B-130624, APR. 29, 1957

B-130624: Apr 29, 1957

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TO PICKFORDS REMOVAL AND STORAGE SERVICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8. THAT THE DELAY IN PROCESSING THE SAME FOR PAYMENT WAS DUE PRIMARILY TO NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF OFFICIALS OF THE AIR FORCE. IT MUST BE REMEMBERED HAD THE PROPER PROCESS BEEN APPLIED AT THE TIME THE ACCOUNTS WERE FIRST RENDERED. THEN IT MIGHT HAVE FACILITATED THE TRACING OF THE PERSONS CONCERNED AND WHERE WE HAD CORRUPTED THE NAME BY REASON OF A TELEPHONIC MESSAGE. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE EASY TO IDENTIFY THE PROPER OFFICER CONCERNED. IN FACT THE TRANSPORT OFFICER WOULD PROBABLY HAVE REMEMBERED AND BEEN ABLE TO PUT THE ACCOUNT RIGHT. WE FEEL SURE WE HAVE NO NEED TO EMPHASIZE THAT IN DEALING WITH SOME OF THESE (WITH ALL RESPECT) STRANGE NAMES.

B-130624, APR. 29, 1957

TO PICKFORDS REMOVAL AND STORAGE SERVICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8, 1957, IN EFFECT REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE POSITION TAKEN IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 25, 1957, RELATING TO YOUR CLAIMS FOR SERVICES PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH MOVEMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

FULL CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR STATEMENTS THAT YOU PROMPTLY FILED CLAIMS FOR THE SERVICES RENDERED IN THESE CASES, AND THAT THE DELAY IN PROCESSING THE SAME FOR PAYMENT WAS DUE PRIMARILY TO NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF OFFICIALS OF THE AIR FORCE. SPECIFICALLY, YOU STATE:

"IN REGARD TO THESE ITEMS IN QUESTION, IT MUST BE REMEMBERED HAD THE PROPER PROCESS BEEN APPLIED AT THE TIME THE ACCOUNTS WERE FIRST RENDERED, THEN IT MIGHT HAVE FACILITATED THE TRACING OF THE PERSONS CONCERNED AND WHERE WE HAD CORRUPTED THE NAME BY REASON OF A TELEPHONIC MESSAGE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE EASY TO IDENTIFY THE PROPER OFFICER CONCERNED; IN FACT THE TRANSPORT OFFICER WOULD PROBABLY HAVE REMEMBERED AND BEEN ABLE TO PUT THE ACCOUNT RIGHT. WE FEEL SURE WE HAVE NO NEED TO EMPHASIZE THAT IN DEALING WITH SOME OF THESE (WITH ALL RESPECT) STRANGE NAMES, IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR MISUNDERSTANDING TO ARISE NOW AND AGAIN ON THE TELEPHONE.'

WITH REGARD TO YOUR CLAIM IN THE CASE OF CAPTAIN WILLIAMS YOU STATE THAT THIS IS A NAME WHICH SHOULD NOT BE CORRUPTED, AND YOU THEN REFERRED TO THE STATEMENT IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 25, 1957, THAT YOUR CLAIM WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE AND THAT A LETTER SENT TO CAPTAIN FRANK D. WILLIAMS PROVED NEGATIVE. REGARDING THE LATTER STATEMENT, YOU STATE THAT IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THE LETTER MET WITH NO RESPONSE OR THAT CAPTAIN WILLIAMS DENIED THE SERVICE.

FROM THE FILES RELATING TO THIS CLAIM, IT APPEARS THAT YOUR INVOICE, WHICH WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY ANY RECEIPT OR OTHER SUBSTANTIATING EVIDENCE, COVERED SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED FOR ONE "CAPTAIN WILLIAMS" --- NOT CAPTAIN FRANK D. WILLIAMS--- AND IN AN EFFORT TO OBTAIN VERIFICATION OF THE SERVICES ALLEGEDLY RENDERED, THE HEADQUARTERS, 3920TH AIR FORCE BASE GROUP (SAC), REQUESTED INFORMATION FROM THE PERSONNEL RECORDS OF THE AIR FORCE AS TO THE PROBABLE IDENTIFY AND PRESENT WHEREABOUTS OF "CAPTAIN WILLIAMS.' IN THIS WAY THE NAME OF CAPTAIN FRANK D. WILLIAMS WAS OBTAINED, BUT UNDER DATE OF APRIL 6, 1955, HE REPORTED AS FOLLOWS:

"YOUR LETTER OF 22 MARCH 1955, SUBJECT, DELINQUENT INVOICE, ARRIVED IN MY OFFICE ON 5 APRIL 1955. I AM RETURNING ALL THE PAPERS BECAUSE I BELIEVE YOU HAVE THE WRONG CAPT. WILLIAMS AND I SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN SUPPORT OF THAT BELIEF:

"MY TOUR IN ENGLAND WAS FROM 11, MARCH 1951 TO 3, MARCH 1954, DURING THAT TIME I WAS ASSIGNED TO RAF SOULTHORPE FROM 11, MARCH 51 TO JUNE 1952 I THEN WAS MOVED TO RAF SCRAMPTON, IN LINCOLNSHIRE. I REMAINED THERE UNTIL MY RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. I WAS NEVER STATIONED AT BRIZE NORTON AND THE ONLY CITIES WE LIVED IN WERE HEACHAM IN NORFOLK AND LINCOLN IN LINCOLNSHIRE.

"THE ONLY ARTICLE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS THAT WE HAD WAS A REFRIGERATOR WHICH WAS UNPACKED AND PACKED IN LINCOLN, IT WAS IN STORAGE ON THE BASE WHILE WE WERE AT SCULTHORPE.'

THAT THERE WAS DELAY ON THE PART OF THE AIR FORCE OFFICIALS IN PROCESSING YOUR CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT SEEMS OBVIOUS FROM THE RECORDS ON FILE HERE, AND THE AIR FORCE HAS MADE NO ATTEMPT TO EXCUSE THEIR DELINQUENCY BUT HAS MADE EVERY EFFORT TO DEVELOP SUPPORTING RECORDS FOR YOUR CLAIMS. IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 25, 1957, WE SET FORTH IN SOME DETAIL THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE AIR FORCE TO DEVELOP THE EVIDENCE NECESSARY TO THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIMS. IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT SUCH EVIDENCE APPEARS NOT TO BE AVAILABLE IN A NUMBER OF CASES. WE DO NOT QUESTION THE CORRECTNESS OF YOUR INVOICES --- WE CAN ONLY SAY THAT THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT JUSTIFIED IN CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT CLAIMS WHICH ARE BASED SOLELY ON INVOICES WHICH FAIL TO SHOW THE FULL NAME OF THE MEMBER OF THE AIR FORCE INVOLVED AND ARE NOT OTHERWISE SUBSTANTIATED. AS WAS STATED IN OUR PREVIOUS LETTER, IT IS A RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS THAT CLAIMANTS MUST FURNISH THE EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THEIR CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND THE BURDEN IMPOSED BY SUCH RULE MUST BE MET IN EACH CASE. OUR JURISDICTION IN SUCH CASES IS NOT TO MAKE A FINAL JUDICIAL DETERMINATION, BUT IS RATHER IN THE NATURE OF AN AUDIT PROCESS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE RECORD IS SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY PAYMENT THROUGH NORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR SUGGESTION THAT YOUR CLAIMS MAY BE SETTLED ON A "50/50 BASIS," YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WE HAVE NO COMPROMISE JURISDICTION.

AS TO THE NUMBER OF CLAIMS WHICH MAY BE SUBJECT TO SIMILAR OBJECTIONS, THERE ARE AT PRESENT BEFORE US APPROXIMATELY TWENTY WHICH HAVE BEEN REFERRED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, BUT WE HAVE NO INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER THERE MAY BE OTHERS WHICH HAVE NOT YET BEEN REPORTED. AS TO THE CLAIMS ON HAND, EVERY EFFORT IS BEING MADE TO PROCESS THEM AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE, AND YOU MAY BE ASSURED THAT PAYMENT WILL BE APPROVED IN EVERY CASE IN WHICH THERE IS ANY SUBSTANTIATING EVIDENCE EITHER FROM OFFICIAL RECORDS OR FROM VERIFICATION BY THE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED.

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