Michael Rigas, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, issued a memo Wednesday outlining temporary procedures on how agencies can facilitate vetting and appointment of employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The memo states that agencies that have capabilities to collect and process fingerprints are allowed to continue and comply with guidance for screening new personnel and their eligibility for personal identity verification credentials.
OPM will also allow agencies seeking to onboard new hires but do not have the capacity to perform fingerprint collection and processing must follow the current guidelines to advance the vetting process.
“Agencies will delay reporting the final adjudication of the background investigation until a fingerprint check has been completed and considered in the adjudication,” Rigas wrote in the memo. “Existing mechanisms for measuring the timeliness of adjudication compliance will continue; however, agencies will not be held accountable for adjudication reporting timeliness during the period this guidance is in effect.”
Rigas noted that the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency is establishing a procedure for background investigations processing that allows agencies to defer the requirement for fingerprint submission. “Once an agency is able to collect fingerprints for an individual whose investigation was submitted without them, the agency must submit the fingerprints to DCSA as described in DCSA’s procedure,” he added.
In-person identify proofing is required for the issuance of a credential. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies seeking to onboard new hires may consider to perform identity proofing through remote inspection via email or video link.