B-238086, Jun 8, 1990

B-238086: Jun 8, 1990

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The employee is not entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred in the purchase of the Fairfield residence. Is entitled to reimbursement of real estate expenses he incurred in the purchase of a residence in Fairfield. Is contained in 5 U.S.C.

B-238086, Jun 8, 1990

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Residency DIGEST: Transferred employee purchased a residence in Fairfield, Ohio, approximately 108 miles from his new duty station in Indianapolis, Indiana. On 9 workdays of each pay period, he stays in an apartment in Indianapolis and commutes to his official station. He lives at the Fairfield residence on every other Monday and on weekends. The employee is not entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred in the purchase of the Fairfield residence. This Office has consistently held that the requirement under FTR para. 302-1.4(j), that the employee "regularly commute" from the residence in question, contemplates commuting on a daily basis, not just on weekends or occasionally during the week.

Johnny W. Reising:

A decision has been requested /1/as to whether Mr. Johnny W. Reising, an employee of the Office of Surface Mining, is entitled to reimbursement of real estate expenses he incurred in the purchase of a residence in Fairfield, Ohio, upon transfer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Indianapolis, Indiana, in October 1988. The claimed expenses may not be reimbursed.

After his transfer, Mr. Reising rented an apartment in Indianapolis. subsequently purchased a residence in Fairfield, approximately 108 miles from his official duty station in Indianapolis. He works a maxiflex alternative work schedule wherein during each 2-week pay period, he works 9 hours a day for 8 days of the biweekly pay period and 8 hours on the 9th day, with 1 day off. Mr. Reising lives in Fairfield with his family on his day off, Monday, and on weekends. On the other 9 workdays, he stays in the apartment and commutes to his duty station in Indianapolis.

The authority to reimburse an employee for real estate expenses incurred in the sale of a residence at the old duty station or the purchase of a residence at the old duty station, incident to a change of official station, is contained in 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5724a (1988) and the implementing regulation, Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), 41 C.F.R. Chapter 302, 1989. In order for an employee to be entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with the purchase of a residence, the new residence must be located at the employee's new "official station" within the meaning of that term in the FTR. /2/ Para. 302-1.4(j) provides that with respect to an employee's entitlement to reimbursement of residence expenses, "official station or post of duty means the residence or other quarters from which the employee regularly commutes to and from work."

With respect to the purchase of a residence, this Office has consistently held that the requirement that the employee regularly commute from the residence in question contemplates commuting on a daily basis, not just on weekends or occasionally during the week. /3/ Inasmuch as Mr. Reising does not "regularly commute" from his residence in Fairfield to his duty station in Indianapolis, that residence may not establish the basis for reimbursement of real estate purchase expenses incident to his transfer from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis.

/1/ By Mr. Roy E. Morris, Authorized Certifying Officer, Office of Surface Mining (OSM), United States Department of the Interior.

/2/ Ellis M. Hershowitz, B-181415, Feb. 5, 1975.

/3/ Irving R. Warnasch, B-193885, June 8, 1979, Stanley H. Fretwell, B-196185, Nov. 15, 1976; Clifton E. Klinefelter, B-185584, June 30, 1976; Hershowitz, supra.