1430Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 5 / Friday, January 8, 1999 / Notices
Response: These comments were not adopted. Processing the CCAS and locality pay increases simultaneously in January will streamline administrative processes. The operating procedures set forth the steps necessary for pay pool panels to perform their tasks timely.
C. Management Issues
A number of positive comments were received. Seven commentors supported the demonstration because it gives management necessary flexibility, reduces administrative costs, enhances employees’ career advancement, and improves personnel administration. Many commentors advocated the demonstration because it offers increased opportunity for them personally. Others viewed the project’s compensation and hiring features as a way to attract and retain highly qualified personnel.
Additional comments on the management aspect of the demonstration may be divided into eight subtopics, as follows:
Comments: Thirty-eight commentors thought favoritism and the “good old boy” system would drive the demonstration and lead to inequitable treatment of employees. Several employees said managers would now determine their pay increases and, ultimately, their retirement annuities. Others said that monetary awards would be given to employees who do not challenge authority and are part of a favored clique.
Response: The demonstration establishes a structured, group review process to assess employees’ contributions to the mission. This process is designed to reduce favoritism and promote fairness.
Specifically, the use of pay pool panels ensures that individual supervisors’ ratings are reviewed by their peers (i.e., by other raters in the same pay pool) and by the supervisor of all raters in that pool. In addition, rated employees are rank-ordered by the entire pay pool panel. The intent here is not so much to require ranking per se as to ensure that inflation or deflation by any rater will be identified and corrected via the normal operation of the panel process. Finally, the pay pool manager (who is generally at a higher organizational level than all the above-mentioned supervisors) oversees and approves the results of the group review process.
A focused training session has been developed to teach supervisors and managers how to administer CCAS correctly. Additionally, a third-party evaluator continually collects data on project operation and monitors compensation trends, among other areas.
In summary, the pay pool panel process, managerial training, and continuing evaluation all guard against favoritism and promote fairness for employees under the demonstration.
Comments: Three commentors thought current acquisition managers need preparation for the challenge of administering CCAS.
Response: A very robust training program will be provided for all supervisors and managers of demonstration participants so that they may gain confidence and competence in performing their duties.
(3) Waivers of Federal Civil Service Laws and Regulations
Comments: A number of commentors thought the Federal Register notice’s list of waivers would diminish or eliminate employee protections.
Response: Waivers are an integral part of any Federal personnel demonstration project. Their purpose is to permit innovation, not to diminish employees’ rights. A demonstration project is defined as—
a project conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, or under its supervision, to determine whether a specified change in personnel management policies or procedures would result in improved Federal personnel management (5 U.S.C. 4701(a)(4)).