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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — In the familiar American Forces Network commercial setup, one guy asks another to sign a power of attorney to help him handle affairs after a move. Then a voiceover implores servicemembers to give such privileges only for specific tasks, such as selling a car.

But that is no longer allowed on Okinawa.

“It leads to a crowded impound lot and a crowded island,” said Master Sgt. John Gutierrez, who heads Camp Foster’s Joint Vehicle Registration Office.

Power of attorney for the purpose of selling a car now will be granted only under special circumstances. And really, Gutierrez said, the only valid circumstance is orders to leave the island immediately.

The policy went into effect July 1 and affects all status of forces agreement personnel. Any new requests must be approved by the applicant’s chain of command.

Gutierrez said too many people were taking advantage of the special power of attorney, using it to keep driving their vehicles until the day they moved.

During the summer, the business season for permanent-change-of-station moves, the registration office would get up to 20 requests a day, he said.

The problem is those granted power of attorney weren’t doing the job, leaving scads of abandoned vehicles around the island, a headache for the Provost Marshal’s Office and hundreds of dollars in fines for the registered owner.

“The new policy forces the owner to dispose of the vehicle properly — to sell, junk or give it away,” Gutierrez said.


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