B-203072.OM, OCT 13, 1981

B-203072.OM: Oct 13, 1981

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THE ISSUE THAT YOU SEEK ADVICE ON IS WHETHER THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO MR. YOU HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES GIVING RISE TO MR. CHAPMAN WAS AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER. HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE AT THE FORMER DUTY STATION. ALTHOUGH THE REASON FOR THIS OMISSION IS ALLUDED TO IN THE FILE. IT IS NOT RELEVANT TO THE QUESTION OF MR. DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL HAVE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO RELOCATION EXPENSES IS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF WHETHER THE TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST.

B-203072.OM, OCT 13, 1981

SUBJECT: CLAIM OF RAYMOND E. CHAPMAN - HOUSE SALE EXPENSES - B-203072-O.M.

AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER - JUDITH B. CZARSTY:

YOUR MEMORANDUM OF APRIL 27, 1981, REQUESTS ADVICE ON THE CLAIM OF RAYMOND E. CHAPMAN FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE AT HIS FORMER DUTY STATION. THE ISSUE THAT YOU SEEK ADVICE ON IS WHETHER THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO MR. CHAPMAN IN 1976 AUTHORIZING HIS TRANSFER FROM WASHINGTON, D. C., TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN WASHINGTON, D. C.

YOUR MEMORANDUM NOTES THAT BECAUSE THE TRANSFER OCCURRED OVER 4 YEARS AGO, YOU HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES GIVING RISE TO MR. CHAPMAN'S CLAIM. THE BRIEF RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. CHAPMAN WAS AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT OF RELOCATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER. HOWEVER, HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE AT THE FORMER DUTY STATION. ALTHOUGH THE REASON FOR THIS OMISSION IS ALLUDED TO IN THE FILE, IT IS NOT RELEVANT TO THE QUESTION OF MR. CHAPMAN'S ENTITLEMENT.

MR. CHAPMAN'S ENTITLEMENT MUST BE DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE TRAVEL ORDER ISSUED TO HIM ON DECEMBER 16, 1976. THAT TRAVEL ORDER STATES:

"TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION UNDER ORDER 0300.1 (PART IV - CHAPTER 2) NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST."

DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL HAVE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO RELOCATION EXPENSES IS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF WHETHER THE TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST. DAVID C. GOODYEAR, 56 COMP.GEN. 709 (1977). WHERE THE EMPLOYING AGENCY HAS DETERMINED THAT A TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST, THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO RELOCATION EXPENSES FOLLOWS. SEE PATSY R. NEWTON, B-198398, OCTOBER 17, 1980.

IN THIS CASE, THERE CAN BE NO QUESTION THAT MR. CHAPMAN IS ENTITLED TO RELOCATION EXPENSES IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED DETERMINATION CONTAINED IN HIS TRAVEL ORDERS.

THE DECISION REFERRED TO BY MR. CHAPMAN, 55 COMP.GEN. 613 (1976), INVOLVED THE CLAIM OF AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE TRAVEL ORDERS DID NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE. WE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS OTHERWISE ENTITLED TO RELOCATION EXPENSES MAY NOT BE DENIED REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH RESIDENCE TRANSACTIONS. IT WAS REASONED THAT WHILE AGENCIES HAVE DISCRETION IN AUTHORIZING CERTAIN EXPENSES, AS FOR EXAMPLE HOUSE HUNTING TRIPS, OTHER EXPENSES MUST BE ALLOWED UNIFORMLY, INCLUDING RESIDENCE TRANSACTION EXPENSES. THUS, THE DECISION PERMITTED THE AMENDMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF OTHERWISE PROPER RESIDENCE TRANSACTION EXPENSES. ALSO SEE ROSE INOUYE, B-194196, NOVEMBER 14, 1979.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT MR. CHAPMAN IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES THAT HE INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN WASHINGTON, D. C.

MR. CHAPMAN'S TRAVEL VOUCHER AND SUPPORTING PAPERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.