B-47283, MARCH 12, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 672

B-47283: Mar 12, 1945

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TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - MOTOR-VAN SHIPMENTS - CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT COMPUTATION IN LIEU OF WEIGHT CERTIFICATES WHERE A MOTOR-VAN CARRIER TRANSPORTING ON A LUMP-SUM "JOB" BASIS THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A TRANSFERRED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO SECURE THE PUBLIC WEIGHMASTER'S SCALE TICKET ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO COMPUTE ANY COSTS FOR EXCESS WEIGHT CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE. PROVIDED THAT ANY VOUCHER PREPARED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH CONTAIN A STATEMENT THAT NO ADEQUATE SCALE WAS AVAILABLE WITHIN 10 MILES OF THE POINT OF ORIGIN. OF HOW AND BY WHOM THE CUBIC FOOTAGE WAS COMPUTED. IN SOME INSTANCES CONTACTS FOR MOVEMENT BY VAN OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES ARE AWARDED ON A "JOB" BASIS.

B-47283, MARCH 12, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 672

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - MOTOR-VAN SHIPMENTS - CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT COMPUTATION IN LIEU OF WEIGHT CERTIFICATES WHERE A MOTOR-VAN CARRIER TRANSPORTING ON A LUMP-SUM "JOB" BASIS THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A TRANSFERRED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO SECURE THE PUBLIC WEIGHMASTER'S SCALE TICKET ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO COMPUTE ANY COSTS FOR EXCESS WEIGHT CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE, A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT OF 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE PERMITTED BY THE RULES ADOPTED UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT OF 1935, MAY BE USED, PROVIDED THAT ANY VOUCHER PREPARED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH CONTAIN A STATEMENT THAT NO ADEQUATE SCALE WAS AVAILABLE WITHIN 10 MILES OF THE POINT OF ORIGIN, ALONG THE WAY OR AT DESTINATION, AND OF HOW AND BY WHOM THE CUBIC FOOTAGE WAS COMPUTED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE WAR FOOD ADMINISTRATOR, MARCH 12, 1945:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 19, 1945, AS FOLLOWS:

A QUESTION HAS ARISEN IN THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE WITH REGARD TO THE METHOD TO BE USED IN CONNECTION WITH COMPUTING EXCESS COSTS COVERING THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, PURSUANT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS.

IN SOME INSTANCES CONTACTS FOR MOVEMENT BY VAN OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES ARE AWARDED ON A "JOB" BASIS, THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT BEING DETERMINED BY THE CARRIER ON THE BASIS OF THE CUBIC FOOTAGE OF ITEMS INDICATED ON A LIST OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO BE MOVED, WHICH IS MADE A PART OF THE BID.

IN MANY CASES IT IS IMPRACTICAL FOR THE CARRIER TO SECURE A WEIGHT CERTIFICATE AS REQUIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 8588 DATED NOVEMBER 7, 1940, AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 9122 DATED APRIL 6, 1942. SUCH CASES TH SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THE PROCEDURE OF HAVING THE WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT DETERMINED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT ON THE BASIS OF 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF VAN SPACE (WEIGHT PER FOOT INDICATED IN RULES AND REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE MOTOR CARRIER'S ACT, 1935) (COPY ATTACHED). IT IS NOTED HOWEVER, THAT THE CUBIC FOOTAGE IS NOT ARRIVED AT BY AN ACTUAL MEASUREMENT OF THE SPACE TO BE OCCUPIED BUT IS COMPUTED FROM A LISTING OR TABLE OF MEASUREMENT," HOUSEHOLD GOODS" USED BY THE MAJORITY OF COMMERCIAL MOVERS.

THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS, IN SOME CASES, EFFECTED SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS ON THE BASIS OF THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT INDICATED BY THE CARRIER IN ARRIVING AT ITS BID ALTHOUGH SUCH BID IS NO A ,JOB" RATHER THAN POUNDAGE BASIS. THE BIDDER'S ESTIMATED WEIGHT WOULD IN SOME INSTANCES BE LOWER, AND IN SOME, GREATER THAN THE WEIGHT COMPUTED ONA CONSTRUCTED WEIGHT ON THE BASIS OF 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT.

THE QUESTION FOLLOWS WHETHER IN COMPUTING EXCESS COSTS FOR MOVING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IT IS PROPER TO USE A CONSTRUCTED WEIGHT BASED ON THE FORMULA MENTIONED IN THE CARRIER'S ACT OR SHOULD THE CARRIERS' ESTIMATED WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT BE USED? IN THE EVENT THE LATTER RULE WERE APPLICABLE, WOULD THE ESTIMATES SUBMITTED BY SEVERAL BIDDERS BE AVERAGED, OR WOULD THE ESTIMATES SUBMITTED BY SEVERAL BIDDERS BE AVERAGED, OR WOULD THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT OF THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER ONLY BE USED IN DETERMINING THE EXCESS WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT?

FOR GUIDANCE IN PROPERLY COMPUTING AMOUNTS INVOLVED IN CASES OF THE KIND REFERRED TO, YOUR DECISION ON THE QUESTION PRESENTED WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588, BASED UPON THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, 54 STAT. 1105, 5 U.S.C. 73C-1, (A) LIMITS THE ALLOWABLE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO BE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF STATION OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE TO 5,000 POUNDS GROSS AND, WHERE EFFECTS WEIGHING MORE THAN SAID LIMIT ARE SHIPPED AND PAID FOR, DIRECTS THAT "EXCESS COSTS PAYABLE BY THE EMPLOYEE SHALL BE COMPUTED FROM THE TOTAL CHARGES ACCORDING TO THE RATIO OF EXCESS WEIGHT TO THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT" (SECTION 7), AND (B) REQUIRES THE PAYMENT VOUCHERS TO SHOW THE ACTUAL (NOT ESTIMATED) WEIGHT WHEN THE CHARGES ARE BASED UPON WEIGHT (SECTION 15). WHEN, AS IN THE CASES REFERRED TO, THE CHARGES PAYABLE ARE BASED NEITHER UPON WEIGHT NOR MEASUREMENT BUT UPON THE AMOUNT OF THE ACCEPTED LUMP-SUM BID THE CONTRACTS ORDINARILY REQUIRE THE USUAL SCALE TICKET OF THE PUBLIC WEIGHMASTER WHICH ESTABLISHES THE NET WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT TO BE USED FOR DETERMINING: (1) WHETHER AN EXCESS WEIGHT WAS SHIPPED--- OVER 5,000 POUNDS--- FOR WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS ACCOUNTABLE; (2) THE AMOUNT OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST HAD THE SHIPMENT BEEN BY RAIL IN CONNECTION WITH THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE USE OF THE MOST ECONOMICAL MEANS OF SHIPMENT (CF. 22 COMP. GEN. 503, 508); AND (3) THE COMPARATIVE CHARGES AT THE MOTOR VAN CARRIER'S PUBLISHED TARIFF RATES FOR USE IN THE AUDIT OF THE PAYMENT MADE TO THE CARRIER (23 COMP. GEN. 308).

THE RULES ADOPTED BY THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT OF 1935, 49 STAT. 543, PERMIT CHARGES TO BE COMPUTED ON "A CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT, BASED ON 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE," WHEN NO ADEQUATE SCALE IS LOCATED AT ORIGIN OR AT ANY POINT WITHIN A RADIUS OF 10 MILES THEREOF. PRACTICES OF MOTOR CARRIERS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, 17 MCC 505. ALSO, SEE PAGES 487 TO 489 OF SAME REPORT. IT IS BELIEVED THAT SUCH INSTANCES ARE RARE, BUT WHERE THEY DO OCCUR IT WOULD BE PROPER TO COMPUTE THE WEIGHT BY THE RULE JUST STATED--- 7 POUNDS PER CUBIC FOOT OF PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE. ANY VOUCHERS SO PREPARED SHOULD CONTAIN: (1) A STATEMENT THAT NO ADEQUATE SCALE WAS AVAILABLE WITHIN 10 MILES OF THE POINT OF ORIGIN, OR ALONG THE ROUTE, OR AT DESTINATION; AND (2) A STATEMENT OF EXACTLY HOW AND BY WHOM THE CUBIC FOOTAGE WAS COMPUTED.