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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

U.S. Geological Survey

Correspondence Handbook

Prepared by the Office of the Director


December 2000

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S.Geological Survey

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This Correspondence Handbook (431-2-H) is provided as a reference to assist U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employees in preparing and processing USGS correspondence. However, if the correspondence is being tracked by the Director's Office in the Correspondence Management System (CMS), please refer to the procedures on the following page.

The following publications have been referenced in preparing this handbook and are the USGS guide in correspondence preparation:

  U.S. Government Correspondence Manual, 1992
U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, 2000 (currently being revised and reprinted)
Secretarial Correspondence Procedures Handbook, 1991
The Gregg Reference Manual, 1996

Questions regarding the content of the handbook may be directed to the Records and Correspondence Section, Office of the Director, National Center, Mail Stop 114, Reston, Virginia 20192.

Date: Revised December 2000

Correspondence Management System

The Correspondence Management System (CMS) automates the process of tracking correspondence received in the Director's Office (DO) for which a response will be prepared. This system is designed to track correspondence as assignments are made from the DO to offices at headquarters, eastern, central and western regions. The system tracks assignments, due dates, correspondence status, and other elements of the document tracking process.

An electronic folder (profile record) is created for each piece of incoming correspondence that is scanned into the system. The profile record includes a control number (ACCN number), information about the correspondence, and a description of the type of action required along with tracking history. The new folder is then assigned electronically to the office designated as responsible for action. A routed document, along with the scanned electronic image of the correspondence, is sent via inter-office mail to the assignee office and any additional surnaming offices.

The action and surnaming offices will take action and forward the correspondence back to the DO where it will be routed to the next appropriate office for review. Once an office's responsibility for a piece of correspondence has been completed, a record of their response and action is recorded in the correspondence profile history.

For the entire cycle of the correspondence, the USGS CMS tracks the status of the correspondence and its associated profile document from the opening action until it is closed.

Director's Office - The DO creates an electronic folder, scans in the incoming correspondence, enters the appropriate profile information (subject, sender, due date, etc.), and electronically transmits the folder to the appropriate office for response.

Discipline Office(s) - The CMS users receive the electronic folder assignments from the DO. At this point, the assignment is given by the CMS user to the appropriate individual/office for action. The process by which responses are entered into the CMS, i.e., shared drive, e-mail, floppy disk, etc., is decided by the CMS users. The CMS user inserts the response into the folder and reviews the format, grammar, punctuation, etc., for accuracy. The action office and/or CMS user is responsible for obtaining the appropriate review/approval at their level. The CMS user will transmit the folder back to the DO where the response will be routed for additional surnames. Once the DO surnames have been obtained, the Records and Correspondence Section (RCS) will prepare the document in final for Deputy Director/Director signature. Signed copies will be returned to the action office.

Bureau initiated correspondence for signature by the Deputy Director/Director is processed in the same manner. The CMS user will contact the RCS for creation of an electronic folder which will be transmitted to the action office for inserting of the document.

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