Resignation and Crime Provisions in Federal Service

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Does a resignation and crime provisions conflict? In other words, can I resign while under an indefinite suspension related to a criminal investigation?

A resignation and crime provisions do not conflict.  You can resign from your position in federal service at any time; you do not need agency approval to resign and you do not need the agency to “grant” you, or otherwise approve, your resignation.  However, you would not want to “request removal” because in essence, you are asking to be removed (fired) unless you have significant reasons for doing so (seek legal counsel in connection with the criminal aspect of your situation).  Whether you resign or are removed, you retain access to your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and even retirement options when otherwise eligible based on your years of service.

If you elect to resign, we recommend you document your resignation in writing to the agency and indicate you are resigning for “personal reasons.” Followup to ensure the SF-50 is coded correctly.  We also strongly recommend you download, or otherwise obtain, a complete current copy of your Official Personnel File (OPF) prior to the effective date of your resignation. Note, if you are not serving on an initial appointment probationary or trial period required by civil service or agency regulations, or you are otherwise serving under an appointment that provides appeal rights, the agency may document “adverse agency findings” on your final SF-50 (notification of personnel action) if an administrative investigation was conducted.  These findings, located in the remarks section of the SF-50, may reference the indefinite suspension. You should seek to negotiate a “clean 50” that would not document these remarks. Most agency representatives are amenable to such an arrangement. However, recent Executive Orders are constraining agencies in this regard. All situations are fact and circumstance dependent and you may need to seek consultation.

UPDATE: On Jan. 22, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14003: Protecting the Federal Workforce. This Executive Order revoked the Trump Executive Order 13839, Sec. 5 which barred clean record agreements. So, it is again possible to negotiate a “clean record” agreement.


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