Suspension is a serious action. Using the procedures of this subpart and subpart F of this part, the suspending official may impose suspension only when that official determines that -
(a) There exists an indictment for, or other adequate evidence to suspect, an offense listed under § 180.800(a), or
(c) Immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest.
(a) In determining the adequacy of the evidence to support the suspension, the suspending official considers how much information is available, how credible it is given the circumstances, whether or not important allegations are corroborated, and what inferences can reasonably be drawn as a result. During this assessment, the suspending official may examine the basic documents, including grants, cooperative agreements, loan authorizations, contracts, and other relevant documents.
(b) An indictment, conviction, civil judgment, or other official findings by Federal, State, or local bodies that determine factual and/or legal matters, constitutes adequate evidence for purposes of suspension actions.
(c) In deciding whether immediate action is needed to protect the public interest, the suspending official has wide discretion. For example, the suspending official may infer the necessity for immediate action to protect the public interest either from the nature of the circumstances giving rise to a cause for suspension or from potential business relationships or involvement with a program of the Federal Government.
A suspension is effective when the suspending official signs the decision to suspend.
After deciding to suspend you, the suspending official promptly sends you a Notice of Suspension advising you -
(a) That you have been suspended;
(b) That your suspension is based on -
(1) An indictment;
(2) A conviction;
(3) Other adequate evidence that you have committed irregularities which seriously reflect on the propriety of further Federal Government dealings with you; or
(4) Conduct of another person that has been imputed to you, or your affiliation with a suspended or debarred person;
(c) Of any other irregularities in terms sufficient to put you on notice without disclosing the Federal Government's evidence;
(d) Of the cause(s) upon which the suspending official relied under § 180.700 for imposing suspension;
(e) That your suspension is for a temporary period pending the completion of an investigation or resulting legal or debarment proceedings;
(f) Of the applicable provisions of this subpart, subpart F of this part, and any other agency procedures governing suspension decisionmaking; and
(g) Of the governmentwide effect of your suspension from procurement and nonprocurement programs and activities.
If you as a respondent wish to contest a suspension, you or your representative must provide the suspending official with information in opposition to the suspension. You may do this orally or in writing, but any information provided orally that you consider important must also be submitted in writing for the official record.
(a) As a respondent you or your representative must either send, or make arrangements to appear and present, the information and argument to the suspending official within 30 days after you receive the Notice of Suspension.
(b) The Federal agency taking the action considers the notice to be received by you -
(1) When delivered, if the agency mails the notice to the last known street address, or five days after the agency sends it if the letter is undeliverable;
(2) When sent, if the agency sends the notice by facsimile or five days after the agency sends it if the facsimile is undeliverable; or
(3) When delivered, if the agency sends the notice by e-mail or five days after the agency sends it if the e-mail is undeliverable.
(a) In addition to any information and argument in opposition, as a respondent your submission to the suspending official must identify -
(1) Specific facts that contradict the statements contained in the Notice of Suspension. A general denial is insufficient to raise a genuine dispute over facts material to the suspension;
(2) All existing, proposed, or prior exclusions under regulations implementing Executive Order 12549 and all similar actions taken by Federal, State, or local agencies, including administrative agreements that affect only those agencies;
(3) All criminal and civil proceedings not included in the Notice of Suspension that grew out of facts relevant to the cause(s) stated in the notice; and
(4) All of your affiliates.
(b) If you fail to disclose this information, or provide false information, the Federal agency taking the action may seek further criminal, civil or administrative action against you, as appropriate.
(a) You as a respondent will not have an additional opportunity to challenge the facts if the suspending official determines that -
(1) Your suspension is based upon an indictment, conviction, civil judgment, or other finding by a Federal, State, or local body for which an opportunity to contest the facts was provided;
(2) Your presentation in opposition contains only general denials to information contained in the Notice of Suspension;
(3) The issues raised in your presentation in opposition to the suspension are not factual in nature, or are not material to the suspending official's initial decision to suspend, or the official's decision whether to continue the suspension; or
(4) On the basis of advice from the Department of Justice, an office of the United States Attorney, a State attorney general's office, or a State or local prosecutor's office, that substantial interests of the government in pending or contemplated legal proceedings based on the same facts as the suspension would be prejudiced by conducting fact-finding.
(b) You will have an opportunity to challenge the facts if the suspending official determines that -
(1) The conditions in paragraph (a) of this section do not exist; and
(2) Your presentation in opposition raises a genuine dispute over facts material to the suspension.
(c) If you have an opportunity to challenge disputed material facts under this section, the suspending official or designee must conduct additional proceedings to resolve those facts.
(a) Suspension proceedings are conducted in a fair and informal manner. The suspending official may use flexible procedures to allow you to present matters in opposition. In so doing, the suspending official is not required to follow formal rules of evidence or procedure in creating an official record upon which the official will base a final suspension decision.
(b) You as a respondent or your representative must submit any documentary evidence you want the suspending official to consider.
(a) If fact-finding is conducted -
(1) You may present witnesses and other evidence, and confront any witness presented; and
(2) The fact-finder must prepare written findings of fact for the record.
(b) A transcribed record of fact-finding proceedings must be made, unless you as a respondent and the Federal agency agree to waive it in advance. If you want a copy of the transcribed record, you may purchase it.
(a) The suspending official bases the decision on all information contained in the official record. The record includes -
(1) All information in support of the suspending official's initial decision to suspend you;
(2) Any further information and argument presented in support of, or opposition to, the suspension; and
(3) Any transcribed record of fact-finding proceedings.
(b) The suspending official may refer disputed material facts to another official for findings of fact. The suspending official may reject any resulting findings, in whole or in part, only after specifically determining them to be arbitrary, capricious, or clearly erroneous.
The suspending official must make a written decision whether to continue, modify, or terminate your suspension within 45 days of closing the official record. The official record closes upon the suspending official's receipt of final submissions, information and findings of fact, if any. The suspending official may extend that period for good cause.
(a) If legal or debarment proceedings are initiated at the time of, or during your suspension, the suspension may continue until the conclusion of those proceedings. However, if proceedings are not initiated, a suspension may not exceed 12 months.
(b) The suspending official may extend the 12 month limit under paragraph (a) of this section for an additional 6 months if an office of a U.S. Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Attorney, or other responsible prosecuting official requests an extension in writing. In no event may a suspension exceed 18 months without initiating proceedings under paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) The suspending official must notify the appropriate officials under paragraph (b) of this section of an impending termination of a suspension at least 30 days before the 12 month period expires to allow the officials an opportunity to request an extension.