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Page Title: Indebtedness
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when  writing  performance  appraisals.  Specifically, they are as follows: l l l l Advise employees on what the critical elements of their jobs are Establish performance standards that will permit accurate evaluation of job performance on the basis  of  objective,  job-related  criteria Assist  employees  in  improving  unacceptable performance Reassign, demote, or remove those employees whose   performance   continues   to   be unacceptable, but only after they are given an opportunity  to  show  that  they  can  perform acceptably and do not improve Remember,  the  aforementioned  writing  guidelines are very general. Specifics depend on the location of your organization, the type of federal employees you are supervising, and the type of job that they are assigned. Again,  you  should  contact  your  servicing  civilian personnel  office  to  obtain  both  the  governmentwide  and local directives that are established for your particular employees’   job   descriptions   and   performance appraisals. INDEBTEDNESS Your office may be tasked with being the central point for the processing of all indebtedness complaints concerning members of the command. Therefore, you must  be  familiar  with  the  Navy’s  policy  regarding indebtedness  of  its  members.  As  the  office  supervisor, you   will   decide   how   to   handle   indebtedness correspondence  by  setting  priorities  and  setting  up  files and tickler systems to track cases. This section briefly discusses the major parts of that policy, as well as when and  how  complaints  of  indebtedness  must  be  addressed by the command. Keep in mind that an indebtedness problem is of a personal nature and is treated as a confidential matter between the service member, his or her division officer (or whoever the CO appoints as advisor), and your office. Public  knowledge  is  not  required  unless administrative   proceedings   or   disciplinary   action becomes  necessary. POLICY From start to final settlement, a monetary obligation is a private matter between the service member and the creditor. A member of the naval service, however, is expected to settle his or her just financial obligations in a proper and timely manner. The failure to pay just debts or  the  repeated  undertaking  of  obligations  beyond  one’s ability to pay is regarded as evidence of irresponsibility. It is considered in retaining security clearances, making advancement  in  rate  or  special  duty  assignments, recommending   reenlistments,   or   authorizing extensions. In aggravated circumstances, indebtedness problems  may  become  grounds  for  disciplinary  action or administrative separation. The naval service has no authority to require a member to pay any private debtor to divert any portion of his or her salary to payment. No CO may adjudicate claims or arbitrate controversies respecting  alleged  debts;  however,  all  COs  should cooperate with creditors to the limited extent of referring qualified  correspondence  to  the  member  concerned. Before  discussing  what  is  qualified  correspondence or qualified indebtedness complaints, we will look at two acts that a creditor must follow before a CO is obligated  to  cooperate  with  the  creditor. FEDERAL TRUTH IN LENDING ACT The  Federal  Truth  in  Lending  Act  requires  a disclosure of credit terms so the consumer may compare the various terms available to him or her and avoid the misinformed use of credit. To this end, the act requires that credit terms and costs be explained to the consumer in a uniform manner revealing the annual percentage rate of the total finance charge. FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT The  Federal  Fair  Debt  Collection  Practices  Act prohibits contact by a debt collector with third parties, such as COs, to aid in debt collection unless there has been  prior  consent  by  the  debtor,  or  the  debt  collector obtains a court order. The act defines what a debt collector is and is not. Generally, those prohibited from contacting  the  CO  are  those  firms  engaged  in  the collection of debts as their primary purpose. In other words, the original creditor has given up trying to collect and  turned  it  over  to  a  professional  debt  collects.  The act   does   not   prohibit   the   original   creditor   from contacting the command. PROCESSING OF COMPLAINTS Complaints of indebtedness are referred to the service member when the creditor’s correspondence contains  evidence  that  the  debt  complained  of  has  been reduced  to  judgment. If it has not been reduced to 14-5

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