Merit Promotion Plan

Standing Operating Procedure No. SCRS 01 May 24, 1999



1. PURPOSE:To implement a standard Merit Promotion and Placement Plan as the procedure used for promotions and other competitive placement actions in activities serviced by the SC-CPOC. The plan will cover positions in the competitive and the excepted service, in accordance with statutory and regulatory guidance and applicable bargaining unit agreements.

A. GENERAL:These Merit Promotion and Placement Plan (MPP) provisions were developed by representatives of labor and management through mutual respect and a cooperative relationship. The provisions apply to all activities serviced by the South Central Civilian Personnel Operations Center (SC-CPOC). Any program deficiencies noted by management or labor can be addressed at the local level and forwarded to the CPOC for further review and resolution. The SC-CPOC will staff all noted deficiencies with all Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers (CPAC) and Unions. A formal review will be done at the six-month time frame.

B. SCOPE:The provisions of this plan apply to activities serviced by the South Central CPOC. If this plan does not address certain aspects of the Merit Promotion Plan and Program, the provisions of current collective bargaining agreements or law, rule or regulation will apply. Nothing in this plan will serve to overrule any law or approved bargaining agreement or policy established by a command. The plan applies to all promotions and placements into competitive service and excepted service positions in organizations serviced by the SC-CPOC, except as specifically noted under exclusions.

(1) It is the policy of the region to assure positions are staffed on the basis of merit, fitness, and qualifications without regard to political, religious, or labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, martial status, race, color, sex, national origin, non disqualifying physical handicap or age and shall be based solely on job-related criteria.

(2) It is the policy of the region that management officials will have the ability, and responsibility, to take an active part in the determination of the most advantageous methods for recruitment within the requirements of their Command guidance, regulations and the law.

(1) RESUMIX will be used to fill all non-bargaining unit and all bargaining unit (upon fulfilling labor relations obligations) positions that are covered by this plan. Other merit promotion systems still currently in use pending fulfillment of labor relations obligations include: South Central Expedited Recruiting Process (SCERP); Polk Expedited Recruiting Process (PERP); and other local merit promotion programs.

(a) Resumes under RESUMIX should be pre-positioned (on file) to be activated by self-nominations as established by the application procedures. Self-nominations must be received by the closing date of the announcement.

(b) Applications, to include resumes and any necessary supplemental forms required by other merit promotion systems, must be received by the closing date of the announcement. Applications submitted by mail must be received by the closing date of the announcement.

(3) The area of consideration identified in the merit promotion vacancy announcement must be sufficiently broad to ensure the availability of high quality candidates and must be in compliance with any regulatory or negotiated requirements.

(4) To be eligible for promotion or placement under this plan, applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and minimum qualification requirements prescribed by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

(5) The selecting official may select or not select any candidate referred from any source under this plan. Selections will be based solely on job-related criteria and the reasons for selection will be documented.

(6) Notification of selection will be made by the CPACs. Normally the employee will be released by the beginning of the second pay period following the commitment. The gaining activity must agree to any delay in the release date. The release of any employee will not be postponed for more than 30 days, without the consent of the employee.

(1) Standing inventories/registers will not be maintained by the CPOC; however, upon request, the CPOC will reissue referrals for similar vacancies up to 6 months after establishment of the original list.

(2) The selecting official is expected to make a selection within 14 days of the issue date on the referral. Referrals issued by the CPOC will expire 30 days from issue date. Extensions may be requested for up to an additional 30 days if submitted with justification prior to expiration of the list. Such requests should be submitted through the CPAC to the CPOC POC by email; CPOC POC will review request and notify CPAC of approval/disapproval of request by return email. If PPP was terminated when referral list was issued, the CPOC will invoke PPP (re-requisition stopper) on any vacancy for which selection is not made prior to expiration of the referral list. Requests for extensions beyond 60 days should be rare; however, in the event the selecting official and the CPAC consider it warranted, the request must have CPAC Director and CPOC Deputy Director approval. Excepted from these time frames is the Corps of Engineers Corporate Selection Process and other selections that require higher headquarters review and/or approval.

(1) The South Central Civilian Personnel Operations Center (CPOC) will:

(a) Administer the merit promotion and placement program to assure that

the provisions of this plan are met.

(b) Advise, assist, and provide consultation to the Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers (CPAC) pertaining to recruitment, supervisory and employee responsibilities and regulatory requirements.

(c) Notify ineligible applicants, and/or applicants who are eligible, but not referred for selection consideration.

(d) Consult with the CPACs and/or management officials concerning methods/sources of recruitment and recruitment strategies (including outreach or special emphasis/recruitment requirements).

(e) Coordinate with the CPACs and/or selecting supervisors concerning job analysis to determine the skills to be emphasized in recruitment efforts.

(f) Evaluate candidates qualifications as required by recruitment method.

(g) Prepare/issue referral lists with 30-day expiration date to the servicing CPAC.

(h) Review requests for extensions of expiration date on referral list; notify CPAC of approval/disapproval.

(i) Finalize selections and verify qualifications.

(j) Market, explain, and solicit opinions, comments and suggestions from CPACs and recognized employee organizations regarding the requirements of this plan.

(2) Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers (CPAC) will:

(a) Provide current information to the workforce on the recruitment processes and application procedures, counsel employees on qualifications, and answer questions concerning this Merit Promotion Plan.

(b) Arrange printing/distribution and/or electronic dissemination of vacancy announcements to the serviced workforce in a timely manner.

(c) Assist and provide information to the CPOC pertaining to recruitment actions, such as identifying PPP exceptions and/or exceptions to competition.

(d) Market, explain, and solicit opinions, comments and suggestions from employees, operating officials, and recognized employee organizations regarding the requirements of this plan.

(e) Assist and advise managers and supervisors in developing job analysis to determine the skills to be emphasized in recruitment efforts and crediting plans for OPM / DEU recruitment.

(f) Monitor expiration dates on referral lists to ensure timely selections. Submit requests to CPOC POC by email requesting extension of expiration date, when justified, for up to an additional 30 day period.

(3) Management and/or supervisors will:

(a) Communicate the provisions of this plan to employees.

(b) Observe merit system principles and procedures in Title 5, 5 CFR, and this plan and applicable civil service laws, rules and regulations, in consonance with Equal Employment Opportunity principles and applicable bargaining agreements.

(c) Anticipate personnel requirements and expedite actions to initiate Requests for Personnel Actions (RPA) in sufficient time to allow effective recruitment.

(d) Participate in the development of merit placement planning, job analysis, advance planning for timely staffing, and work force analysis.

(e) Coordinate with the CPACs and/or CPOC to determine the most effective applicant sources, area of consideration, and/or recruitment methods.

(f) Ensure employees have access to vacancy announcements and provide timely advice/assistance on career opportunities and self-development.

(g) Submit application forms provided by employees for specific positions that are announced when the employee is on TDY, or on other approved absences.

(h) Complete supervisory portion, if required, of the employees application in a timely manner.

(i) Determine whether to interview any/all candidates. The management official has the option of making a selection without interviewing, or may elect to interview some or all candidates on referral lists.

(j) Document reasons for selection on referral list based on job-related criteria and return list to CPAC prior to expiration date.

(k) Provide non-selection notification to candidates not selected and provide guidance and advice to candidates who were not selected on ways in which they might improve their qualifications for future opportunities for advancement.

(l) Release employees in accordance with the provisions of this plan.

(a) Consult with the CPOC/CPACs regarding provisions of this plan.

(b) Develop, execute, and assess programs designed to support affirmative employment.

(a) Ensure the experience, education and training contained in their Official Personnel Folder (OPF), resume, application and other appropriate records are accurate.

(b) Become familiar with the provisions of this plan, including an understanding that a competitive promotion system cannot provide a promotion for every employee.

(c) Become familiar with the application procedures required by RESUMIX.

(d) Seek advice and assistance from their supervisors in areas of self-development for career opportunities.

(e) Review vacancy announcements, apply for those positions in which interested, and ensure their complete application forms are submitted within required time frames.

(f) Keep their supervisor informed, in writing, of specific positions (to include title, series, and grade) for which they desire to be considered while they are on TDY, approved leave, or an extended absence.

(g) Advise the CPAC of acceptance or declination of a job offer within 5 working days.

E. EXCLUSIONS. This plan will exclude actions on the following positions:

(1) Senior Executive Service (SES) and Scientific and Technical (ST) Positions.

(3) DA Career Management Program positions identified at mandatory command, DA, or DOD-wide referral levels which are required to be filled under the provision of applicable regulations. However, applicable program guidance may permit temporary promotions to be effected under the provisions of this plan.

(4) Appointments to temporary/term positions via non-competitive procedures.

(5) Positions within the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) where recruitment is centrally managed.

(6) Excepted Service Positions which are covered by separate activity Merit

Promotion Plan under the Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System (CIPMS).

(7) Appointments from an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or Delegated Examining Unit (DEU) Certificate of Eligibles.

F. EXCEPTIONS. Competitive Procedures do not apply to:

(1) Actions involving statutory, regulatory, and administrative placements. These include, but are not limited to, statutory and administrative reemployment rights upon completion of overseas tours of duty; placements, or restoration to duty after separation, due to compensable injury; employees returning from military service; placements following completion of long term training; and other actions such as those based on resolution of grievances, appeals and/or complaints.

(2) Placements made during, or in lieu of, reduction-in-force (RIF) or transfer of function (TOF).

(3) Placements made via the DOD-PPP, OPM Priority Programs, or other candidates entitled to priority consideration in a commandas an exception to competitive procedures.

(4) Temporary promotions, or details to a higher grade position or a position with known promotion potential, of 120 days or less. Note: Competitive procedures must be used for temporary promotions or details to a higher grade position or a position with known promotion potential over 120 days (unless an exception is approved for up to 179 days during periods of downsizing, etc.). Prior service during the preceding 12 months under all non-competitivedetails to higher graded positions and/or temporary promotions is included when calculating the 120/179 days.

(5) Conversions of Excepted Appointments of the Physically or Mentally Disabled, Veterans Readjustment Appointment (VRA), and Student Employment.

(6) Conversion to permanent appointment of eligible veterans with 30% or more disability who are serving on temporary or provisional appointments under 5 CFR 315.707.

(7) Temporary or permanent promotion, reassignment, demotion, transfer, reinstatement, or details to position having no greater promotion potential than that of a position the employee currently holds or previously held on a permanent basis in the competitive service (or in another merit system with which OPM has an interchange/transferability agreement) provided all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

(8) Temporary or permanent promotion to a grade previously held on a permanent basis in the competitive service (or in another merit system with which OPM has an interchange/transferability agreement) provided all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

(9) Promotions without competition when at an earlier stage an employee was selected under competitive procedures for a position with known promotion potential (the intent must be a matter of record and career ladders must be documented).

(10) Conversion of temporary promotions to permanent, provided the temporary promotion was originally made under competitive procedures and the fact that it might lead to a permanent promotion was made known to all potential candidates.

(11) Promotions resulting from upgrading due to issuance of a new classification standard or correction of an initial classification error.

(12) Placements and promotions resulting from impact of the person on the job, as defined in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards.

(13) Promotions resulting from an employees position being classified at a higher grade because of additional duties and responsibilities.

(14) Placement of employees who have eligibility for special consideration for re-promotion. These employees are those who have been changed to a lower grade without personal cause and not at their own request.

(15) Referral of an employee who missed consideration during an earlier competition for a similar position.

(16) Non-competitive appointment of individuals who possess a non-competitive appointing authority such as Veterans Readjustment Appointment (VRA) Authority, OPM Interchange Agreement Eligibles, Reinstatement Eligibles, Executive Order Eligibles, Transfer Eligibles, Individuals with Disabilities Program, etc.

(17) Other types of actions not specified above which are permitted by regulation and are consistent with the spirit and intent of the merit principles delineated in Title 5, USC.


A. Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 315

C. OPM Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions

D. OPM Qualification Standards for Federal Wage Grade Positions

G. The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), DOD Manual 5000.52, and DOD Manual 5000.52-M

H. DOD Manual 1400.20-1-M, Department of Defense Program for Stability of Civilian Employment

I. All applicable negotiated agreements

APPENDIX B Records, Review, and Employee Complaints

Area of consideration: The area in which a search is made for eligible candidates for a specific position and specified in the vacancy announcement to identify the categories of individuals from which applications will be accepted.The area of consideration must be sufficiently broad to ensure the availability of high quality applicants, taking into consideration the nature and level of the position being filled.

Change to Lower Grade: Change of an employee to a position at a lower grade when both the old and new positions are under the same type pay schedule.

Competitive service: All civilian positions in the executive branch of the government unless specifically excepted by the Office of Personnel Management.

Detail: Temporary assignment of an employee with no change in pay to a different position, or to perform substantially different duties, for a specific period. A detail does not change the employees official title, grade, or rate of pay.

Excepted service: All positions in the executive branch of the government which are specifically excepted from the requirements of the Civil Service Act or from the competitive service.

Installation-wide: All activities serviced by an individual Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC).

Internal Workforce: All permanent employees serviced by the South Central CPOC.

Organization: Individual elements of activities serviced by the South Central CPOC (i.e., the division, branch, or section).

Promotion: The change of an employee to a position at a higher grade level within the same job classification system and pay schedule or to a position with a higher rate of basic pay in a different job classification and pay schedule.

Reassignment: A change of an employee while serving continuously in the same agency, from one position to another without promotion or demotion.

Reinstatement Eligible: A candidate who has attained career status on a permanent, competitive Federal appointment, career conditional status and is a veteran, or a career conditional appointee returning generally within 3 years from separation.

Representative Rate: The fourth step of a grade for a position under the General Schedule or the second step of a grade for a position under the Federal Wage System (WG).

Term appointment: An agency may make a term appointment for a period of more than one year but not more than four years when the need for an employees services is not permanent. Reasons for a term appointment may include, but are not limited to, project work, extraordinary workload, reorganization, or contracting out of the function.

Temporary appointment: An agency may make a temporary appointment for a specific period of time, not to exceed one year. The appointment may be extended up to a maximum of one additional year (24 months total service). Temporary appointments may be used to fill positions which are not expected to last longer than one year.


b. Sufficient documentation, of the promotion and placement records, will be available to provide a clear audit trail, permit reconstruction of any action, provide evidence that actions were within the policy and provisions of regulations, provide for the evaluation of the program, and answer general or specific questions about the merit promotion plan and actions.

c. Management will respond to employee questions or complaints regarding the promotion and placement program or specific promotion or placement actions. Every effort will be made to resolve questions/complaints on an informal basis.

d. Non-selection from a properly developed Referral and Selection Register is not an appropriate basis for a complaint or grievance, unless the non-selection resulted from a violation of law, rule, regulation, or any negotiated agreement.

e. Any complaints/grievances will be filed in accordance with the appropriate negotiated agreement or agency grievance procedures.

f. Discovery of procedural, regulatory or program violations prior to the effective date will lead to suspension of the action until such time as the matter is resolved and properly documented.

g. Immediate action will be taken to correct a violation based on the established facts and legal rights of those concerned.

h. When a violation has been alleged or discovered, the person placed will remain in the position until a determination is made as to what corrective action should be taken.

i. A procedural violation occurs when a placement action does not meet the requirements of this plan. If reconstruction of the action shows that the employee selected may have been selected if proper procedures had been followed, the employee selected may remain in the position

j. A regulatory violation occurs when the placed employee did not satisfy legal and/or regulatory requirements for placement. The erroneously placed employee may be retained in the position only if he/she meets all requirements for placement at the time of the corrective action.

k. A program violation occurs if this plan and placement guidelines or practices do not conform to higher level requirements. In a program violation, an employee generally may be retained in the position if there were no procedural or regulatory violations involved.