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6/9/2010
Source: Merit System Audit and Compliance, OPM
Title: Responses to CHCO Comments on OPM’s revised Delegated Examining Action Review Checklist (DE Checklist) and Hiring Reform Evaluation Report Template
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Responses to CHCO Comments on  OPM’s revised Delegated Examining Action Review Checklist (DE Checklist) and Hiring Reform Evaluation Report Template

(prepared by Merit System Audit and Compliance)

June 9, 2010

Nine agencies commented on OPM’s revised Delegated Examining Action Review Checklist (DE Checklist) and Hiring Reform Evaluation Report Template.  Merit System Audit and Compliance greatly appreciates your ideas and has adopted many of the changes you suggested.  Here is a summary of the major comments or questions, and OPM’s response:

Delegated Examining Action Review Checklist

1.  Why are hiring reform initiatives being reviewed prior to the November 1, 2010, implementation date? 

Response:  Agencies are not expected to self-assess their hiring reform implementation efforts before that time.  However, OPM’s Merit System Audit and Compliance is collecting pre-implementation baseline data to help us gauge agency progress over time.  As the DE Checklist states, this baseline data will not be used in OPM's agency evaluation reports.

2.  The DE Checklist has a space to check yes or no for “Top Ten.”  What does this mean?  

Response:  When OPM examines a job announcement as part of a DE evaluation, we will check if the announcement covers one of the agency’s ten most-commonly filled jobs.  As you recall, agencies were expected to streamline job announcements for these “top ten” positions and post them to the MAX Web site.

3.  The President’s hiring reform memorandum gives people the option to submit a resume and cover letter or complete a simple, plain language application when applying for Federal jobs.  Some agencies thought that Section A3 of the Checklist implied that applications were only appropriate at lower grade levels.

Response:  We agree that the checklist was confusing on this point.  We have revised Section A3 to say:  “Applicants may apply by submitting a resume and cover letter or by completing a simple, plain language application.”

4.  Several agencies asked if category rating is mandatory and, if so, why the DE Checklist contains review items related to the rule of three?

Response:  Absent a special waiver from OPM, the use of category rating will be mandatory effective November 1, 2010.   However, OPM’s delegated examining evaluations look back over a period of one to two years.  That means OPM will continue for some time examining hiring actions that used the rule of three.   For that reason, the DE Checklist was designed to accommodate the requirements of both ranking systems.

Hiring Reform Evaluation Report Template

1.  Some agencies suggested revising the “Expected Outcomes” to provide greater consistency with the DE Checklist and the President’s Memorandum. 

Response:  We agree.  Those changes have been made.

2.  Some agencies suggested replacing “valid, professionally developed multi-phase assessment process” with “valid, reliable assessment tool.” 

Response:  We have partially adopted this recommendation.  This section of the Report Template reflects the requirements of 5 CFR 300.103.  The meaning of “professionally developed” refers to a selection procedure validated according to the technical standards in the Uniform Guidelines.  A validity study does not have to be conducted by a personnel psychologist; it may be performed by agency staff who are competent to apply the principles of validity research.  The expected outcome now reads, “The agency uses an assessment process based on professionally accepted standards that meet the validity provisions of the Uniform Guidelines.

Thanks again for taking the time to review and comment on this material.  Should you or your staff have additional questions, please contact Linda Campbell, Delegated Examining Program Manager, at 312-886-5032 or at linda.campbell@opm.gov.

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