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Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 5 / Friday, January 8, 1999 / Notices

broadband level receive 20 years of retention service credit; those in the middle third, 16 years; and those in the lower third, 12 years.  However, this breakout varies somewhat for broadband level I of each career path in order to accommodate the fact that the bottom of the OCS normal range for level I is zero.

H.  Veterans’ Issues

Ten commentors said that veterans’ entitlements were being eroded.

Comments:  Most of these commentors thought veterans were not treated fairly under this project.  Specifically, they said, disabled veterans are at a disadvantage in scientific, engineering, and professional positions; veterans serving during peacetime are not treated fairly; and reduction-in-force rights for 5-point veterans are not specifically addressed when they are in the same broadband level with non-veterans.  One commentor wanted to eliminate veterans’ preference entirely during the hiring process, and another recommended a tie-breaking method or statement regarding current pass-over procedures.

Response:  All current veterans’ preference entitlements have been and will be protected throughout the duration of this demonstration project; none have been eroded.  DoD operating procedures give specific instructions about honoring veterans’ preference during hiring and reduction in force.

I.  Sabbaticals

Seven comments were received on this initiative; six were positive.

Comments: One commentor saw no real change from the current system, but the remainder supported this initiative’s availability to all project participants, saying it especially benefits those who have never been in a manufacturing or industrial environment.  One commentor asked whether academia, industry, or the parent organization was responsible for funding sabbaticals.

Response: Under the current system, sabbaticals are available only to members of the Senior Executive Service.  The demonstration expands this feature to all project employees.  The parent organization is responsible for funding this initiative.

J.  Voluntary Emeritus Program

Nine comments were received regarding this initiative, addressing three subtopics.

(1)  Positive Response

Comments:  The commentor saw this program as an opportunity for the Government to benefit from highly qualified personnel who would provide their experience, judgment, and expertise on a voluntary basis.

(2)  Effect on Permanent Employment

Comments:  Four commentors said this initiative would reduce permanent employment.  One saw it as a way to induce senior employees to retire and then return to work without appropriate compensation.

Response:  The intent of this initiative is to afford retirees (primarily professionals in the Business Management and Technical Management Professional career path) an opportunity to return as a volunteer mentor.  The project plan very clearly states that, “This program may not be used to replace or substitute for work performed by civilian employees occupying regular positions required to perform the mission of the command.”

(3)  Unfair Labor Practice

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