B-227534.5, Mar 7, 1991, 70 Comp.Gen. 327

B-227534.5: Mar 7, 1991

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Household goods - Shipment - Restrictions - Privately-owned vehicles An employee is not entitled to reimbursement for shipment of his automobile to his new duty station in Hawaii where shipment at government expense was not authorized at time of transfer and the employee shipped his automobile at personal expense. That disallowance was based on the fact that Mr. Lehmann's travel orders specifically stated that no overseas shipment of a POV was authorized. Which we held was a valid exercise of the discretionary authority vested in the authorized official by the provisions of 5 U.S.C. This statute authorizes transportation abroad of an employee's POV if the head of the agency or his designee determines that it is in the interest of the government for the employee to have the use of a POV at his post of duty outside the continental United States.

B-227534.5, Mar 7, 1991, 70 Comp.Gen. 327

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Household goods - Shipment - Restrictions - Privately-owned vehicles An employee is not entitled to reimbursement for shipment of his automobile to his new duty station in Hawaii where shipment at government expense was not authorized at time of transfer and the employee shipped his automobile at personal expense. The employee has not shown that the agency abused its discretion in determining that it would not authorize overseas transportation of employees' automobiles to their duty station as being "in the best interest of the government," pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5727(b)(2) and the implementing provisions of the Federal Travel Regulations and Joint Travel Regulations. Frayne W. Lehmann, B-227534.4, Nov. 5, 1990, and B-227534.3, Feb. 21, 1990, affirmed.

Frayne W. Lehmann - Shipment of Privately Owned Vehicle at Government Expense:

In this decision we reconsider our prior decision sustaining disallowance of the claim of Mr. Frayne W. Lehmann, a former employee of the Navy, for reimbursement for expenses incurred in shipping his privately owned vehicle (POV) to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, incident to a permanent change of station. That disallowance was based on the fact that Mr. Lehmann's travel orders specifically stated that no overseas shipment of a POV was authorized, which we held was a valid exercise of the discretionary authority vested in the authorized official by the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5727(b)(2) and the applicable regulations. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm our prior decisions, Frayne W. Lehmann, B-227534.4, Nov. 5, 1990, and B-227534.3, Feb. 21, 1990.

In his request for reconsideration Mr. Lehmann asserts that because his agency, the Naval Facility Engineering Command, which denied him authorization to ship his vehicle, acknowledged that it has a written policy not to authorize the shipment of civilian employees' vehicles to Hawaii, it has effectively eliminated him from consideration for a potential relocation benefit conferred by 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5727(b) (1988). This statute authorizes transportation abroad of an employee's POV if the head of the agency or his designee determines that it is in the interest of the government for the employee to have the use of a POV at his post of duty outside the continental United States. See 2 JTR paras. C11001 and C11002 (Aug. 1, 1985). /1/

Mr. Lehmann points out that decisions of our Office have held that the determination whether to authorize transportation expenses for a POV pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5727(b) is a factual matter to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, Mr. Lehmann maintains that since the Navy applied its blanket policy of denial to his request rather than review his request on a case-by-case basis in light of all relevant facts personal to it, the Navy decision is in violation of the statute and regulations.

As pointed out above, the authority for civilian employees in 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5727(b)(2) provides that a POV may be transported at government expense only when "the head of the agency concerned determines that it is in the interest of the government for the employee to have the use of a motor vehicle at his post of duty." This statutory provision is implemented by regulations placing strict conditions on approval for transporting a POV, including that its use will not be primarily for the convenience of the employee and his immediate family, that local conditions make it desirable from the government's viewpoint for the employee to have its use, and that its use will contribute to the employee's effectiveness in the job. /2/ Therefore, the determination to allow transportation abroad of a civilian POV is a matter of agency discretion, and an approving official may not authorize transportation of an employee's POV overseas unless it is determined that it would be in the government's interest to have the vehicle at the duty station.

Considering the criteria provided in the regulations, we do not find the Navy to have abused its discretion by making a determination, without review of the specific facts in Mr. Lehmann's case, that local conditions at Pearl Harbor did not make it desirable from the government's viewpoint to authorize shipment at government expense of civilian employees' POVs.

In the absence of relevant evidence presented in the record that the determination of the authorized official in denying Mr. Lehmann transportation of his POV at government expense amounted to an abuse of the discretionary authority provided by 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5727(b)(2), there is no basis to allow the claim.

Daniel Moy, B-192445, Nov. 6, 1978.

Accordingly, our prior decisions in Mr. Lehmann's case are affirmed.

/1/ See also FTR, para. 2-10.2c (Supp. 1, Sept. 28, 1981), incorp. ref., 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-7.003 (1985).

/2/ FTR, para. 2-10.2c (Supp. 1, Sept. 28, 1981); and 2 JTR para. C11002- 2 (ch. 238, Aug. 1, 1985).