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1432Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 5 / Friday, January 8, 1999 / Notices

Comments:  Seven commentors thought this factor did not emphasize safety and health, equal employment opportunity (EEO), etc.  Some asked how employees’ movement through the broadbands related to existing affirmative action (AA) goals.

Response:  Nothing in this project waives safety, health, or equal employment opportunity principles.  Managers will apply existing principles appropriately in determining employees’ overall contribution scores for this factor.  A statement, which specifically addresses these concerns, has been added to all career paths for the Leadership/Supervision factor.

The demonstration is not intended to alter existing equal employment opportunity or affirmative action programs.  Part of the project’s intended cultural change, however, is to think in terms of broadband levels in lieu of GS grades.  As a result, participating DoD components and activities may adjust their affirmative action plans and goals to accommodate broadband levels.

Finally, through the project’s evaluation process, trends will be identified.  Any adverse trends may result in modifications to the ongoing demonstration project in those areas.

(8) Participation in the Project

Comments:  Twelve commentors questioned their own participation in the project.  Some engineers wanted to be included, while several interns did not.

Response:  The respective DoD Components decided whether or not to participate.  Each Component determined which organizations--and which positions within those organizations--would participate.



A number of positive comments were received.  Many commentors said broadbanding, with its seamless progression through the rate range, would be very beneficial to employees.

Additional comments received on this aspect of the personnel demonstration project were related to three subtopics, as follows:


Broadband Structure

Comments: A number of commentors asked why particular grades were grouped into a given broadband and recommended changes.  Two commentors wanted one broadband for all 15 GS grades, while others said they did not want to be placed in the same broadband with lower graded employees.  One commentor suggested that broadbands be adjustable locally to suit a particular workforce.  Additionally, several commentors said employees at the top of a broadband would lack potential for basic pay progression.  Finally, two commentors raised an issue about promotions under broadbanding.

Response: When grouping GS grades into broadbands, project developers sought input from various sources, including other demonstrations, DoD, and OPM.  Developers then identified natural breakpoints within a grouping of similar duties and responsibilities and used the breakpoints to determine broadband structure.  (For instance, in most participating organizations, the journeyman level lies at GS-12 and 13 for the Business Management and Technical Management Professional career path.  Hence, these two grades were combined into one broadband.  Similarly, since GS-14s and 15s are generally the management core of an organization, it was logical to group these two grades into one broadband.)  A standard broadband structure throughout the demonstration will ensure project integrity and facilitate project evaluation.

Some employees in the project will be paid at the maximum rate for a broadband level, just as some are now at step 10 of a GS grade.  Most such employees will be able to compete for promotion to a higher broadband and be eligible for contribution awards.  A significant advantage of the project for all employees is that it sets aggregate funding thresholds for these awards, whereas under the current system, no similar funds are guaranteed.

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