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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James today reemphasized observing due diligence in considering federal agencies' requests for certification of their Senior Executive Service (SES) performance appraisal systems. OPM and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last August jointly issued important rules linking the pay of federal senior executives and senior professionals to their performance on the job. Agencies must submit requests to OPM for certification that their appraisal systems make meaningful distinctions among levels of performance in order to be permitted to increase the salaries of their highest performing senior executives.
"I want to assure agencies that OPM is actively reviewing recent SES appraisal system certification submissions," stated James. "OPM will fully ensure the integrity of the SES system certification process as we move promptly to assist agency teammates in their efforts to secure approvals. OPM staff has been on the phones daily with agencies answering questions and providing expertise and help to better develop the quality of agency submissions."
The SES rule changes represent the culmination of a long-term focus on improving the performance of the government through its senior executives and more directly linking their pay and performance. For the past three years, consistent with President George W. Bush's focus on achieving results through his Management Agenda, James has directed federal agencies to make meaningful distinctions in the performance ratings of their senior executives.
When issued later this year, the final regulations will allow an agency possessing a certified performance appraisal system to set basic pay up to level II of the Executive Schedule (currently $158,100) for the best-performing senior executives. The final rules also will allow agencies with certified systems to apply a higher aggregate limitation on pay in a calendar year, up to the rate of pay for the Vice President (currently $203,000), for senior executives and senior professionals.
Full certification requires that agencies' SES Performance Appraisal Systems meet nine criteria in the areas of strategic alignment, consultation, results, balance, assessment and guidance, oversight, accountability, performance differentiation, and pay differentiation. Provisional certification is given to agencies whose performance appraisal systems have met five of the nine aforementioned criteria: strategic alignment, consultation, results, balance, and accountability. Full certification cannot be given to any agency unless they can demonstrate two years of results under the pay differentiation and performance differentiation criteria.
Ten agencies have been granted provisional certification from OPM with OMB concurrence, and 15 agencies still are in various levels of review. One agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), has received full certification for their senior level staff. As a government corporation, the PBGC is not covered by the SES.
Listed below are the agencies granted provisional certification from OPM with concurrence from OMB:
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of the Interior
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Federal Trade Commission
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Merit Systems Protection Board
Railroad Retirement Board
Social Security Administration
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.