Collection of Debt Incurred by Former FAA Employee

B-195605(DAS): Nov 1, 1979

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An employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) incurred a debt to the government by signing an agreement that he would continue in the service of FAA for a period following outside training at FAA expense. FAA demanded repayment when the employee resigned to accept private employment, and the agency denied a request for waiver of the payment. Upon signing a promissory note agreeing to repayment in installments, the regional FAA office informed the employee that he would receive all compensation due him. However, the agency later ruled that the unpaid compensation would be applied to repayment of the debt first, and the employee's wife argued that this action was illegal since her husband had already entered into a valid agreement with the agency. She was advised that, when a service requirement has not been met after training at government expense, and waiver of repayment has been denied, the cost of the training is recoverable by setoff against unpaid compensation due the employee. Furthermore, the regional office had no accounting office and, therefore, did not have the authority to determine collection procedures for the debt owed to FAA.