Resignation by mail?


Q. I am a federal firefighter on emergency leave due to an ill family member. Because my department did not approve my leave without pay for a second time within the year (the first one was approved for six months), my department is requiring that I return to Hawaii (I am in Los Angeles caring for my father).

Why can’t I just resign by mail? Flying to Hawaii just to sign a couple of forms seems ridiculous to me — especially when it will cost me over $1,000 to do so, in addition to leaving my father alone without care. Can’t the forms just be mailed to me?  They said they were going to fire me if I didn’t fly there to resign.

A. If you go to and scroll down to section 4b(1), you’ll see that you don’t have to be present when you resign. You can provide a resignation in writing. If you do so, I recommend that you send it by registered mail and pay a little extra to assure that a signed receipt is returned to you.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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