45 CFR 1606.7 - Corrective action, informal conference, review of written materials, and final decision.
(a) If the Corporation proposes a corrective action in the preliminary determination pursuant to § 1606.6(a)(6) of this part, then the recipient may accept and implement the corrective action, in lieu of an informal conference or submission of written materials under this section, subject to the following requirements:
(1) Within 10 business days of receipt of the preliminary determination, the recipient may submit a draft compliance agreement to accept the terms of the proposed corrective action, which must include an implementation plan and timeline;
(2) If the Corporation approves the draft compliance agreement, including any modifications suggested by the recipient or the Corporation, then it shall be memorialized in a final compliance agreement signed by the Corporation and the recipient, which shall stay these proceedings;
(3) If the recipient completes the terms of the written compliance agreement in a time and manner that is satisfactory to the Corporation, then the Corporation shall withdraw the preliminary determination; and
(4) If the Corporation determines at any time that the recipient has not presented an acceptable draft compliance agreement, or has not fulfilled any terms of the final compliance agreement, then the Corporation shall notify the recipient in writing. Within 15 calendar days of that notice, the Corporation shall modify or affirm the preliminary determination as a draft final decision. The draft final decision shall summarize these attempts at resolution. The draft final decision need not engage in a detailed analysis of the failure to resolve the substantial noncompliance.
(b) A recipient may submit written materials in opposition to the preliminary determination, request an informal conference, or both, as follows:
(1) For terminations or debarments, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the preliminary determination; or
(2) For limited reductions in funding, within 10 business days of receipt of the preliminary determination.
(c) Within 5 business days of receipt of a request for a conference, the Corporation shall notify the recipient of the time and place the conference will be held. Some or all of the participants in the conference may attend via telephone, unless the recipient requests an in-person meeting between the Corporation and at least one representative of the recipient. If the recipient requests an in-person meeting, then other participants may attend via telephone. Alternative means of participation other than the telephone are permissible at the sole discretion of the Corporation.
(d) The informal conference shall be conducted by the Corporation employee who issued the preliminary determination or any other Corporation employee with a seniority level equivalent to the level of an office director or higher.
(e) At the informal conference, the Corporation and the recipient shall both have an opportunity to state their case, seek to narrow the issues, explore the possibilities of settlement or compromise including implementation of corrective actions, and submit written materials.
(f) If an informal conference is conducted or written materials are submitted in opposition to the proposed determination by the recipient, or both, the Corporation shall consider any written materials and any oral presentation or written materials submitted by the recipient at an informal conference. Based on any of these materials or the informal conference, or both, the Corporation shall modify, withdraw, or affirm the preliminary determination through a draft final decision in writing, which shall be provided to the recipient within the later of 15 calendar days after the conclusion of the informal conference or after the recipient of written materials in opposition to the proposed determination (when no informal conference is requested). Except for decisions to withdraw the preliminary determination, the draft final decision shall include a summary of the issues raised in the informal conference and presented in any written materials. The draft final decision need not engage in a detailed analysis of all issues raised.
(g) If the recipient does not request further process, as provided for in this part, then, after the relevant time limits have expired, the Corporation shall notify the recipient that no further appeal or review will be available under this part and may proceed to issue the final decision.