Matter of: Andrea C. Eddy File: B-250176 Date: February 17, 1993

B-250176: Feb 17, 1993

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She is not entitled to temporary quarters subsistence expenses (TQSE) during the 10-day period in which she had not vacated the leased residence at her old duty station. She is entitled to TQSE for the period in which she lived in temporary quarters. Was notified of the approval of a permanent change of her duty station. Her initial reporting date was scheduled in January 1991. It was extended by the Geological Survey until February 12. Who was visiting in that area was unexpectedly hospitalized. After her father was released from the hospital. Eddy claims that she is entitled to TQSE for the periods of January 9 through January 21. Since an employee is not eligible for TQSE until after vacating the residence occupied at the old duty station when the transfer was authorized.

Matter of: Andrea C. Eddy File: B-250176 Date: February 17, 1993

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Relocation Temporary quarters Actual subsistence expenses Reimbursement Eligibility After subletting her leased residence, an employee reoccupied it for 10 days until she moved into temporary quarters. Subsequently, she moved to another residence near her new duty station. In accordance with 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-5.2(c) (1991), she is not entitled to temporary quarters subsistence expenses (TQSE) during the 10-day period in which she had not vacated the leased residence at her old duty station. However, she is entitled to TQSE for the period in which she lived in temporary quarters.

DECISION The United States Geological Survey (Geological Survey), Department of the Interior, asks whether the claim of Ms. Andrea C. Eddy for temporary quarters subsistence expenses (TQSE) and certain other items may be paid. For the following reasons, we grant, in part, her TQSE claim, and determine her entitlements to other items as explained below.

Ms. Eddy, an employee of the Geological Survey, was notified of the approval of a permanent change of her duty station, in the interest of the government, from Menlo Park, California, to Carson City, Nevada, on or about November 7, 1990. Her initial reporting date was scheduled in January 1991, but it was extended by the Geological Survey until February 12, 1991.

Prior to receiving notification of the relocation, Ms. Eddy had planned a trip abroad. After notification of the relocation, Ms. Eddy sublet her leased residence for the period of December 15, 1990, to January 12, 1991, when the sublessors moved out and Ms. Eddy moved back in. Ms. Eddy returned from her trip abroad on January 9, 1991, and moved into a hotel near her residence until she could gain occupancy of it on January 12, 1991. On January 10, 1991, Ms. Eddy's father, who was visiting in that area was unexpectedly hospitalized. On January 12, 1991, Ms. Eddy reoccupied her residence and stayed there until noon on January 22, 1991, when she moved into temporary quarters at a motel near her former residence.

The moving company packed her household goods from January 18 to 21, 1991, and loaded her household goods for shipment on January 22, 1991. The real estate settlement on her purchase of a new residence in Gardnerville, Nevada, took place by phone and faxing of documents on January 25, 1991. On January 27, 1991, Ms. Eddy traveled to her new residence in Gardnerville, Nevada, by car so that she could accept delivery of her household goods and she returned to her temporary quarters, the motel near her former residence on January 29, 1991. After her father was released from the hospital, Ms. Eddy traveled to her new residence in Gardnerville, Nevada, arriving there on the night of February 11, 1991, and she reported for duty in Carson City, Nevada, on February 12, 1991.

Ms. Eddy claims that she is entitled to TQSE for the periods of January 9 through January 21, 1991, and January 22 through February 11, 1991. She also claims $64.43 for the cost of faxing and mailing various documents pertaining to the settlement on her new residence, and to mileage expenses of $35.25 for her travel to meet the movers at her new duty station on January 27 and 28, 1991. The Geological Survey denied the foregoing claims and submitted this matter for our review.

In accordance with the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-5.2(c) (1992), the Geological Survey properly disallowed Ms. Eddy's TQSE claim for the period of January 9 through January 21, 1991, since an employee is not eligible for TQSE until after vacating the residence occupied at the old duty station when the transfer was authorized. See Drew A. Perry, B-235329, Aug. 25, 1989; Edward Carlin, 67 Comp.Gen. 544 (1988).

In regard to her claim for January 22 through February 11, 1991, however, we find that TQSE should have been allowed since Ms. Eddy had to vacate her permanent residence and move into temporary quarters on January 22, 1991, to allow the landlord to undertake extensive repair work on the premises. See footnote 2 above. The FTR's general rule in 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-5.2(d) (1991) permits temporary quarters to be located within reasonable proximity of either the old or the new official duty station. In Ms. Eddy's case, her temporary quarters were located near her old official duty station, and we see no basis to deny her claim for that period.

In regard to Ms. Eddy's claim of $64.43 for the cost of faxing and mailing various documents pertaining to the settlement on her new residence, as a real estate transaction expense, we believe that this was properly disallowed. We note that such charges are not specifically listed as items to be reimbursed, nor are they "similar in nature" to those items listed in 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-6.2(a) to (d) (1992). See George C. Souders, 68 Comp.Gen. 373 (1989). Rather, such charges are considered covered under the miscellaneous expense allowance which Ms. Eddy was paid. See Mark B. Gregory, B-229230, Mar. 14, 1988 (disallowing Federal Express charges incurred by an employee to speed delivery of his mortgage loan application). Thus, her claim for $64.43 is denied.

Ms. Eddy's claim for mileage expenses of $35.25 for her travel to meet the movers at her soon-to-be new duty station on January 27 and 28, 1992, and for her return therefrom to her temporary quarters near her old duty station was disallowed by the Geological Survey since it viewed her subsequent trip on February 11, 1992, as the only one-way trip which was authorized for travel to her new duty station. While this is correct, the record shows that Ms. Eddy had made previous trips to her new duty station area at her own expense, and that the Geological Survey otherwise would have authorized and reimbursed her for the usual "house-hunting trip." Additionally, Ms. Eddy saved the government significant temporary storage charges by her trip to meet the movers at her new duty station on January 28, 1992. In light of these considerations, the Geological Survey may pay Ms. Eddy's claim for mileage expenses.