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HR Order-doj 1200.1: Part 12, Chapter 12-2: Clearance Procedures for Employees and Contract Employees Separating From or Reassigned Within the Department of Justice (Aug. 9, 2004)

Prepared by: JMD Facilities and Administrative Services Staff

A. References.


5 U.S.C. 5512

31 U.S.C. 3720 et seq.

DOJ Orders

Order DOJ 2120.3B (Available on DOJ Intranet)

Order DOJ 2400.3 (Available on DOJ Intranet)

Order DOJ 2710.8C (Available on DOJ Intranet)

Federal Acquisition
Regulation (FAR)

Subpart 52.245-2 (e) and (g)


Sample Pre-Exit Clearance Form

Key terms




B. Policy.

  1. This Order prescribes responsibilities and procedures for the clearance of all outstanding property obligations and financial indebtedness to the Department prior to an employee's or a contract employee's resignation, transfer, retirement, or any other type of separation from the Department or reassignment to a different component within the Department. Employees and contract employees must return or otherwise account for all such outstanding obligations or indebtedness before receiving any final payments, such as final salary or lump-sum leave payments.
  2. Component Head.
    1. Procedures. Component heads will devise effective component procedures in accordance with this chapter to ensure that Government assets do not leave the possession of the Government, except under proper authorization; that all outstanding obligations and financial indebtedness to the Department are reimbursed; and that appropriate security debriefings have been conducted.
    2. Pre-Exit Clearance Form; Accountable Item Checklist. Each component head is responsible for developing, maintaining, and distributing a Pre-Exit Clearance Form that includes a checklist for clearance of accountable items, with accompanying instructions, designed to fit the specific requirements and needs of the component.
    3. Designation of Clearance Officials. Each component head will designate one or more Clearance Officials to ensure adherence to the provisions of this chapter, to assist and coordinate the clearance of separating employees/contract employees, and to advise employees in resolving matters which involve the clearance of any accountable item.
    4. Designation of Accountable Property Officers. Each component head will designate one or more Accountable Property Officers who are responsible for maintaining property accountability records, expenditure records, and other records of items requiring clearance. (In the case of OBDs, some of these functions may be performed by JMD employees.)
  3. Clearance Officials. The responsibilities of the component Clearance Officials include:
    1. Instructing separating employees/contract employees on the required routing and processing of the Pre-Exit Clearance Form, specifying the location of each official involved in the process, including the component's accounting or financial office and Servicing Personnel Office (SPO) as the final destinations before returning the completed form to the Clearance Official.
    2. Informing separating employees that failure to complete the Pre-Exit Clearance Form will result in a delay in the release of their final salary and lump-sum leave payments.
    3. Advising any reassigned, separating, or transferred employee who has access to National Security Information (NSI) that the access will be terminated immediately upon separation or reassignment.

      Note: If the employee is reassigned to another Department component and will continue to need NSI access, the gaining component is responsible for providing proper justification to the security staff of the losing component to ensure the employee's NSI access remains active.
    4. Resolving issues when notified by an Accountable Property Officer that Government property has not been returned or that an employee indebtedness exists. This includes, where necessary, taking steps pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5512 to recover the indebtedness (including the depreciated value of missing or damaged Government property) through the offset of amounts still owed to the employee. Collection procedures are outlined at 31 U.S.C. 3720 et seq. and in the Department's Order on Collection of Debts by the Department of Justice, DOJ 2120.3B.
    5. Obtaining the completed Pre-Exit Clearance Form, verifying that all required levels of clearance were obtained, verifying the authenticity of clearance certifications, approving the form, maintaining the certified form in the files of the Clearance Official for 6 months to 3 years (up to 3 years if the employee has an uncollected debt), and providing a copy of the certified form to the employee.
    6. Submitting any failure of an employee/contract employee to surrender a sensitive or controlled item to the component's Property Management Officer for referral to the appropriate Board of Survey or alternative investigative mechanism, in accordance with the Department's Order on Property Management, DOJ 2400.3.
    7. Notifying the Payroll Unit of the employee's SPO regarding final salary and leave payments. (See paragraph C.2.) In the case of a contract employee, the Department's Contracting Officer must be notified regarding clearance. (See paragraph C.3.)
  4. Separating or Reassigned Employees/Contract Employees. Employees/contract employees departing from a component are responsible for identifying, returning and/or accounting for all items received from the Government during the course of their employment. This includes, but is not limited to: equipment, advanced funds, passes, charge cards, permits, keys, documents, and payments received in expectation of extended employment where the allotted time period has not been completed. Employees/contract employees must contact the appropriate clearance official and arrange for such clearance before the last day of duty.

    The clearance procedure must include the following:
    1. Surrendering all Government owned property, including Government-owned vehicles, computers and other information technology equipment, firearms, ammunition, and other controlled property, such as cellular telephones, pagers, keys, unused transit subsidies, parking permits, uniforms and apparel.
    2. Returning all library loan materials including books, projectors, screens, records, tapes, and audio visual equipment, etc.
    3. Surrendering all passes, visas, official passports, special identification badges and credentials, passwords, combinations, etc., issued in connection with employment in the component.
    4. Returning all official files, classified documents, sensitive materials, file and desk keys, manuals and handbooks, etc. See the Department's Order on Removal and Maintenance of, and Access to, Documents, DOJ 2710.8C.
    5. Liquidating all debts owed to the Government for outstanding advances for travel, salary overpayments, leave, and imprest fund, and other purposes, including the failure to fulfill written service agreements, such as training or allowance/bonus agreements or transfer orders requiring a period of service; and returning all Government-issued travel, purchase or fleet charge cards, outstanding travel vouchers, etc.
    6. Furnishing a full written explanation of the circumstances surrounding the failure to account for and clear any accountable item.
  5. Accountable Property Officers. The responsibilities of component Accountable Property Officers include:.
    1. Maintaining control of, and keeping a complete and current set of records for, all property and/or funds within their area of accountability. This includes all property and funds issued to employees/contract employees while working for the component. The records are to be kept on the official personal property record system. See the Department's Order on Property Management, DOJ 2400.3.
    2. Processing Pre-Exit Clearance Forms by reviewing records to determine whether a departing employee/contract employee has possession of any Government property or is indebted to the Government, assuring that any property is returned or otherwise properly accounted for and any indebtedness paid, and promptly returning to the employee/contract employee a signed form once the records have been cleared.
    3. Withholding clearance where: 1) equipment is damaged as a result of employee negligence, 2) equipment is not returned, or 3) an indebtedness is not resolved. Where clearance is denied, the Accountable Property Officer will promptly notify the Clearance Official of the nature and/or dollar amount of the unsatisfied liability.
  6. Immediate Supervisor/Contractor.
    1. The immediate supervisor of a separating employee/contract employee is responsible for ensuring that the employee initiates and completes the clearance process in a timely manner.
    2. In the event the separating employee/contract employee is unable to personally accomplish the required pre-exit clearance requirements due to death, physical or mental disability, abandonment of position, or other similar circumstances, the immediate supervisor from the Department or from the contractor must undertake the clearance steps for the employee/contract employee outlined in paragraph B.4., modified as follows:
      1. Obtain from the employee/contract employee or his/her survivor(s), when possible, all Government property, materials, and funds (except appropriate wages) in the employee's, contract employee's or survivor's possession. When such Government property cannot be located or retrieved, an explanation must be attached to the Pre-Exit Clearance Form.
      2. Initiate the Pre-Exit Clearance Form for the employee/contract employee with the notation that the employee/contract employee is not on duty to check out in person, and obtain the necessary clearance signatures for the employee/contract employee.
      3. Upon completion, return the form to the appropriate component Clearance Official.
      The supervisor from the Department or contractor shall undertake these activities as soon as it is known that an absent employee/contract employee has separated or will be separating from the component without returning to duty, and shall ensure that these actions are initiated and completed in a timely manner.

    C. Documentation and Reporting.

    1. Pre-Exit Clearance Forms. Each Pre-Exit Clearance Form, including an accountable item checklist, must indicate that all required clearances have been obtained by the separating employee/contract employee for outstanding debts and custodial obligations to the component, and that all Government-owned property relating to his/her employment in the component has been cleared with the appropriate official(s) within the component prior to the employee's separation, transfer, or reassignment. Certified Pre-Exit Clearance Forms will be maintained in the files of Clearance Officials for 6 months to 3 years in accordance with paragraph B.3.e.
    2. Release of the Employee's Final Salary and Lump-Sum Leave Payments. Release of the employee's final salary and lump-sum leave payments must be delayed until the Pre-Exit Clearance Form has been completed to show all required clearances (initialed/signed appropriately). Clearance Officials will authorize such release in accordance with the pre-exit clearance procedures, i.e., when the Pre-Exit Clearance Form is signed by all appropriate officials, the employee certification is signed by the separating employee (or immediate supervisor acting on the employee's behalf in accordance with the provisions outlined in paragraph B.6.) and the document is received by the Clearance Official. A mechanism must be in place for the Clearance Official to notify the Payroll Unit of the SPO regarding the release of the final salary and leave payments of the separating employee.
    3. Contract employee clearance. When a contract employee providing services through a contractor leaves the Department, the contractor will be held responsible and accountable for all the Government Property provided under the contract to the contract employee. The contractor will be notified by the Department's Contracting Officer if the Pre-Exit Clearance Form has not been reconciled to show all required clearances in accordance with FAR Subpart 52.245-2(e), Property administration, and(g), Risk of loss.
    4. Compliance Review. Each component's pre-exit clearance procedure and certified Pre-Exit Clearance Forms maintained in accordance with paragraph C.1. of this chapter must be available for Departmental review.

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Updated October 6, 2021