B-199494.OM, MAR 4, 1981

B-199494.OM: Mar 4, 1981

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CZARSTY: ATTACHED IS YOUR MEMORANDUM OF JULY 7. IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM SUNDERLAND. YOU STATE THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION TO SUPPORT A CLAIM UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM AS REQUIRED IN PARAGRAPH 2-8.3A(3) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973). THOSE ITEMS WHICH HE STATES WERE SHIPPED TO WASHINGTON. THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE LISTED HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS 3. IF A BILL OF LADING WAS NOT INVOLVED. REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ABSENT PROPER EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OR VOLUME OF THE GOODS TRANSPORTED SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS.

B-199494.OM, MAR 4, 1981

SUBJECT: REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS - B-199494 O.M.,

AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER - JUDITH B. CZARSTY:

ATTACHED IS YOUR MEMORANDUM OF JULY 7, 1980, CONCERNING WHETHER MR. HARVEY M. HITTNER, A GAO EMPLOYEE, IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM SUNDERLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, TO WASHINGTON, D. C., INCIDENT TO HIS APPOINTMENT TO A MANPOWER-SHORTAGE CATEGORY POSITION IN FEBRUARY 1975. HIS TRAVEL ORDERS DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1975, INCLUDED AN ESTIMATED COST OF $567 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF 3,500 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM. A TRAVEL VOUCHER DATED OCTOBER 4, 1979, SHOWS THAT HE RECEIVED A TRAVEL ADVANCE IN THE AMOUNT OF $567 OF WHICH $74.30 HAS BEEN OFFSET BY HIS MILEAGE AND PER DIEM ENTITLEMENT. ACCORDINGLY, THERE REMAINS AN UNLIQUIDATED TRAVEL ADVANCE IN THE AMOUNT OF $492.70.

YOU STATE THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION TO SUPPORT A CLAIM UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM AS REQUIRED IN PARAGRAPH 2-8.3A(3) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973).

AS EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, MR. HITTNER IN OCTOBER 1979, WEIGHED, ON A BATHROOM SCALE, THOSE ITEMS WHICH HE STATES WERE SHIPPED TO WASHINGTON, D. C., IN FEBRUARY 1975. HE HAS FURNISHED A LIST OF THOSE ITEMS TOGETHER WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE WEIGHTS. THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE LISTED HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS 3,714 POUNDS.

PARAGRAPH 2-8.3A(3) OF THE FTR PROVIDES THAT CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM SHALL BE SUPPORTED BY A RECEIPTED COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING. IF A BILL OF LADING WAS NOT INVOLVED, EVIDENCE SHOWING POINTS OF ORIGIN AND DESTINATION AND THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS MUST BE SUBMITTED.

REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ABSENT PROPER EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OR VOLUME OF THE GOODS TRANSPORTED SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS. SEE JAMES G. BRISTOL, B-185626, JULY 1, 1976.

WHILE AN ESTIMATED WEIGHT MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT FOR PAYMENT ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS, IT MAY, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, FURNISH A BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THAT THE EXPENSES DO NOT EXCEED THE COMMUTED RATE APPLICABLE TO THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT. 38 COMP. GEN. 554 (1959). REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES IS LIMITED TO THOSE SITUATIONS IN WHICH THE EVIDENCE AFFORDS A REASONABLE BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS TRANSPORTED APPROXIMATES THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT. ID., 48 COMP.GEN. 115 (1968), RICHARD A. BOETTCHER, B-181334, MARCH 28, 1975, AND CASES CITED THEREIN. WE BELIEVE THAT MR. HITTNER'S LIST OF ITEMS AND WEIGHTS PROVIDES SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS HE ACTUALLY TRANSPORTED REASONABLY APPROXIMATES THE WEIGHT OBTAINED BY THE WEIGHING PROCEDURES USED. WE NOTE THAT THE WEIGHTS LISTED ARE FOR INDIVIDUAL ITEMS AND APPEAR TO BE REASONABLE FOR EACH ITEM.

MR. HITTNER HAS ADVISED THIS OFFICE THAT HE TRANSPORTED HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY A U-HAUL TRUCK WHICH HE RENTED IN AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS. HE HAS SUBMITTED A LETTER FROM THE U-HAUL COMPANY DATED JANUARY 14, 1981, ATTACHED, WHICH SETS FORTH A LIST OF RATES, APPLICABLE TO AMHERST IN 1975, FOR THE RENTAL OF A U-HAUL AND RELATED ITEMS. THE LIST OF CHARGES INDICATES THAT HE INCURRED $157 FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. SUCH AMOUNT MAY BE OFFSET AGAINST THE UNLIQUIDATED BALANCE OF $492.70 FOR THE TRAVEL ADVANCE.

ACCORDINGLY, MR. HITTNER IS INDEBTED IN THE AMOUNT OF $335.70 WHICH IS PROPERLY FOR COLLECTION.

DIGEST

SUBSEQUENT TO TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, GAO EMPLOYEE FURNISHED LIST OF ITEMS WITH CORRESPONDING WEIGHTS TOTALING 3,714 POUNDS OBTAINED BY WEIGHING THEM ON A BATHROOM SCALE. EVIDENCE IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH WEIGHT OF GOODS FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON COMMUTED RATE BASIS. HOWEVER, LIST OF ITEMS AND WEIGHT OF EACH INDIVIDUAL ITEM ARE SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THAT ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SHIPPED REASONABLY APPROXIMATES THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT SO THAT REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE ALLOWED ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSES BASIS.