B-198178.OM, OCT 24, 1980

B-198178.OM: Oct 24, 1980

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FGMSD - CLAIMS GROUP (ROOM 5858): RETURNED IS YOUR FILE Z-2389135. MAJOR GORDON WAS RELIEVED FROM ACTIVE DUTY. BELIEVING THAT HE WAS FULLY ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS AND MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR HAD CAUSED THE OMISSION OF A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION FROM HIS ORDERS. THE ERROR WAS ADMITTED AND THE STATEMENT MADE THAT MAJOR GORDON HAD 1 YEAR TO TRAVEL TO HIS HOME OF SELECTION AND WAS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS DEPENDENTS AND SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. THE CLAIMS DIVISION DENIED MAJOR GORDON'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT BASED UPON THE WELL ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLE THAT ORDERS MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY AMENDED TO INCREASE OR DECREASE LEGAL RIGHTS OF AN EMPLOYEE THAT VEST WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED.

B-198178.OM, OCT 24, 1980

SUBJECT: MAJOR THOMAS F. GORDON, JR., USA, RETIRED - PERSONAL AND DEPENDENT TRAVEL, Z-2389135 - B-198178-O.M.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, FGMSD - CLAIMS GROUP (ROOM 5858):

RETURNED IS YOUR FILE Z-2389135. MAJOR THOMAS F. GORDON, JR., A RETIRED ARMY MEMBER, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF A CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DISALLOWING HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF PERSONAL AND DEPENDENT TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE ARMY. FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS, HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE ALLOWED.

BY ORDERS DATED JULY 10, 1978, MAJOR GORDON WAS RELIEVED FROM ACTIVE DUTY. HE CHOSE WAHIAWA, HAWAII, AS HIS HOME OF SELECTION AND MOVED THERE ON AUGUST 10, 1978, BELIEVING THAT HE WAS FULLY ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS AND MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. HOWEVER, NEITHER MAJOR GORDON'S SEPARATION ORDERS NOR HIS RETIREMENT ORDERS OF OCTOBER 13, 1978, AUTHORIZED TRAVEL. SOON THEREAFTER, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR HAD CAUSED THE OMISSION OF A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION FROM HIS ORDERS. ON DECEMBER 1, 1978, THE ERROR WAS ADMITTED AND THE STATEMENT MADE THAT MAJOR GORDON HAD 1 YEAR TO TRAVEL TO HIS HOME OF SELECTION AND WAS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS DEPENDENTS AND SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THE CLAIMS DIVISION DENIED MAJOR GORDON'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT BASED UPON THE WELL ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLE THAT ORDERS MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY AMENDED TO INCREASE OR DECREASE LEGAL RIGHTS OF AN EMPLOYEE THAT VEST WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED. HOWEVER, EXCEPTION MAY BE MADE WHEN ERROR IS APPARENT ON THE FACE OF THE TRAVEL ORDERS OR ALL FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES DEMONSTRATE THAT SOME PROVISION PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED AND DEFINITELY INTENDED HAS BEEN OMITTED THROUGH ERROR OR INADVERTENCE. SEE 57 COMP. GEN. 447 (1978) AND B-190458, JANUARY 26, 1978.

IN ITS DETERMINATION, THE CLAIMS DIVISION NOTED THAT THERE WAS NO ERROR APPARENT ON THE FACE OF THE ORDERS AND THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT THE ORDERS FAILED TO CONFORM WITH THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL. HOWEVER, IN THIS CASE THERE WERE NO TRAVEL ORDERS AS SUCH. THE SEPARATION ORDERS AND RETIREMENT ORDERS OMITTED ANY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION. BOTH OF THESE WERE APPARENTLY IN ERROR, AND SINCE THEY DID NOT CONTAIN A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF SUCH ORDERS HAD BEEN OMITTED. IT IS CLEAR THAT MAJOR GORDON'S ORDERS SHOULD HAVE PLACED HIM IN A RETIREMENT STATUS AND AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR HIMSELF AND HIS DEPENDENTS, AND SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. IN VIEW OF THE APPARENT ERROR IN RELEASING MAJOR GORDON FROM ACTIVE DUTY RATHER THAN RETIRING HIM WITH TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION, WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT OF MAJOR GORDON'S CLAIM IS AUTHORIZED IN THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.