OPM has told agencies to report by May 28 on their fiscal 2020 performance ratings and the resulting performance-based pay increases and awards for SES members and other career employees at senior levels.
Submission of such data “is a procedural requirement that must be met for an agency to receive system certification” as making meaningful distinctions between levels of performance, a memo said. Almost all agencies have that certification, which allows them to pay up to a higher cap for such positions and which also allows for a higher “total compensation” cap of pay and awards combined.
Agencies are to report only on actions already taken, not those still in progress, and are to protect personally identifiable information, it adds.
The SES evaluation system in particular has come under scrutiny for years as producing top-heavy ratings. In the most recently publicly released report, of the roughly 6,700 career execs rated in 2016, 52 percent received the top rating of “outstanding” and 41 percent were rated as one level below, “exceeds fully successful.” Almost all of the rest were rated as “fully successful,” leaving just a total of 28 rated as “minimally satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.” Further, there is substantial variation of ratings distributions among agencies.
Separately, OPM extended through April 30 a special authority for agencies to make temporary noncareer SES appointments for presidential transition-related purposes.