B-144518, DEC. 13, 1960

B-144518: Dec 13, 1960

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THE FACTS ARE REPORTED HERE AS FOLLOWS: THE EMPLOYEE. THE WEIGHT OF THAT SHIPMENT WAS 5. WAS TRANSPORTED ON A CARRIER ATOP HIS AUTOMOBILE. HE SAYS THAT NO WEIGHT CERTIFICATE WAS SECURED AS IT WAS IMPRACTICAL TO DO SO. THE EMPLOYEE SAYS IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO PURCHASE A CARRIER AND COVER FOR THIS PURPOSE AS NO CARRIER WAS AVAILABLE ON A RENTAL BASIS WHICH WOULD FIT HIS AUTOMOBILE. HE BASES HIS CLAIM IN PART ON THE THEORY THAT THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON A CARRIER IS ANALOGOUS TO THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN A PERSONALLY-OWNED TRAILER DRAWN BY AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE. YOU QUESTION YOUR AUTHORITY TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHER PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS THAT YOU HAVE FOUND NO CASE FOR WHICH WE HAVE AUTHORIZED PAYMENT WHEN A PORTION OF THE EFFECTS HAS BEEN WEIGHED BUT THE WEIGHT OF THE REMAINING EFFECTS IS ARRIVED AT BY CONVERSION FROM CUBIC FOOTAGE.

B-144518, DEC. 13, 1960

TO MR. V. H. EASTMAN, CERTIFYING OFFICER, AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE:

ON NOVEMBER 23, 1960, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION REGARDING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER FOR $47.33 SUBMITTED BY KURT K. KOEHLER, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN MOVING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

THE FACTS ARE REPORTED HERE AS FOLLOWS: THE EMPLOYEE, INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION, SHIPPED THE MAJOR PORTION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO HIS NEW STATION BY COMMERCIAL VAN AND CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR ON A COMMUTED BASIS. THE WEIGHT OF THAT SHIPMENT WAS 5,120 POUNDS. A SMALLER PORTION OF HIS EFFECTS, ESTIMATED TO BE 241 1/2 POUNDS COMPUTED ON A CUBIC FOOT BASIS, WAS TRANSPORTED ON A CARRIER ATOP HIS AUTOMOBILE. HE SAYS THAT NO WEIGHT CERTIFICATE WAS SECURED AS IT WAS IMPRACTICAL TO DO SO. THE $47.33 CLAIMED RELATES TO THE GOODS TRANSPORTED IN THAT MANNER. THE EMPLOYEE SAYS IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO PURCHASE A CARRIER AND COVER FOR THIS PURPOSE AS NO CARRIER WAS AVAILABLE ON A RENTAL BASIS WHICH WOULD FIT HIS AUTOMOBILE. HE BASES HIS CLAIM IN PART ON THE THEORY THAT THE MOVEMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON A CARRIER IS ANALOGOUS TO THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN A PERSONALLY-OWNED TRAILER DRAWN BY AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE, AND THAT AN ADDED EXPENSE TO THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE INVOLVED IN EITHER CASE.

YOU QUESTION YOUR AUTHORITY TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHER PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS THAT YOU HAVE FOUND NO CASE FOR WHICH WE HAVE AUTHORIZED PAYMENT WHEN A PORTION OF THE EFFECTS HAS BEEN WEIGHED BUT THE WEIGHT OF THE REMAINING EFFECTS IS ARRIVED AT BY CONVERSION FROM CUBIC FOOTAGE. IN THAT REGARD, WE DO NOT FEEL THAT THIS SHOULD MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE SO LONG AS THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS DOES NOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8905, AS AMENDED. ALSO, WE BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A VALID ANALOGY BETWEEN TRANSPORTING EFFECTS BY MEANS OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER AND TRANSPORTING EFFECTS IN A PRIVATELY OWNED CARRIER FIXED ATOP AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE.

THE EMPLOYEE BASES HIS CLAIM ON A CUBIC FOOTAGE OF 34.5 AND HE CONTENDS THAT IT WAS ,IMPRACTICAL" TO HAVE THE GOODS WEIGHED--- PRESUMABLY BECAUSE NO ADEQUATE SCALE WAS LOCATED WITHIN A RADIUS OF TEN MILES FROM HIS STARTING POINT. YOU SAY THAT THE 34.5 CUBIC FEET IS ESTIMATED AND THE EMPLOYEE, THEREFORE, HAS YET TO ESTABLISH THE ACTUAL CUBIC FEET OF "PROPERLY LOADED VAN SPACE" OCCUPIED BY THE GOODS TRANSPORTED. SUCH FACT MUST BE ESTABLISHED AS A BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE CONSTRUCTIVE WEIGHT UNDER SECTION 14 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED.

WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE RULED THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO DOES NOT FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME SUCH AS WILL SATISFY THE REGULATION, MAY NOT BE ALLOWED THE COMMUTED RATES PRESCRIBED IN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. IN SUCH CASES THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR AN ACCEPTABLE ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES. 38 COMP. GEN. 554. HERE THE EMPLOYEE HAS NOT ESTABLISHED HIS ACTUAL EXPENSE. THE TOTAL COST OF THE CARRIER AND COVER CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS AN ADDED EXPENSE BROUGHT ABOUT SOLELY BY HIS TRANSFER. THAT REGARD, THE EQUIPMENT PURCHASED BY THE EMPLOYEE DOUBTLESS WILL BE USED FOR HIS PERSONAL USE ON FUTURE TRIPS. EVEN IF IT COULD BE CONSIDERED THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ASSUME PART OF THAT COST, IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHAT PART OF THE COST SHOULD BE ASSUMED. ALSO, WHILE IT IS AGREED THAT THE COST OF OPERATING THE AUTOMOBILE WAS PROBABLY INCREASED BECAUSE OF THE ADDED WEIGHT, THE ACTUAL INCREASE HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN. MOREOVER, WHEN AS HERE, THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE FOR PERSONAL REASONS, IT WOULD BE IMPRACTICAL TO DETERMINE WHAT PART OF THE INCREASED COST--- ONCE ESTABLISHED--- WAS INCURRED BECAUSE OF THE OFFICIAL TRANSFER.

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