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Number: DAO 202-250
Effective Date: 2022-01-18


.01   The purpose of this Order is to delegate authority within the Department of Commerce (the Department) to make human resources management decisions, to administer human resources programs and activities, and to effect personnel actions; reserve certain matters for approval in the Office of the Secretary; and reflect organizational changes and various delegations and reservations of authority.

.02   Limitations are placed on the delegation of authority to enable the Secretary and certain officials within the Office of the Secretary:

a.   to review personnel actions involving key positions in the Department's organization;

b.   to coordinate precedent setting decisions affecting classes of employees, positions, or a pay system;

c.   to strengthen adherence to merit system principles in the career civil service and foreign service, and to assure equity in the application of Department policies; and

d.   to ensure that employment decisions and the acquisition of human resources are appropriate both in fact and in appearance.

.03   This revision provides authority to the Executive Director, Enterprise Services Organization (ESO) to deliver designated human resources transactional functions for one or more assigned components of the Department. This also authorizes the Director, Human Resources Services, ESO to provide advice and guidance in the implementation and performance of the full range of designated human resources transactional and operational functions and to serve as an appointing officer with the ESO and for all ESO serviced offices/operating units.


For the purposes of this Order the following definitions apply:

.01   Heads of Operating Units - officials who are assigned by the President or by the Secretary to manage the primary or constituent operating units of the Department (as defined in Department Organization Order (DOO) 1-1, Mission and Organization of the Department of Commerce, and in the Orders establishing the respective operating units). For policies and decisions involving the Office of the Secretary, the Chief Financial Officer/Assistant for Administration (CFO/ASA) will fulfill the responsibilities of the head of an operating unit except where it would be more appropriate for the Secretary or Deputy Secretary to do so.

.02   Appointing Officer - an official who has delegated authority to take or approve final position and personnel actions in the Department. (Personnel actions include, but are not limited to, appointments, assignments, transfers, reassignments, promotions, details, demotions, and removals – in general, all decisions affecting an individual's status or pay in the Federal Service.) Appointing officers are identified in paragraph 4.01 of this Order and in Appendix A to this Order.

.03   Director for Human Resources Management and Chief Human Capital Officer (Director, OHRM) - the senior career official responsible, within the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), Office of the Secretary, for the development and management of all Department-wide human resources policies and programs, the delegation and redelegation of authority to other officials of the Department, and all other designated areas of responsibility in accordance with Department Organizational Order 20-8, "Director for Human Resources Management". This official also serves as the rating official of record for bureau Principal Human Resources Managers’ critical performance element, (“Business Acumen” for Senior Executive Service (SES) members, and “Human Capital Management” for non-SES) covering 25 percent of the overall rating.

.04   Executive Director ESO (Director, ESO) - the senior official, within the Enterprise Services Organization, who directly reports to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, responsible for delivering the full range of designated human resources transactional functions through an Enterprise Services Center (ESC), for one or more assigned components of the Department.

.05   Director, Human Resources Services, ESO - an appointing officer within the Enterprise Services Organization designated to provide human capital services and human resources management advice and support to the Director, ESO; responsible for performing designated human resources operations functions that are deemed inherently governmental, with Federal employees, for one or more assigned components of the Department; responsible for overseeing the managed service provider in its service delivery and performance of the full range of designated human resources transactional functions; and all other designated areas of responsibility in accordance with DOO 10-23, Enterprise Services Organization.

.06   Principal Human Resources Manager - an appointing officer within a bureau human resources office designated to provide human capital strategies and human resources management advice and support to heads of operating units; responsible for performing assigned human resources functions that are deemed inherently governmental; and for performing all assigned human resources transactional functions, as applicable. This official, as applicable, also provides human resources policy and program administration information and guidance to the Director, Human Resources Services ESO and/or ESC in the implementation of bureau-specific operating unit policies, provisions of applicable collecting bargaining agreements, and in the delivery of human resources transactional functions received; and all other designated areas of responsibility in accordance with DOO 10-23, Enterprise Services Organization.


.01   The Secretary has delegated administrative management to the CFO/ASA. The CFO/ASA has further delegated authority for human resources management to the Director, OHRM in Department Organization Order 20 8, "Director for Human Resources Management", with the authority to redelegate to appropriate officials of the Department.

.02   All human resource management delegated or redelegated authority is to be exercised in conformity with personnel laws and regulations, Department policies, and conditions or limitations that are established by the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the CFO/ASA, or the Director, OHRM.

.03   The Secretary has delegated authority for policy direction over the executive resources of the Department to the Departmental Executive Resources Board (DERB) chaired by the Deputy Secretary, and final approval of all personnel actions regarding executive resources to the CFO/ASA. Policies and instructions approved by the DERB are contained in the Executive Personnel and Policy Manual.

.04   The authority of the Inspector General to select, appoint, and conduct all human resources management activities for the Office of the Inspector General is conferred by law and is not delegated under this Order. Department reviews of programmatic or individual human resources matters in the Office of the Inspector General will be concerned only with conformity to government-wide or Department-wide standards and procedures. By law, the Inspector General may be exempt from Department clearances or approvals in instances in which compliance would interfere with an investigation, audit, or subpoena.


.01   Subject to the approval of the CFO/ASA for certain human resource management matters designated in Appendix B, authority for human resources management is delegated under this Order to heads of operating units by virtue of their responsibilities, and to other appointing officers specified in Appendix A. The Director, OHRM may designate other officers and employees of the Department to exercise specified human resources management responsibilities as circumstances may warrant and notwithstanding Appendix A, when in the interest of good governance is authorized to identify in writing principal managerial officials with full human resources management authority without further approval.

.02   Heads of operating units are responsible for:

a.   administering a human resources program which is consistent with the personnel laws and regulations and with Department policies, standards, procedures, and instructions; and

b.   ensuring that managers and supervisors are made aware of and held accountable for their human resources management responsibilities.

.03   Heads of operating units and other officials who have authority delegated under this Order may place limitations or conditions upon the exercise of human resources authority by subordinate officials within their organizations, with the prior approval of the Director, OHRM for any limitations that will exceed six months.

.04   With immediate notification to the CFO/ASA, the Director, OHRM may withdraw or modify any authority delegated under this Order in the interest of sound management or for good cause such as serious human resources program deficiencies or failure to take corrective measures.

.05   Collaboration with other Federal departments and agencies that may affect Department-wide human resources management policy, authority, organization, plans, or program evaluation shall be conducted by or with the approval of the Director, OHRM.

.06   Human resources management authorities assigned to the Department under new laws or regulations, or delegations from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), are reserved to the Office of the Secretary until redelegated through appropriate Department directives.

.07   The Director, OHRM is authorized to approve variations from Department policy (within the limits of discretion permitted to agencies by human resources management laws and regulations) in the interest of sound management or equitable treatment of employees. Requests for such variations ordinarily will be in writing and submitted to the OHRM by or through an appointing officer of the operating unit involved.


.01   Any manager or supervisor may be delegated authority for assigning duties, determining work priorities, selecting employees, appraising performance, taking corrective actions, approving leave and recommending position and human resources actions in accordance with the policies of the Department and of his or her organization. Authority so delegated must be reflected in official organizational statements, internal delegations of authority, position descriptions, or performance plans.

.02   Authority is delegated to officers and employees listed in Appendix A, and to other employees when designated by the Director, OHRM in writing to: administer and conduct all human resources management programs and activities in and for their specified organizations; and, subject to the requirements of Appendix B, to approve and process human resources actions. Exercise of this authority is subject to the limitations and instructions set forth in this Order and in other Departmental directives, especially Department Administrative Orders (DAOs) in the 202 series.

.03   Appointing officers:

a.   shall consult with the Director, OHRM prior to exercising their delegated authority whenever a human resources issue, employment decision, or personnel action may be precedent setting or outside normal human resources management practice.

b.   who submits a position or personnel action for CFO/ASA approval or clearance are fully responsible for the legality, propriety, and technical sufficiency of the action. Documents must provide sufficient information to evaluate the proposal, and the names of all officials who are approving the action.

.04   Officials listed in Appendix A may personally administer the oath incident to entrance on duty in the Federal Government (5 U.S.C. 3331) or may designate in writing any employee of the Department to administer that oath, or any other oath required by law in connection with employment.

.05   Principal Human Resources Managers and the Director, Human Resources Services, ESO may designate employees under their supervision to:

a.   administer and deliver specific human resources management programs and services;

b.   determine that proposed human resources or position actions conform to the requirements of law, regulation, and policy;

c.   process approved human resources actions and maintain required records; and

d.   advise managers, supervisors, and employees as to their obligations and rights as employees of the Department.

.06   Under no circumstances may a vacancy be filled, or may an individual be advised to report for duty, except by or with the approval of an appointing officer to whom authority has been delegated under this Order.


.01   As a matter of Department policy, all human resources actions must be approved by an appointing officer (listed in Appendix A or otherwise designated in writing by the Director, OHRM and recorded on Standard Form (SF)-50, Notification of Personnel Action, or other document specified by OPM or the Government Accountability Office. The appointing officer is responsible for ensuring that each personnel action they approve meets all legal and regulatory requirements.

.02   When human resources actions involve the exercise of management discretion (such as most accessions, changes in employment status, and involuntary separations), evidence of approval prior to the effective date of the SF 50 ordinarily will consist of a SF-52, "Request for Personnel Action," or an approved electronic equivalent, bearing the signatures and clearances of appropriate management and human resources staff. The absence of an SF 52, or electronic equivalent, will not invalidate actions taken when there is other evidence of management's intentions and approval (e.g., management memoranda in adverse action cases, and detailed notices to employees in reduction in force cases).

.03   The establishment of a new position or modifications affecting the classification of an existing position must include a signed form CD 516, Classification and Performance Management Record; (or authorized alternative form.) The classification certification must be signed by an individual to whom classification authority has been properly delegated.


.01   Heads of operating units must ensure that human resources services and advice are available to all components of their organizations and should cooperate in the development of consolidated offices of human resources management to provide services across organizational lines wherever such arrangements will contribute to effectiveness and economy of operations.

.02   The number of offices of human resources management established in the Department shall be kept to the minimum consistent with economy and efficiency. Offices of human resources management may be established, combined, or eliminated only with the approval of the CFO/ASA.

.03   Under a consolidated services arrangement, the Principal Human Resources Manager serves as a management official to one or more assigned components and is responsible for providing advice and services to all units equitably and efficiently.

.04   Within the ESO, the Director, Human Resources Services, ESO serves as a management official to one or more assigned components, and is responsible for providing advice and services to all components equitably and efficiently.

.05   The Director, OHRM shall authorize development and operation of automated human resources processing and information systems to conform to Government-wide requirements and Departmental information or processing requirements. No component of the Department may maintain an automated system for personnel management purposes other than a system authorized by the Director, OHRM specifically and in writing.


Appointing officers are delegated authority to establish qualification standards for their excepted service positions in accordance with DAO 202-302, Employment in the Excepted Service. Each standard established must conform to the requirements of 5 CFR Part 302, be in writing, and available for review by any interested party.


The regulations and policies upon which the Department's human resources management program is based will be promulgated as DAOs in the 202 series. Technical guidance, such as human resources bulletins and handbooks, may be issued to officials and employees as needed or desired for effective human resources management.


Use of the authority for approving human resources actions and managing personnel programs, as delegated by this Order and by other DAOs in the 202 series, is subject to review by OPM and OHRM. The Director, OHRM is responsible for maintaining an effective oversight program, for issuing up to date evaluation guidance, and for reporting the findings periodically to the Deputy Secretary and CFO/ASA.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 202 250, dated April 30, 2009.

Signed by:Director for Human Resources Management and Chief Human Capital Officer

Approved by: Acting Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest:  Office for Human Resources Management




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 January 21, 2022