B-235128, Nov 17,1989

B-235128: Nov 17, 1989

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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. Joan McGuire: The issue in this case is whether Ms. Is entitled to reimbursement for certain expenses she incurred in moving her household goods incident to a change of official station. Reimbursement for the expense of moving is limited to "actual expenses (e.g. " not to exceed what it would have cost the government to move the goods in one lot by commercial carrier under a government bill of lading. 41 C.F.R. An employee's reimbursement may also include the actual cost incurred for labor to help the employee pack and load household goods when an appropriate receipt is furnished to substantiate that payment was actually made pursuant to an arm's-length contract.

B-235128, Nov 17,1989

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.

Joan McGuire:

The issue in this case is whether Ms. Joan McGuire, an employee of the Social Security Administration, is entitled to reimbursement for certain expenses she incurred in moving her household goods incident to a change of official station. The agency authorized Ms. McGuire to move herself when two carriers refused to handle the shipment because of an objectionable odor. However, the agency paid the first carrier $1,330.23 for packing and related services incident to the aborted move.

Where an employee moves her own household goods, reimbursement for the expense of moving is limited to "actual expenses (e.g., vehicle rental fee, material handling equipment, packaging materials, fuel, toll charges, etc.)," not to exceed what it would have cost the government to move the goods in one lot by commercial carrier under a government bill of lading. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-40.203-2(b). See also Kenneth W. Sloop, B-229375, May 12, 1988. An employee's reimbursement may also include the actual cost incurred for labor to help the employee pack and load household goods when an appropriate receipt is furnished to substantiate that payment was actually made pursuant to an arm's-length contract. See Michael L. Smiley, B-226189, Dec. 9, 1988; Timothy Shaffer, B-223607, Dec. 24, 1986. It is the responsibility of the agency to determine whether the amount claimed for each of the expenses is reasonable regardless of whether the payment is within the maximum reimbursement available to the employee. Faustino W. Lopez, B-232600, Aug. 3, 1989.

Here, the agency should review Ms. McGuire's claim regarding the $1,546 billed by the driver of the second rental truck to determine whether that amount is reasonable under the guidelines provided in Faustino W. Lopez, B-232600, supra. Should the agency determine that the amount paid was reasonable under the circumstances, we would have no objection to reimbursement.

Regarding Ms. McGuire's claim for $675 for unloading and moving household goods to the residence, it is unclear from the record how that figure was derived. To the extent that it represents the amount Ms. McGuire incurred for labor to help unload the goods, as verified by appropriate receipts, we would have no objection to payment if the agency determines that the charge was reasonable.

With respect to the packing charges of $190, it is unclear why there was an additional charge for packing since the agency had already paid the carrier for packing the goods. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation as to why the goods had to be re-packed, the agency properly denied the duplicate payment.

Finally, since there were no receipts provided as support for Ms. McGuire's claim for $500 for the purchase of boxes, and it is unclear from the record why more boxes were needed, the agency properly denied reimbursement of that amount.