B-69231, SEPTEMBER 24, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 171

B-69231: Sep 24, 1947

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AS FOLLOWS: THERE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION SEVERAL DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE ANNOUNCING THE PRINCIPLE THAT ONLY ITEMS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OWNED BY THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION MAY BE REMOVED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AS AUTHORIZED BY STATUTES AND REGULATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. AMONG THE DECISIONS ANNOUNCING THE PRINCIPLE DISCUSSED ARE A-41424. WHICH FROM ALL INDICATIONS WILL CONTINUE FOR SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE. MANY MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT HAVE BEEN FORCED TO OCCUPY FURNISHED HOUSES. HAVE BEEN OBLIGED TO DISPOSE OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS OR REFRAIN FROM PURCHASING ANY. UNDER THE POLICY OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT IT IS REQUIRED THAT ALL MILITARY PERSONNEL PERFORM A CERTAIN PERIOD OF THEIR SERVICE AT OVERSEAS STATIONS.

B-69231, SEPTEMBER 24, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 171

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - EFFECTS ACQUIRED SUBSEQUENT TO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS GENERALLY, THE SIXTH PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, AS ADDED BY SECTION 205 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, RESPECTING TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MILITARY AND NAVAL PERSONNEL UPON CHANGE OF STATION, DOES NOT AFFECT THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT HOUSEHOLD GOODS ACQUIRED SUBSEQUENT TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS MAY NOT BE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE; HOWEVER, OBJECTION WOULD NOT BE MADE TO PRESIDENTIALLY APPROVED UNIFORM REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE ONLY DURING PRESENT ABNORMAL CONDITIONS, PERMITTING TRANSPORTATION OF AFTER-ACQUIRED HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO OVERSEAS STATIONS UNDER PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 28, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION SEVERAL DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE ANNOUNCING THE PRINCIPLE THAT ONLY ITEMS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OWNED BY THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION MAY BE REMOVED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AS AUTHORIZED BY STATUTES AND REGULATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

AMONG THE DECISIONS ANNOUNCING THE PRINCIPLE DISCUSSED ARE A-41424, 8 APRIL 1932, 13 COMP. GEN. 464, AND B-43275, 4 AUGUST 1944 (24 COMP. GEN. 69).

AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT THE DECISIONS CITED MAKE IT MANDATORY THAT THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION UNDER THE GOVERNING STATUTES, REQUIRE THAT THE ARTICLES TO BE TRANSPORTED BE IN THE INDIVIDUAL'S POSSESSION ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ORDERS DIRECTING SAID CHANGE OF STATION AND SUCH GOODS MAY NOT INCLUDE PERSONAL PROPERTY ACQUIRED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS.

AS A RESULT OF THE CRITICAL SHORTAGE WHICH HAS BEEN PREVALENT ON A NATION -WIDE SCALE FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, AND, WHICH FROM ALL INDICATIONS WILL CONTINUE FOR SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE, MANY MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT HAVE BEEN FORCED TO OCCUPY FURNISHED HOUSES, APARTMENTS, OR ROOMS, RENT OR PURCHASE HOUSING/TRAILERS WITH THEIR BUILT-IN FACILITIES OR OTHERWISE OCCUPY QUARTERS IN WHICH THEIR PERSONAL HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS CANNOT BE USED AND AS A RESULT OF THIS CONDITION, HAVE BEEN OBLIGED TO DISPOSE OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS OR REFRAIN FROM PURCHASING ANY.

UNDER THE POLICY OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT IT IS REQUIRED THAT ALL MILITARY PERSONNEL PERFORM A CERTAIN PERIOD OF THEIR SERVICE AT OVERSEAS STATIONS. WHERE PERSONNEL LIVING UNDER CONDITIONS OUTLINED ABOVE RECEIVE OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENTS, IT IS NECESSARY THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS PURCHASE AN ENTIRE SUPPLY OF HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS BETWEEN THE TIME OF RECEIPT OF ORDERS DIRECTING CHANGE OF STATION AND THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SAID CHANGE OF STATION, IN ORDER THAT THE SHIPMENT OF THEIR AUTHORIZED ALLOWANCE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS CAN BE MOVED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. IN MANY CASES MILITARY PERSONNEL LIVING IN FACILITIES OF THE CHARACTER OUTLINED ABOVE, BECAUSE OF LIMITED HOUSING FACILITIES, UPON BEING ORDERED TO OVERSEAS STATIONS, HAVE FOUND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PURCHASE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, PRECLUDING THE SHIPMENT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS ACQUIRED, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AND THEREBY WORKING A SEVERE AND UNINTENTIONAL HARDSHIP ON SAID INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS, OR UPON ARRIVAL AT THEIR OVERSEAS STATIONS, THE MILITARY PERSON AND HIS FAMILY OCCUPY QUARTERS ASSIGNED, WITH NO FURNISHINGS TO PUT SUCH QUARTERS IN A COMFORTABLE OR LIVING CONDITION.

THE PRINCIPLE REFERRED TO ABOVE WAS ORIGINALLY ANNOUNCED BY YOUR OFFICE DURING PEACETIME WHEN NORMAL CONDITIONS IN ALL PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES OBTAINED AND WAS CONSIDERED TO BE REASONABLE AND PROPER AT THAT TIME. VIEW OF THE CROWDED CONDITIONS OBTAINING IN MANY PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES AT THIS TIME AND FOR SOME YEARS PAST, AS STATED ABOVE, HOWEVER, IT IS BELIEVED THAT SAID PRINCIPLE SHOULD NOW BE MODIFIED UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE EMERGENCY IN WHICH WE ARE LIVING INSOFAR AS HOUSING CONDITIONS ARE CONCERNED, SHALL CEASE TO EXIST, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES.

FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH ABOVE, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER, PROVIDED ARMY REGULATIONS ARE AMENDED TO MODIFY THE UNINTENTIONAL INJUSTICES AND INEQUITIES NOW IN EFFECT, BY AUTHORIZING SUCH SHIPMENTS UNDER STRICT CONTROL TO PREVENT THE ABUSE OF SUCH REGULATIONS, I.E., A DETERMINATION IN ALL CASES AS TO THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS ACQUIRED SUBSEQUENT TO EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS AND THE ISSUANCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR WHERE DETERMINED JUSTIFIED, YOU WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PAYMENT COVERING COST OF SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ACQUIRED OR PARTLY ACQUIRED, SUBSEQUENT TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION INVOLVING OVERSEAS TRAVEL.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF PERSONNEL OF THE MILITARY SERVICES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE NOW IS CONTAINED IN THE SIXTH PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 205 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 604, 60 STAT. 860, AS FOLLOWS:

UPON CHANGES OF STATION, MEMBERS OF THE SERVICES MENTIONED IN THE TITLE OF THIS ACT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION (INCLUDING PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, TEMPORARY STORAGE, AND UNPACKING) OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND EFFECTS, OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, AS AUTHORIZED BY REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE HEADS OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, WHICH SHALL BE UNIFORM FOR THE SERVICES MENTIONED AND SHALL BE APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT. SUCH TRANSPORTATION MAY BE BY RAIL, WATER, OR VAN, WITHOUT REGARD TO COMPARATIVE COSTS.

THE STATUTE WAS ENACTED TO EFFECT UNIFORMITY AMONG THE SEVERAL SERVICES INVOLVED AS TO TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, AND TO PROVIDE BASIC PERMANENT LEGISLATION EMBODYING, INSOFAR AS IS MATERIAL HERE, THE EXISTING PROVISIONS OF LAW RELATING THERETO THERETOFORE LARGELY CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS. SAID STATUTE CONTINUES IN EFFECT THE AUTHORITY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON CHANGES OF STATION AND, WHILE THE LAW APPARENTLY CONTEMPLATES THAT THE SHIPMENT OF THE EFFECTS NORMALLY SHALL BE AT THE TIME OF THE CHANGE OF STATION, SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AFTER RECEIPT OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS HAS BEEN PERMITTED, IN GENERAL, AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE RECEIPT OF FURTHER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS.

WHILE THE STATUTES HAVE NOT EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ACQUIRED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, THE RIGHT TO SUCH TRANSPORTATION CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN REGARDED AS ACCRUING TO THE PERSONNEL CONCERNED ONLY AS TO HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN THEIR POSSESSION WHEN ORDERED TO MAKE A CHANGE OF STATION, AND IT UNIFORMLY HAS BEEN HELD BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS LIMITED TO THOSE OWNED ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS. THERE IS NOT EVIDENT IN SAID SECTION 205 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, A LEGISLATIVE INTENT TO CHANGE THE EXISTING RULE WITH RESPECT TO HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ACQUIRED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDERS, AND THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TO SUGGEST SUCH AN INTENT. HOWEVER, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE REGULATIONS YOU PROPOSE ARE TO BE EFFECTIVE ONLY FOR A LIMITED PERIOD, AND THAT APPLICATION THEREOF IS TO BE RESTRICTED TO SHIPMENTS TO OVERSEAS STATIONS WHICH ARE DETERMINED TO BE JUSTIFIED AND ARE APPROVED IN ADVANCE IN EACH INSTANCE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE. HENCE, WHILE THE MATTER IS NOT ENTIRELY FREE FROM DOUBT, IN VIEW OF THE CONDITIONS WHICH ARE REPRESENTED AS EXISTING, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE TRANSPORTATION TO OVERSEAS STATIONS OF OTHERWISE PROPER HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WITHIN THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE, ACQUIRED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, LIMITED IN COST TO THE COST OF SHIPPING A LIKE WEIGHT FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS ARE UNIFORM AS TO THE SEVERAL SERVICES AND APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 205 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, SUPRA. ..END :