B-202520, JAN 4, 1982

B-202520: Jan 4, 1982

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WAS NOT RESULT OF ANY REGISTRATION RELATED REQUIREMENT IMPOSED BY JURISDICTION OF NEW DUTY STATION. ZIMMERMAN: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION FROM THE PER DIEM. WAS TRANSFERRED TO STUTTGART. THE CERTIFYING OFFICER EXPLAINS THAT MOST POV'S MADE IN THE UNITED STATES AFTER 1976 ARE EQUIPPED WITH A POLLUTION DEVICE KNOWN AS A CATALYTIC CONVERTER. UNLEADED FUEL IS GENERALLY UNAVAILABLE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND. SEC. 85.1509 (1980) HAS PROHIBITED THE RE-ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES OF VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH CONVERTERS THAT HAVE BEEN DRIVEN ABROAD. IS PERMITTED WHERE THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN AN APPROVED CATALYTIC CONTROL PROGRAM. THIS PROGRAM IS SET OUT IN THE CONSOLIDATED POV PROCESSING GUIDE.

B-202520, JAN 4, 1982

DIGEST: EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO GERMANY FROM U. S. MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED $125 COST OF DISCONNECTING CATALYTIC CONVERTER AND INSTALLING ALTERNATE PIPING AS PART OF MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE. AUTOMOBILE-RELATED EXPENSE, THOUGH PRUDENTLY INCURRED, WAS NOT RESULT OF ANY REGISTRATION RELATED REQUIREMENT IMPOSED BY JURISDICTION OF NEW DUTY STATION, BUT IN ANTICIPATION OF REQUIREMENTS TO WHICH EMPLOYEE MIGHT BE SUBJECT IF HE SHOULD RETURN SAME AUTOMOBILE TO U.S. AT A LATER DATE.

BENJAMIN J. ZIMMERMAN:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION FROM THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE (PDTATAC), AS TO WHETHER MR. BENJAMIN J. ZIMMERMAN'S CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES MAY BE PAID. THE QUESTION PRESENTED CONCERNS THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING MR. ZIMMERMAN FOR THE COST OF REMOVING A CATALYTIC CONVERTER FROM HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV) AND INSTALLING ALTERNATE PIPING. THIS REQUEST HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NUMBER 81-9. AS EXPLAINED BELOW, WE FIND THE EXPENSE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED.

MR. ZIMMERMAN, A DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) EMPLOYEE, WAS TRANSFERRED TO STUTTGART, GERMANY, FROM FORT MEADE, MARYLAND, IN JUNE OF 1980. HIS TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED THE OVERSEAS SHIPMENT OF HIS POV AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. PRIOR TO SHIPMENT MR. ZIMMERMAN CHOSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DOD IMPORT CONTROL PROGRAM.

THE CERTIFYING OFFICER EXPLAINS THAT MOST POV'S MADE IN THE UNITED STATES AFTER 1976 ARE EQUIPPED WITH A POLLUTION DEVICE KNOWN AS A CATALYTIC CONVERTER. VEHICLES SO EQUIPPED MUST USE UNLEADED FUEL, SINCE LEADED FUEL DESTROYS THE CONVERTER'S ABILITY TO REDUCE POLLUTANTS. UNLEADED FUEL IS GENERALLY UNAVAILABLE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND, CONSEQUENTLY, THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) IN 40 C.F.R. SEC. 85.1509 (1980) HAS PROHIBITED THE RE-ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES OF VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH CONVERTERS THAT HAVE BEEN DRIVEN ABROAD. RE-ENTRY, HOWEVER, IS PERMITTED WHERE THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN AN APPROVED CATALYTIC CONTROL PROGRAM, OR WHERE THE OWNER PUTS UP A BOND EQUAL TO THE VALUE OF THE VEHICLE, AND THEREAFTER HAS AN ACCEPTABLE CONVERTER INSTALLED.

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAS ESTABLISHED A PROGRAM, APPROVED BY EPA, TO DISCONNECT THE CATALYTIC CONVERTERS PRIOR TO THEIR USE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, AND TO REINSTALL THE CONVERTER BEFORE RETURNING THE VEHICLE TO THE UNITED STATES. THIS PROGRAM IS SET OUT IN THE CONSOLIDATED POV PROCESSING GUIDE, MILITARY TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT COMMAND, HQ, EASTERN AREA, APRIL 1, 1980, PARAGRAPH 2-3 POV IMPORT CONTROL PROGRAM. PARTICIPATION IN THE DOD PROGRAM IS VOLUNTARY AND, WHERE IT IS UTILIZED, PAYMENT FOR THE WORK IS GENERALLY MADE DIRECTLY BY THE EMPLOYEE.

MR. ZIMMERMAN CLAIMS THAT THE $125 AMOUNT HE PAID TO DISCONNECT THE CATALYTIC CONVERTER IN HIS CAR AND INSTALL REPLACEMENT PIPES SHOULD BE REIMBURSED AS PART OF THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED IN HIS TRAVEL ORDERS.

AS STATED AT PARAGRAPH C9000, VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (2 JTR), THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE:

"*** IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF DEFRAYING VARIOUS CONTINGENT COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH RELOCATION OF A RESIDENCE IN CONNECTION WITH AN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. THE ALLOWANCE IS RELATED TO EXPENSES THAT ARE COMMON TO LIVING QUARTERS FURNISHINGS AND HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND OTHER GENERAL TYPES OF COSTS INHERENT IN RELOCATION OF PLACE OF RESIDENCE. ***"

AMONG THOSE COSTS INTENDED TO BE REIMBURSED AS PART OF THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE ARE "AUTOMOBILE REGISTRATION, DRIVER'S LICENSE AND USE TAXES IMPOSED WHEN BRINGING AUTOMOBILES INTO SOME JURISDICTION." 2 JTR PARAGRAPH C9000-5.

IN 56 COMP.GEN. 53 (1976) WE HELD THAT THE COST OF INSTALLING A POLLUTION CONTROL DEVICE TO COMPLY WITH CALIFORNIA POLLUTION STANDARDS WAS REIMBURSABLE AS A COST ASSOCIATED WITH REGISTRATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE IN THE JURISDICTION OF HIS NEW DUTY STATION. THE AUTOMOBILE HAD BEEN REGISTERED IN ANOTHER STATE, AND WE NOTED IN THE DECISION THAT INSTALLATION OF THE POLLUTION CONTROL DEVICE WAS NECESSARY TO COMPLY WITH TIGHTER POLLUTION STANDARDS IMPOSED BY THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. AS NOTED IN WILLIAM C. ROCHON, B-194133, APRIL 16, 1980, THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE IS INTENDED TO REIMBURSE THOSE AUTOMOBILE-RELATED EXPENSES IMPOSED BY A REQUIREMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT JURISDICTION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S NEW DUTY STATION.

IN MR. ZIMMERMAN'S CASE, HIS DECISION TO HAVE THE CATALYTIC CONVERTER DISCONNECTED FROM HIS AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT THE CONSEQUENCE OF ANY REQUIREMENT IMPOSED BY THE JURISDICTION OF HIS NEW DUTY STATION. RECOGNIZE THAT HIS PARTICIPATION IN THE IMPORT CONTROL PROGRAM MAY HAVE BEEN PRUDENT IN TERMS OF PLANS HE MAY HAVE TO RETURN THAT PARTICULAR VEHICLE TO THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH A SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER, OR OTHERWISE. HOWEVER, THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE IS NOT INTENDED TO REIMBURSE COSTS OF THIS TYPE. IT IS INTENDED TO REIMBURSE THOSE COSTS INCURRED AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S RELOCATION TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION. IN THIS REGARD, 2 JTR PARAGRAPH C9001 SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ALLOWANCE WILL NOT BE USED TO REIMBURSE THE EMPLOYEE FOR:

"8. ANY OTHER EXPENSE BROUGHT ABOUT BY CIRCUMSTANCES, FACTORS, OR ACTIONS IN WHICH THE MOVE TO A NEW DUTY STATION WAS NOT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE."

FOR THE REASONS STATED, MR. ZIMMERMAN'S CLAIM FOR $125 IS DISALLOWED.