52 Determining Eligibility and Suitability

521 Suitability Determination With Information Not From Application

Before applicants may be disqualified on the basis of derogatory information other than that in the application, they must be given an opportunity to comment on the information. This opportunity is provided by a letter of inquiry in which the facts are stated with enough specificity to enable the applicant to understand the details of the suitability concern. However, the letter must not reveal sources of information and must be worded in such a way that the eligible is unable to determine the identity of the source. Appendix A–2 contains a sample letter and statement to accompany a letter of inquiry.

Exceptions: Identity of sources may be disclosed when the information:

  1. Is a matter of public record (i.e., records of federal, state, county, municipal, and other public jurisdictions).
  2. Comes from law enforcement records.
  3. Comes from federal personnel records obtainable by the eligible.

When derogatory information comes from public records, the organization (not the person providing it) must be used in identifying the source.

The letter of inquiry must state that, if there is no reply within 10 days, the eligible’s name will be inactivated for not replying to official correspondence. In all cases when a letter of inquiry is used, forward it as certified mail marked Deliver to Addressee Only. Otherwise, the appointing officer may contact the applicant for an interview to discuss the information.