How to answer OF 306 and SF 86?

Hi, Back in 2016, Lift the USDA due to a pending investigation on my telework. My bosses’ boss called and said we need to look into some things, he didn’t specify, but I knew what it was. So I voluntarily resigned and sent him and my boss an email resignation PDF.

The final SF50 came.

5−A. Code 317
5−B. Nature of Action Resignation
5−C. Code RPM
5−D. Legal Authority REG 715.202

Remarks: Pursue opportunities outside federal government.

THis was Feb 2017.

I then applied to FEMA. When I filled out the OF 306 /SF 86 I said no to being fired or any other pending thing because I never received any official written notice of any investigation. SO I thought that was ok. I get hired to FEMA in September 2017.

Then in Feb 2017, USDA OIG contacts me about my telework, I tell them everything. Then I get the BI inverview in March. I tell them everything. Then in December 2018 , my GM meets with me and hands me a letter about my suitably. No pay as they review me, and I will be allowed to present my side of story.

The only thing is I’m taking visiting family overseas for longer than a month. I talk to my sis who works in HR (private) and she tells me to resign again. SO I do.

FEMA send me final SF-50.

5−A. Code 317
5−B. Nature of Action Resignation
5−C. Code RUM
5−D. Legal Authority REG 715.202 OTHER

Remarks: Pursue opportunities outside FEMA

I did a FOIA for my background investigation, so they send my USDA boss an questionnaire and my USDA boss put in the comments for the BI person to call him to discuss me.

Now reading the 5-a codes, the 317 doesn’t mention anything adverse, unless I’m reading it wrong.

So, If I’m applying for another government, I’m assuming, I should say YES to the OF 306 and SF86 about any bad stuff??

Maybe I’m answering my own question, but just lay everything out? Will I ever be able to be suitable for federal job again?

Thank you.

There was a discussion that covered similar topic: Public Trust Denied - #41 by JamFed.

What is GM? What is suitably? What was the subject of the letter? You will need to elaborate on the letter.

OF-306, question no. 12, I would answer no depending on the content of the December 2018 letter. Nonetheless, both of the Standard Forms 50 indicate that you resigned voluntarily and you indicated that you did not receive any proposed or notice of adversed action (ie: Notice of Termination).

As for SF-86, you should answer accordingly. You should also truthfully annotate why you left both jobs. If I were you, I would retain a security clearance attorney before submitting SF-86.

BI interview for the FEMA position? You told the investigator everything truthfully? including reasons why you left USDA? Did you get a copy of the investigator’s report of investigation (ROI)? Did the ROI say something to the effect that you told the truth about USDA prior to being confronted?

As said, I would advise you to retain a security clearance attorney as there seems to be more to the story.

So I was hired into Fema Sept 2017. The background investigations for all the new comers including me began around March 2018. Then I got the suitably denial around December 2018.

I’m not an expert on codes, but reading the PDF , it seems like there no adverse action taken yet. I copied those directly off my two SF 50s, hopefully someone here is more familiar.

GM is general manager. When I applied to FEMA, I didn’t mention anything about the USDA on the SF 86. I thought because I never received any official document (the government tends to give letters) I was ok. Maybe that’s why…my suitability was denied. I don’t have ROI.

So in the future, NO to OPM 306 and on the SF 86 explain everything.

I didnt know that a federal agency has a general manager. Did the suitability denial letter say something to the effect that you would be terminated as a result? If so, I would answer yes to question no. 12 because that letter is an official notice and usually a suitability denial letter is a proposed/notice of adverse action and it usually results in a termination.

I am not sure which version of SF-86 you filled out… assuming it was the November 2016 version, 13A.5 specifically asked you to “provide the reason for leaving the employment activity.” Unless I misunderstood you, it didn’t appear that you truthfully disclosed the reason why you left USDA.

I really would suggest you to consult a security clearance attorney before you submit these two forms (OF 306 and SF 86).

I was terminated from federal government twice, and I made similar mistakes that you did with OF-306. However, I disclosed the reasons on SF-86s and to background investigators. Although my BI was favorably adjudicated, I wished I retained a security clearance attorney. Yes, it would cost pretty penny, but it beats receciving a security clearance denial and losing a job.

Is a public trust and security clearance the same thing?

A woodhall, were you able to be rehired to the fed govt after leaving? You said you were terminated…meaning it actually said that on your two SF50s?

The letter given to me is one page. The other pages were stuff about being in nonpay, and its impact on my benefits, etc

This article will answer your question:

Yes, SF-50s annotated that I was terminated during probationary period (code 385, I believe) both times.

About the letter, you might want to consult a security clearance attorney on that. Without reading the letter, I don’t think anyone can adequately advise you. Anyway, it does sound like you were at least suspended or placed in non-pay status. Since the letter didn’t say you would be terminated as result of suitability issue and both your SF-50s have code 317, it is reasonable to conclude that you were not terminated. Did you quit in anticipation of being terminated? That is debatable, but I don’t believe so based on the information provided.

In my opinion, you received the letter in part because FEMA referred your case to Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM has the jurisdiction over something like this (falsifying OF-306), so OPM makes final determination on that. Nonetheless, you resigned before OPM could reach a determination. This is my opinion. If you want to continue this discussion, I would suggest you to post it in FedSoup… this is more appropriate over there and there are well-informed folks over there too.

However, you should answer SF-86 as honest and thorough as asked. The fact that you didn’t mention what happened with USDA job on previous SF-86 will likely be a bigger issue.

A Woodhall, I linked my letter in the previous reply, but it seems the moderators removed the link?

How do I attach the letter?

Perhaps, you can copy/paste or type the relevant part of the letter. You may already know this, but I would advise you to remove any personally identifiable information (PII).


I was able to read first part of the letter, but it was cut off. Did the letter advise you how you may appeal or such?

Anyway, judging by this letter… Since the letter didn’t say that you would be terminated or such, I stand by my comments on OF-306… answer “no” to questio no. 12. However, I strongly advise you to list this (USDA and FEMA) on SF-86 and show this letter to background investigator.

That’s the main crux of the letter. Anything beyond that is just contact information. It was a memo. One page.


Sorry to bring up this old past, but I’ve been applying to Federal and have passed the first phases on my way to an interview.

In your previous posts, you mentioned retain a security clearance lawyer. Can you recommend a good lawyer? Are you allowed to? Thank you.