B-222198, APR 10, 1986,

B-222198: Apr 10, 1986

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DECISION REGARDING PAYMENT CLAIM IS FOR AGENCY HEAD OR DESIGNEE AND GAO HAS NO JURISDICTION TO CONSIDER CLAIM UNDER THE ACT. MEMBER'S CLAIM IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR SUBMISSION TO CONGRESS AS A MERITORIOUS CLAIM PURSUANT TO 31 U.S.C. COLORADO 80218 THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 20. CHARLEY LINNEAR FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT WHICH WAS LOST WHEN HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF HIS DUTY STATION WHILE HE WAS A SERGEANT IN THE AIR FORCE. LINNEAR IS ENTITLED TO THE CLAIMED EXPENSES. WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER A MATTER SUCH AS THIS ONE. WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL SUCH AS THIS CLAIMANT SHIPS GOODS WHICH ARE DAMAGED OR LOST. HIS REMEDY IS A CLAIM UNDER THE MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES' CLAIMS ACT OF 1964.

B-222198, APR 10, 1986,

GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE - JURISDICTION - CLAIMS - PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE OR LOSS DIGEST: MILITARY MEMBER WHO SUFFERED LOSS OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT INCIDENT TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS HAS CLAIM UNDER THE MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES CLAIMS ACT OF 1964. UNDER THIS ACT, DECISION REGARDING PAYMENT CLAIM IS FOR AGENCY HEAD OR DESIGNEE AND GAO HAS NO JURISDICTION TO CONSIDER CLAIM UNDER THE ACT. MOREOVER, SINCE CLAIMS UNDER THE ACT FALL OUTSIDE GAO'S SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY, MEMBER'S CLAIM IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR SUBMISSION TO CONGRESS AS A MERITORIOUS CLAIM PURSUANT TO 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3702(D), THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT OF 1928.

THE HONORABLE PATRICIA SCHROEDER:

MEMBER, UNITED STATES

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

1600 EMERSON STREET

DENVER, COLORADO 80218

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 20, 1986, CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF MR. CHARLEY LINNEAR FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT WHICH WAS LOST WHEN HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE SHIPPED INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF HIS DUTY STATION WHILE HE WAS A SERGEANT IN THE AIR FORCE. YOU REQUESTED THAT WE REVIEW THE MATTER AND DETERMINE WHETHER MR. LINNEAR IS ENTITLED TO THE CLAIMED EXPENSES. WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER A MATTER SUCH AS THIS ONE.

WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL SUCH AS THIS CLAIMANT SHIPS GOODS WHICH ARE DAMAGED OR LOST, HIS REMEDY IS A CLAIM UNDER THE MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES' CLAIMS ACT OF 1964, NOW CODIFIED AT 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3721 (1982), FOR ANY LOSSES HE SUSTAINS OVER AND ABOVE THE CARRIER'S LIABILITY. SEE ERNEST I. ARAGON, B-188264, APRIL 8, 1977. HOWEVER, UNDER THE ACT, ONLY THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE IS AUTHORIZED TO SETTLE AND PAY THE CLAIMS OF AN EMPLOYEE FOR DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY INCIDENT TO SERVICE. MOREOVER, ANY SETTLEMENT IS FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE. 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3721(K).

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT WE HAVE NO JURISDICTION TO REVIEW CLAIMS FILED UNDER THE ACT FOR DAMAGES TO OR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY. SEE ERNEST I. ARAGON, B-188264, SUPRA; SEE ALSO MICHAEL J. WASHENKO, B-219094, DECEMBER 5, 1985. CONSEQUENTLY ANY CLAIMS UNDER THE ACT MAY BE CONSIDERED ONLY BY THE AGENCY HEAD OR HIS DESIGNEE UNDER APPLICABLE REGULATIONS AND ANY SETTLEMENT IS FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE. 47 COMP.GEN. 316 (1967). THUS, THE AIR FORCE'S SETTLEMENT OF HIS CLAIM IS NOT FOR OUR REVIEW.

REGARDING MR. LINNEAR'S REQUEST THAT WE FILE A MERITORIOUS CLAIM FOR HIM, SUCH ACTION LIKEWISE IS PRECLUDED BY THE NATURE OF HIS CLAIM. THE ACT REFERRED TO, NOW 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3702(D) (1982), PROVIDES:

"THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL SHALL REPORT TO CONGRESS ON A CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT THAT IS TIMELY PRESENTED UNDER THIS SECTION THAT MAY NOT BE ADJUSTED BY USING AN EXISTING APPROPRIATION, AND THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BELIEVES CONGRESS SHOULD CONSIDER FOR LEGAL OR EQUITABLE REASONS. THE REPORT SHALL INCLUDE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL."

WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE CONSTRUED THE ABOVE-QUOTED LANGUAGE AS APPLYING ONLY TO CLAIMS OF THE TYPE WHICH FALL WITHIN OUR SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY. SEE, E.G., SUZANNE C. CRAMOND, 62 COMP.GEN. 280 (1983); B-204766, MARCH 2, 1982. WE ALSO NOTE THAT MR. LINNEAR'S CLAIM WAS NOT TIMELY PRESENTED TO US, SINCE A MERITORIOUS CLAIM, LIKE ANY OTHER CLAIM, MUST BE PRESENTED TO US WITHIN 6 YEARS OF ITS ACCRUAL OR BE FOREVER BARRED FROM OUR CONSIDERATION. SEE SENTINEL ELECTRONICS, INC., B-208290, SEPTEMBER 7, 1982.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE MR. LINNEAR'S CLAIM IS NOT TIMELY FILED AND IS NOT WITHIN THE SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY OF OUR OFFICE, IT MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR SUBMISSION TO THE CONGRESS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3702(D).

AS REQUESTED WE ARE RETURNING THE CORRESPONDENCE YOU SUBMITTED.

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