Matter of: Deborah L. Childress File: B-253202 Date: October 8, 1993

B-253202: Oct 8, 1993

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Whose old duty station was in Tucson. Whose new duty station was in San Pedro. The claim is allowed. The only restriction is that the cost to the government shall not exceed the cost of transporting the property in one lot by the most economical route from the old official station to the new official station. DECISION This decision is in response to correspondence from Ms. Was hired in June 1988 by the United States Customs Service and stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. She was authorized to perform temporary duty at March Air Force Base. Who was engaged to be married to Mr. Who was then residing with her husband and stepson in Corona. Travel orders were issued to her which authorized permanent change-of- station travel for herself.

Matter of: Deborah L. Childress File: B-253202 Date: October 8, 1993

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Relocation Household goods Shipment Reimbursement Eligibility A transferred employee, whose old duty station was in Tucson, Arizona, and whose new duty station was in San Pedro, California, but who shipped household goods from Corona, California, to the new duty station, claims entitlement to that shipment at government expense. The claim is allowed. The fact that the shipment originated from a location other than the old duty station would not defeat the employee's entitlement. Section 302-8.2(e) (1992) of the Federal Travel Regulation authorizes such goods to be shipped from any point to any other point. The only restriction is that the cost to the government shall not exceed the cost of transporting the property in one lot by the most economical route from the old official station to the new official station.

DECISION This decision is in response to correspondence from Ms. Deborah L. Childress, through counsel, appealing the action taken by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require her to repay the amounts reimbursed her for mileage and shipment of household goods. For the following reasons, we conclude the claimant may retain the amounts reimbursed.

The claimant, then Deborah L. Phelps, was hired in June 1988 by the United States Customs Service and stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona. She was authorized to perform temporary duty at March Air Force Base, California, from August 23, 1992, to September 26, 1992. While performing that duty, she resided in nearby Corona, California.

In the meantime, Ms. Phelps, who was engaged to be married to Mr. Richard Childress, leased her Tucson residence on July 16, 1992, for 1 year effective August 8, 1992, and on July 31, 1992, she shipped her household goods (approximately 4,000 pounds) at her own expense ($2,227.59) from that residence to the residence of Mr. Richard Childress in Corona, California. On August 7, 1992, she married Richard Childress in Tucson, Arizona.

On September 23, 1992, Mrs. Childress, who was then residing with her husband and stepson in Corona, California, received an offer from the FAA for employment in San Pedro, California. After she accepted the offer, the FAA confirmed her acceptance by letter dated October 2, 1992, and instructed her to report for duty on Monday, October 5, 1992. Thereafter, travel orders were issued to her which authorized permanent change-of- station travel for herself, her husband, and her stepson (age 19) from Corona, California, to San Pedro, California; transportation and storage of 13,830 pounds of household goods from Corona to San Pedro; and real estate transaction expenses through use of a relocation service contractor for the sale of the residence in Corona. The orders were based on Mrs. Childress's assertion that since her Corona residence was her only residence, it was her permanent residence.

In November 1992, Mrs. Childress was paid $711.40 as a miscellaneous expense allowance and mileage (60 miles) for travel from Corona, to San Pedro, incident to her relocation. Additionally, the FAA paid $4,341.29 to move 13,830 pounds of their household goods from Corona to San Pedro.

In late November or early December 1992, Mrs. Childress received a job offer from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for employment in nearby Hawthorne, California. That inter-agency transfer did not involve further relocation. She advised the FAA on December 23, 1992, that she had accepted the position with the NTSB.

The FAA determined that, although Mrs. Childress was living in the residence in Corona, California, owned by Mr. Richard Childress, it was her residence only in connection with her temporary duty assignment at March Air Force Base. Since her permanent duty station during that time was Tucson, Arizona, and she did not have a residence there from which she shipped household goods incident to the transfer, the FAA concluded that Mrs. Childress was not entitled to be reimbursed for the household goods shipment from Corona to San Pedro, nor her mileage from Corona to San Pedro.[1] On March 23, 1993, after she left the FAA and began employment with the NTSB, the FAA advised Mrs. Childress of its findings and formally demanded repayment for her travel and the shipment of household goods, a total of $4,352.69. Mrs. Childress has appealed that ruling.

The regulation governing the shipment of household goods incident to a permanent change of station is contained in Part 302-8 of the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR).[2] Section 302-8.2(e) of the FTR[3] provides that the cost of transporting household goods may be paid whether the shipment originates at the employee's last official station or place of residence, or at some other point or points. Similarly the expenses are allowable whether the point of destination is the new official station, or some other point or points selected by the employee. The only restriction in that FTR provision is that,

" . . . the total amount which may be paid or reimbursed by the Government shall not exceed the cost of transporting the property in one lot by the most economical route from the last official station of the transferring employee . . . to the new official station."

We have allowed reimbursement under the above cited FTR provision when shipments originated at locations other than the old permanent duty station and when the destination of the household goods was other than the new permanent duty station.[4] Therefore, the fact that Mrs. Childress only moved household goods from Corona, California, to San Pedro, California, rather than from her old official station in Tucson to San Pedro, would not adversely affect her entitlement to ship household goods at government expense incident to that transfer. So long as the actual cost of the household goods shipment from Corona to San Pedro did not exceed the cost of shipment of those household goods in one lot from Tucson to San Pedro, that cost may be allowed Mrs. Childress.

With regard to reimbursement for her travel and the travel of the two members of her immediate family by privately owned vehicle, the maximum allowable mileage would be the distance between the old and new permanent duty stations. Since the distance actually traveled and claimed (Corona - San Pedro) was less than the distance between the old and new duty stations (Tucson - San Pedro), the lesser mileage (60 miles) at the rate for the employee and two members of her immediate family may be allowed.

1. The FAA also determined that since her residence in Corona in connection with her temporary duty assignment was not her residence from which she regularly commuted to her official duty station in Tucson, Arizona, there was no basis to pay the costs incurred by the relocation service contractor incident to its sale. Since no claim has been asserted by the organization who incurred those expenses that issue is not being decided at this time.

2. 41 C.F.R. Part 302-8 (1992).

3. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-8.2(e) (1992).

4. Garland F. Davis, 68 Comp.Gen. 44 (1988); Clarence G. Menke, B-180748, Oct. 3, 1974. See also Lyndon A. Werner, B-232375, May 31, 1989.