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Notice No. 02-06

Subject: Extension of Deadline to Fully Implement Revised 5 CFR 731 Suitability Regulations

Date: May 28, 2002

OPM issued revised regulations covering suitability adjudication which were published in the Federal Register (Volume 65, Number 250, Pages 82239-82246) on December 28, 2000. Per subsequent notice published on January 26, 2001, (Volume 66, Number 18, page 7863), the effective implementation date was extended until March 30, 2001. In the supplemental comments with this issuance, we informed agencies we were giving them up to one year to train personnel and modify their existing suitability adjudication program to accommodate their increased applicant suitability authority. We explained we would continue to accept applicant suitability referrals from agencies during this period. In our Federal Investigations Notice No. 02-03, dated February 25, 2002, we reported we extended this one-year "grace period" to June 30, 2002. We have decided to again extend this period until September 30, 2002.

We have re-examined suitability and objection/passover policies and regulations as a result of several recent decisions by the Merit Systems Protection Board. We plan to issue proposed changes to these regulations in the near future. This may impact or change procedures used by agencies when suitability issues arise. In addition, completion of our supplemental guidance to the regulations, which we plan to issue in a Suitability Processing Handbook, cannot be accomplished until the regulations are final.

While we will continue to accept applicant suitability referrals for adjudication, this does not preclude agencies from adjudicating suitability cases under the procedures outlined in 5 CFR 731, if they desire to do so. OPM provided suitability "train the trainer" courses to a large number of agency representatives last year. The suitability training materials provide adequate procedural guidance to supplement the regulations.

If you have a need for suitability training, we have arranged for the USDA Graduate School to provide this training on an ongoing basis. You may contact the Grad School directly at (202) 314-3683.

For further information you may contact any of the following:

Investigations Service Headquarters, Washington, DC:
Security Appraisal Officers: (202) 606-1042

Federal Investigations Processing Center (FIPC), Boyers, PA:
Lead Suitability Specialists: (724) 794-5612
Kim Truckley, ext. 244; e-mail: Kim.Truckley@opm.gov
Carol Means, ext. 187; e-mail: Carol.Means@opm.gov

[Please note that 5 CFR 731 applies only to competitive service and SES positions; it DOES NOT apply to military enlistees or personnel in contractor positions.]

Kathy Dillaman, Acting Associate Director
for Investigations

Inquiries: OPM-IS, Oversight and Technical Assistance Division, 202-606-1042
OPM-IS, Suitability Adjudications Service, 724-794-5612

Code: 731 - Suitability

Distribution: SONs/SOIs

Letter expires: September 30, 2002

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