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News Release

Monday, March 26, 2007
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Springer Delivers Guidance to Federal Agencies on Veterans' Preference and Probationary Period Court Cases

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Linda M. Springer issued the following statement about recent court and Merit Systems Protection Board decisions regarding probationary rights (Van Wersch and McCormick) and Veterans' Preference (Hesse).

The probationary period guidance impacts the entire Federal work force, while the Hesse decision deals only with Veterans' Preference.

"OPM is taking specific actions with respect to the probationary period guidance to ensure consistency with Federal Circuit Court decisions. Those steps are:

· Upon receipt of the Court's decisions, we notified agency employee and labor relations practitioners of their impact on our regulations and urged them to inform their HR offices.

· We held numerous meetings with agency practitioners to discuss in detail the impact of subsequent MSPB decisions issued after the two Federal Circuit cases.

· We reviewed our regulations and identified the changes necessitated by the Court's decisions.

· We have sent a memorandum to every agency reminding them that if they have not done so, they must conform their policy on probationary employees to these court decisions immediately.

· We have prepared a revised regulation which will be published in the Federal Register as soon as possible. The revisions will conform our regulations to the court decisions.

"In addition, OPM is responding to the recent MSPB decision in the Hesse case with the following steps:

· We have sent a memorandum to every agency describing the impact of the MSPB decision that affects eligibility for veterans' preference based on a service-connected disability while on active duty training.

· We will follow our memorandum with revised regulations to implement the changes brought about by the above-mentioned decision.

"OPM not only continues to hold accountable Federal departments and agencies for following veterans' preference rights, but has established recruitment offices at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. These programs provide wounded military and veterans with information on training and civilian employment opportunities within the Federal civil service, as well as other assistance to help ease transition back to civilian life."

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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