WITH AN ESTIMATED COMMUTED RATE FOR TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS, SUCH ADVICE WOULD NOT HAVE INCREASED HIS ENTITLEMENT. THIS CONNECTION WE POINT OUT THAT IT IS A WELL-SETTLED RULE OF LAW THAT THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE BOUND BEYOND THE ACTUAL AUTHORITY CONFERRED UPON ITS AGENTS BY STATUTE OR BY REGULATIONS AND THIS IS SO EVEN THOUGH THE AGENT MAY HAVE BEEN UNAWARE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF HIS AUTHORITY. SEE FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORP. V. MERRILL, 332 U.S. 380, 384 (1947); GERMAN BANK V. UNITED STATES, 148 U.S. 573, 579 (1893); 54 COMP.GEN. 747, 749 (1975). ALSO, WHERE A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL APPROVES AND PROMISES REIMBURSEMENT BEYOND THAT ALLOWED BY APPLICABLE LAW, ANY PAYMENTS MADE UNDER SUCH UNAUTHORIZED ACTIONS ARE RECOVERABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT. PENN HOROLOGICAL INST. INC. V. UNITED STATES, 146 CT.CL. 540 (1959).

ACCORDINGLY, THE RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. BEARD, WHICH IS RETURNED, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.