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Letter of Counseling, Admonition, Reprimand





Any NCO can issue a Letter of Counseling when it is determined to be necessary to correct behavior or performance that is incompatible with Army standards . Generally Soldiers may only counsel other Soldiers who are subordinate in rank. However, while official rank is the biggest factor in the Chain of Command and supervision, there will be circumstances where persons of equal or lower rank may be given the authority or responsibility for managing Army resources along with the duty to correct behavior that might threaten that responsibility. These actions are intended to correct improper behavior exhibited on or off-duty. It's preferred by all concerned that misconduct be addressed at the lowest possible level and as soon as possible so that a Soldier's career is not affected unneccessarily by actions he or she didn't realize were objectionable. If conduct doesn't improve, it can then be escalated to higher levels.

Verbal counseling and LOCs at the workcenter level are a form of correction appropriate for correcting habits or shortcomings which are not necessarily criminal or illegal, but which can ultimately affect job performance, workcenter morale, and discipline. More serious offenses should be referred to the First Sergeant. The reference that specifies the rules surrounding administrative counseling is AR 600-20, Army Command Policy and AR 27-10, Military Justice.


Verbal Counseling

The lowest level corrective tool is verbal counseling. This is the unscheduled spoken guidance that NCOs provide every day such as, "You need a haircut" or "Your boots need shining". This type of counseling is normally not formally recorded unless the supervisor finds that the Soldier failed to follow his or her direction. If the offending Soldier failed to follow the NCO's verbal instruction, the next step would be to either write a formal Letter of Counseling or deliver another verbal counseling at the next instance of objectionable behavior.


Extra Training and Instruction

If verbal counseling and advice don't achieve the desired results, NCOs may resort to extra training or instruction (including on-the-spot correction). For example, if a Soldier wears an improper or dirty uniform, they are required to correct it immediately. If they don't maintain their barracks or base housing properly, they must correct the deficiency as soon as practically possible. For training deficiencies, extra training or instruction in subjects directly related to the shortcoming is appropriate. The training, instruction, or correction given must be directly related to the deficiency with the goal being improving the Soldierís performance not punishment. Corrective measures may be assigned after normal duty hours. Corrective training should only continue until the training deficiency is resolved. If a Soldier's performance improves as a result of extra training, the matter is dropped and more serious forms of correction such as a written LOC are not required.


Letter of Counseling

A Letter of Counseling is not neccessarily a punitive measure. It is merely the recording of an infraction. It's a formal way of describing an unacceptable behavior so that the receiver cannot fail to understand it. Often, Soldiers don't realize or understand the seriousness of their behavior. A formal letter of counseling is a way to get their attention and let them know their behavior is not acceptable and to explain the possible consequences. The offender is required to sign the Letter of Counseling indicating that he or she is aware of the situation.

When an LOC (or similar paperwork) is forwarded to the Orderly Room, it is understood that the supervisor recommends that the commander file it in the MPRJ. A formal Letter of Counseling is normally recorded on an DA Form 4856, Developmental Counseling Form. It provides a record of counseling and is useful for supporting more serious corrective action if needed. It may also be used as a reference when completing performance evaluations. If you don't have an DA Form 4856 on hand, the counseling may be recorded on plain bond paper or unit letterhead. The format isn't as important as the documenting of improper behavior. See below for examples.


Letter of Admonition

A Letter of Admonition is more severe than a Letter of Counseling. It's used to document clear violations of standard. While a Letter of Counseling is used to explain standards and reconcile behavior, the LOA is used to document intentional disregard for established rules of conduct. A Letter of Admonition is normally prepared and delivered by the Commander or his staff. Like the Letter of Counseling, the offender must sign the letter indicating understanding of its contents.


Letter of Reprimand

A Letter of Reprimand is more severe than a Letter of Admonition. It's also prepared by the Commander's staff and used to document clear violations of standard and is used for more serious offenses. It may also be issued when other, less severe methods, such as a Letter of Counseling or Letter of Admonition have failed to correct behavior.


Format

A formal Letter of Counseling is normally recorded on an DA Form 4856, Developmental Counseling Form, but if you don't have a DA Form 4856 on hand, the counseling may be recorded on plain bond paper or letterhead. If using bond paper or letterhead, the format is the same for Letters of Counseling, Letters of Admonishment, and Letters of Reprimand. The only difference is the subject line. See the example below. When writing a Letter of Counseling, the following information should be included:

What the member did or failed to do and the associated dates

What improvement is expected

That continued violations of standards will result in more severe action

That the individual has 3 duty days from the date when the LOC is presented to submit rebuttal documents to the initiator (if they choose to. The subject is not required to submit rebuttal documents and may only sign acknowledging receipt). When calculating the response due date, the date of receipt is not counted, and if the individual mails their acknowledgment, the date of the postmark on the envelope will serve as the date of acknowledgment

That the person who initiates the LOC has 3 duty days to advise the individual of their final decision regarding any comments submitted by the individual

That all supporting documents received from the individual will become part of the official record

The document must include a Privacy Act statement. Written administrative counseling, admonitions, and reprimands are subject to the rules of access and protection as outlined in The Privacy Act of 1974. The same rules apply to any copies kept by supervisors or in the individual's MPRJ.

The format isn't as important as the documenting of improper behavior. Although it's important to include all the required information above, failure to do so will not normally prevent the use of the document as support for further, more severe actions if neccessary. In real life, supervisors with enough guts to recognize, correct, and document bad behavior are relatively rare. Most of us tend to look the other way as long as possible. We don't want to write up our "friends" or subordinates. We often force our Senior NCOs to assume more responsibility for managing or disciplining our troops than we should. So, on those rare occasions when a supervisor does meet his or her management responsibility, their actions, even if poorly documented, will generaly be welcomed and suppported by the First Sergeant and the Commander's staff.


Examples




Letter of Counseling / Admonishment / Reprimand Template

If Written on Bond Paper or Letterhead


MEMORANDUM FOR (NAME OF INDIVIDUAL)

FROM: Unit/Office Symbol

SUBJECT: Letter of Counseling (or Admonishment or Reprimand)

1.   It has come to my attention that on (insert date here), (insert the offense here and include as much detail as possible).

2.   In the Army, failure to go (or other offense) is a crime. Many Soldiers have been given Article 15s and court-martialed for similar misconduct. This workcenter, this unit, and indeed, the entire Army cannot function when its members become undependable. You have proven that you cannot always be depended upon, and consequently, you have damaged this unitís mission capability. I expect you to work diligently at redeeming yourself and proving that you are dependable.

3.   PRIVACY ACT STATEMENT. AUTHORITY: 10 U.S.C. 8013. PURPOSE: To obtain any comments or documents you desire to submit for consideration concerning this action. ROUTINE USE: Provides you an opportunity to submit comments or documents for consideration. If provided, the comments or documents you submit become a part of the action. DISCLOSURE: Your written acknowledgment or receipt and signature are mandatory. Any other comments or documents you provide are voluntary.

4.   You will indicate receipt and understanding of this letter in the space below. You have 3 duty days in which to provide a response if you choose. A response is not required.

 

SUPERVISORS NAME, RANK, USA
Supervisor

 

1st Ind, Name of Individual

 

TO: Unit/Office Symbol

 

Receipt acknowledged at _________________hours, on ___________________2008.

 

I have read and understand the unfavorable information presented against me and elect [not to] [to] submit a statement on my behalf.


____________________________
Name of Individual, RANK, USA

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Letter of Counseling (using DA Form 4856)

DA Form 4856. Purpose of Counseling: FAILURE TO OBEY
PART III. SUMMARY OF COUNSELING
During the ORI on 31 May 07, at shift change, you were told by SSG Smith that we would comply with Mopp 4 requirements at Bravo Site whether anyone came out to inspect us or not and you acknowledged his direction. Early on 1 June 07 we went into Alarm Blue while we were at S-24 and you failed to comply with Mopp 4 requirements. You have violated Article 92 (failure to obey).

XXXXXXXXMAN XX-XX Soldier's Manual and the Osan Air Base ATSO Guide exist as standards to be met. Members of the Army, regardless of rank, must meet standards of performance and regulations every day. Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the United States Army. Your actions require me, as well as your section supervisor, to seriously question your integrity and capability as a Munitions Storage Crew Member. I will not tolerate this type of behavior from a member of the Munitions Storage Section. Further violations of standards will result in administrative action.

Plan of Action
I recommend that you realize the seriousness of your actions and their consequences and follow instructions and adhere to the Army Core Value, "Integrity -do what's right". This means to do what is right even when no one is looking. Examine your career objectives and determine which course of action you will follow. You will acknowledge receipt of this letter by signing in the designated block. You have 3 duty days in which to submit any information in rebuttal to these charges.

Privacy Act statement: AUTHORITY: 10 U.S.C. 8013. PURPOSE: To obtain any comments you desire to submit (on a voluntary basis) for consideration concerning this action. ROUTINE USES: Provides you an opportunity to submit comments or documents for consideration. If provided, the comments and documents you submit become a part of the action. DISCLOSURE: Your written acknowledgment of receipt and signature are mandatory. Any other comment or document you provide is voluntary.

Individual Counseled Remarks
I acknowledge receipt of this communication on 10 June 07. I do / do not intend to submit information in rebuttal to these charges. I understand I have 3 duty days in which to submit my rebuttal.



Letter of Counseling (using DA Form 4856)

DA Form 4856. Purpose of Counseling: FAILURE TO COMPLY
PART III. SUMMARY OF COUNSELING
During the ORI, on the morning of 11 Jun 07, you drove to and from Charlie Site at an excessive speed and then continued to run two red lights on the way back to Camp Red Cloud. You failed to follow simple but critical traffic rules and have shown total disregard for the safety of others or for the property you have been entrusted with. Your actions have violated Article 92 (failure to obey).

USFK Pam 385-2 Guide to Safe Driving in Korea is a regulation that must be followed. We are guests in this country and ambassadors of American culture. Your actions have not only embarrassed you, but also your unit and the United States Army. Your conduct requires me as well as your section supervisor to seriously question your integrity as a Munitions Storage Crew Member. This type of behavior from a member of the Munitions Storage Section will not be tolerated.

Plan of Action
I recommend that you comply with regulations and set a positive example for others. Review your career objectives and determine how your actions can influence your plans. This memorandum will not be placed in your Official Personnel Folder. However, a copy will be retained in my files. This copy will be destroyed not later than one year after the date of this memorandum provided your conduct has been satisfactory. You are hereby warned that a repetition of these offenses may result in formal disciplinary action. You will acknowledge receipt of this letter by affixing your signature in the designated block. You are advised you have 3 duty days in which to submit any information in rebuttal to these charges.

AUTHORITY: 10 USC 8013. PURPOSE: To obtain any comments or documents you desire to submit (on a voluntary basis) for consideration concerning this action. ROUTINE USES: Provides you an opportunity to submit comments and documents for consideration. If provided, the comments and documents you submit become a part of the action. DISCLOSURE: Your written acknowledgement of receipt and signature are mandatory. Any comment or document you provide is voluntary.

Individual Counseled Remarks
I acknowledge receipt of this communication on 20 June 07. I do / do not intend to submit information in rebuttal of these charges. I understand I have 3 duty days in which to submit my rebuttal.



Letter of Counseling (using DA Form 4856)

DA Form 4856. Purpose of Counseling: Failure to Obey Order or Regulation
PART III. SUMMARY OF COUNSELING
Investigation has disclosed that you were disrespectful to SSG Jones, your supervisor, by refusing to follow her direction, saying "kiss my ass" or something similar, and walking away while she was talking to you. This incident occurred around 0700 on 12 July 2007 at the POL main workcenter.

Plan of Action
You are hereby counseled. I will not tolerate disrespect from anyone in this organization toward any of their supervisors. Your disrespect and failure to recognize authority conflicts with AR 600-25 and has been detrimental to unit morale and the discipline of this organization. You must never again repeat such conduct. If you do, it will be answered with more serious consequences. You will acknowledge receipt of this letter by signing in the designated block. You are advised you have 3 duty days in which to submit any information in rebuttal to these charges.

Privacy Act statement: AUTHORITY: 10 U.S.C. 8013. PURPOSE: To obtain any comments you desire to submit (on a voluntary basis) for consideration concerning this action. ROUTINE USES: Provides you an opportunity to submit comments or documents for consideration. If provided, the comments and documents you submit become a part of the action. DISCLOSURE: Your written acknowledgment of receipt and signature are mandatory. Any other comment or document you provide is voluntary. NOTE: This Privacy Act Statement must be included in all Letters of LOC/LOA/LOR.

Individual Counseled Remarks
I acknowledge receipt of this Letter of Counseling on 13 July 07. I do / do not intend to submit information in rebuttal of the facts presented here. I understand I have 3 duty days in which to submit my rebuttal.




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