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                                    FOREST SERVICE HANDBOOK
                                   NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS (WO)
                                         WASHINGTON, DC



                    FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK

               CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE

Amendment No.: 6209.12-2005-1

Effective Date: October 3, 2005

Duration: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

Approved: IRVING W. THOMAS                                   Date Approved: 09/14/2005
          Associate Deputy Chief

Posting Instructions: Amendments are numbered consecutively by handbook number and
calendar year. Post by document; remove the entire document and replace it with this
amendment. Retain this transmittal as the first page(s) of this document. The last amendment to
this Handbook was Amendment 6209.12- 94-1 to chapter 10.

New Document                     6209.12_10                                          39 Pages

Superseded Document(s) by        10--1 thru 16--2                                    26 Pages
Issuance Number and              (Amendment 6209.12-94-1, 08/03/1994)
Effective Date                   (Amendment 6, 06/88)

Digest:

10 - Changes former chapter caption, “Letters” to “Noncontrolled Correspondence”. Provides a
substantive change to the former chapter; removes obsolete text throughout and replaces it with
direction for preparing Forest Service correspondence using current electronic correspondence
database and templates; provides direction that can stand alone in preparing formal and informal
general correspondence.

10.1 - 10.43 - Adds authorities governing Forest Service signature and acting signature authority;
clarifies responsibilities for all employees, correspondence managers, and law enforcement and
investigations personnel in preparing general correspondence.

11 - Adds new code and caption from “Stationery and Uses” to “Electronic Correspondence
Database Overview for Noncontrolled Correspondence.”
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                      6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                       Page 2 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


Digest--Continued:

11.1 - 11.63 - Adds new code, caption, and text providing description of and directions for using
the electronic correspondence database, including use of templates; electronic document tracking
and procedures; using file codes; required response time of 30 days; and criteria for selecting
formal or informal correspondence.

11.1 - Exhibit 01 - Provides an exhibit with step-by-step instructions for how to use the Forest
Service noncontrolled correspondence database.

12 - Adds new text and clarifies direction for formal correspondence procedures.

12.1 - 12.9 - Adds new code and caption for choosing a formal correspondence template; adds
procedures for electronic entries into subject, category, date, reference line, salutation, body of
letter, complimentary close, signature block, notations and concurrence fields; adds direction for
finalizing the formal letter.

12.2 - Exhibit 01 - Adds an exhibit with an example of a certified formal letter, with additional
criteria on using formal letters.

13 - Changes former caption from “Miscellaneous" to “Informal Correspondence.”

13.1 - 13.8 - Adds direction for choosing letterhead template for an informal letter; adds
procedures for entries into the “Route To:” the “To:” the “Thru:” subject, reply due, and
signature block fields for informal letters; adds procedures for finalizing the informal letter
electronically.

13.1 - Exhibit 01 - Adds an exhibit with an example of an informal letter, with direction within
the letter for paragraph enumeration.

13.8 - Exhibit 01 - Adds a sample informal letter with sample concurrences.

14 - Adds a new code, caption, and direction for formal or informal correspondence related to
multiple signers.

15 - Adds new code, caption, and procedural information in a correspondence review checklist,
exhibit 01, that clarifies review responsibilities for the author; the editorial review
correspondence manager; the technical and policy review staff unit supervisor/director; and the
signer.

16 - Adds new code, caption, and direction for use of Informational Memorandum and the
Decision Memorandum; adds exhibits 01, 02, and 03.

17 - Adds new code, caption, and direction for preparing e-mail responses as official documents.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                                                       6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                                                        Page 3 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                                  FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                               CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                        Table of Contents

  10.1 - Authority........................................................................................................................... 5
  10.4 - Responsibility ................................................................................................................... 5
     10.41 - All Employees ............................................................................................................ 5
     10.42 - Correspondence Managers.......................................................................................... 5
     10.43 - Law Enforcement and Investigation (LEI) ................................................................. 6
11 - ELECTRONIC CORRESPONDENCE DATABASE OVERVIEW FOR
       NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE ........................................................ 7
  11.1 - The One and Only System ................................................................................................ 7
  11.2 - Letterhead Templates and Uses ...................................................................................... 10
  11.3 - Document Tracking ........................................................................................................ 10
  11.4 - File Codes ....................................................................................................................... 10
  11.5 - Required Response Time ................................................................................................ 11
  11.6 - Formal and Informal Correspondence Determinations .................................................. 11
     11.61 - Formal Correspondence Criteria .............................................................................. 11
     11.62 - Informal Correspondence Criteria ............................................................................ 11
     11.63 - Informal and Formal Correspondence Procedure Similarities ................................. 12
12 - FORMAL CORRESPONDENCE ELECTRONIC PROCEDURES ......................... 12
  12.1 - Formal Letterhead Templates ......................................................................................... 12
  12.2 - Address for a Formal Letter ........................................................................................... 14
  12.3 - Subject Field for an Informal Letter ............................................................................... 14
  12.4 - Category Field for a Formal Letter ................................................................................. 14
  12.5 - Other Elements ............................................................................................................... 15
     12.51 - Date of Formal and Informal Letters ........................................................................ 15
     12.52 - Reference (RE) Line of the Formal Letter ................................................................ 15
     12.53 - Salutation of the Formal Letter ................................................................................. 15
     12.54 - Body of the Formal and Informal Letter................................................................... 15
     12.55 - Complimentary Close for a Formal Letter................................................................ 16
  12.6 - Signature Block for a Formal and Informal Letter ......................................................... 16
  12.7 - Notations on Originals and File Copies of Formal and Informal Letters ....................... 18
     12.71 - Enclosures of Formal and Informal Letters .............................................................. 18
     12.72 - Courtesy Copies for Formal and Informal Letters .................................................... 19
     12.73 - Notations on File Copies Only for Formal and Informal Letters ............................. 19
  12.8 - Review and Concurrence for Formal and Informal Letters ............................................ 19
  12.9 - Finalizing the Formal Letter ........................................................................................... 20
13 - INFORMAL CORRESPONDENCE PROCEDURES ............................................. 20
  13.1 - Choose Letterhead Template for Informal Letter ........................................................... 20
  13.2 - “Route to” Field for Informal Letters ............................................................................. 23
  13.3 - Addressees on Informal Letters ...................................................................................... 25
     13.31 - “To” Field for an Addressee on Informal Letters ..................................................... 25
     13.32 - “Thru” Field for Informal Letters ............................................................................. 25
  13.4 - Subject Field for Informal Letters .................................................................................. 26
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                                             6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                                              Page 4 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                               FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                            CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


  13.5 - Reply Due Field for Informal Letters ............................................................................. 26
  13.6 - Signature Block for Informal Letters ............................................................................. 26
  13.7 - Other Elements That are the Same in Informal and Formal Letters ............................... 27
  13.8 - Signature Package for Informal Letters .......................................................................... 27
  13.9 - Finalizing the Informal Letter ........................................................................................ 30
14 - MULTIPLE SIGNERS OF CORRESPONDENCE .................................................. 30
  14.1 - Sending a Letter Signed by More Than One Person ...................................................... 30
  14.2 - Responding to Letters Signed by More Than Five People ............................................. 30
  14.3 - Responding to Letters Signed by Fewer Than Five People ........................................... 30
  14.4 - Responding to Letters From an Organization ................................................................ 31
15 - CORRESPONDENCE REVIEW CHECKLIST ....................................................... 31
16 - DECISION MEMORANDUM AND INFORMATIONAL MEMORANDUM .............. 33
17 - PREPARING E-MAIL RESPONSES AS OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS ...................... 38
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                    6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                     Page 5 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



10.1 - Authority

        1. General Signature Authority. General signing authorities for correspondence are set
forth in FSM 1231.2, Delegation of Authority and Responsibility. Specific signing authorities
are found in corresponding subject titles and chapters of Forest Service manuals or handbooks.

      2. Signature Authority by an Acting Official. FSM 1231.3 determines who and how an
employee may be designated "acting." See section 12.6 of this handbook for direction and
examples of signatures for formal and informal letters.

10.4 - Responsibility

10.41 - All Employees

All employees have the responsibility to comply with Forest Service policy for the preparation of
Forest Service correspondence. All employees have the responsibility to:

      1. Consult the correspondence manual (FSM 6220) and the correspondence handbook
(FSH 6209.12) in carrying out assigned work for noncontrolled correspondence.

        2. Provide support and information in a timely manner to requests from correspondence
managers in preparing, reviewing, concurring or not concurring, and signing noncontrolled
Forest Service correspondence.

      3. Use the official electronic correspondence database for preparing all Forest Service
noncontrolled correspondence.

10.42 - Correspondence Managers

Correspondence managers serve at all levels of the Forest Service to facilitate the processing of
general noncontrolled correspondence. They serve as the primary contact within their respective
staffs, other staffs, and the Washington Office Controlled Correspondence Unit (CCU).

Correspondence managers have the responsibility to:

         1. Open correspondence mailboxes, electronic and hard copy, each day.

        2. Review and refer incoming correspondence. Review the content of the incoming
correspondence and assign it to the appropriate subject matter specialist (author) for preparation
of a response.

Refer correspondence which references any criminal matter, such as the receipt of a violation
notice or contact with law enforcement personnel, to the appropriate law enforcement official,
regardless if other subject matter is included.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                     6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                      Page 6 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


       3. Date stamp. Date stamp the incoming correspondence and assign the due date when a
signed response is due to be mailed. The due date for mailing the noncontrolled correspondence
response is 30 days from the day the incoming correspondence is stamped received.

       4. Deliver correspondence to author. Immediately deliver a hard and/or electronic copy
of incoming correspondence to subject matter specialist(s) (author) so critical deadlines are not
delayed or interrupted.

        5. Maintain a tracking system. Develop and maintain a log-in, log-out tracking system to
identify the whereabouts and status of the correspondence at all times and to assure that
correspondence is moving through the process in a timely manner to meet critical deadlines.

       6. Maintain folder of pre-approved responses. Maintain an accessible folder or binder of
responses that were prepared and approved by subject matter specialists for use in answering
correspondence of a repetitive nature or correspondence with similar requests, questions, issues,
or concerns. When appropriate, use the preapproved response as a template to prepare a
response to a new correspondent, and ensure the appropriate signature before mailing.

       7. Use the electronic correspondence database. Use the official electronic
correspondence database for all correspondence preparation and maintain the official file record
for noncontrolled correspondence.

        8. Check format, style, grammar. Prepare the correspondence so it is formatted
correctly, well balanced on the page, grammatically correct, and clearly readable. See chapter 40
of this handbook for additional instructions pertaining to writing mechanics. See exhibits in this
chapter for examples of correspondence. See chapter 20 for additional instructions pertaining to
controlled correspondence and other special correspondence.

       9. Obtain concurrences, signatures and mail. Assemble, review, and clear appropriate
signature(s), and mail noncontrolled correspondence on the due date in conformance with the
correspondence handbook.

       10. File and store. File or store hard copies of correspondence with enclosures or other
supporting material.

10.43 - Law Enforcement and Investigation (LEI)

Law enforcement and investigation officers and law enforcement correspondence managers are
responsible to:
         1. Follow procedures in sections 10.41 and 10.42.
         2. Answer all letters referencing criminal matters or violation or LEI subject matter.
       3. Respond to all subject matter in the letter, regardless of the amount pertaining to LEI
concerns, within the 30-day response period.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                    6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                     Page 7 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


11 - ELECTRONIC CORRESPONDENCE DATABASE OVERVIEW FOR
NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE

11.1 - The One and Only System

        1. Use the correspondence database to create, review, revise, and issue all internal
official Forest Service correspondence except for highly sensitive or confidential matters.

         2. Use the correspondence database for formal and informal correspondence from
creation to draft and review (electronic concurrence) to electronic or surface mailing to archiving
(filing). See exhibit 01.

        3. Find instructions for using the correspondence database by going to
http://167.172.105/helpnow/ or by referring to chapter 60 of this handbook.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                             6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                              Page 8 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                  11.1 - Exhibit 01

                                          Creating Correspondence
                                  Using the Correspondence Drafts Database

        Getting Started
        Use the         icon to open the Correspondence Drafts database for your Unit.

 1      (Or, FileDatabaseOpenENTR10Bmail10Correspondence Drafts <your unit> )

 2                         choose a letterhead template  OK
        Completing the Document Summary

                                                       choose file code(s)  OK  rearrange if needed
 3       OK

        If needed, enter Route To information (this is not a mandatory field).
                            Select from drop-down list or enter text (e.g., All Staffs, All
 4      Employees, etc.)  OK

 5                              Type in, if needed.

 6                  Select from drop-down list or type exactly as it should appear in the letter.

 7                     Type exactly as you want it to appear in the letter.


                                                    Enter by clicking the calendar icon and selecting the
 8      date.


 9                           Select from the drop-down list  OK then click on Select Signatures



                                        Select from the drop-down list. The Sort button allows you to
 10     arrange who signs first.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                                6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                                 Page 9 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                           11.1 - Exhibit 01--Continued

        Editing the Letter
11      Double-click the Document icon                  and type the body of the letter.

12      File  Exit to get out of the letter (do not try to Save!)
        Attaching Enclosures
13      Click to the right of the Document icon                  and type a few spaces.

        Click the         (or File  Attach)  Navigate to the document  Select the document 
14      Create.
        Setting Up the Review Process

                         Choose Simultaneous or Sequential
        if Simultaneous  Type instructions for reviewers (optional)  Use    to select reviewer
         Add  Repeat until all reviewers are listed  OK  OK
        if Sequential  Type instructions for reviewers (optional)  Use   to select reviewer 

        Add  Repeat until all reviewers are listed  OK                                      Select first
        reviewer                Repeat for all reviewers  OK  OK
15      (Can add more reviewers; ask for help if needed.)


16                                             OK

        You will receive a message when the review is complete.
17      You will receive a cc: when your letter is mailed out.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                         6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                          Page 10 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



11.2 - Letterhead Templates and Uses

       1. Use the Forest Service established, standard, formal and informal letterheads for
servicewide use. Information Resources Management (IRM) develops electronic templates
based on official letterhead forms approved by USDA.

              a. Letterheads are available as electronic templates in the electronic correspondence
              database.

              b. Each administrative unit records manager must customize the letterhead templates
              by adding the appropriate name and address to the heading.

         2. Use only approved logos, slogans, and templates.

       3. The Washington Office and field units should issue supplements displaying examples
of formal and informal correspondence at their levels of organization.

11.3 - Document Tracking

The electronic correspondence database contains a document history that identifies the date the
correspondence is created, the author of the response, file code, subject, and the date the
correspondence is signed and mailed. See section 11.1, exhibit 01 for creating correspondence
using the correspondence database.

11.4 - File Codes

        1. The file code is a critical element of all official formal or informal correspondence.
The file code determines:

              a. Distribution of the letter when mailed electronically. If the file code is not correct,
              the document will not arrive at its intended destination.

              b. Filing (or archival) location in the database public files.

       2. Enter the file code on the correspondence by using the correspondence template drop-
down list and selecting the code that best corresponds with the primary subject of the letter.

              a. Only use multiple file codes when more than one primary subject is discussed.

              b. Enter routing codes, abbreviations, or acronyms in other locations.

         3. Access the file code on the Forest Service Web page.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                   6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                    Page 11 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


11.5 - Required Response Time

Answer formal or informal general correspondence within 30 days of the day the correspondence
is stamped received unless otherwise specified. If a complete reply cannot be prepared and
signed within 30 days, acknowledge receipt or send an interim reply to the incoming letter within
the 30-day timeframe. State the reason for the delay and the approximate date when the final
reply can be expected.

11.6 - Formal and Informal Correspondence Determinations

Before proceeding further, determine if the noncontrolled correspondence is formal or informal,
using the following criteria.

11.61 - Formal Correspondence Criteria

Use a formal correspondence and formal letterhead template when writing to:

       1. The general public, the White House, members of Congress, other Government
agencies, and institutions outside the Federal Government.

        2. Individuals inside the Forest Service about a personal issue or sensitive subject. The
author may prefer to use formal letterhead to convey a more personal tone and impression than
that conveyed by the highly structured headings of the informal letterhead. Examples are letters
of commendation, congratulations, recognition, or condolence.

       3. Individuals outside the Forest Service. For example, send formal letters to appellants
when issuing appeal decisions by Forest Service officers, when responding to Freedom of
Information Act or Privacy Act requests, when corresponding with litigants or their attorneys,
and when announcing important program initiatives.

Formal correspondence electronic procedures are in section 12.

11.62 - Informal Correspondence Criteria

Use the informal correspondence and informal letterhead template when writing to:

        1. Individuals inside or outside the Forest Service where a more informal tone is
conveyed. Send letters of this type to individuals inside the Forest Service and categorize them
as internal correspondence.

       2. Other U.S. Government agencies in USDA when the letter is routine.
Informal correspondence electronic procedures are in section 13.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                         6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                          Page 12 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


11.63 - Informal and Formal Correspondence Procedure Similarities

       1. Always follow these procedures when creating formal or informal noncontrolled
correspondence:

              a. Decide if the letter is formal or informal.

              b. Use the correct template.

              c. Enter a file code.

              d. Designate signer by authority found in FSM 1230.

              e. Ensure concurrence.

              f. Document the tracking process electronically.

              g. Mail the letter and retain a hard copy with the original signature in the official staff
              file.

        2. Refer to the correspondence checklist, section 15, exhibit 01, for a complete list of
steps in processing informal or formal noncontrolled correspondence.

12 - FORMAL CORRESPONDENCE ELECTRONIC PROCEDURES

12.1 - Formal Letterhead Templates

Use the official formal electronic letterhead template. (The address and signature styles for
Forest Service correspondence complies with Department of Agriculture direction and does not
follow the GPO Style Manual.) Follow directions for use of proper templates before proceeding
any further with a formal letter.

         1. Use the established formal letterhead formats for formal correspondence.

       2. See the following exhibit for an example of the formal letter using a letterhead
template.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                             6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                              Page 13 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                 12.1 - Exhibit 01

                                      Sample Formal Letter - Certified

               United States        Forest             Washington Office     14th & Independence SW
               Department           Service                                  P.O. Box 96090
               of Agriculture                                                Washington, DC 20090-6090

                                                                      File Code: 6230

                                                                      Date: June 21, 2004

  Dr. U.R. Fairweather                                                CERTIFIED MAIL
  Director of Correspondence
  Writing Institute of America
  Blue Whale, FL 32104

  Dear Dr. Fairweather:

         1. The formal letter is prepared using the formal letterhead template.

         2. Printed caption, such as “Subject” and “To,” do not appear on the formal letter.

        3. The formal letter includes a salutation and a complimentary close and is directed
  personally to the addressee.

       4. The signature and address styles for Forest Service formal and informal correspondence
  comply with Department of Agriculture direction and do not follow the GPO Style Manual.

        5. The formal letter is suitable for situation when writer knows the addressee expects a more
  personalized letter.

       6. The Forest Service uses the formal letter when writing to the general public, the White
  House, members of Congress, other Government agencies, and institutions outside the Federal
  Government, such as organizations, corporations, associations, or societies.

  Sincerely,

  /s/ Leona D. Vinci
  LEONA D. VINCI
  Deputy Chief, Business Operations
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                          6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                           Page 14 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



12.2 - Address for a Formal Letter

After following the direction in section 12.1, enter the address on the electronic document
summary. The electronic correspondence database automatically inserts the address into the
letterhead template. (The address style for Forest Service correspondence complies with the
Department of Agriculture direction and does not follow GPO Style Manual direction.) Enter
the address on the document summary using the following guidelines:

         1. Use five lines or less for an address.

        2. Type the addressee's title on the first line with the name if the title is short. If the title
is long, type the title on the second line (only one title per line).

         3. Place the apartment, room, suite number, or any other unit designation on the same
line as the street address. (For letters to be signed by the Secretary or Under Secretary, type the
suite number on the line above the street address.)

        4. Select and type the name of the city and the state from the drop-down list. Use the
two-letter Post Office abbreviation on Forest Service letters. Type the Zone Improvement Plan
(ZIP) code two spaces after the state. Follow this same style for the envelope.

        5. Determine addresses for the Washington Office based on OES direction. Locate
specific direction for preparing correspondence to be signed in the U. S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) in the USDA Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) Procedures Manual
(1994), section 4.3. Spell out the name of the state on the inside address, skip two spaces, and
add the ZIP code plus the 4-digit ZIP code extension. Abbreviate District of Columbia (DC) on
the inside address. On the envelope, type the two-letter abbreviation without periods (DC).

12.3 - Subject Field for an Informal Letter

Complete the subject field before creating a letter.

         1. Type key words in the subject field.

       2. Capitalize the first letter of the first word in the subject line and each successive word
except articles (a, an, the), prepositions (such as at, by, in, on, down, from, between, among), and
conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor, so, and yet) unless one of these words happens to be the first
word, in which case, use a capital letter.

12.4 - Category Field for a Formal Letter

Complete the category field before creating a letter. Select the acronym of the staff creating the
letter.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                        6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                         Page 15 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


12.5 - Other Elements

12.51 - Date of Formal and Informal Letters

When the response is finalized, the official electronic correspondence database defaults to the
current date. If the date the letter is signed is different from the default date, type the correct date
to replace the default date. Ensure that the date corresponds with the date the letter is signed, not
on the date the letter is composed or mailed, if these dates are different.

12.52 - Reference (RE) Line of the Formal Letter

The document summary does not provide a reference line for formal letters.

        1. How to create a reference line. To create a reference line, the author types on the line
that says “Click here to type the body of the letter.”

         2. When to create a reference line. Limit a reference line to one line.

              a. Use a RE line on formal correspondence pertaining to legal issues, Freedom of
              Information Act (FOIA) requests, appeals, environmental impact statements, land
              management plans, and other formal correspondence with non-Forest Service clients
              in those instances where it is necessary to identify case files and relevant information
              about a case.

              b. Do not use a RE: line on formal, noncontrolled White House or congressional
              correspondence.

12.53 - Salutation of the Formal Letter

The electronic correspondence database automatically arranges the salutation on the second line
below the last line of the address. FSH 6209.12, chapter 30 shows the different forms of
authorized salutations.

12.54 - Body of the Formal and Informal Letter

Begin the body of the letter on the second line below the salutation and flush with the left margin
in the spot that says “Click here to type the body of the letter.” See chapter 40 of this handbook
for writing tips and style practices.

         1. Spacing between lines, paragraphs, and subparagraphs.

              a. Use single space in the body of each paragraph with one blank line between
              paragraphs. Use double space if the letter consists of 10 lines or less and is a single
              paragraph.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                        6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                         Page 16 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


              b. Begin each main paragraph flush with the left margin.

              c. Break large paragraphs into subparagraphs for reading clarity.

         2. Succeeding pages.

              a. If a paragraph ends near the bottom of a page, the next paragraph begins on a new
              page unless there is room for two or more lines of text.

              b. If the new paragraph consists of a single line, and there is no room on the first
              page, the author should make room for it.

              c. If the new paragraph consists of more than one line, but there is room for only one
              line at the bottom of the page, the new paragraph goes to the next page so that a
              single line is not left sitting alone at the bottom of a page. Do not move a single line
              to the next page.

              d. If there are continuing pages, they should be on plain paper, beginning each page
              with a header that includes the name and title of the addressee and the page number.
              The header is 1 inch below the top of the page. The following example shows the
              name and title flush with the left margin and the page number immediately following
              on the right side of the page, same line. There is one blank line between the last line
              of the header and the body of the letter.


 The Honorable Milrose VanBuran                                                                    2


12.55 - Complimentary Close for a Formal Letter

"Sincerely" is the standard complimentary close. Exceptions are in chapter 30 of this handbook.

12.6 - Signature Block for a Formal and Informal Letter

         1. The signature block on the correspondence database is a mandatory field. After
completing the signature block, the author can enter the document and create the text of the
letter. (The signature block style for Forest Service correspondence complies with Department
of Agriculture direction and does not follow direction in the GPO Style Manual.)

        2. Use the following instructions for the signature block. (The style and procedures for
the signature block are the same on formal and informal letters.)
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                        6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                         Page 17 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


              a. Choose the name of the signing official from the drop-down list of approved
              signers. The title of the official automatically appears on the letterhead template
              below the official’s name.

              b. Type the name of the signing official in capital letters on the fifth line below the
              complimentary close, flush with the left margin.

              c. Type the signer's title on the next line in upper/lower case. See general signing
              authorities in FSM 1230.

              d. See FSM 1223.1, exhibit 01 for guidance on standard titles and unit names. The
              signature element appears as follows:

 EMMA J. AUSTEN
 Forest Supervisor

      3. If an employee has been officially appointed as “Acting,” include the name and the
word “Acting” before the title. A correct example is:

 RALPH W. EMERSON
 Acting Forest Supervisor

        4. If an official is signing “for” another official, use the name and title of the official who
is signing. A correct example is:

 /s/ Alice W. Land for
 LEW S. CARROLL
 Forest Supervisor

         5. If the name of the signing official does not appear on the drop-down list:

              a. Type a name (any name) to complete the signature block field.

              b. Edit the signature block on the actual letterhead template.

              c. Type in the actual name and title of the person who will sign the letter.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                          6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                           Page 18 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



12.7 - Notations on Originals and File Copies of Formal and Informal Letters

12.71 - Enclosures of Formal and Informal Letters

The official electronic correspondence database automatically arranges the enclosure notations
between the signature and the courtesy copy information on the page.

              a. Arranging enclosures.

              (1) If material(s) accompanies the letter, identify that material within the text of the
              letter.

              (2) At the bottom of the letter, refer to the material as an enclosure to indicate the
              placement of the original letter and accompanying material together in an envelope.

              b. Notation to Identify Numbers of Enclosures. Leave one blank line between the
              last line of the signing official's title and the word "Enclosure," typed flush with the
              left margin.

              (1) For more than one enclosure, use the plural form (enclosures) and include the
              number, for example, "Enclosures (3)."

              (2) If the enclosed material was not identified in the text of the letter, identify the
              material after the enclosure line as in the following example.

Enclosures: Letter of congratulations
            Mark Twain National Forest map
            Forest Service Cabins (a brochure)

              c. Under Separate Cover. When material is sent under separate cover, type the words
              "Separate Cover:" flush with the left margin, two lines below the signing official's
              title or the enclosure notation.

              (1) Identify the enclosed material here even if the material is identified in the text.

              (2) Include a copy of the original letter with the material that is sent under separate
              cover.

Separate Cover: Letter of congratulations
                Mark Twain National Forest map
                Forest Service Cabins (a brochure)
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                        6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                         Page 19 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



12.72 - Courtesy Copies for Formal and Informal Letters

When sending a copy of the correspondence to someone other than the addressee, type “cc:” for
“courtesy copy,” two lines below the previous line.

cc: Mr. Johnny A. Seed, 1010 Wanderer Lane, Bemidji, MN 56601

12.73 - Notations on File Copies Only for Formal and Informal Letters

         1. Blind Copy. When the author wants to send a copy of the correspondence to someone
other than the addressee but does not want to share this information with the addressee, type
"bc:" for “blind copy” on the file copy of the correspondence, and use the same style to identify
the person sent the courtesy copy. Exclude superfluous information and add it to a separate page
that is sent only to the person receiving the blind copy.

        2. Notes "To the Record." Use this notation when adding supporting information to the
file copy that is not included in the text or that is not on the original letter sent to the addressee.
In such cases, leave one blank line on the file copy between the last entry at the left margin and
"To the record:”. Add the new information at this location.

12.8 - Review and Concurrence for Formal and Informal Letters

         1. Review.

              a. The official correspondence database contains the list of names of reviewers who
              participate in the review cycle.

              b. The database sends an electronic notice to reviewers with a link to the document to
              be reviewed.

       2. Concurrence. Reviewers choose to concur or not concur. If the correspondence is
appropriate and ready for the next reviewer and eventual signature, reviewers select the
concurrence button on the automated electronic correspondence database. If reviewers do not
concur, they select the “do not concur” button.

              a. Reviewers must indicate concurrences (or nonconcurrences) on correspondence
              before they forward the correspondence to the next person on the review list.

              b. Reviewers must show concurrences on correspondence before the letter returns to
              the correspondence manager for a final format, grammar, spelling, and punctuation
              review.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                       6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                        Page 20 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


              c. The concurrence of the correspondence manager indicates that the correspondence
              meets required standards for letters and is, in fact, ready for the unit leader's
              concurrence.

              d. Complete all necessary concurrences before correspondence is forwarded for
              signature.

12.9 - Finalizing the Formal Letter

After the paper copy of the correspondence is signed and dated, use the electronic
correspondence database to enter the electronic signature and date on the letter. The font should
automatically italicize the /s/ signature. It appears as follows:

 /s/ Lil A. Putian
 LIL A. PUTIAN
 Acting Forest Supervisor

13 - INFORMAL CORRESPONDENCE PROCEDURES

13.1 - Choose Letterhead Template for Informal Letter

        1. Use the official informal electronic letterhead template. (The address and signature
styles for Forest Service correspondence comply with Department of Agriculture direction and
do not follow the GPO Style Manual.)

        2. Follow directions for use of informal letter templates before proceeding further with
an informal letter.

              a. Use the established regional or forest informal letterhead formats for regional or
              forest informal correspondence.

              b. See the following exhibit for an example of the informal letter using an informal
              letterhead template from the Washington Office.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                            6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                             Page 21 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                 13.1 - Exhibit 01

                                            Sample Informal Letter

               United States        Forest             Washington Office   14th & Independence SW
               Department           Service                                P.O. Box 96090
               of Agriculture                                              Washington, DC 20090-
                                                                           6090

  File Code: 6230                                                          Date: July 2, 2004
  Route To:

    Subject: Guidelines for Numbering and Lettering Paragraphs (Your ltr. 5/28/04)
             (Our ltr. 6/10/04)

          To: Regional Foresters; Station, Area and Institute Directors; and WO Staff Director

       Thru: Deputy Chief of Operations

                                        REPLY DUE JULY 26, 2004

  Frequently, there is a need to break a paragraph into several subparagraphs. When this is done,
  enumeration by a sequence of numbers and letters is necessary for clarification. The enumeration
  and arrangement of paragraphs follow:

         1. The enumeration of paragraphs by numbers and letters in correspondence is acceptable
         and can be helpful as a reference aid.

              a. Type main paragraphs in block style, single-spaced with double spaces between them.
              Indent subparagraphs as shown in this example.

              b. Subdivided paragraphs should have at least two subdivisions.

              c. A paragraph begins near the end of a page only if there is space for two or more lines
              on that page. A paragraph should continue on the following page only if two or more
              lines can be carried over to that page.

              d. Use titles or captions in lengthy communications to increase ease of reading and
              reference.

         2. The arrangement shown here applies only to correspondence.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                 Page 22 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                         13.1 - Exhibit 01--Continued

                                            Sample Informal Letter

  Regional Foresters; Station, Area and Institute Directors; and                 Page 2
  WO Staff Directors

  If you have comments or suggestions for changing our approach to subparagraphs, please
  send them to the unit mailbox listed on the enclosed comment sheet by July 26, 2004.


  /s/ Tom S. Hardy
  TOM S. HARDY
  Director, Information Resources Management

  Enclosure: Comment sheet
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                     6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                      Page 23 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



13.2 - “Route to” Field for Informal Letters

See the Staff Routing Code Guide on the Forest Service Web page. “Route To” is used only
when the file code is not sufficient for the correspondence to reach the intended office(s).

         1. Complete the “Route To” line using the routing code.

         2. Use multiple "Route To" codes if necessary.

       3. Follow instructions in 13.2, exhibit 01 for direction on the use of file codes in an
informal letter.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                              6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                               Page 24 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                 13.2 - Exhibit 01

                                                 Sample File Code

               United States        Forest             Washington Office     14th & Independence SW
               Department           Service                                  P.O. Box 96090
               of Agriculture                                                Washington, DC 20090-6090

  File Code: 6230-1-4                                                   Date: September 16, 2004
   Route To:

    Subject: File Codes, Routing Code(s), and Date

          To: Preparers of Correspondence

  The "File Code" line above identifies the code(s) for the main subject of the letter. The code
  "6230" is the primary code, while the "-1" is the secondary code, and "-4" is the tertiary code.

         1. Use at least a secondary code whenever possible.

         2. Use multiple file codes only when more than one primary subject is discussed, such
         as the codes used in this letter for disposition of records and classified records.

  Complete the "Route To" line only when the file code is not sufficient for the correspondence to
  reach the intended office. Multiple "Route To" codes may be used if necessary. However, limit
  routing codes to one whenever possible. Separate the file codes or routing codes with a slash (/) as
  shown below. Additional routing codes are appropriate when more than one staff receives the
  letter. Provide a copy of the letter to each routing code addressee.

         1. Single file and routing code example                 File Code: 1010

                                                                 Route To: 1510

         2. Multiple file and routing code example               File Code: 7310-1-1

                                                                 Route To: 2400/6300

  A letter may be composed one day in the afternoon but not signed until the next morning.

  /s/ Jonath N. Swift
  JONATH N. SWIFT
  Director, Directives and Regulations
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                      6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                       Page 25 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



13.3 - Addressees on Informal Letters

13.31 - “To” Field for an Addressee on Informal Letters

Complete this field on the correspondence database from a drop-down menu on the document
summary with the position (a title) rather than the name of a person who holds the position. The
correspondence database automatically inserts the address into the letterhead template.

         1. Enter the appropriate title(s) after the “To” line.

       2. If necessary, edit this field. For example, type in deputy chiefs when the letter
concerns policy information intended for deputy chiefs.

        3. Address intraregional letters intended for units within the same region to the regional
forester, staff director, or forest staff officer.

         4. Capitalize the first letter of each title regardless of whether a name accompanies the
title.

         5. Although the letter is normally addressed to the position (a title) rather than to the
name of a person who holds the position, if a letter is personal, use the person's name without the
title of the position.


                                         Example of Positions or Titles

Chief
Station Director, PSW
Regional Forester, Southern Region
Area Director, Northeastern Area
Forest Supervisor, Ashley NF
District Ranger, Pagosa RD
Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, and WO Staff


13.32 - “Thru” Field for Informal Letters

When sending informal correspondence to an individual or staff through another person or staff,
type "Thru" below the "To" line so the colons are aligned. See section 13.1, exhibit 01 of this
handbook for an example.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                      6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                       Page 26 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



13.4 - Subject Field for Informal Letters

This field must be completed before creating a letter.

         1. Type key words in the subject field.

       2. Capitalize the first letter of the first word in the subject line and each successive word
except articles (a, an, the), prepositions (such as at, by, in, on, down, from, between, among), and
conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor, so, and yet), unless one of these words happens to be the first
word, in which case, use a capital letter.

        3. When responding to a letter, type the date of that letter (in parentheses) in the subject
line after the subject, for example, (your ltr. 5/28/04).

        4. If it is necessary to respond a second time before receiving a reply from the first
response, the author should refer to the date of the first response in the subject line, for example,
(Our ltr. 5/1/04).

13.5 - Reply Due Field for Informal Letters

Only the Chief, line officers, and Washington Office staff directors and deputy chiefs determine
if this designation shall be used on informal correspondence. The words REPLY DUE are
entered automatically by the official electronic correspondence database. Reply due dates are no
less than 30 days from date of letter. See section 13.1, exhibit 01 of this handbook, for an
example.


                                         REPLY DUE JULY 26, 2004

13.6 - Signature Block for Informal Letters

        1. Complete the mandatory signature block field in the electronic document
correspondence system before creating the text of the letter. Choose the name of the signing
official from the drop-down list. The title of the official automatically appears on the letterhead
template below the official’s name. (The signature style for Forest Service correspondence
complies with Department of Agriculture direction and does not follow the GPO Style Manual.)

        2. Directions for signatures on informal letters are the same as for formal letters. See
section 12.6.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                       6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                        Page 27 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


13.7 - Other Elements That are the Same in Informal and Formal Letters

       1. The directions for the date, body of the letter, notations, signature block, review, and
concurrence(s) are the same for formal and informal letters and may be found in sections 12.5
through 12.8.

              a. Section 12.51 contains directions for the date on an informal or formal letter.

              b. Section 12.54 contains directions for paragraphs and succeeding pages in the body
              of an informal or formal letter. Section 13.1, exhibit 01 also provides direction for
              paragraph format and style.

              c. Section 12.6 contains directions for an informal or formal letter signature.

              d. Section 12.7 contains directions for an informal or formal notation, including
              processes for enclosures, courtesy copies, and file copies.

              e. Section 12.8 contains direction for review and concurrence for informal and
              formal letters. See section 13.8, exhibit 01 for direction about regional office
              concurrence procedures.

         2. There is no complimentary close for informal letters.

13.8 - Signature Package for Informal Letters

The letter is ready for signature when all necessary staffs and individuals have concurred and the
correspondence manager approved the format, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. See
section 12.8 for review and concurrence direction. See section 13.8, exhibit 01 for a sample of
an informal letter with direction for concurrences at the Regional Office.) The signature package
includes:

        The original letter.
        Record/file copy of the letter with document history.
        Enclosures.
        All necessary items such as routing slip, initial or signature tabs, cover sheets, and special
         expediting instructions.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                          6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                           Page 28 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                 13.8 - Exhibit 01

                                   Sample Concurrences Informal Letter

               United States        Forest             Washington Office   14th & Independence SW
               Department           Service                                P.O. Box 96090
               of Agriculture                                              Washington, DC 20090-
                                                                           6090

    File Code: 6230                                                        Date: August 26, 2004
    Route To: 6200

     Subject: Concurrences in the Preparation of the Chief’s Signature

           To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors and Area Director, and Washington
               Office Staff Directors

    Effective immediately, all correspondence forwarded to the Regional Forester's office
    for signature should contain appropriate and necessary concurrences as prescribed in
    FSH 6209.12 of the Correspondence Handbook.

    Authors must concur on correspondence before the correspondence is released to the
    correspondence manager for review. The correspondence managers review the
    correspondence for format, grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and record their
    concurrence. This indicates that the correspondence meets required standards for
    letters and is, in fact, ready for the unit leader's concurrence. Before forwarding
    correspondence to the Regional Forester's office for signature, ensure that all necessary
    concurrences are complete.

    The enclosed executive signature correspondence route slip was changed to reflect
    appropriate routing. Please submit the correspondence package to the Regional
    Forester's office in the following order:

        Blue executive correspondence route slip (use for routing hard copy)
        Plastic executive correspondence cover
        Material identified in text (enclosures)
        Incoming correspondence, if responding to a request
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                 Page 29 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                         13.8 - Exhibit 01--Continued

                                   Sample Concurrences and Path Name

  Unit Leaders                                                                  Page 2

  Regional Records Manager Icarus Daedalus, extension 2763, is available to answer any of
  your questions.


  /s/ Molly R. Bloom (for)
  JAMES A. JOYCE
  Chief

  Enclosure

  cc: epound
  hweaver
  tseliot
  ehemingway
  gstein

J:/fsfiles/ref/fsrecords/correspondence
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                       6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                        Page 30 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



13.9 - Finalizing the Informal Letter

        1. Font and Signature. After the paper copy of the correspondence is signed and dated,
enter the electronic signature and date when the hard copy of the letter was signed. The font will
automatically italicize the /s/ signature. The /s/ signature appears as follows:

/s/ Daniel D. Defoe
DANIEL D. DEFOE
Acting Regional Forester

        2. Pathname. When creating a piece of sensitive correspondence (FOIA or personnel
matters, for example), include the pathname of the file as the last notation on the record copy.
This allows electronic file location. The following is how a pathname might look on the file
copy of the letter shown in section 13.8, exhibit 01.

fsfiles/ref/fsrecords/correspondence/file_codes_routing_codes

14 - MULTIPLE SIGNERS OF CORRESPONDENCE

14.1 - Sending a Letter Signed by More Than One Person

If the letter shall be signed at the policy level, signers should be at a comparable level in the
organization, and signature blocks should be equal. If the signers are not at the same level in the
organizational structure, place the senior official's signature block before the other signers on the
page.

14.2 - Responding to Letters Signed by More Than Five People

       1. Treat this type of letter as a petition or form letter. Prepare a response only to the first
person on the list of signers.

       2. If elected officials or senior U.S. Government officials sign the letter, provide an
individual response to each person.

         3. When in doubt, prepare an individual response for each person.

14.3 - Responding to Letters Signed by Fewer Than Five People

Send the same letter to all signers at their addresses.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                          6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                           Page 31 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


14.4 - Responding to Letters From an Organization

If it is clear that one of the signers is an official of the organization, send a response to that
official. If there is no official, or it is not clear that an official is among the signers, follow the
guidance in sections 14.2 and 14.3.

15 - CORRESPONDENCE REVIEW CHECKLIST

The following exhibit will assist internal reviews of Forest Service correspondence. The exhibit
gives the reviewer guidance in:

         1. Addressing the various components of correspondence.

         2. Verifying that the correspondence meets standard guidelines.

         3. Recognizing roles.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                                     6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                                      Page 32 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                              FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                           CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                   15 - Exhibit 01

                                       Correspondence Review Checklist

Author         Editorial          Technical &        Signer                           Due Dates
                Review           Policy Review                   Noncontrolled correspondence: 30 days from
               Corresp.            Staff Unit                    receipt.
               Manager            Supervisor                     Controlled Correspondence: Set by Regional
                                                                 Office, Station, Area, Institute, and
                                                                 WO/Department. See chapter 20 of this handbook
                                                                 (FSH 6209.12).

  X                X                                             Response conforms to formal or informal format.

  X                X                                             File code line identifies main subject of the response.
  X                X                                             Subject line presents the main point and references
                                                                 request (Your ltr. 6/14/04) and/or (Our ltr. 7/26/04).
                   X                                             Salutation is correct.
  X                X                                             Enclosures and copies are correctly noted.
                   X                                             All recipients are correctly identified.
                   X                                             Succeeding pages are correctly titled with addressee's
                                                                 name and the page number.
  X                X                    X               X        Response thanks sender for the incoming letter and
                                                                 identifies that letter by its date. Response shows
                                                                 respect and interest in serving the requestor's needs.
  X                X                    X               X        Main point(s) of the response appears early.
  X                                     X               X        Information in the text of the response is correct.
  X                X                                             Technical terms are clear.
  X                X                                             Key information highlighted for emphasis.
                   X                                             Acronyms are defined/written out (each page).
                   X                                             Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are correct.
                   X                                             Sentences are direct and logical and they use:
                                                                  Active voice
                                                                  Concise phrases
                                                                  Strong verbs
                                                                  Short sentences
                                                                  Correct sentence structure
                   X                                    X        Response easily understood (clear, simple, concise).
  X                X                    X                        Concepts flow.
  X                                     X               X        Addresses issues of incoming letter, such as answers
                                                                 questions, responds to request(s).
                                        X               X        Appropriate staff review is complete.
                                        X               X        All necessary concurrences are complete.
                                        X               X        Consistent with Forest Service law, policy, direction,
                                                                 and regulations.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                      6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                       Page 33 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



16 - DECISION MEMORANDUM AND INFORMATIONAL MEMORANDUM

       1. Use the Decision Memorandum (ex. 01) to provide information to the Under
Secretary, Assistant Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture, so that they can make an
informed decision.

       2. Use the Informational Memorandum (ex. 02) to relate relevant information that is of
concern and interest to the Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary.

       3. Use the Decision Memorandum for the Director of Scheduling (ex. 03) when
asking/requesting the Secretary of Agriculture to attend, speak at, or participate in a function,
such as a meeting or conference.

     4. When preparing a Decision Memorandum, Informational Memorandum, or a Decision
Memorandum for the Director of Scheduling, the correspondence database offers a
“THROUGH” line and the word “if required” below; delete “if required”.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                                  6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                                   Page 34 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                              FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                           CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                    16 - Exhibit 01

                                        Sample of Decision Memorandum

              United States        Forest Service    Washington Office        14th & Independence SW
              Department                                                      P.O. Box 96090
              of Agriculture                                                  Washington, DC 20090-6090

                DECISION MEMORANDUM FOR MARK REY, UNDER SECRETARY, NRE

THROUGH:                                            Dale N. Bosworth
                                                    Chief

FROM:                                               Christopher Pyron
                                                    Deputy Chief, Business Operation

SUBJECT:                    Subject Matter          Subject Matter

FILE CODE:

ISSUE:

Define issue succinctly.

BACKGROUND:

To provide information to the Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary about the history of the issue synopsis of the
significant events leading to the proposed recommendation.

OPTIONS:

List options enumerating pros and cons of each. Number 1, 2, 3, etc. Indicate budget effect, position of other
agencies, position of the industry, or any other information that may be particularly relevant.

RECOMMENDATION:

Provide a recommendation. (This is mandatory.)

DECISION BY MARK REY, UNDER SECRETARY, NRE

Approve                        Date

Disapprove

Discuss with me

Reviewed by:
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                            6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                             Page 35 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                    16 - Exhibit 02

                                     Sample of Information Memorandum

              United States        Forest Service    Washington Office     14th & Independence SW
              Department                                                   P.O. Box 96090
              of Agriculture                                               Washington, DC 20090-6090


 INFORMATIONAL MEMORANDUM FOR ACTING CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER,
                   PARTRICIA HEALY, OCFO

THROUGH:                                            Mark Rey

                                                    Under Secretary, NRE

FROM:                                               Dale N. Bosworth,

                                                    Chief

SUBJECT:                                            Subject Matter

FILE CODE:

ISSUE:

Identify briefly the issue that will be discussed.

DISCUSSION:

Include pertinent, relevant information that is of concern and interest to the Secretary, Under
Secretary, or Assistant Secretary.

SUMMARY:

Quickly and concisely summarize the memo with a few sentences or bullet points. Mention how
the Forest Service expects to deal with the issue.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                                6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                                 Page 36 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                                    16 - Exhibit 03

                 Sample of Decision Memorandum for the Director of Scheduling

              United States        Forest Service     Washington Office       14th & Independence SW
              Department                                                      P.O. Box 96090
              of Agriculture                                                  Washington, DC 20090-6090

               DECISION MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING

THROUGH:                                             Mark Rey

                                                     Under Secretary, NRE

FROM:                                                Dale N. Bosworth,
                                                     Chief

SUBJECT:                                             Invitation to Secretary Johanns to participate in
                                                     international forestry events on July 1, 2005 in Vienna, VA.

FILE CODE:


ISSUE:

Define the issue: Example: Representatives of several European organizations that sponsored a forestry
symposium in Paris, France will visit the United States from June 26 - July 1, 2005. The Pinchot Institute
for Conservation has asked the Forest Service to invite the Secretary to participate in as many activities as
he can on July 1, 2005.

Activities that are being planned for Friday, July 1st include:

8:30 am           Breakfast with the Chief, US Forest Service
11:00 am          Tree planting
12:00 am          Luncheon hosted by National Capital Society.

BACKGROUND:

Discuss the history of the issue and synopsis of significant events leading to the proposed
recommendation. Example: The Chief of the Forest Service and other Forest Service representatives
recently participated in a symposium entitled “Working Toward Common Goals in Sustainable Forestry”
from March 6 through March 7 in Vienna.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                            6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                             Page 37 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                           16 - Exhibit 03--Continued


DECISION MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING                                                      2

List options enumerating pros and cons of each. Number them 1, 2, 3 etc. Indicate budget effect if
any, position of other agencies, position of the industry, or any other information that may be particularly
relevant. Example:

         1. Participation by the Secretary in one or more of the events on July 1.

         2. Participation by a designated official from the Secretary’s Office.

         3. No participation by the Secretary or designated official from the Secretary’s Office.


RECOMMENDATION:

Provide a recommendation. (This is mandatory.) Example: The Chief recommends the Secretary’s
participation in the breakfast with the Chief, the luncheon at the Library of Congress, and the farewell
reception (with Mrs. Johanns) at the French Embassy.

DECISION BY THE DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING:

Approve ___________________________                      Date___________________

Disapprove _________________________

Discuss with me _____________________

Reviewed by: __________________________________________
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                       6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                        Page 38 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE



17 - PREPARING E-MAIL RESPONSES AS OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

The Correspondence Controlled Unit processes e-mail using the following procedures:

         1. E-mail in electronic database is received; e-mail is assigned to a writer-editor.

         2. The writer-editor prepares a draft response.

              a. Copy and paste from e-mail template.

              b. Do not attach as a document.

              c. Add subject line as follows: USDA Response xxxx-xxxx…..(insert control
              number in place of xxxx-xxx).

              d. Put correspondent’s e-mail address on first line in body of draft response. Delete
              any personal signature or forwarding information.

        3. Writer-editor sends draft response in electronic correspondence database to CCU
Assistant Director and records entry in electronic database showing that draft response was sent
to the CCU Assistant Director.

       4. CCU Assistant Director makes needed changes and forwards final response to
Correspondence Assistant with bcc: to writer-editor.

         5. The writer-editor sends cc: to any staff involved in drafting the response.

       6. The Correspondence Assistant deletes any forwarding information in final response
and inserts the Assistant Director’s name as signing for the ORMS Director.

        7. The Correspondence Assistant sends the final response to the constituent
electronically; prints a copy of the concurred response; and scans it into electronic database. See
section 17, exhibit 01.
WO AMENDMENT 6209.12-2005-1                                                          6209.12_10
EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/03/2005                                                           Page 39 of 39
DURATION: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

                             FSH 6209.12 - CORRESPONDENCE HANDBOOK
                          CHAPTER 10 - NONCONTROLLED CORRESPONDENCE


                                             Exhibit 17 - Exhibit 01

                                        Sample of an E-Mail Response

             United States         Forest Service    Washington Office   14th & Independence SW
             Department                                                  P.O. Box 96090
             of Agriculture                                              Washington, DC 20090-6090


TO:                  wo fsccu@FSNOTES

FROM:                jojogee@aol.com

SUBJECT:             USDA Response 03-4279509

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you for your April 25, 2005, e-mail to Agriculture Mike Johanns regarding the cutting of
ash trees in Hancock County, Ohio. The Secretary asked the USDA Forest Service to respond.

After careful review of your concerns, we have determined that the identified issue is under the
jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. We have forwarded your e-mail to that
department for response. For more information, please contact Melissa Smith at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Sincerely,

Thelma J. Strong
Director, Office of Regulatory and Management Services

				
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