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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

USGS Correspondence Handbook

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Chapter 2.

Secretarial Correspondence

  1. Ticketed Correspondence

    Incoming correspondence addressed to the DOI is reviewed by the Executive Secretariat (ES) to determine the priority and level of control required. Some incoming correspondence is referred to the USGS with ES control. All correspondence ticketed by the ES is processed in accordance with the instructions provided on the DOI Tasking Profile. (See Figure A-2 - DOI Tasking Profile.) The Tasking Profile provides all necessary information regarding the nature of the correspondence and the required action.

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  2. Preparation of Outgoing Correspondence

    1. General. Correspondence to be signed by the Secretary should be written in the first person singular.

           Example:
            "I have reviewed the . . . "

      "If I can be of further assistance . . . "

      Responses normally should not exceed two pages; one page is preferable. Punctuation should be in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Government Printing Office (GPO) Style Manual, 1984.

      When correspondence is initiated in the bureau for the signature of the Secretary or Deputy Secretary (and is not a reply to incoming mail), prepare a transmittal memorandum for signature by the Director, containing a succinct summary and background of the correspondence. (See Figure A-23 - Transmittal Memorandum to Request the Signature of the Secretary or Deputy Secretary)

      If the memorandum for signature by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary is in response to a DOI Tasking Profile, a transmittal memorandum is not necessary.

    2. Format.

      1. Guidelines. Follow the same general instructions for preparing USGS correspondence. The following additional guidelines apply when preparing correspondence for signature in the DOI. (See Figures A-24 - Congressional Letter for Signature of the Secretary; A-25 - Letter for AS/WS Signature; A-26 - Letter for Signature of Assistant Secretary - Policy, Management and Budget (AS/PMB); and A-27 - Transmittal Memorandum Through AS/WS to request Signature of AS/PMB).

        • Keep to one page.

        • Right-side justify (for Secretary signature only).

        • Use one of these type styles:

          Times New Roman, 12 pt
          Arial, 12 pt

        • Do not use the "In Reply Refer To" line.

        • Introductory Text. For responses being sent to State Governors and Members of Congress, the first sentence should be, "Thank you for your letter . . . " or "I appreciate your concern . . . ." If an incoming letter is addressed to the Secretary and the reply is prepared for signature by an Assistant Secretary or Bureau Head, the first sentence should be, "Secretary ________ has asked me to respond . . . . " Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the date of the incoming letter should be included in the opening sentence.

          The following are examples of acceptable opening sentences:

          • "Thank you for your letter of November 9, 2xxx, concerning . . . . "

          • "Your letter of . . . regarding . . . will be given . . . . "

          The first reference to the Department of the Interior or to the Secretary of the Interior should have the full title rather than "the Department" or "the Secretary."

        • Closing Text. Closing sentences should be used to eliminate abrupt or impersonal endings. Often the best method of ending letters is an offer to provide further information or assistance (without overly committing the Secretary).

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      2. Signature Block. The signature block for the Secretary's correspondence is shown below.

             Examples of signature blocks follow:
              FOR THE SECRETARY

        Sincerely,

        (4 blank lines)

        (Name is typed)
        (Title is not typed)

        FOR THE ASSISTANT
        SECRETARY FOR WATER
        AND SCIENCE

        Sincerely,

        (4 blank lines)

        (Name is typed on 5th line)
        Assistant Secretary
        for Water and Science
          FOR THE DEPUTY SECRETARY

        Sincerely,

        (4 blank lines)

        (Name is typed on 5th line)
        (Title is not typed)


      3. Copies - Secretary or Deputy Secretary. The following copies (prepared on Office of the Secretary letterhead) are required for correspondence for signature by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary: (For letters entered in CMS, only an electronic version is required; the RCS will make copies of the transmittal memorandum after the original is signed in the Directorate.)

        Please note: The following copies should be put on Office of the Secretary Letterhead:

        • Secretary Surname. Yellow ladder letterhead with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • ES. White letterhead - xerox with copies of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • AS/WS. White letterhead - xerox, two with copies of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • Director's File - MS 114. White letterhead - xerox with a copy of enclosures. The original incoming (placed on the left side of the folder under the Correspondence Brief) will be attached to this copy after signature.

        • Director's Chron - MS 114. White Letterhead - xerox without a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • Official File - MS xxx. Letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        Additional Copies Needed for Congressional Correspondence:

        • Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCL). White letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • Congressional Liaison/Water and Science (CL/WS). White letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • CL - MS 119. White letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • The following distribution list is to be typed on copies:

          cc: Secy. Surname
                ES
                AS/WS
                OCL (when appropriate)
                CL/WS (when appropriate)
                Dir. File - MS 114
                Dir. Chron - MS 114
                CL - MS 119 (when appropriate)
                Originating Office Official File - MS xxx

          USGS:Water:KTSmith:cls:6/12/2xxx:(703)648-xxxx:#2001xxxx:file name


        The folder for Secretary or Assistant Secretary signature is prepared in RCS and sent to DOI. The original incoming correspondence and ES Tasking Profile are placed on the left side of the folder, under the Correspondence Brief.

      4. Copies - Assistant Secretaries and Deputy Assistant Secretaries. The following copies are required for correspondence signed by the Assistant Secretaries and Deputy Assistant Secretaries: Copies are prepared on Office of the Secretary letterhead.

        • Secretary Surname. Yellow ladder letterhead with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence. (See Figure A-28 - Secretary Surname (Yellow Ladder Letterhead)

        • Executive Secretariat (ES). White letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • AS/WS. White letterhead - xerox with two copies of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • Director's File - MS 114. White letterhead - xerox with a copy of enclosures. The original incoming (placed on the left side of the folder under the Correspondence Brief) will be attached to this copy after signature.

        • Director's Chron - MS 114. White letterhead - xerox without a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

        • Official File - MS xxx. Letterhead - xerox with a copy of the incoming correspondence and enclosures.

        • Other File Copies.
        The original incoming correspondence and any background information, if appropriate, and the DOI Tasking Profile are placed on the left side of the folder under the Correspondence Brief.

      5. Identification Information (Credit Line). The following information must be included in the credit line. After noting the last copy, on the 2nd line indicate the originating office, author(s), typist, date, telephone number, CMS ACCN # (if appropriate), and the file name. Similar notations should be added below the former credit line(s) for each rewrite of the reply.

             Example:
              "USGS:Water:KTSmith:cls:6/20/xxxx:(703)648-xxxx:#2001xxxx:file name
        Rewritten:DOI:PMB:TBell:cls:6/12/xxxx:(703)648-xxxx:#2001xxxx:file name

        If a letter is rewritten, a copy of the "marked-up" first version, with the name of the person authorizing the rewrite, should be attached so that a visual check will show the changes that have been made.

        Line through the original Secretary Surname copy and attach it to the rewrite. On the upper right corner, adjacent to the surname ladder of the rewritten version, write "see attached surnames."


Back to Table of Contents - Chapter 2

 
     CHECKLIST FOR ASSEMBLY OF CORRESPONDENCE
FOR SIGNATURE BY THE SECRETARY OR DEPUTY SECRETARY
      LEFT SIDE OF FOLDER:

CORRESPONDENCE BRIEF
Placed on top of original incoming correspondence and background information, if appropriate; followed by the original DOI Tasking Profile if ticketed by DOI.
RIGHT SIDE OF FOLDER:

Plastic cover placed over original outgoing correspondence, enclosures*.

All copies should be on appropriate letterhead depending on who signs.

OFFICIAL SURNAME DIVIDER

Secretary Surname - Yellow ladder letterhead with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

ES - White letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

AS/WS SURNAME DIVIDER

AS/WS - White letterhead - xerox with a copy of enclosures and incoming correspondence.

Other AS copies as appropriate (white letterhead - xerox with copies of enclosures and incoming correspondence).

BUREAU SURNAME DIVIDER

Director's File - MS 114 (white letterhead - xerox with copies of enclosures).

Director's Chron - MS 114 (white letterhead - xerox w/o enclosures and incoming correspondence.

Official File - Letterhead - xerox with a copy of enclosures and incoming correspondence.

Other File Copies (as appropriate).
      *Use "Enclosures" when preparing letters; use "Attachments" when preparing memorandums.
      OUTSIDE OF FOLDER: CMS Profile Data Sheet (if appropriate) clipped securely to top of blue striped "Immediate Action" folder.


Back to Table of Contents - Chapter 2

 
     CHECKLIST FOR ASSEMBLY OF CORRESPONDENCE FOR SIGNATURE OF THE
ASSISTANT SECRETARIES AND DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARIES
      LEFT SIDE OF FOLDER:

CORRESPONDENCE BRIEF
Placed on top of original incoming correspondence and background information, if appropriate; followed by the original DOI Tasking Profile if ticketed by DOI.
RIGHT SIDE OF FOLDER:

Plastic cover placed over original outgoing correspondence, enclosures*.

All copies should be on appropriate letterhead depending on who signs.

OFFICIAL SURNAME DIVIDER

Secretary Surname - Yellow ladder letterhead with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

ES - White letterhead - xerox with a copy of the enclosures and incoming correspondence.

AS/WS SURNAME DIVIDER

AS/WS - White letterhead - xerox with a copy of enclosures and incoming correspondence.

Other AS copies as appropriate (white letterhead - xerox with copies of enclosures and incoming correspondence).

BUREAU SURNAME DIVIDER

Director's File - MS 114 (white letterhead - xerox with copies of enclosures).

Director's Chron - MS 114 (white letterhead - xerox w/o enclosures and incoming correspondence).

Official File - Letterhead - xerox with a copy of enclosures and incoming correspondence.

Other File Copies (as appropriate).

      *Use "Enclosures" when preparing letters; use "Attachments" when preparing memorandums.
      OUTSIDE OF FOLDER: CMS Profile Data Sheet (if appropriate) clipped securely to top of blue striped "Immediate Action" folder.


Back to Table of Contents - Chapter 2

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Last modification: 11-Jan-2013@10:53