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Performance Management & Awards

February 12, 2004 Memo on Senior Executive Excellence and Accountability from Kay Coles James, Director, to Heads of Departments and Agencies and Summary of SES Ratings and Awards FY 2002, with FY 2000 and 2001 Comparisons

Performance Planning/Assessing

Agencies develop performance management systems subject to OPM regulations and approval. Agency systems must contain 3 rating levels: fully successful, minimally satisfactory, and unsatisfactory.

The supervisor establishes performance elements and requirements in consultation with the executive and consistent with the goals and performance expectations in the agency's strategic planning initiatives. The supervisor proposes the initial summary rating, based on both individual and organizational performance, and taking into account customer satisfaction and employee perspective.

The executive's initial summary rating is reviewed by a Performance Review Board (PRB). The agency head (or his/her designee) determines the executive's annual summary rating.

Performance Awards (bonuses)

Performance awards may be given only to career employees, and are for performance during the previous appraisal period. The agency head or designee makes awards following recommendation by Performance Review Board. An executive may be awarded lump-sum payment between 5% and 20% of basic pay. Total award payments in an agency limited to 10% of the aggregate amount of basic pay paid to career appointees as of the end of the previous fiscal year; an alternative formula is provided for small agencies.

Superior accomplishment incentive awards for suggestion, invention, or special act or service may be paid, but not in lieu of a performance award (bonus).

Presidential Rank Awards

Rank awards may be given only to career SES employees and are for sustained accomplishment over a period of at least 3 years. The agency nominates, OPM recommends (following review by panels composed of private citizens), and the President selects the recipients. 1% annually may be designated Distinguished Executive: cash award equal to 35% of basic pay. 5% annually may be designated Meritorious Executive: cash award equal to 20% of basic pay. An executive may receive same rank only once within 5-year period.

Retention of SES benefits: Career SES members who, without a break in service, accept a Presidential appointment to an Executive Schedule position (or a position whose pay is set by reference to an Executive Schedule rate) may elect to retain SES benefits (e.g., pay, leave), performance awards and Presidential Rank Award eligibility.

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