B-70535, NOVEMBER 24, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 294

B-70535: Nov 24, 1947

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AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ENCLOSED BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 10046 IN FAVOR OF RAYMOND J. WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION WAS WASHINGTON. WAS ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY REQUIRING TRAVEL IN THE SOUTHEASTERN PART OF THE UNITED STATES. IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT IT WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT TO CHANGE HIS OFFICIAL STATION TO JACKSONVILLE. WHERE HE WAS AT THAT TIME PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES. IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THE TRANSFER TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1283 WAS IMMEDIATELY ISSUED CHANGING HIS OFFICIAL STATION TO JACKSONVILLE. HAD KNOWLEDGE AT THE TIME THE ORDER WAS ISSUED THAT TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS ALSO INVOLVED. AS SOON AS THE ERROR WAS DISCOVERED THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS AMENDED TO INCLUDE AUTHORIZATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

B-70535, NOVEMBER 24, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 294

TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - ADVANCE AUTHORIZATION NECESSITY EVEN THOUGH THE ORDER AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION CONTAINED NO DIRECTIONS FOR TRAVEL--- THE EMPLOYEE ALREADY BEING AT SUCH POINT PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY--- AN AMENDMENT TO THE TRANSFER ORDER TO INCLUDE AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE PRIOR TO THE TIME THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION OCCURRED UNDER THE ORIGINAL ORDER MAY BE REGARDED AS SATISFYING THE REQUIREMENT IN SECTION 1 (A) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, THAT SUCH TRANSPORTATION BE AUTHORIZED "IN THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRAVEL.'

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO LESTER H. THOMPSON, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, NOVEMBER 24, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 21, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ENCLOSED BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 10046 IN FAVOR OF RAYMOND J. SCHWARTZ, 1225 LA SALLE STREET, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, IN THE AMOUNT OF $194.43, COVERING TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA, TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION.

MR. SCHWARTZ, WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION WAS WASHINGTON, D.C.,WAS ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY REQUIRING TRAVEL IN THE SOUTHEASTERN PART OF THE UNITED STATES. ON MARCH 24, 1947, IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT IT WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT TO CHANGE HIS OFFICIAL STATION TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, WHERE HE WAS AT THAT TIME PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES. IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THE TRANSFER TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1283 WAS IMMEDIATELY ISSUED CHANGING HIS OFFICIAL STATION TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

WHILE THE OFFICE, WHICH ISSUED THE TRAVEL ORDER, HAD KNOWLEDGE AT THE TIME THE ORDER WAS ISSUED THAT TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS ALSO INVOLVED, THROUGH AN OVERSIGHT IN THE DRAWING OF THE ORIGINAL ORDER, IT DID NOT IN FACT INCLUDE AUTHORIZATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS. AS SOON AS THE ERROR WAS DISCOVERED THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS AMENDED TO INCLUDE AUTHORIZATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

I AM AWARE THAT SECTION 1 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, INCLUDING THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS, SHALL BE ALLOWED AND PAID FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS ONLY WHEN AUTHORIZED "IN THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRAVEL.' SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICERS APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1946, APPROVED MAY 3, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 49, ALSO REQUIRES THAT THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILIES OF EMPLOYEES UPON TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION BE "IN THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRANSFER.'

IN YOUR DECISION B-53936 RENDERED DECEMBER 12, 1945 WITH RESPECT TO THE LATTER CASE, IT WAS HELD THAT IF THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE FAMILY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED SUBSEQUENTLY, BUT PRIOR TO THE DEPARTURE OF THE EMPLOYEE FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION PURSUANT TO AN OFFICIAL TRANSFER ORDER, SUCH TRANSFER ORDER PROPERLY MAY BE AMENDED TO INCLUDE AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS FAMILY.

INASMUCH AS THE TRANSFER ORDER IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS ISSUED WHEN THE EMPLOYEE WAS AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER I MAY PROPERLY CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

THE ORDER DATED MARCH 24, 1947, AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, CONTAINS NO DIRECTIONS FOR TRAVEL, THERE APPEARING NO NECESSITY THEREFOR SINCE THE EMPLOYEE ALREADY WAS PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY IN JACKSONVILLE AT THE TIME THE ORDER WAS ISSUED. WHILE A LITERAL OR STRICT INTERPRETATION OF THE WORDING OF SECTION 1 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 600, 60 STAT. 806, 807, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, REQUIRING THAT TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS BE AUTHORIZED "IN THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRAVEL" WOULD REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT THE ISSUANCE OF AN AUTHORIZATION TO THAT EFFECT WHEN NO TRAVEL IS INVOLVED OR DIRECTED IS PRECLUDED, SUCH AN INTERPRETATION WOULD SEEM ABSURD AND CONTRARY TO THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE. REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED, THEREFORE, THAT UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED THE ACT CONTEMPLATES THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ALSO MAY BE AUTHORIZED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION EVEN THOUGH NO TRAVEL ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEE IS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSFER.

THERE NOW REMAINS FOR CONSIDERATION HERE WHETHER THE AMENDMENT TO THE TRANSFER ORDER TO INCLUDE AUTHORITY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS BECAME EFFECTIVE PRIOR TO THE TIME THE ORIGINAL TRANSFER ORDER BECAME OPERATIVE TO CHANGE THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, SUPRA, SUPPLEMENTAL ORDERS AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS MAY NOT BE ISSUED RETROACTIVELY AFTER A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION HAS TAKEN PLACE. B-68675, AUGUST 29, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 128. HOWEVER, FOR PURPOSES OF PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IT IS SETTLED THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS PERMANENTLY TRANSFERRED TO A PLACE AT WHICH HE ALREADY IS PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS, THE TRANSFER IS EFFECTIVE UPON THE DATE HE RECEIVES NOTICE THEREOF. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 342, AND DECISIONS CITED THEREIN.

THE PRINCIPLE ENUNCIATED IN THE LATTER DECISION APPEARS EQUALLY APPLICABLE HERE IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE AMENDMENT TO THE CHANGE OF STATION ORDER BECAME EFFECTIVE PRIOR TO THE TIME THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION OCCURRED UNDER THE ORIGINAL ORDER. THE AMENDMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER ORDER IN THIS CASE IS DATED THE SAME DAY AS THE ORIGINAL ORDER, NAMELY, MARCH 24, 1947, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY INDICATION TO THE CONTRARY IT IS ASSUMED THAT DATE REPRESENTS THE ACTUAL DATE THE AMENDMENT WAS ISSUED. IN VIEW OF THAT ASSUMPTION, AND APPLYING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DECISION IN 23 COMP. GEN. 342, REFERRED TO ABOVE, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE EMPLOYEE, WHO WAS PERFORMING DUTY AT JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, COULD NOT HAVE RECEIVED A COPY OF HIS ORIGINAL TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION ORDER, DATED MARCH 24, 1947, ISSUED AT WASHINGTON, D.C., PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE AMENDMENT THERETO ON THE SAME DATE; HENCE, TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS TO BE CONSIDERED AS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED.

UPON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.