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OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - REAL ESTATE EXPENSES - DUTY STATION WITHIN UNITED STATES REQUIREMENT DIGEST: TWO EMPLOYEES WHO WERE PERMANENTLY TRANSFERRED FROM MAYAQUEZ AND ARECIBO. ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR HOUSE-HUNTING TRIPS SINCE BOTH OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS WERE LOCATED OUTSIDE OF CONTERMINOUS (CONTINENTAL) UNITED STATES. 5 U.S.C. ERRONEOUS ADVICE AND AUTHORIZATION BY AGENCY OFFICIALS DOES NOT CREATE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT WHERE EXPENSE CLAIMED IS PRECLUDED BY LAW. TERRON - HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP - ERRONEOUS AUTHORIZATION: THE ISSUE DECIDED HERE IS WHETHER TWO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES MAY BE AUTHORIZED AND REIMBURSED EXPENSES INCURRED FOR HOUSE-HUNTING TRIPS PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH AN OFFICIAL TRANSFER TO AND FROM DUTY STATIONS OUTSIDE THE CONTERMINOUS (CONTINENTAL) UNITED STATES.

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B-216343, MAR 4, 1985

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - REAL ESTATE EXPENSES - DUTY STATION WITHIN UNITED STATES REQUIREMENT DIGEST: TWO EMPLOYEES WHO WERE PERMANENTLY TRANSFERRED FROM MAYAQUEZ AND ARECIBO, PUERTO RICO, RESPECTIVELY, TO SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR HOUSE-HUNTING TRIPS SINCE BOTH OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS WERE LOCATED OUTSIDE OF CONTERMINOUS (CONTINENTAL) UNITED STATES. 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724AA)(2), AND FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS PARA. 2- 4.1C(3). ERRONEOUS ADVICE AND AUTHORIZATION BY AGENCY OFFICIALS DOES NOT CREATE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT WHERE EXPENSE CLAIMED IS PRECLUDED BY LAW.

HERNAN ROSADO AND SONIA M. TERRON - HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP - ERRONEOUS AUTHORIZATION:

THE ISSUE DECIDED HERE IS WHETHER TWO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES MAY BE AUTHORIZED AND REIMBURSED EXPENSES INCURRED FOR HOUSE-HUNTING TRIPS PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH AN OFFICIAL TRANSFER TO AND FROM DUTY STATIONS OUTSIDE THE CONTERMINOUS (CONTINENTAL) UNITED STATES. UNDER THE EXPRESS TERMS OF PARAGRAPH 2-4.1C(3) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) /1/, WHICH IMPLEMENTS 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724AA)(2) (1982), REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR TRIPS TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS SHALL NOT BE AUTHORIZED WHEN EITHER THE OLD OR NEW DUTY STATION OR BOTH DUTY STATIONS ARE LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CONTERMINOUS (CONTINENTAL) UNITED STATES.

THIS DECISION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION FROM W. D. MOORMAN, AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, OFFICE OF FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL FINANCE CENTER, CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF MR. HERNAN ROSADO AND MS. SONIA M. TERRON, EMPLOYEES OF THE FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE, TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES FOR HOUSE-HUNTING TRIPS IN SEPTEMBER 1982, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM MAYAQUEZ AND ARECIBO, PUERTO RICO, RESPECTIVELY, TO SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES TO SEEK A NEW PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT A NEW OFFICIAL STATION IS AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5724AA)(2) (1982), WHICH PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"(A) UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND TO THE EXTENT CONSIDERED NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, AS PROVIDED THEREIN, APPROPRIATIONS OR OTHER FUNDS AVAILABLE TO AN AGENCY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ***

"(2) *** EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS AT A NEW OFFICIAL STATION WHEN BOTH THE OLD AND NEW STATIONS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. ***" /2/

THIS STATUTORY PROVISION HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED BY PARAGRAPH 2-4.1C(3) OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH STATES THAT AN EMPLOYEE SHALL NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP WHEN EITHER THE OLD OR NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION OR BOTH ARE LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES. SEE 52 COMP.GEN. 834 (1973) INVOLVING A TRANSFER FROM ALASKA TO THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES; PAUL L. GUIDRY, B-203645, OCTOBER 9, 1981, CONCERNING A HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE'S SPOUSE FOR A TRANSFER FROM PARIS, FRANCE, TO WASHINGTON, D.C.; AND EUGENE B. ROCHE, B-205041, MAY 28, 1982, CONCERNING A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE'S SPOUSE FOR A TRANSFER FROM KANSAS CITY TO ALASKA.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS OF EITHER MR. ROSADO'S OR MS. TERRON'S HOUSE-HUNTING TRIPS.

/1/ 41 C.F.R. SEC. 101-7

/2/ THE DEFINITION OF "CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES" IN 5 U.S.C. SEC. 5721 STATES THAT IT "MEANS THE SEVERAL STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, BUT DOES NOT INCLUDE ALASKA OR HAWAII; ***." THE DEFINITION OF "CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES" IN FTR PARA. 2-1.4A STATES THAT IT MEANS "THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA." HENCE, THE TWO TERMS MEAN THE SAME THING AND MAY BE USED INTERCHANGEABLY.

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