Federal Register: August 11, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 155)
DOCID: fr11au08-138 FR Doc E8-18505
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
Veterans Affairs Department
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of Amendment to and Republication of System of Records.
Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records
DATES: Comments on the amendment of this system of records must be received not later than September 10, 2008. If no public comment is received, the amended system will become effective September 10, 2008.
As required by the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a(e), notice is hereby given that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending the system of records currently known as ``Inspector General Complaint Center RecordsVA'' (66VA53) as set forth in the Federal Register at 49 FR 10216. VA is amending the system of records by renaming the system, revising the Categories of Individuals Covered by the System, revising the Categories of Records in the System, adding a Purpose(s) section, and amending the Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, including Categories of Users and the Purposes of Such Uses, and Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining and Disposing of Records in the System. Minor nomenclature changes, to reflect current titles and organizational elements, are being made. VA is republishing the system notice in its entirety.
Privacy Act; Systems of Records,
This publication is in accordance with the [[Page 46709]]
Privacy Act requirement that agencies publish their amended system of records in the Federal Register when there is revision, change, or addition. The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has reviewed its systems of records notices and has determined its record system, ``Inspector General Complaint Center RecordsVA'' (66VA53), should be amended to reflect evolving technology and procedures and to conform to current practice. The system name is being changed to ``Inspector General Hotline (Complaint Center) Records'' (66VA53) to more accurately reflect the role and mission of the OIG Hotline Division and the records created.
The Categories of Individuals Covered by the System still covers complainants and subjects of those complaints. The text of the section is being amended by defining who those individuals might be.
The Categories of Records in the System is amended to include cellular telephone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and final reports by VA OIG divisions or other VA components.
This system of records is also amended by adding a Purposes section. The Purposes section more fully explains the mission of the VA OIG Hotline Division.
There are several changes made to the routine use disclosures including the addition of new routine uses and the deletion of former routine uses. Former routine use number 1 remains the same. Former routine uses numbers 2 and 3 are combined into new routine use number 5. For clarity purposes, former routine use numbers 2 through 10 are deleted in their entirety and new text is substituted. The text changes reflect new routine uses that are consistent with law as well as for the purposes for which the records are maintained. The proposed changes are as follows:
Routine use number 1 remains the same and allows for disclosure of information from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from a congressional office on behalf of that individual.
Routine use number 2 is a new routine use and is added to reflect that disclosure may be made to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA is responsible for archiving records no longer actively used but may be appropriate for preservation, and is responsible in general for the physical maintenance of the Federal government's records. VA must be able to turn records over to NARA in order to determine the proper disposition of such records.
Routine use number 3 allows VA to disclose records to the U.S. Department of Justice. When VA is involved in litigation or an adjudicative or administrative process, or occasionally when another party is involved in litigation or an adjudicative or administrative process, and VA policies or operations could be affected by the outcome of the litigation or process, VA must be able to disclose that information to the court, adjudicative or administrative bodies, or parties involved. This routine use would not constitute authority to disclose records in response to a grand jury or other subpoena under Privacy Act subsection (b) because of the Court's analysis in Doe v. DiGenova, 779 F.2d 74, 7884 (D.C. Cir. 1985) and Doe v. Stephens, 851 F.2d 1457, 146567 (D.C. Cir. 1988).
Routine use number 4 allows disclosure of information to a Federal, state, or local agency maintaining civil or criminal violation records or other pertinent information such as prior employment history, prior Federal employment background investigations, and/or personal or educational information relevant to the hiring transfer, or retention of an employee, the letting of a contract, the granting of a security clearance, or the issuance of a grant or other benefit.
Routine use number 5 allows VA on its own initiative to disclose information, except names and addresses of veterans and their dependents, that is relevant to a suspected or reasonably imminent violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature and whether arising by general or program statute or by regulation, to a Federal, state, local tribal, or foreign agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, rule or order. VA may also disclose the names and addresses of veterans and dependents to a Federal or state agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting civil, criminal or regulatory violations.
Routine use number 6 allows disclosure to attorneys representing clients who are subjects of criminal investigations. This routine use is necessary to allow VA to be able to provide information and records to attorneys representing subjects of criminal investigations, including veterans, Federal employees, retirees, volunteers, contractors or private citizens.
Routine use number 7 allows disclosure to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) (including its General Counsel) in connection with the investigation and resolution of allegations of unfair labor practices, in connection with the resolution of exceptions to arbitrator awards when a question of material fact is raised, in connection with matters before the Federal Service Impasses Panel, and to investigate representation petitions and conduct or supervise representation elections. This release of information to FLRA from this Privacy Act system of records is necessary to comply with the statutory mandate under which FLRA operates. This information is necessary to allow the FLRA to properly investigate and resolve allegations of unfair labor practices brought against VA.
Routine use number 8 allows information to be disclosed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in connection with investigations of alleged or possible discrimination practices, examination of Federal affirmative employment programs, compliance with the Uniform Guidelines of Employee Selection Procedures, or other functions vested in the Commission by the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978. This disclosure is necessary to allow the EEOC access to relevant information.
Routine use number 9 allows information to be disclosed to officials of the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Office of Special Counsel, in connection with appeals, special studies of the civil service and other merit systems, reviews of rules and regulations, investigation of alleged or possible prohibited personnel practices, and such other functions, promulgated in Title 5, United States Code, Sections 1205 and 1206, or as may be authorized by law. This disclosure is necessary to allow the MSPB and OSC access to relevant information if properly requested.
Routine use number 10 allows disclosure of information, in the course of presenting evidence in or to a court, magistrate, administrative tribunal or grand jury, including disclosures to opposing counsel, in the course of such proceedings in order to further the interests of justice.
Routine use number 11 allows information in this system of records to be disclosed to any source or person, either private or governmental, to the extent necessary to secure from such source or person information relevant to, and sought in furtherance of, a legitimate investigation, review, or inspection.
Routine use number 12 allows disclosure to Federal, state, or local professional, regulatory, or disciplinary
organizations, including but not limited to bar associations, state licensing boards, and similar professional entities, for use in disciplinary proceedings. This routine use is necessary so VA can appropriately provide information about a person's conduct or actions, related to their employment, to an entity that regulates such conduct.
Routine use number 13 allows disclosure of information to individuals or entities with which VA has a contract, subcontract or agreement to perform services. VA must be able to provide information to its contractors or subcontractors in order for them to perform the services of the contract or agreement.
Routine use number 14 is a routine use suggested by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for all Privacy Act systems of records, in order to allow for the appropriate mitigation of a possible data breach.
The Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining and Disposing of Records in the System section is amended to more accurately reflect the advances in technology from solely a paper environment to an electronic one. Records and information are stored electronically in the VA OIG's Master Case Index (MCI) database and servers. Backup records are stored on magnetic disc, tape and CDROM and may also be maintained in hard copy format in secure file folders.
Storage: This section is amended to clarify that the particular OIG organization office that conducted the review, inspection or investigation maintains the hard copies of documents and information. The component office will maintain all documents, evidence and work papers compiled or collected. Records and documents are also maintained electronically by being scanned or uploaded into the MCI database, but the documents cannot be searched or retrieved as part of a general search.
Retrievability: This section is amended to reflect that information and records are now retrieved by MCI Hotline case number. In addition, electronic records and information are retrieved by the names of the complainants, names of the subjects of the complaints, as well as such persons' title and Social Security Number if entered in those fields. It is important to note that any scanned documents, reports or other uploaded information that are made part of the case file cannot be searched or retrieved from the MCI database as part of general search.
Safeguards: This section is amended to further describe the administrative, physical and technical safeguards the OIG uses to protect records and information.
Retention and Disposal: This section is amended to reflect that OIG follows retention and disposal authorities approved by the Archivist of the United States.
Record Source Categories: This section is amended to reflect from whom information can be obtained.
The Report of Intent to Amend a System of Records Notice and an advance copy of the system notice have been sent to the appropriate congressional committees and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) (Privacy Act) and guidelines issued by OMB (65 FR 77677), December 12, 2000.
Approved: July 24, 2008.
Gordon H. Mansfield,
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Timothy J. McGrath, Attorney Advisor, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General (50C), 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420; or fax comments to (202) 5658667; or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.