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Office of the General Counsel

Matter of:
Date: August 4, 1999
File Number: 000687

OPM Contact: Jo-Ann Chabot

This is a claim for: (1) a refund for 352 hours of unused annual leave; (2) a refund of the $736.22 that the claimant paid for outstanding relocation expenses; (3) back pay in the amount of $139.34 for night differential; (4) a refund for alleged overpayments of city and Federal taxes; and (5) correction of the claimant's service computation date under the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and reimbursement of associated lost earnings on his account. The claim for unused annual leave is denied and the claims for a refund of $736.22, payment of $139.34 in night differential, refunds of alleged tax overpayments, and lost earnings associated with errors in determining the claimant's TSP service computation date are dismissed for the reasons stated below.

The claimant's former employing agency paid $4,313.58 in relocation expenses resulting from his transfer to another duty post. Approximately four months after the transfer, the employing agency terminated the claimant's employment for cause. In accordance with its statutory authority to settle claims for relocation expenses, 31 U.S.C. 3702(a)(3), the General Services Administration's Board of Contract Appeals (GSBCA) found that the claimant is responsible for paying these relocation expenses. GSBCA # 14315-RELO (November 26, 1997).

Section 3702(a)(2) of title 31, United States Code, limits the claims settlement authority of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to claims for federal employees' compensation and leave. Thus, the claim for a refund of the $736.22 that the claimant paid for outstanding relocation expenses is dismissed because the GSBCA, rather than OPM, has the authority to consider such claims. OPM's claims settlement authority also does not extend to the recovery of alleged tax overpayments, which is a matter for consideration by the concerned revenue authorities, i.e., the Internal Revenue Service and the pertinent city government. See Matter of Sergeant First Class James L. Dunlap, B-224946 (September 25, 1987). Therefore, the claim for recovery of alleged tax overpayments is dismissed. Likewise, the claim for lost earnings on the claimant's TSP account also is dismissed because OPM does not have jurisdiction to consider such claims under the circumstances presented here.

The claim for night differential is moot because the employing agency reports that, in November 1996, the claimant was paid $139.34 in night differential and $8.00 in interest was included in the payment. Therefore, this claim is dismissed.

The employing agency reports with regard to the claimed refund for 352 hours of unused annual leave that the gross amount of the lump sum payment for the unused annual leave was $5,927.58. The agency reports that it applied $3,577.26, the net amount remaining after required deductions, to the claimant's $4,313.58 debt for relocation expenses, leaving a balance of $736.22. The agency further reports that the claimant sent a personal check to the agency to repay this balance and the debt was liquidated. It is well settled that the lump-sum payment for a former federal employee's unused annual leave may be used to offset a debt that the employee owes to the United States. 64 Comp. Gen. 907 (1985); 29 Comp. Gen. 99 (1949); 24 Comp. Gen. 522 (1945). In view of this and the GSBCA decision that the claimant was responsible for paying the $4,313.58 in relocation expenses, the claimed refund for the 352 hours of unused annual leave is denied.

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