B-87789, AUGUST 11, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 70

B-87789: Aug 11, 1949

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THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE UPON A COMMUTED BASIS HAD SUCH MOVEMENT BEEN MADE BY CARRIER. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 30. PROVIDES THAT AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICERS "SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHERS PRESENTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.'. THE ANSWER HEREIN WILL BE CONFINED TO THE QUESTIONS INVOLVED ON THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER. THE EMPLOYEE WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM YUCAIPA TO TEHACHAPI. FOR PERMANENT DUTY AND THAT SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED THEREIN. AT THAT TIME SUITABLE LIVING QUARTERS WERE OBTAINED AND THE EFFECTS.

B-87789, AUGUST 11, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 70

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - SHIPMENT BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER WHERE, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, AN EMPLOYEE TRANSPORTED HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION, SEVERAL TRIPS BEING REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THEIR TRANSFER, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE ALLOWED FOR SUCH SHIPMENTS ONLY IN THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED BY HIM (GAS, OIL, ETC., BUT EXCLUDING DEPRECIATION) IN ACCOMPLISHING THE MOVEMENT NOT TO EXCEED, IN ANY EVENT, THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE UPON A COMMUTED BASIS HAD SUCH MOVEMENT BEEN MADE BY CARRIER.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO M. E. FISHER, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AUGUST 11, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 30, 1949, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF CLAUD B. WILLIAMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UPON A COMMUTED BASIS FOR MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM YUCAIPA, CALIF., TO TEHACHAPI, CALIF., INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF PERMANENT DUTY STATION BETWEEN THOSE POINTS AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE IN OCTOBER 1947, AND REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE VOUCHER PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 876, PROVIDES THAT AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICERS "SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHERS PRESENTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.' ACCORDINGLY, THE ANSWER HEREIN WILL BE CONFINED TO THE QUESTIONS INVOLVED ON THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER.

THE EVIDENCE FURNISHED THIS OFFICE SHOWS THAT BY TRAVEL ORDER OF OCTOBER 28, 1947, THE EMPLOYEE WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM YUCAIPA TO TEHACHAPI, CALIF., FOR PERMANENT DUTY AND THAT SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED THEREIN. IT SEEMS THAT HE PROCEEDED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION AS DIRECTED, BUT THAT THE UNAVAILABILITY OF HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS FORCED HIM TO DELAY MOVEMENT OF HIS EFFECTS TO THE NEW HEADQUARTERS UNTIL APRIL 1948. AT THAT TIME SUITABLE LIVING QUARTERS WERE OBTAINED AND THE EFFECTS, WEIGHING 6,425 POUNDS (WEIGHT CERTIFICATES FURNISHED), WERE TRANSPORTED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN HIS TRAILER FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW DUTY STATION, FIVE TRIPS (DURING APRIL, MAY, AND JULY, 1948) IN ALL BEING REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THEIR TRANSFER.

UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE FIVE TRIPS IN APRIL, MAY, AND JULY, 1948 WERE PRIMARILY FOR THE PURPOSE OF MOVING THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, REIMBURSEMENT, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, MAY BE ALLOWED TO THE EMPLOYEE ONLY IN THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED BY HIM (GAS, OIL, ETC., BUT EXCLUDING DEPRECIATION) IN ACCOMPLISHING THE MOVEMENT NOT TO EXCEED, IN ANY EVENT, THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE UPON A COMMUTED BASIS HAD THE MOVEMENT OF HIS EFFECTS BEEN BY CARRIER.

WITH RESPECT TO (1) YOUR REFERENCE TO THE FORM LETTER OF INSTRUCTION ISSUED TO THE EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS TRANSFER AND (2) YOUR REFERENCE TO CERTAIN PREVIOUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE PERTAINING TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO DECISION OF APRIL 29, 1949, B-83414, TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, A COPY OF WHICH SHOULD BE OBTAINABLE BY YOU THROUGH REGULAR ADMINISTRATIVE CHANNELS. ALSO SEE 27 COMP. GEN. 740; 28 ID. 95; B-82461, MARCH 22, 1949.

YOUR OTHER CONTENTIONS HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED BUT ARE NOT DEEMED SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY A DIFFERENT RULING THAN STATED HEREIN.