Matter: Major Fred E. Redd, USA (Retired) File: B-212353 Date: JAN 17, 1984

B-212353: Jan 17, 1984

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WERE TRANSPORTED FROM JAPAN TO KANSAS CITY. IN THE ABSENCE OF FACTS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATING THAT THE MAY 1981 ORDERS WERE MATERIALLY IN ERROR WHEN PREPARED IN DESIGNATING KANSAS CITY RATHER THAN MARSHFIELD AS THEIR INTENDED DESTINATION IN THE UNITED STATES. SINCE TRAVEL ORDERS MAY NOT BE AMENDED RETROACTIVELY TO INCREASE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES EXCEPT WHEN PLAIN ERROR IN THE ORDERS' PREPARATION IS SHOWN. A MONTH LATER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF STATION ORDERS WERE IN FACT ISSUED REASSIGNING THE OFFICER TO FORT LEONARD WOOD. THE RULE IS THAT THE EXPENSES OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ANTICIPATED PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS ARE NONREIMBURSABLE UNLESS THE CLAIM IS SUPPORTED BY A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE ORDER-ISSUING AUTHORITY VERIFYING THE SERVICE MEMBER'S RECEIPT OF SPECIFIC ADVANCE NOTIFICATION THAT THE ORDERS DEFINITELY WOULD BE PUBLISHED.

Matter: Major Fred E. Redd, USA (Retired) File: B-212353 Date: JAN 17, 1984

THE WIFE AND CHILDREN OF AN ARMY OFFICER STATIONED AT CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN, WERE TRANSPORTED FROM JAPAN TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, UNDER ORDERS ISSUED IN MAY 1981 AUTHORIZING AN EARLY RETURN OF DEPENDENTS FROM OVERSEAS. IN AUGUST 1981 THEY TRAVELED FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, WHERE THEY ESTABLISHED A NEW RESIDENCE. IN THE ABSENCE OF FACTS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATING THAT THE MAY 1981 ORDERS WERE MATERIALLY IN ERROR WHEN PREPARED IN DESIGNATING KANSAS CITY RATHER THAN MARSHFIELD AS THEIR INTENDED DESTINATION IN THE UNITED STATES, THE OFFICER MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE OF THEIR FURTHER TRAVEL FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD ON THE BASIS OF THOSE ORDERS, SINCE TRAVEL ORDERS MAY NOT BE AMENDED RETROACTIVELY TO INCREASE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES EXCEPT WHEN PLAIN ERROR IN THE ORDERS' PREPARATION IS SHOWN. BECAUSE OF GENERAL INFORMATION RECEIVED BY AN ARMY OFFICER THAT HE WOULD PROBABLY BE REASSIGNED TO FORT LEONARD WOOD, MISSOURI, HIS DEPENDENTS MOVED FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, IN AUGUST 1981 TO ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE NEAR THAT POST. A MONTH LATER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF STATION ORDERS WERE IN FACT ISSUED REASSIGNING THE OFFICER TO FORT LEONARD WOOD, BUT REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF THE FAMILY'S EARLY MOVE TO MARSHFIELD MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF THOSE ORDERS. THE RULE IS THAT THE EXPENSES OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ANTICIPATED PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS ARE NONREIMBURSABLE UNLESS THE CLAIM IS SUPPORTED BY A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE ORDER-ISSUING AUTHORITY VERIFYING THE SERVICE MEMBER'S RECEIPT OF SPECIFIC ADVANCE NOTIFICATION THAT THE ORDERS DEFINITELY WOULD BE PUBLISHED. AN ARMY OFFICER RETIRED FROM ACTIVE SERVICE IN MAY 1982, AND SINCE THEN HE HAS CONTINUED TO RESIDE WITH HIS FAMILY IN MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, WHERE THEY HAD PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED A PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN 1981. NO PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON THE OFFICER'S CLAIM BASED ON HIS RETIREMENT ORDERS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF A FAMILY TRIP FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD IN AUGUST 1982. A SERVICE MEMBER IS GENERALLY ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION TO HIS HOME OF SELECTION WITHIN 1 YEAR OF HIS RETIREMENT, BUT NO REIMBURSEMENT IS ALLOWABLE FOR THE EXPENSES OF PLEASURE TRIPS, ETC., WHICH ARE UNDERTAKEN AFTER RETIREMENT FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE.

MAJOR FRED E. REDD, USA (RETIRED), CLAIMS A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS ON AUGUST 5, 1982, FROM KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, TO HIS HOME OF SELECTION UPON RETIREMENT AT MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI. WE DENY HIS CLAIM. [1]

BACKGROUND

IN MAY 1981 MAJOR REDD WAS SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY WITH THE ARMY AT CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN. AT THAT TIME HE APPLIED FOR AND WAS GRANTED AUTHORIZATION FOR THE EARLY RETURN OF HIS DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES, PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED END OF HIS OVERSEAS TOUR OF DUTY IN JAPAN. THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED AT HIS REQUEST AUTHORIZED THEIR TRANSPORTATION TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. THEY WENT TO KANSAS CITY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AS AUTHORIZED. SUBSEQUENTLY ON AUGUST 7, 1981, THEY TRAVELED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE TO MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, WHERE THEY ESTABLISHED A NEW RESIDENCE.

ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1981, MAJOR REDD RECEIVED PERMANENT CHANGE-OF STATION ORDERS DIRECTING HIS REASSIGNMENT FROM JAPAN TO FORT LEONARD WOOD, MISSOURI, EFFECTIVE IN DECEMBER 1981. AFTER HE ARRIVED AT FORT LEONARD WOOD IN DECEMBER, HE SUBMITTED A VOUCHER TO THE ARMY BASED ON HIS PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS CLAIMING A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR HIS DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD IN AUGUST 1981. THE ARMY DISALLOWED THIS CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL HAD OCCURRED PRIOR TO THE TIME HIS PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS HAD BEEN ISSUED.

MAJOR REDD DISAGREED WITH THE ARMY'S ACTION. ESSENTIALLY, HE INDICATED THAT AT THE TIME HE REQUESTED AUTHORIZATION FOR HIS DEPENDENTS' EARLY RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES IN MAY 1981, HE ANTICIPATED THAT HE WOULD BE REASSIGNED TO FORT LEONARD WOOD LATER IN THE YEAR, AND HE EXPECTED THEM TO ESTABLISH A FAMILY RESIDENCE NEAR THAT POST IN MARSHFIELD PRIOR TO HIS ARRIVAL. HE REQUESTED THAT THEY BE GIVEN TRANSPORTATION TO KANSAS CITY RATHER THAN MARSHFIELD BECAUSE HE HAD RELATIVES IN KANSAS CITY WHO COULD ASSIST THEM IN MAKING THEIR MOVE TO MARSHFIELD. APPARENTLY THEY TRAVELED TO KANSAS CITY IN LATE JULY OR EARLY AUGUST 1981 AND AFTER A BRIEF DELAY TRAVELED ON TO MARSHFIELD. AT THAT TIME THE ONLY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION THEY HAD WAS THE AUTHORIZATION TO TRAVEL PRIOR TO THE MEMBER'S AUTHORIZED RETURN AND THE DESTINATION IN THAT AUTHORIZATION WAS KANSAS CITY.

AS INDICATED, MAJOR REDD'S DEPENDENTS MOVED TO MARSHFIELD IN AUGUST 1981. THIS WAS BEFORE HE RECEIVED HIS PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS REASSIGNING HIM TO FORT LEONARD WOOD ALTHOUGH HE WAS IN FACT TRANSFERRED TO THAT POST AS HE HAD ANTICIPATED. HE SUGGESTED THAT THE RULE PROHIBITING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED WITHOUT ORDERS SHOULD NOT APPLY IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, SINCE OTHERWISE PERSONNEL WHO MOVED THEIR DEPENDENTS IN ADVANCE OF THEIR RECEIPT OF ANTICIPATED ORDERS WOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO BE LESS THAN HONEST IN DESCRIBING THE DATE OF THEIR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL WHEN THEY LATER CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES AFTER THE ORDERS WERE ACTUALLY ISSUED. ARMY OFFICIALS FORWARDED MAJOR REDD'S CLAIM TO OUR OFFICE BECAUSE OF HIS CONTENTIONS IN THE MATTER, AND IN OCTOBER 1982 OUR CLAIMS GROUP DISALLOWED PAYMENT OF THE CLAIMED MILEAGE ALLOWANCE NOTWITHSTANDING THOSE CONTENTIONS.

MAJOR REDD RETIRED FROM ACTIVE SERVICE ON MAY 1, 1982. SINCE THEN HE HAS CONTINUED TO RESIDE WITH HIS FAMILY IN MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI. HE HAS NOW SUBMITTED A VOUCHER BASED ON HIS RETIREMENT ORDERS CLAIMING A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR HIS DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD ON AUGUST 5, 1982.

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION

1. ORDERS AUTHORIZING EARLY RETURN OF DEPENDENTS FROM OVERSEAS A SERVICE MEMBER IS GENERALLY ENTITLED BY STATUTE AND REGULATION TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THE DEPENDENTS UNDER ORDERS AUTHORIZING THEIR EARLY RETURN FROM HIS OVERSEAS DUTY STATION TO A DESIGNATED LOCATION IN THE UNITED STATES IN UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES. [2] HOWEVER, IT IS FUNDAMENTAL THAT A SERVICE MEMBER'S LEGAL RIGHTS TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCES VEST WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER ORDERS, INCLUDING THOSE AUTHORIZING THE EARLY RETURN OF DEPENDENTS FROM OVERSEAS, AND THAT THE ORDERS MAY NOT BE MODIFIED RETROACTIVELY AFTER THE TRAVEL IS COMPLETED TO INCREASE ENTITLEMENTS WHICH HAVE BECOME FIXED UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS UNLESS IT IS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED THAT THE ORDERS WERE MATERIALLY IN ERROR WHEN PREPARED. [3]

IN THE PRESENT CASE, MAJOR REDD REQUESTED ORDERS DESIGNATING KANSAS CITY RATHER THAN MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, AS THE DEPENDENTS' INTENDED DESTINATION IN THE UNITED STATES. ALTHOUGH HE MAY HAVE NOT FULLY UNDERSTOOD THE IMPLICATIONS OF THAT REQUEST THE ORDERS ISSUED ARE CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL. HENCE, THOSE ORDERS WERE NOT SUBJECT TO MODIFICATION AFTER THE TRAVEL TO KANSAS CITY HAD BEEN COMPLETED, AND THE DEPENDENTS' FURTHER TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO MARSHFIELD COULD NOT PROPERLY BE ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF THOSE ORDERS.

2. PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS

A SERVICE MEMBER WHO IS ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE-OF STATION MOVE IS GENERALLY ENTITLED TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS ON THE BASIS OF HIS ORDERS. TRAVEL UNDER SUCH ORDERS MAY INCLUDE TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE TO WHICH THE DEPENDENTS WERE RETURNED UNDER ORDERS AUTHORIZING EARLY RETURN FROM OVERSEAS. [4] HOWEVER, EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF-STATION ORDERS ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE ON THE BASIS OF A SERVICE MEMBER'S EXPECTATION OF A FUTURE REASSIGNMENT TO A PARTICULAR POST OF DUTY, UNLESS THE CLAIM VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE ORDER-ISSUING AUTHORITY VERIFYING THE MEMBER'S RECEIPT OF SPECIFIC ADVANCED NOTIFICATION THAT THE ORDERS DEFINITELY WOULD BE PUBLISHED. [5] THIS REQUIREMENT PROTECTS SERVICE MEMBERS AS WELL AS THE GOVERNMENT, AND IT PRECLUDES MEMBERS FROM PLACING UNDUE RELIANCE ON GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT POSSIBLE OR PROBABLE FUTURE ASSIGNMENTS THAT MAY NEVER ACTUALLY OCCUR. [6]

IN THE PRESENT CASE, MAJOR REDD'S DEPENDENTS TRAVELED FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, IN AUGUST 1981 TO ESTABLISH A NEW RESIDENCE BEFORE PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS WERE ISSUED REASSIGNING HIM FROM JAPAN TO FORT LEONARD WOOD. ALTHOUGH MAJOR REDD MAY HAVE RECEIVED GENERAL INFORMATION IN ADVANCE INDICATING HIS REASSIGNMENT TO THAT POST WAS PROBABLE, HIS DECEMBER 1981 CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED BY REGULATION TO SHOW HE HAD RECEIVED SPECIFIC NOTIFICATION FROM PROPER AUTHORITY THAT THE ORDERS DEFINITELY WOULD BE ISSUED. HENCE, THAT CLAIM WAS PROPERLY DISALLOWED. CONCERNING HIS SUGGESTION THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE REGULATIONS MAY ENCOURAGE SERVICE MEMBERS TO BE LESS THAN HONEST IN FILLING OUT CLAIM VOUCHERS, WE POINT OUT THAT THERE IS A PRESUMPTION OF HONESTY AND FAIR DEALING IN FAVOR OF PERSONS WHO FILE CLAIMS WITH THE GOVERNMENT, BUT THAT FACTUAL EVIDENCE OF FRAUD OR MISREPRESENTATION CAN RESULT IN SEVERE AND DISCOURAGING PENALTIES. [7]

3. RETIREMENT ORDERS

A SERVICE MEMBER IS GENERALLY ENTITLED TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS TO HIS HOME OF SELECTION WITHIN 1 YEAR AFTER HE RETIRES, ON THE BASIS OF HIS RETIREMENT ORDERS. [8] NO REIMBURSEMENT IS ALLOWABLE UNDER THOSE ORDERS FOR THE DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL EXPENSES ON PLEASURE TRIPS, ETC., WHICH ARE UNDERTAKEN FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. [9]

WE WILL PRESUME THAT MAJOR REDD'S DEPENDENTS DID TRAVEL FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, ON AUGUST 5, 1982, AS REPRESENTED IN THE VOUCHER HE HAS NOW SUBMITTED CLAIMING A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE BASED ON HIS RETIREMENT ORDERS. HOWEVER, ANY SUCH TRAVEL THEY MAY HAVE UNDERTAKEN TO MARSHFIELD ON THAT DATE OBVIOUSLY WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR SOME PURPOSE OTHER THAN A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE, SINCE THEY HAD ALREADY ESTABLISHED THEIR RESIDENCE AT THAT PLACE THE PREVIOUS YEAR. HENCE, THE EXPENSES OF ANY TRIPS THEY MAY HAVE TAKEN IN THE VICINITY OF MARSHFIELD SUBSEQUENT TO HIS RETIREMENT CANNOT PROPERLY BE REGARDED AS AN OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, WE DENY MAJOR REDD'S CLAIM FOR A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS IN AUGUST 1982 FROM KANSAS CITY TO MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, AND WE SUSTAIN THE PREVIOUS DISALLOWANCE OF HIS EARLIER CLAIM FOR A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THEIR TRAVEL OVER THE SAME ROUTE IN AUGUST 1981.

1. MAJOR REDD SUBMITTED A TRAVEL VOUCHER DATED MARCH 28, 1983, TO THE ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING CENTER CLAIMING A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS 3 DEPENDENTS IN AUGUST 1982 OVER THE 189-MILE DISTANCE BETWEEN KANSAS CITY AND MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI, AT THE RATE OF 21 CENTS PER MILE, IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $39.69. THE ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING CENTER FORWARDED THE VOUCHER HERE BECAUSE IN OCTOBER 1982 OUR CLAIMS GROUP DISALLOWED A SIMILAR CLAIM SUBMITTED BY MAJOR REDD FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENTS A YEAR EARLIER IN AUGUST 1981 OVER THE SAME ROUTE BETWEEN KANSAS CITY AND MARSHFIELD. WE REVIEW THE MATTER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3702 AND 4 C.F.R. PART 32.

2. SEE, GENERALLY, SUBSECTION 406(H) OF TITLE 37, UNITED STATES CODE; AND PARAGRAPHS M7101-M7109, VOLUME 1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (1 JTR).

3. SEE, E.G., MATTER OF SNAPP, B-210970, OCTOBER 4, 1983, 63 COMP.GEN.; MATTER OF FRITZ, 55 COMP.GEN. 1241, 1242 (1976); 47 COMP.GEN. 127, 130 (1967); AND 44 COMP.GEN. 405, 407-408 (1965).

4. 37 U.S.C. SEC. 406(A); PARAGRAPH M7000, 1 JTR, SUBPARAGRAPH M7003-4, 1 JTR.

5. SEE SUBPARAGRAPHS M3000-2 AND M7000-9, 1 JTR. SEE ALSO 52 COMP.GEN. 769 (1973); 34 COMP.GEN. 241 (1954); MATTER OF COOK B-193339, JUNE 28, 1979; AND MATTER OF CAILLIER, B-192165, JULY 24, 1978.

6. SEE, E.G., MATTER OF COOK AND MATTER OF CAILLIER, CITED ABOVE (FOOTNOTE 5).

7. SEE 57 COMP.GEN. 664, 668 (1978).

8. 37 U.S.C. SEC. 406(G); PARAGRAPH M7010, 1 JTR.

9. SUBPARAGRAPHS M7000-13 AND M7010-1, 1 JTR; 52 COMP.GEN. 242, 244 (1972); MATTER OF TERRIO, B-207144, OCTOBER 5, 1982.