B-244130, Jul 23, 1991

B-244130: Jul 23, 1991

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

Smisson: The issue presented is whether Dr. Smisson was authorized shipment of household goods to his first duty station in Miles City. Smisson was authorized a commuted rate to transport essential items by rental trailer so that he could begin his practice for the VA as soon as possible and not wait for the general movement that was accomplished the following April. Smisson was authorized shipment of the remainder of his household goods by government bill of lading (GBL). The department has forwarded his request to this Office as a doubtful claim since it is now aware that a combination of commuted rate and GBL cannot be authorized for the same move. An agency is required to determine which of two systems.

B-244130, Jul 23, 1991

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

Dr. David C. Smisson:

The issue presented is whether Dr. David C. Smisson, an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), may be reimbursed at the commuted rate for a partial shipment of his household goods to his first duty station. /1/

As a shortage category employee, Dr. Smisson was authorized shipment of household goods to his first duty station in Miles City, Montana, where he reported for duty on January 29, 1990. Since the movement of his household goods could not be accomplished until April 1990, Dr. Smisson was authorized a commuted rate to transport essential items by rental trailer so that he could begin his practice for the VA as soon as possible and not wait for the general movement that was accomplished the following April. He moved enough items to furnish a basic apartment. In addition, Dr. Smisson was authorized shipment of the remainder of his household goods by government bill of lading (GBL). Dr. Smisson moved as authorized, and has requested reimbursement for the portion of the household goods that he moved himself on the basis of a commuted rate of $868.14 for a shipment of 2,520 pounds. The department has forwarded his request to this Office as a doubtful claim since it is now aware that a combination of commuted rate and GBL cannot be authorized for the same move.

When authorizing an employee to move at government expense, an agency is required to determine which of two systems, the commuted rate or GBL, will result in less cost to the government. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101 40.203-4 (1990). In Dr. Smisson's case, the GBL method was determined to be less than the commuted rate. Once the GBL method is authorized, if the employee chooses to move all or part of his household goods by another means, the government's financial responsibility toward the employee for shipping costs is limited to the cost which the government would have incurred had all the household goods been moved under a GBL in one lot by the low cost carrier providing the level of service required by the agency at the time the GBL method was authorized. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-40.203-2(b) (1990); Mark P. Dulin, B-230726, Oct. 3, 1989; Fuller C. Jones, Jr., B-224660, Mar. 14, 1988.

When an employee chooses to use a rental trailer to move his household goods himself, his reimbursement is limited to his 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 by commercial carrier under a GBL. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-40.203-2(d) (1990); Michael L. Smiley, B-226189, Dec. 9, 1988; Timothy Shaffer, B-223607, Dec. 24, 1986.

Accordingly, since Dr. Smisson used a rental trailer to move his household goods, his reimbursement is limited to his actual expenses.

/1/ The claim was sent to us by the Acting ADAS, Office of Financial Policy, Assistant Secretary for Finance and Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C. Reference: 047G4:8-5-1.