B-234767.2, Oct 6, 1989

B-234767.2: Oct 6, 1989

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Since the fence is not essential to the occupation of his quarters and is matter of personal convenience to the member. Richards - Movement of Personal Property: This is in response to a request from an Air Force Accounting and Finance Officer for an advance decision concerning reimbursement to Captain Gary L. Of the expense for moving a bamboo fence when he was ordered to move from his original government quarters to other government quarters. /1/ For the reasons presented below. Payment is not authorized. In 1987 he was ordered to relocate from those quarters to nearby government quarters. On the basis that the base regulations required him to have a fence for proper pet control. He was not aware of all the facts.

B-234767.2, Oct 6, 1989

MILITARY PERSONNEL - Relocation - Household goods - Shipment - Eligibility DIGEST: A member ordered to vacate government quarters and relocate to other government quarters without a change of station may not be reimbursed for the cost of moving a bamboo fence to the new quarters, since the fence is not essential to the occupation of his quarters and is matter of personal convenience to the member.

Captain Gary L. Richards - Movement of Personal Property:

This is in response to a request from an Air Force Accounting and Finance Officer for an advance decision concerning reimbursement to Captain Gary L. Richards, USAF, of the expense for moving a bamboo fence when he was ordered to move from his original government quarters to other government quarters. /1/ For the reasons presented below, payment is not authorized.

Captain Richards moved into government quarters in June 1986. Shortly thereafter, he purchased a bamboo fence and installed it at his quarters to accommodate his dogs. In 1987 he was ordered to relocate from those quarters to nearby government quarters. He has requested reimbursement for moving the fence to his new quarters, on the basis that the base regulations required him to have a fence for proper pet control.

The Accounting and Finance Officer indicates that the former Wing Commander endorsed Captain Richards's request for reimbursement; however, he was not aware of all the facts. The Staff Judge Advocate rejected the claim, and the present Wing Commander has denied the claim.

Additionally, he points out that Captain Richards's was notified prior to acceptance of the quarters that they were scheduled for renovation and relocation might be necessary. Although Captain Richards was authorized to install the fence at the government quarters, a statement was signed by his wife indicating that they would claim no right, title, or interest in or to the work except for privately-owned personal property and they would return the quarters to their original configuration on termination of occupancy.

In our decision 55 Comp.Gen. 932 (1976), we declined to authorize reimbursement from Operation and Maintenance funds of personal expenses for members who were relocated from government quarters to other government quarters without change of station orders incident to base closings in Japan. The expenses claimed in those situations were for personal or convenience items not essential to the occupation of quarters.

It is our view that Captain Richards's situation is similar to the situation in that case. The fence, though required by base regulation for pet control, was constructed for strictly personal reasons and was not essential to the occupation of his quarters. The fact that Captain Richards's Wing Commander initially authorized reimbursement does not change our decision, since it appears that he was not aware of all the circumstances involved and the government is not bound by the erroneous actions or advice of its agents. See Daniel A. Grover, B-221657, Mar. 24, 1986.

While it is unfortunate that Captain Richards must bear the expense he incurred in moving his fence, payment may not be authorized.