MERIT ASSIGNMENT PROGRAM
SECTION 1. PURPOSE.
.01 The purpose of this order is to implement the Federal merit promotion policy throughout the Department of Commerce for positions in the competitive service.
.02 This revision: (a) establishes Departmental policies and procedures which are in accord with the substantially revised Government-wide merit promotion policy set forth in the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) at Chapter 335 and in Supplement 335-1 (both temporarily issued FPM Letter 335-12, dated December 29, 1978); and (b) issues a model Merit Assignment Program Plan.
SECTION 2. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
.01 Relation of this Order to Other Regulations and Instructions.
a. The Federal merit promotion policy this Order constitute the requirements of the Department for promotions in the competitive service and for other selections and assignments to positions when they are required to be made under merit assignment procedures. This order does not apply to noncompetitive positions, such as those in the excepted service; guidance for filling these positions is set forth in FPM Chapter 302 and DAO 202-302, plus separate systems as may be developed by personnel offices.
b. This Order issues a Merit Assignment Program Plan Model (Appendix A), for GS-l through GS-15 or equivalent positions, which contains guidance for operating units when designing a plan. This model plan is suggested for use as circumstances warrant and my be modified by the Director of Personnel as needed.
c. Assignments in the Senior Executive Service are not covered by the provisions of this order or by guidance of the model plan. However, assignments to positions at GS-16 through GS-18 (and equivalents) that are excluded from the Senior Executive Service will continue to be covered by the merit principles of the Executive Assignment System under special procedures set forth by the Office of Personnel Management in FPM Chapter 305 and FPM Supplement 305-1 and by specific instructions issued by the Assistant Secretary of Administration or the Director of Personnel.
.02 Department Policy.
a. The administration of merit assignment programs and plans shall conform to the requirements of the Federal merit promotion policy as implemented by this Order.
b. All personnel action which are subject to merit assignment program requirements shall be taken solely on the basis of merit, fitness, and qualifications without discrimination for any nonmerit reason and without favoritism based on personal relationships or patronage.
c. To achieve efficiency of personnel operations and equity in the treatment of all employees and other applicants, operating units will follow, to the greatest extent possible, the provisions of the model plan.
d. Every plan will:
1. provide for special priority consideration of employees who have been involuntarily downgraded (for other than personal cause) for at least a minimum of two years after their demotion in both their current operating unit and the operating unit where their demotion occurred.
2. require applicants to meet all eligibility requirements by the closing date of a vacancy announcement or on the date the skills file was used.
3. state that a merit assignment panel must meet for all positions at GS-13 and above (and equivalent) when there are more than 10 qualified competitors for the position.
4. state that merit assignment panel members will be at the same grade level or higher than the position to be filled.
5. state that the personnel representative when serving solely as an advisor has no vote in merit assignment panel evaluations.
6. state that 10 is the maximum number of best qualified candidates which can be referred to the Selecting Official. This number may be increased by one for each additional vacancy to be filled. However, selection will be restricted to the first 10 available candidates.
7. state that the Merit Program Certificate is only valid for 30 calendar days from date issued and may be extended for 30 additional calendar days only with the approval of the personnel office.
SECTION 3. MERIT ASSIGNMENT PROGRAM PLANS.
.01 Reference to program. All form titles, communications, and references to the Federal merit promotion policy hereafter shall cite the Department of Commerce "Merit Program" or "Merit Assignment Program." These terms have been selected to describe more fully and accurately those personnel assignments which occur through formal competition.
.02 Existing plans. Within six months operating units shall modify all existing merit promotion program plans to reflect adequate merit assignment program provisions unless specifically delayed by provisions of established labor agreements. The development of specific implementing procedures for application of this Order in the individual operating unit's merit assignment program plans shall include appropriate consultation and/or negotiation with supervisors , employees , and/or labor organizations.
.03 Additions or changes in the future. Any proposed provision of an operating unit's merit assignment program plan which is inconsistent with requirement of this Order must be approved by the Director of Personnel before implementation.
SECTION 4. INFORMATION TO EMPLOYEES AND APPLICANTS.
.01 Merit assignment program plans provisions are to be publicized periodically by personnel offices to assure that covered employees know how their plan affects them. Each employee shall have access to a copy of the plan. Publicity shall include reminders to employees of their responsibility to update their qualifications information, if appropriate. In addition, employees should be kept informed of the method and/or locations used to publicize vacancies.
.02 Merit assignment program plans shall provide that all applicants be notified of the outcome of their consideration if they applied under a vacancy announcement.
SECTION 5. INTEGRATION WITH OTHER PERSONNEL PROGRAMS.
Heads of operating units should ensure that their organization's merit assignment program policy is in harmony with other personnel management programs such as recruiting and staffing , workforce planning, training, career development, performance appraisal, equal employment opportunity and labor-management relations.
SECTION 6. PROGRAM EVALUATION.
The administration of the merit assignment program by each operating unit will be evaluated periodically by the Departmental Office of Personnel and by the Office of Personnel Management in conjunction with review's of other aspects of personnel management.
SECTION 7. COMPLAINTS AND CORRECTIVE ACTIONS.
Complaints arising out of the operation of the merit assignment program are to be processed under: (a) the administrative grievance system (see Department Administrative Order 202-771 "Employee Grievances") or the negotiated grievance procedure, where applicable; or (b) the discrimination complaint procedure, if appropriate. (Note: Nonselection from among a group of properly ranked and certified competitors is not a grievable matter.) When there is a failure to adhere strictly to the provisions of the FPM, or this Order, corrective measures shall be applied promptly and in accordance with the corrective action guidance set forth in FPM Chapter 335.
SECTION 8. RECORDS AND FORMS.
Records of merit assignment program actions, plans, and operations shall be maintained by the servicing personnel office. There should be a consolidated file for each merit assignment program action (or group of actions effected from a single merit program certificate) containing all relevant information except for supervisory appraisals or evaluations and similar documents if maintained elsewhere. The merit program forms displayed in Appendix A as Exhibits 1 , 2 ,. 3 , 4, and 6 are required for use by all operating units.
SECTION 9. EFFECT ON OTHER ORDERS.
This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 202-335, dated May 12, 1969, except that the provisions of the previous order remain in effect with respect to an operating unit's existing merit promotion plan promulgated thereunder until that plan is revised as required by paragraph 3.02 above.
Signed by: Acting Director of Personnel
Approved by: Assistant Secretary for Administration
Office of Primary Interest: Office of Personnel
Merit Assignment Program 202-335
Promotion Programs 202- 335
APPENDIX A DAO 202-335
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MERIT ASSIGNMENT PROGRAM PLAN MODEL CONTENTS Page
A. Purpose and Policy 2
B. Authority 2
C. Definitions 2
D. Responsibilities 4
E. Coverage 5
F. Areas of Consideration and Locating Candidates 9
G. Qualification Standards 10
H. Evaluation and Ranking 10
I. Referral and Selection l2
J. Information to Candidates 13
K. Documentation and Records 13
L. Complaints 14
M. Violations l4
N. Periodic Reminders to Employees l4
1. Merit Program Certificate (CD-262)
2. Merit Program Interest Statement (CD-26l)
3. Merit Program Vacancy Announcement (CD-260)
4. Multiple Listing Merit Program Vacancy Announcement
5. SAMPLE: OPEN VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT
6. Merit Assignment Program File Content Check List
For a copy of Exhibits and/or Appendices, please call(202) 482-7873