Matter of: Daniel G. Colley File: B-254120 Date: December 14, 1993

B-254120: Dec 14, 1993

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Relocation Temporary quarters Actual subsistence expenses Eligibility Extension A transferred employee contracted to purchase a yet-to-be constructed residence before he began his initial 60-day period of temporary quarters occupancy which was not scheduled for completion until after the 60 days had expired. He requested an 30-day extension based on construction delay due to wet weather and it was approved locally. His voucher claim for extended period was disallowed. The agency disallowance is sustained. The agency is authorized to grant an extension of time for occupying temporary quarters. Only if the additional time is due to circumstances occurring during the initial temporary quarters period that are beyond the employee's control.

Matter of: Daniel G. Colley File: B-254120 Date: December 14, 1993

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Relocation Temporary quarters Actual subsistence expenses Eligibility Extension A transferred employee contracted to purchase a yet-to-be constructed residence before he began his initial 60-day period of temporary quarters occupancy which was not scheduled for completion until after the 60 days had expired. He requested an 30-day extension based on construction delay due to wet weather and it was approved locally. However, his voucher claim for extended period was disallowed. On appeal, the agency disallowance is sustained. Under 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-5.2(a)(2), the agency is authorized to grant an extension of time for occupying temporary quarters, but only if the additional time is due to circumstances occurring during the initial temporary quarters period that are beyond the employee's control. Since construction was not scheduled for completion prior to end of initial period, the agency had the discretion to conclude that any delay due to weather was not a basis to approve an extension. Paul E. Storer, 67 Comp.Gen. 567 (1988); William M. Stoddard, B-248012, Aug. 25, 1992, and decisions cited.

DECISION

Mr. Daniel G. Colley, an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, was transferred from Nashville, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia, effective November 28, 1992. He was authorized and had been reimbursed for 60 days subsistence expenses while occupying temporary quarters from December 1, 1992, until January 29, 1993.

On September 29, 1992, Mr. Colley executed a "New Construction Purchase and Sale Agreement" on a yet-to-be built residence. The agreement showed that the closing date for purchase/occupancy was to occur on or before March 1, 1993.

On January 25, 1993, Mr. Colley requested an additional 30 days of temporary quarters because their new residence would not be ready for occupancy until near the end of February 1993.[2] That request was approved by the Assistant Director for Management at the local level.

Mr. Colley's voucher claim for reimbursement for the additional 30-day temporary quarters period was disallowed in the Financial Management Office of the Centers for Disease Control for the reason that even though the extension had been approved, there was nothing which occurred during the initial 60-day period of temporary quarters which caused a delay in occupancy of his new residence beyond that 60-day period. It also was pointed out that Mr. Colley knew when he signed the purchase agreement in September 1992 that his residence move-in date was scheduled to occur approximately 5 months in the future.

Mr. Colley appealed that disallowance arguing that the date given was the latest move-in date. He says it was anticipated when the contract was signed that the move-in date was likely to occur at least 3-4 weeks
sooner, but wet weather caused the delay.

Section 302-5.2(a)(2) of the Federal Travel Regulation,[3] which permits
agencies to authorize an additional period of temporary quarters beyond
the first 60 days, but not to exceed 120 days, provides in part:

". . . Extensions of the temporary quarters period
may be authorized only in situations where there
is a demonstrated need for additional time due to
circumstances which have occurred during the
initial 60-day period and which are determined to
be beyond the employee's control and acceptable to
the agency."

Thus, under the regulations, in order for an employee to receive an
extension of the initial 60-day period, the events over which he has no
control must have arisen during the initial 60-day period and prevented
him from occupying permanent quarters during that time. We have held
that if the employee/purchaser knew before he began his initial 60-day
period of temporary quarters that the scheduled settlement date on his
new residence was not likely to occur until after the expiration of the
initial temporary quarters period, then any event which occurred during
that initial period may not be considered as having caused the employee
to remain in temporary quarters beyond the initial 60-day period.[4]

In the present situation, Mr. Colley knew the approximate date that
settlement and occupancy of his new residence was to occur before he
began his initial period of temporary quarters. Since the settlement was
not scheduled to occur until after the end of the initial 60-day period,
it was well within the discretion of the agency to conclude that any
delay due to weather conditions would not serve as a basis to approve an
extension.

Therefore, the agency disallowance of his claim is sustained.

1. Mr. Claude F. Pickelseimer, Jr., Director, Financial Management Office.

2. The actual settlement ultimately occurred on February 22, 1993.

3. 41 C.F.R. Sec. 302-5.2(a)(2) (1993).

4. Paul E. Storer, 67 Comp.Gen. 567 (1988); William M. Stoddard, B-248012, Aug. 25, 1992, and decisions cited.