B-219076.2, Dec 22, 1989

B-219076.2: Dec 22, 1989

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Household goods - Actual expenses - Reimbursement - Amount determination DIGEST: This summary letter decision addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previous Comptroller General decisions. Trusley III: The issue in this decision is whether an employee may be reimbursed for the commuted rate or the actual costs of shipment of his household goods to his new duty station. /1/ Mr. Trusley was transferred to Bay Pines. Trusley arranged to have his household goods transported by common carrier at a cost of $3. It was the responsibility of the appropriate official in the employee's agency to request a cost comparison from the GSA and to take that into consideration when making a final decision as to whether to authorize the GBL method or commuted rate method. 41 C.F.R.

B-219076.2, Dec 22, 1989

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Household goods - Actual expenses - Reimbursement - Amount determination DIGEST: This summary letter decision addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previous Comptroller General decisions. To locate substantive decisions addressing this issue, refer to decisions indexed under the above listed index entry.

James F. Trusley III:

The issue in this decision is whether an employee may be reimbursed for the commuted rate or the actual costs of shipment of his household goods to his new duty station. /1/ Mr. Trusley was transferred to Bay Pines, Florida, on October 24, 1988, and although the agency initially authorized reimbursement for his shipment of household goods by government bill of lading (GBL), the agency later authorized reimbursement under the commuted rate method because of uncertainty over accepting requests for relocation contracts and scheduling problems. /2/ The agency did not obtain any cost comparisons from the General Services Administration (GSA) in order to determine the most economical method of shipment prior to the issuance of the authorizations for either the GBL method or the commuted rate method.

Mr. Trusley arranged to have his household goods transported by common carrier at a cost of $3,277, but he claimed the commuted rate amount of $7,603.71. Under the applicable regulations governing the shipment of household goods, 41 C.F.R. Subpart 101-40.2 (1988), it was the responsibility of the appropriate official in the employee's agency to request a cost comparison from the GSA and to take that into consideration when making a final decision as to whether to authorize the GBL method or commuted rate method. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-40.203-4(c) (1988).

In John S. Phillips, 62 Comp.Gen. 375 (1983), we addressed the question of whether the GBL method or the commuted rate method constitutes a valid limitation on reimbursement for costs incurred by employees arranging the movement of their household goods. We held in Phillips that where an agency fails in advance of shipment to obtain a cost comparison from GSA between the GBL and the commuted rate methods, reimbursement is limited to the employee's actual costs not in excess of the commuted rate. See Donald F. Daly, B-209873, July 6, 1983. Thus, under Phillips and Daly, the agency has properly reimbursed Mr. Trusley under the commuted rate method but limited to his actual costs, and his claim for additional expenses is denied.

/1/ This decision was requested by Mr. Conrad R. Hoffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Finance and Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs.

/2/ Under the commuted rate system, the employee makes the arrangements for transporting household goods and is reimbursed in accordance with schedules of commuted rates which are contained in General Services Administration (GSA) Bulletin FPMR A-2. See para. 2 8.3a(1) of the Federal Travel Regulations (Supp. 1, Nov. 1, 1981), incorp. by ref., 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-7.003 (1988). Under the GBL method, the government assumes responsibility for awarding contracts and for other negotiations with carriers.