B-74459, MARCH 26, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 553

B-74459: Mar 26, 1948

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THE FACT THAT THE USE OF SHORT- LINE HIGHWAY ROUTE IN THE SHIPMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WAS PROHIBITED BY STATE AUTHORITY MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS ENTITLING THE EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT COMPUTED ON THE DISTANCE OF THE LONGER ROUTE ACTUALLY USED. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 11. THE CLAIMANT WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 4. SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED THEREIN. PAYMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UPON TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION IS ALLOWABLE UPON A COMMUTED BASIS ONLY FOR THE SHORT-LINE HIGHWAY DISTANCE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED. WHICH DISTANCE IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER TO BE 123 MILES VIA WASHINGTON STATE HIGHWAY NO. 5.

B-74459, MARCH 26, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 553

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - SHORT-LINE HIGHWAY ROUTE NOT AVAILABLE FOR USE AS AFFECTING COMMUTED REIMBURSEMENT IN VIEW OF SECTIONS 12 AND 13 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, PROVIDING FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED BASIS ONLY FOR THE SHORT-LINE HIGHWAY DISTANCE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED IN THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION, THE FACT THAT THE USE OF SHORT- LINE HIGHWAY ROUTE IN THE SHIPMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WAS PROHIBITED BY STATE AUTHORITY MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS ENTITLING THE EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT COMPUTED ON THE DISTANCE OF THE LONGER ROUTE ACTUALLY USED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO L. P. WILSEY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 26, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 11, 1947, FILE REFERENCE A DISBURSEMENT VOUCHERS, TRANSMITTING HERE FOR CONSIDERATION A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF BLAINE BOYD FOR $31.06, ALLEGED TO BE THE OUTSTANDING BALANCE DUE FOR SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM TIETON RANGER STATION ON THE SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST, WASHINGTON, TO WILKESON, WASHINGTON, ON AUGUST 2, 1947, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPER AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE THEREON.

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 325-R6, DATED JULY 22, 1947, THE CLAIMANT WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 4, 1947, FROM TIETON RANGER STATION, WASHINGTON, TO ENUMCLAW, WASHINGTON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF EFFECTING A PERMANENT CHANGE OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, AND SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED THEREIN. THE EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW DUTY STATION AS DIRECTED AND SHIPPED HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WEIGHING 4,930 POUNDS, TO WILKESON, WASHINGTON, THE NEAREST POINT TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT WHICH HE COULD OBTAIN SUITABLE LIVING QUARTERS, AND FROM WHICH POINT HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, ENUMCLAW, WASHINGTON. HE PAID THE CARRIER THE AMOUNT OF $119.33 FOR SHIPMENT OF HIS EFFECTS OVER A DISTANCE OF 198 MILES, PLUS $47.50 PACKING CHARGES, AND THEN CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT ON D.O. VOUCHER 20-50123 IN THE SUM OF $176.49, BASED UPON A RATE OF $3.58 PER CWT. HOWEVER, THE ADMINISTRATION OFFICE DEDUCTED THE SUM OF $31.06 FROM THE AMOUNT SO CLAIMED FOR THE REASON THAT UNDER SECTIONS 12 AND 13 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, DATED NOVEMBER 25, 1946, PAYMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UPON TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION IS ALLOWABLE UPON A COMMUTED BASIS ONLY FOR THE SHORT-LINE HIGHWAY DISTANCE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, WHICH DISTANCE IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER TO BE 123 MILES VIA WASHINGTON STATE HIGHWAY NO. 5, AS GIVEN IN HOUSEHOLD GOODS CARRIERS' BUREAU MILEAGE GUIDE. IN SUBMITTING THE RECLAIMED VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT THE EMPLOYEES RELIES UPON INFORMATION CONTAINED IN LETTER OF OCTOBER 31, 1947, FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS, STATE OF WASHINGTON, WHICH LETTER READS, IN MATERIAL PART, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 30TH RELATIVE TO THE PROHIBITING OF HEAVY TRUCKS ON THE CHINOOK PASS HIGHWAY.

THIS RESTRICTION IS NOT COVERED BY LAW, BUT IS BY THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION PASSED JUNE 10, 1947 BY THE DIRECTOR OF HIGHWAYS:

"BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE SECTION OF PRIMARY STATE HIGHWAY NO. 5 EXTENDING FROM PARK ENTRANCE ON THE WEST TO THE AMERICAN RIVER RESORT ON THE EAST BE CLOSED TO ALL TRUCKS AND/OR TRAILERS OR COMBINATION OF VEHICLES HAVING A GROSS WEIGHT IN EXCESS OF 5 THOUSAND POUNDS ON AND AFTER THE 10TH DAY OF JUNE, 1947.'

IN DECISION OF MAY 29, 1947, B-66127, REFERRED TO BY YOU, RELATIVE TO THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, OVER A ROUTE IN EXCESS OF THE SHORT- LINE HIGHWAY DISTANCE BETWEEN HIS OLD AND NEW STATIONS, AS GIVEN IN HOUSEHOLD GOODS CARRIERS' BUREAU MILEAGE GUIDE NO. 4, BECAUSE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS NECESSITATED TRAVEL BY MOTOR CARRIERS OVER A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE, IT WAS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

IN DECISION OF JULY 15, 1941, B-16431 (21 COMP. GEN. 23), IT WAS HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT THE RATES APPLICABLE TO THE DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO POINTS COMPUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNING TARIFF WERE FOR APPLICATION IRRESPECTIVE OF THE ROUTE ACTUALLY TRAVELED OR THE REASON FOR USING SAID ROUTE. HENCE, FOR LIKE REASONS, AND SINCE THE REGULATIONS, SUPRA, CONTAIN NO QUALIFICATION IN RESPECT OF THE TERM, "SHORT-LINE HIGHWAY DISTANCE," THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT THAT MAY BE ALLOWED THE CLAIMANT IN THIS CASE AS A CHARGE AGAINST GOVERNMENT FUNDS MUST BE BASED UPON THE DISTANCE BY THE SHORT-LINE ROUTE OF 314 MILES, AND THE VOUCHERS MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT TO THAT EXTENT ONLY.

THE FACT THAT, IN THE INSTANT CASE, A PORTION OF THE ROAD OVER WHICH THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECT WOULD HAVE MOVED WAS CLOSED BY DIRECTION OF THE DIRECTOR OF HIGHWAYS, STATE OF WASHINGTON, TO TRUCKS HAVING A GROSS WEIGHT IN EXCESS OF 5,000 POUNDS, CONSTITUTES NO LEGAL GROUND FOR APPLYING A DIFFERENT RULE FROM THAT STATED IN SAID DECISION. THE PRESIDENT'S REGULATION ( EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805) WAS ISSUED UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 600, 60 STAT. 806, AND, THEREFORE, HAS THE FULL FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW. CONSEQUENTLY, NEITHER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NOR THIS OFFICE HAS ANY AUTHORITY TO WAIVE ITS REQUIREMENTS.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE IT IS CLEAR FROM THE RECORD THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN PAID THE FULL AMOUNT AUTHORIZED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BETWEEN THE POINTS INDICATED, NO ADDITIONAL SUM MAY BE AUTHORIZED FOR PAYMENT.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.