B-88018, SEPTEMBER 1, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 104

B-88018: Sep 1, 1949

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TRANSPORTATION - BAGGAGE - REIMBURSEMENT BASIS WHERE AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS BY RAIL FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND ELECTS TO HAVE HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS CHECKED ON HIS TICKET. - IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A RECLAIM VOUCHER SUBMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MRS. LANDIS WAS TRANSFERRED FROM PHILADELPHIA. IT IS SHOWN THAT SHE TRAVELED TO HER NEW DUTY STATION VIA RAIL ON APRIL 17. WAS TRANSPORTED TO HER NEW POST OF DUTY FROM PHILADELPHIA BY RAILWAY EXPRESS. - WERE PAID FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. - ADMINISTRATIVELY WAS SUSPENDED ON VOUCHER 149836.

B-88018, SEPTEMBER 1, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 104

TRANSPORTATION - BAGGAGE - REIMBURSEMENT BASIS WHERE AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS BY RAIL FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND ELECTS TO HAVE HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS CHECKED ON HIS TICKET, THE WEIGHT OF WHICH EXCEEDS THAT CHECKABLE FREE ON HIS TICKET, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS (EXCESS BAGGAGE CHARGES, PLUS DRAYAGE COSTS) IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. AN EMPLOYEE WHO TRAVELS BY RAIL FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND ELECTS TO SHIP HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS, OR A PORTION THEREOF, BY EXPRESS, SEPARATE AND APART FROM HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS--- THE WEIGHT OF SUCH EFFECTS BEING WITHIN THAT CHECKABLE FREE ON HIS TICKET--- IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, PROVIDED THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS SO SHIPPED, WHEN ADDED TO THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS SUBSEQUENTLY SHIPPED, DOES NOT EXCEED THE AUTHORIZED MAXIMUM WEIGHT, OR THAT THE TOTAL SUM ALLOWABLE FOR SHIPMENT OF ALL EFFECTS DOES NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF THEIR SHIPMENT IN ONE LOT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, SEPTEMBER 1, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1949, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A RECLAIM VOUCHER SUBMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MRS. FRANCES LANDIS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPRESS CHARGES INCURRED FOR THE SHIPMENT OF 172 POUNDS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., ON OR ABOUT APRIL 19, 1949, INCIDENT TO ORDERS EFFECTING A TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT, BY ORDERS DATED APRIL 1, 1949, MRS. LANDIS WAS TRANSFERRED FROM PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR PERMANENT DUTY. THE ORDERS DIRECTING THE TRANSFER INCLUDED AN AUTHORIZATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HER HOUSEHOLD PROPERTY AND OTHER PERSONAL EFFECTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING REGULATIONS. IT IS SHOWN THAT SHE TRAVELED TO HER NEW DUTY STATION VIA RAIL ON APRIL 17, 1949, USING GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS; THAT, ON OR ABOUT APRIL 19, ONE TRUNK (WEIGHT 172 POUNDS), CONTAINING CLOTHING AND OTHER PERSONAL BELONGINGS, WAS TRANSPORTED TO HER NEW POST OF DUTY FROM PHILADELPHIA BY RAILWAY EXPRESS; AND THAT THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES THEREFOR--- $5.49--- WERE PAID FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. SUBSEQUENTLY, HER CLAIM FOR $7.70--- COMPUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCHEDULE "A" OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 9997, SEPT. 8, 1948--- ADMINISTRATIVELY WAS SUSPENDED ON VOUCHER 149836, MAY 1949 ACCOUNTS OF P. J. CARNEY, DISBURSING OFFICER, SYMBOL NO. 403, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 39 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. A COPY OF THE CITED VOUCHER DISCLOSES THAT THE CLAIMANT'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WOULD BE TRANSFERRED AT A LATER DATE.

YOU STATE THAT IT IS PRESUMED THE SUSPENSION WAS MADE IN VIEW OF THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED MAY 12, 1947 (B-65833), 26 COMP. GEN. 860, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE WHO, FOLLOWING THE RECEIPT OF ORDERS FOR A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, PROCEEDED TO HIS NEW STATION BY RAIL USING GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND CHECKED 200 POUNDS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS ON HIS TICKET, WAS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED--- DRAYAGE TO AND FROM RAILWAY STATION, PLUS EXCESS BAGGAGE CHARGES ON WEIGHT EXCEEDING 150 POUNDS CHECKABLE FREE ON THE TRAVELER'S RAILWAY TICKET--- IN LIEU OF THE COMMUTED RATE PRESCRIBED BY SCHEDULE "A" OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805. HOWEVER, YOU REFER TO OTHER DECISIONS CONCERNING THE PRESIDENT'S REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 (B) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 806, 807, WHICH DECISIONS, IN EFFECT, HOLD THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAY SELECT THE CARRIER WHICH BEST SUITS HIS PURPOSES, AND REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE MADE UPON A COMMUTATED (LUMP-SUM) BASIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCHEDULE "A" OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, AS AMENDED. YOU MAKE PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE SAID STATUTE WHICH REVEALS THAT THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS WAS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY THE SAME SUM IRRESPECTIVE OF THE METHOD OF SHIPMENT--- PRIVATE OR COMMON CARRIER--- SELECTED BY THE EMPLOYEE. COMP. GEN. 236; ID. 511; ID. 753; 28 ID. 41; ID. 95. IN VIEW OF THE SAID DECISIONS, YOU ARE IN DOUBT AS TO WHEN TO APPLY THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IN LIEU OF THE REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN THE PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE ORDERS GOVERNING THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, WHERE THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELS FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW STATION VIA RAIL.

IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS OFFICE THAT THERE IS NO LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF PIECES (TRUNKS, LOCKERS, CONTAINERS) OF PERSONAL PROPERTY THAT MAY BE CHECKED ON A TRAVELER'S RAILWAY TICKET AS BAGGAGE; NEITHER IS THERE ANY RESTRICTION AS TO THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE PERSONAL PROPERTY (BAGGAGE, ACCEPTABLE BY THE CARRIER) THAT MAY BE CHECKED BY THE TRAVELER ON HIS RAILWAY TICKET. HOWEVER, IT ALSO IS UNDERSTOOD THAT ONLY 150 POUNDS OF SUCH PROPERTY (BAGGAGE) ARE CARRIED FREE BY A RAILWAY CARRIER AND AN APPROPRIATE CHARGE IS MADE FOR EACH 100 POUNDS, OR FRACTION THEREOF, IN EXCESS OF THE WEIGHT CHECKABLE FREE ON THE TICKET.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, IT IS NOTED THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS SHIPPED BY EXPRESS FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S FORMER ADDRESS IN PHILADELPHIA TO HER RESIDENCE NEAR WASHINGTON EXCEEDED THAT WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN CARRIED FREE FROM STATION TO STATION ON HER RAILWAY TICKET. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE EMPLOYEE WAS PRIVILEGED TO SELECT THE METHOD OF SHIPMENT, AND, SINCE SHE ELECTED TO HAVE SAID EFFECTS SHIPPED BY EXPRESS, SHE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES CLAIMED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCHEDULE "A" OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, AS AMENDED, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THE WEIGHT OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS SO SHIPPED, WHEN ADDED TO THE WEIGHT OF HER HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS SHIPPED UNDER THE TRAVEL ORDERS OF APRIL 1, 1949, DOES NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTION COST OF THEIR SHIPMENT "IN ONE LOT.' SECTION 7, EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805.

IF THE WEIGHT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S EFFECTS EXCEEDS THE WEIGHT CHECKABLE FREE ON HIS TICKET AND HE ELECTS TO HAVE THEM CHECKED ON HIS RAILWAY TICKET, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS (EXCESS BAGGAGE CHARGES, PLUS DRAYAGE COSTS) IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SEE 26 COMP. GEN. 860. LIKEWISE, WHERE AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS BY RAIL FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND HE ELECTS TO SHIP HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS, OR A PORTION THEREOF, BY EXPRESS, SEPARATE AND APART FROM HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, AND THE PERSONAL EFFECTS SO SHIPPED ARE WITHIN THE WEIGHT CHECKABLE FREE ON HIS TICKET, REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE PROPER IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, AS AMENDED. OF COURSE, NO REIMBURSEMENT IS ALLOWABLE WHERE SUCH EFFECTS ACTUALLY ARE CHECKED FREE ON THE EMPLOYEE'S RAILWAY TICKET.