22 CFR 309.16 - Review.
(a) Request for outside hearing. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an employee who desires an outside hearing concerning the existence or amount of the debt or the proposed offset schedule must send a request to the office designated in the notice of intent. See § 309.15(a)(8). The request must be received by the designated office not later than 20 calendar days after the date of delivery of the notice as provided in § 309.15(a). The request must be signed by the employee and should identify and explain with reasonable specificity and brevity the facts, evidence and witnesses which the employee believes support his or her position. If the employee objects to the percentage of disposable pay to be deducted from each check, the request should state the objection and the reasons for it. The employee must also specify whether an oral hearing or a review of the documentary evidence is requested. If an oral hearing is desired, the request should explain why the matter cannot be resolved by review of the documentary evidence alone.
(b) Failure to submit timely.
(1) If the employee files a petition for a review after the expiration of the 20 calendar day period provided for in paragraph (a) of this section, the designated office may accept the request if the employee can show that the delay was the result of circumstances beyond his or her control, or because of a failure to receive the notice of the filing deadline (unless the employee has actual knowledge of the filing deadline).
(2) An employee waives the right to a review, and will have his or her disposable pay offset in accordance with Peace Corps' offset schedule, if the employee fails to file a request for a hearing unless such failure is excused as provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(3) If the employee fails to appear at an oral hearing of which he or she was notified, unless the hearing official determines failure to appear was due to circumstances beyond the employee's control, his or her appeal will be decided on the basis of the documents then available to the hearing official.
(c) Representation at the hearing. The creditor agency may be represented by a representative of its choice. The employee may represent himself or herself or may be represented by an individual of his or her choice and at his or her expense.
(d) Review of Peace Corps records related to the debt.
(1) An employee who intends to inspect or copy creditor agency records related to the debt in accordance with § 309.15(a)(5), must send a letter to the official designated in the notice of intent to offset stating his or her intention. The letter must be sent within 20 calendar days after receipt of the notice.
(2) In response to a timely request submitted by the debtor, the designated official will notify the employee of the location and time when the employee may inspect and copy records related to the debt.
(3) If personal inspection is impractical, copies of such records shall be sent to the employee.
(e) Oral Hearing.
(1) If an employee timely files a request for an oral hearing under § 309.16(a), the matter will be conducted by a hearing official not under the supervision or control of Peace Corps.
(i) After the employee requests a hearing, the hearing official shall notify the employee of the form of the hearing to be provided. If the hearing will be oral, notice shall set forth the date, time and location of the hearing. If the hearing will be paper, the employee shall be notified that he or she should submit arguments in writing to the hearing official by a specified date after which the record shall be closed. This date shall give the employee reasonable time to submit documentation.
(ii) An employee who requests an oral hearing shall be provided an oral hearing if the hearing official determines that the matter cannot be resolved by review of documentary evidence alone (e.g. when an issue of credibility or veracity is involved). The hearing is not an adversarial adjudication, and need not take the form of an evidentiary hearing.
(iii) If the hearing official determines that an oral hearing is not necessary, he or she will make a decision based upon a review of the available written record.
(iv) The hearing official must maintain a summary record of any hearing provided by this subpart. Witnesses who provide testimony will do so under oath or affirmation.
(3) Decision. The written decision shall include:
(i) A statement of the facts presented to support the origin, nature, and amount of the debt;
(ii) The hearing official's findings, analysis, and conclusions; and
(iii) The terms of any repayment schedules, or the date salary offset will commence, if applicable.
(4) Failure to appear. In the absence of good cause shown (e.g. excused illness), an employee who fails to appear at a hearing shall be deemed, for the purpose of this subpart, to admit the existence and amount of the debt as described in the notice of intent. The hearing official shall schedule a new hearing upon the request of the creditor agency representative when good cause is shown.
(5) A hearing official's decision is considered to be an official certification regarding the existence and amount of the debt for purposes of executing salary offset under 5 U.S.C. 5514 only. It does not supersede the finding by Peace Corps that a debt is owed and does not affect the Government's ability to recoup the debt through alternative collection methods under other appropriate methods.