B-55093, FEBRUARY 14, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 597

B-55093: Feb 14, 1946

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SUCH ORDERS BEING BONA FIDE AND BASED UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE TRANSFER WAS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST. AS FOLLOWS: THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED AS TO WHETHER SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE CAN BE MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION WHEN THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS SEPARATED BY TRANSFER PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF A CONTRACT TO MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. PROPER AUTHORITY WAS ISSUED FOR THE TRANSFER INCLUDING PAYMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL EXPENSES. DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE COMMISSION WAS UNDERGOING A REDUCTION IN FORCE. NO OBJECTION TO THE TRANSFER WAS RAISED. ALSO IN THAT DECISION IT WAS STATED THAT "WHERE A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING HAD BEEN ISSUED TO COVER THE SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE (NOW DECEASED) TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION TO WHICH HE PREVIOUSLY HAD REPORTED UNDER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.

B-55093, FEBRUARY 14, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 597

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - SUBSEQUENT TO EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER TO ANOTHER AGENCY WHERE AN EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY REPORTED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION PURSUANT TO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS WHICH SPECIFICALLY INCLUDED AN AUTHORIZATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, SUCH ORDERS BEING BONA FIDE AND BASED UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE TRANSFER WAS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, THE FACT THAT, PRIOR TO SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, THE EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER AGENCY NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS DEFEATING HIS RIGHT UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION TO SHIPMENT PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588, AS AMENDED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, FEBRUARY 14, 1946:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 8, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED AS TO WHETHER SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE CAN BE MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION WHEN THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS SEPARATED BY TRANSFER PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF A CONTRACT TO MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

AN EMPLOYEE OF THE COMMISSION TRANSFERRED FROM SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS ON OCTOBER 15, 1945. PROPER AUTHORITY WAS ISSUED FOR THE TRANSFER INCLUDING PAYMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. HOWEVER, ON NOVEMBER 14, 1945,PRIOR TO THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS THE EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO THE RECONSTRUCTION FINANCE CORPORATION. DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE COMMISSION WAS UNDERGOING A REDUCTION IN FORCE, NO OBJECTION TO THE TRANSFER WAS RAISED. AT THE TIME OF HIS TRANSFER FROM THE COMMISSION NEGOTIATIONS HAD NOT BEEN MADE FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND HE HAS REQUESTED THAT THEY BE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE COMMISSION'S TRANSFER AUTHORIZATION.

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT SHIPMENT COULD BE SO EFFECTED IN VIEW OF YOUR DECISION OF OCTOBER 23, 1944, 24 COMPTROLLER GENERAL 319, CONCERNING THE SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF A DECEASED EMPLOYEE. ALSO IN THAT DECISION IT WAS STATED THAT "WHERE A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING HAD BEEN ISSUED TO COVER THE SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE (NOW DECEASED) TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION TO WHICH HE PREVIOUSLY HAD REPORTED UNDER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, BUT SHIPMENT WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED UNTIL AFTER HIS DEATH, THE RIGHT UNDER EXECUTIVE REGULATIONS TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF SHIPMENT DID NOT CEASE WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S DEATH, SO THAT COLLECTION FROM HIS ESTATE OF THE COST WITHIN ALLOWABLE LIMITS IS NOT REQUIRED.' HOWEVER, THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE CASE PRESENTED ABOVE ARE CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT FROM THE ONES CONSIDERED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED DECISION AND DOUBT ARISES AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF OUR INTERPRETATION. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

IN THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 23, 1944, B-45120 (24 COMP. GEN. 319), REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, IT IS STATED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT (QUOTING FROM PAGE 320):

* * * THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTORY PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE COSTS INVOLVED IN THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS UPON TRANSFER IS TO REIMBURSE THE EXTRA EXPENSES TO WHICH AN EMPLOYEE IS PUT AS AN INCIDENT OR RESULT OF THE TRANSFER OF HIS HEADQUARTERS FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S PURPOSES, AND THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ABOVE CITED CONDITIONS THE RIGHT TO THE PAYMENT ONLY UPON THE ACTUAL TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE AND THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL. * * *

THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE EFFECTED A TRANSFER TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY WITHIN APPROXIMATELY 30 DAYS AFTER ARRIVAL AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION CASTS SOME DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION WAS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT--- AS DISTINGUISHED FROM PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE.

HOWEVER, HAVING REGARD FOR THE STATEMENT IN YOUR LETTER THAT "PROPER AUTHORITY WAS ISSUED FOR THE TRANSFER INCLUDING PAYMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND THE SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS," IT IS ASSUMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CASE THAT THE TRANSFER ORDERS, INCLUDING THE AUTHORIZATION THEREIN FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WERE BONA FIDE AND BASED UPON ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE TRANSFER WAS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, APPLYING THE RATIONALE OF THE DECISION, SUPRA, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IF THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED ACTUALLY WAS TRANSFERRED TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 15, 1945, AS APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER, THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ISSUED AT THAT TIME WOULD APPEAR TO MEET SUBSTANTIALLY THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 8588, AS AMENDED; HENCE, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.