Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
This notice announces the approval of the final personnel demonstration project plan for the ONR. This includes adoption of existing demonstration project flexibilities in other STRL demonstration project plans and any necessary modifications thereto for better conformance to the ONR mission requirements and culture.
DoD: Ms. Betty A. Duffield, CPMS-PSSC, Suite B-200, 1400 Key Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209-5144
Since 1966, many studies of Department of Defense (DoD) laboratories have been conducted on laboratory quality and personnel. Almost all of these studies have recommended improvements in civilian personnel policy, organization, and management. Pursuant to the authority provided in section 342(b) of Public Law 103-337, as amended, a number of DoD STRL personnel demonstration projects were approved. These projects are “generally similar in nature” to the Department of Navy's “China Lake” Personnel Demonstration Project. The terminology, “generally similar in nature,” does not imply an emulation of various features, but rather implies a similar opportunity and authority to develop personnel flexibilities that significantly increase the decision authority of laboratory department heads and/or directors.
This demonstration project involves: (1) Streamlined delegated examining; (2) noncitizen hiring; (3) expanded detail authority; (4) extended probationary period for newly hired employees; (5) expanded temporary promotion; (6) voluntary emeritus program; (7) pay banding; (8) contribution-based compensation system; (9) performance-based reduction-in-pay or removal actions; and (10) reduction-in-force (RIF) procedures.
DoD published notice in 73 FR 73248, December 2, 2008, that pursuant to subsection 1107(c) of Public Law 110-181 the three STRLs listed in 73 FR 73248 not having personnel demonstration projects at this time may adopt the flexibilities of the other laboratories listed in subsection 9902(c)(2), as redesignated in section 1105 of Public Law 111-84. ONR is one of the three STRLs specified in this provision.
Accordingly, ONR intends to build its demonstration project using flexibilities adopted from existing STRL demonstration projects (specifically the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Aviation Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC), and Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC)). Final plans for the NRL, AMRDEC, MRMC, CERDEC personnel management demonstration projects were published in
On May 28, 2010, DoD published the proposed ONR demonstration project plan in 75 FR 30918. During the public comment period ending June 28, 2010, DoD received comments from 22 individuals. All comments were carefully considered.
The following summary addresses the comments received, provides responses, and notes resultant changes to the original proposed project plan. Most commenters addressed several topics which are counted separately. Thus, the total number of comments exceeds the number of individuals cited earlier.
The primary benefit expected from Lab Demo is greater organizational effectiveness through increased supervisor and employee interaction leading to enhanced employee involvement, communication, understanding, satisfaction, and productivity. Lab Demo training, targeting the CCS process and goals, has been rolled out across the Command to ensure a synonymous understanding of performance management practices for both employees and supervisors, and to ensure that proper performance management techniques will occur under CCS. The CCS performance management process is designed to help supervisors create a performance culture in which the performance and contributions of the workforce are linked to the ONR mission. This in turn will add meaning to the employee's job and contributions.
Supervisors will be held accountable for their performance management duties under CCS. The CCS contribution elements and level descriptors specifically include expectations regarding performance management and workforce development to recognize the importance of this value at ONR.
The managers/second-line supervisors have always been free to solicit feedback from subordinate employees and other customers to consider in assessing and appraising the supervisory effectiveness of their direct subordinates and their employees. This will continue to be an option under CCS. However, a formal program providing for 360-degree evaluations for supervisors has not currently been implemented. ONR has also provided mandatory hands-on training for supervisors that emphasized supervisory responsibilities and how to engage employees in the performance management process. In addition, supervisor performance will be evaluated as an enhancement of the normal pay pool process.
ONR made the decision to participate in the DoD initiative to implement an Above 15 Pay Band for scientific and engineering professionals in order to take advantage of an opportunity to correct a critical void in classification standards and guidance for civilian senior executive Scientific and Professional (ST) and Senior Executive Service (SES) positions. This void impacted an organization's ability to advance scientific and engineering positions which surpass the GS-15 classification criteria because of the combination of excellent scientific and/or engineering expertise and performance of high-level science and technology (S&T) research and development work with significant technical supervisory and managerial responsibilities comprising 25 percent or more of the position's time. These positions were not considered to be appropriately classified as STs because of the degree of supervisory and managerial responsibilities. Conversely, these positions were not appropriately classified as SES positions because of their requirement for highly specialized scientific or engineering expertise and because the positions were not at the level of general managerial authority and impact required for an SES position.
The following is a summary of substantive changes and clarifications which have been made to the project proposal.
A. Supplementary Information, Overview. Added MRMC and CERDEC to the list of existing STRL demonstration projects from which ONR is using flexibilities to build its demonstration project.
B. III.H.2. Internal Actions. Added a flexibility for Supervisory Pay Adjustments and Supervisory Pay Differentials.
C. IV.A.1.d. Fair Labor Standards Act. Corrected Figure 4 by including the word `review' for Pay Band III of the Administrative Support career track.
D. IV.C.4. Annual CCS Appraisal Process. The current FRN states that employees will be notified of the Overall Contribution Scores (OCSs) which correspond to each employee's Normal Pay Range (NPR) at the beginning of the appraisal period. This is corrected to state that OCSs which correspond to each employee's NPR will be available after pay adjustments have been processed, normally early-to-mid January.
E. IV.C.4 and 5. Annual CCS Appraisal Process and Exceptions. Provision added that requires employees who serve less than 90 days during an appraisal cycle to receive a presumptive rating of acceptable.
F. IV.C.4. Annual CCS Appraisal Process. In order to ensure compliance with state bar rules a provision was added that prohibits the pay pool panel from changing CCS scores on ONR attorneys provided by the ONR Counsel.
G. IV.C.4 and 5. Exceptions. Clarified the conditions for which employees who would normally be exempted from the CCS process may still be given a CCS score.
H. IV.C.8.b. Career Movements based on CCS. Corrected to state that it is the ONR Executive Director and not the CNR which must approve certain promotions.
I. IV.C.9. Grievance Process. Modified to clarify the process; prevent the need for the ONR Executive Director from possibly deciding the same grievance twice; inform employees that the contents of the CCS Plans are nongrievable as were the contents of performance plans in the traditional performance management system; and ensure compliance with state bar rules.
J. VI.A.3. WGI Buy-in. Added clarifying language to state that employees will be provided a prorated portion.
K. VI.A.4. Career Promotion Eligibility. Modified to state that an exception will also be made for employees who become eligible for a career ladder promotion during the first 12 months after conversion if their promotion would cause them to move to a higher pay band. Examples included providing greater clarity to the entire section.
L. VI.D. New Hires. Modified to add that mandatory demonstration project training will be provided to new employees and new supervisors.
M. VI.D.3. New Hires. Provided clarification for Federal employees who are on retained pay or who are receiving special salary rates and are moving into the ONR demonstration project.
N. VI.E.1.Grade Determination. Clarified conversion-out rules when there are more than two GS grade levels in a career field.
O. X. Automation. Clarified that DCPDS is not a legacy system, that RD Writer will be used instead of COREDOC, and that the automated tool RIFSS will not specifically be used.
P. Appendix A. Updated chart based on the addition of the supervisory pay adjustment and differential flexibility, and added the MRMC Career Promotion flexibility which had mistakenly been left out previously.
Q. Appendix B. Added required waivers for; the Supervisory Pay Adjustment and Differential Flexibility; the presumptive rating of acceptable for employees who serve less than 90 days, and the Voluntary Emeritus Program (which were erroneously left out previously).
R. Appendix D. Corrected 0335, Computer Clerk series, to be listed only under the Administrative Support career track and moved the 0802 series to the Administrative Specialist and Professional Career Track.
S. Appendix E. Science & Engineering Professional contribution elements were updated to provide additional clarification of the discriminators.
T. Appendix F. Integrated pay chart was updated to reflect the minimum basic pay for S&E pay band V as $119,554.
Flexibilities published in this
This project adopts with some modifications the STRL personnel management demonstration project designed by NRL and additional flexibilities from the AMRDEC, MRMC, and CERDEC personnel management demonstration projects. The modified design of the demonstration project described herein was developed by ONR with the participation of and review by the DON, the DoD, and incorporation of the knowledge and design of other STRL demonstration projects.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. ONR's directorates balance a robust science and technology portfolio, allocating funds to meet the warfighter's requirements, focusing efforts on all three major phases of development funding: Basic research, applied research and advanced technology development. ONR's six science and technology departments coordinate and execute research in the areas of:
1. Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism
2. Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
3. Ocean Battlespace Sensing
4. Sea Warfare and Weapons
5. Warfighter Performance
6. Naval Air Warfare and Weapons
In order to sustain these unique capabilities, ONR must be able to hire, retain, and continually motivate enthusiastic, innovative, and highly-educated scientists and engineers, supported by skilled business management and administrative professionals as well as a skilled administrative and technical support staff.
The goal of the project is to enhance the quality and professionalism of the ONR workforce through improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the human resource system. The project flexibilities will strive to achieve the best workforce for the ONR mission, adjust the workforce for change, and improve organizational efficiency. The results of the project will be evaluated within five years of implementation.
The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that the effectiveness of DoD STRLs can be enhanced by expanding opportunities available to employees and by allowing greater managerial control over personnel functions through a more responsive and flexible personnel system. Federal laboratories need more efficient, cost effective, and timely processes and methods to acquire and retain a highly creative, productive, educated, and trained workforce. This project, in its entirety, attempts to improve employees' opportunities and provide managers, at the lowest practical level,
Many aspects of a demonstration project are experimental. Modifications may be made from time to time as experience is gained, results are analyzed, and conclusions are reached on how the system is working. The provisions of this project plan will not be modified, or extended to individuals or groups of employees not included in the project plan without the approval of the DUSD (CPP). The provisions of DoDI 1400.37 are to be followed for any modifications, adoptions, or changes to this demonstration project plan.
The current Civil Service GS system has existed in essentially the same form since the 1920's. Work is classified into one of fifteen overlapping pay ranges that correspond with the fifteen grades. Basic pay is set at one of those fifteen grades and the ten interim steps within each grade. The Classification Act of 1949 rigidly defines types of work by occupational series and grade, with very precise qualifications for each job. This system does not quickly or easily respond to new ways of designing work and changes in the work itself.
The performance management model that has existed since the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act has come under extreme criticism. Employees frequently report there is inadequate communication of performance expectations and feedback on performance. There are perceived inaccuracies in performance ratings with general agreement that the ratings are inflated and often unevenly distributed by grade, occupation and geographic location.
The need to change the current hiring system is essential as ONR must be able to recruit and retain scientific, engineering, acquisition support and other professionals and skilled technicians. ONR must be able to compete with the private sector for the best talent and be able to make job offers in a timely manner with the attendant bonuses and incentives to attract high quality employees.
Finally, current limitations on training, retraining and otherwise developing employees make it difficult to correct skill imbalances and to prepare current employees for new lines of work to meet changing missions and emerging technologies.
ONR proposes changes in the following broad areas to address its problems in human resources management: Accessions and internal placements, sustainment, and separations. Appendix B lists the laws, rules, and regulations requiring waivers to enable ONR to implement the proposed systems. All personnel laws, rules, and regulations not waived by this plan will remain in effect. Basic employee rights will be safeguarded and Merit System Principles will be maintained.
The primary benefit expected from this demonstration project is greater organizational effectiveness through increased employee satisfaction. The long-standing Department of the Navy “China Lake” and NIST demonstration projects have produced impressive statistics on increased job satisfaction and quality of employees versus that for the Federal workforce in general. This project will demonstrate that a human resource system tailored to the mission and needs of the ONR workforce will facilitate:
(1) Sustainment of ONR's quality scientific and business management workforces in today's competitive environment;
(2) Improved employee satisfaction with pay setting and adjustment, recognition, and career advancement opportunities;
(3) Human Resources (HR) flexibilities needed to staff and shape a quality workforce of the next 10-20 years;
(4) Increased retention of high-level contributors; and
(5) Simpler and more cost effective HR management processes.
An evaluation model was developed for the Director, Defense, Research and Engineering (DDR&E) in conjunction with STRL service representatives and the OPM. The model will measure the effectiveness of this demonstration project, as modified in this plan, and will be used to measure the results of specific personnel system changes.
ONR is comprised of the ONR Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and ONR employees geographically dispersed at the locations shown in Figure 1. It should be noted that some sites currently have fewer than ten people and that the sites may change should ONR reorganize or realign. Successor organizations will continue coverage in the demonstration project.
The demonstration project will cover approximately 450 ONR civilian employees under title 5, U.S.C. in the occupations listed in Appendix D. The project plan does not cover members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior Level (SL), Scientific and Professional (ST), expert and consultant employees (EH), or Administratively Determined (AD) pay plans. However, SES, SL, and ST employees, after leaving Federal government service, may participate in the Voluntary Emeritus Program. There are no labor unions representing ONR employees.
In response to the initial authority granted by Congress to develop a demonstration project, ONR chartered a design team to develop the project plan. The team was led by a senior ONR manager from outside the Human Resources Office (HRO) and was responsible for developing project proposals. The team was composed of 20 employees of different grade levels and in different occupations. There was a mix of managers, supervisors, and non-supervisors from offices throughout ONR. The team had the assistance of HR personnel from ONR and from NRL. It also received information and advice from OPM, the Office of the DUSD (CPP), and a number of organizations with on-going demonstration projects. Information and suggestions were solicited from ONR employees and managers through interviews, briefings, small-group meetings, and a suggestion program established specifically for the design effort. This plan was submitted to DUSD (CPP) in 2001. Work on this plan was postponed pending the outcome of several Departmental HR initiatives addressing new personnel systems.
Following enactment of Public Law 110-181, ONR undertook an effort to review and resubmit the demonstration project plan. Upon extensive review and discussion with internal and external stakeholders, ONR leadership decided to adopt existing flexibilities according to subsection 1107(c) of Public Law 110-181 and DoDI 1400.37. Specifically, ONR proposes to adopt the NRL demonstration project plus additional flexibilities from the AMRDEC and MRMC demonstration projects. Appendix A summarizes the modifications proposed for each of the adopted project flexibilities and administrative procedures. Modifications to existing flexibilities are made when necessary to address ONR's specific organizational, workforce, and approval needs; technical modifications to conform to changes in the law and governing Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations, which are not being waived, that were effected after the publication of the NRL personnel demonstration project plan. Further changes to the project plan may be made in response to comments received during the 30-day comment period following publication of this notice.
Private industry and academia are the principal recruiting sources for scientists and engineers at ONR. It is extremely difficult to make timely offers of employment to hard-to-find scientists and engineers. Even when a candidate is identified, he or she often finds another job opportunity before the lengthy recruitment process can be completed.
a. Competitive service positions within the ONR Demonstration Project will be filled through Merit Staffing or under Delegated Examining.
b. The “Rule of Three” will be eliminated. When there are no more than 15 qualified applicants and no preference eligibles, all eligible applicants are immediately referred to the selecting official without rating and ranking. Rating and ranking will be required only when the number of qualified candidates exceeds 15 or there is a mix of preference and nonpreference applicants. Statutes and regulations covering veterans'
For actions taken under the auspices of the ONR Demonstration Project, the legal authority, Public Law 103-337, will be used. For all other actions, ONR w