- 30.4.1 Employment
- 22.214.171.124 Introduction to Employment Programs
- 126.96.36.199 Senior Executive Service, Executive Resources Boards and Performance Review Board
- 188.8.131.52.1 Executive Resources Boards for GS-15 and SES Positions
- 184.108.40.206.2 Application and Selection Procedures
- 220.127.116.11.3 Performance Review Board
- 18.104.22.168.4 SES Sabbaticals
- 22.214.171.124 Attorneys
- 126.96.36.199.1 Recruiting Policies and Programs
- 188.8.131.52.1.1 Attorney Interviews
- 184.108.40.206.1.2 Honors Program
- 220.127.116.11.1.3 Regular Program
- 18.104.22.168.1.4 Summer Intern Program
- 22.214.171.124.1.5 Law Student Volunteer Intern Program
- 126.96.36.199.1.5.1 Law Student Volunteer Intern Program Requirements
- 188.8.131.52.1.6 Student Volunteer Program
- 184.108.40.206.2 Bar Association; Tax Court & Supreme Court Admissions
- 220.127.116.11.2.1 Bar Membership Requirements
- 18.104.22.168.2.2 Admission to the U.S. Tax Court
- 22.214.171.124.2.3 Admission to the U.S. Supreme Court
- 126.96.36.199.3 Employment Tenure Commitments for Attorney Personnel
- 188.8.131.52.4 Attorney Promotion Plan
- 184.108.40.206.5 Procedures for Assistant Branch Chief and Assistant to the Branch Chief Positions
- 220.127.116.11.5.1 Selection Process and Documentation
- 18.104.22.168 Paralegals
- 22.214.171.124.1 Hiring Attorneys to Fill Paralegal Slots
- 126.96.36.199.2 Paralegal Duties and Ethical Considerations
- 188.8.131.52 Pre-employment Clearances
- 184.108.40.206 Priority Placement Program and Reemployment Priority List
- 220.127.116.11.1 Chief Counsels Priority Placement Program
- 18.104.22.168.1.1 Determining Appropriate Vacancies for Referral
- 22.214.171.124.2 Treasury Reemployment Priority List
- 126.96.36.199 Employment of Non-Citizens
- 188.8.131.52.1 Executive Order 11935 on the Competitive Civil Service
- 184.108.40.206.2 Excepted Service and Senior Executive Service
- 220.127.116.11.3 Appropriations Act Restrictions on Paying Certain Non-Citizens
- 18.104.22.168.4 Immigration Law Requirements on Employing Citizens and Aliens
- 22.214.171.124 Employee Details
- 126.96.36.199.1 Duration of Details
- 188.8.131.52.2 Details, Grade 15 and Below
- 184.108.40.206.3 Details To and Within the Senior Executive Service
- 220.127.116.11.3.1 Types and Durations of SES Details
- 18.104.22.168.4 Other Types of Details
- 22.214.171.124.4.1 Details to Congress and Congressional Committees
- 126.96.36.199 Reassignments
- 188.8.131.52 Personnel Actions
- 184.108.40.206 Position Classification and Position Management
- 220.127.116.11.1 Policies and Responsibilities
- 18.104.22.168.2 Position Description
- 22.214.171.124.2.1 Circumstances Requiring Preparation of PDs or Classification Decisions
- 126.96.36.199.2.2 Assignment of Duties to a Position
- 188.8.131.52.3 Position Classification Complaints and Appeals
- 184.108.40.206.3.1 Position Classification Complaints Process
- 220.127.116.11.3.2 Position Classification Appeals Process
- 18.104.22.168 Performance Assessment
- 22.214.171.124.1 Definitions for Performance Assessment
- 126.96.36.199.2 Communication of Performance Elements and Standards; Monitoring Performance
- 188.8.131.52.3 Appraisal Periods and Due Dates
- 184.108.40.206.3.1 Appraisal/Rating Periods for Non-managers
- 220.127.116.11.4 Performance Rating Forms
- 18.104.22.168.5 Employee Performance Files
- 22.214.171.124.6 Performance Records
- 126.96.36.199 Voluntary Separation Clearance Process
- 188.8.131.52.1 Clearance Process for Attorneys
- 184.108.40.206.2 Employee Responsibilities
- 220.127.116.11.3 Separation Exit Survey
- 18.104.22.168.3.1 Separation Interview
- 22.214.171.124 Flexiplace
- 126.96.36.199.1 Employee Eligibility
- 188.8.131.52.2 Management Authority and Responsibility
- 184.108.40.206.3 Hardship and/or Medical Situations
- 220.127.116.11.3.1 Hazardous Weather and Environmental Conditions
- 18.104.22.168.4 Leave, Credit Hours, Weekends, and Holidays
- 22.214.171.124 Recruitment, Relocation and Retention Incentives
- 126.96.36.199.1 Definitions for the Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentive Programs
- 188.8.131.52.2 Criteria and Procedures for Recruitment, Relocation, or Retention Incentives
- 184.108.40.206.3 Payment of a Recruitment, Relocation, or Retention Incentive
- 220.127.116.11.4 Service Agreement for a Recruitment, Relocation, or Retention Incentive
- 18.104.22.168.5 Repayment of a Recruitment, Relocation, or Retention Incentive
- Exhibit 30.4.1-1 Selection Recommendation Memorandum
- Exhibit 30.4.1-2 Executive Performance Agreement
Part 30. Administrative
Chapter 4. Personnel Administration, Training, and Equal Employment Opportunity
Section 1. Employment
June 15, 2017
(1) This transmits revised CCDM 30.4.1, Personnel Administration, Training, and Equal Employment Opportunity; Employment.
(1) Changes to subsections 22.214.171.124.1 through 126.96.36.199.4 to reflect updates to current law.
Chief, Ethics & General Government Law
(General Legal Services)
This section provides information on employment matters, including application and selection procedures, Bar Association requirements, background investigations, employee details, voluntary separations, priority placement program, position classification, reassignments, flexiplace, performance assessment, and policies pertaining to recruitment, relocation, and retention bonuses.
This subsection covers information about the Senior Executive Service (SES), Executive Resources Boards (ERB), Performance Review Board (PRB) and SES Sabbaticals. It provides guidance in regard to each board's composition and their duties and responsibilities.
Within the Office of Chief Counsel, competitive staffing of GS-15 and SES positions are handled through Executive Resources Boards (ERB). These boards, which consist of management officials, are responsible for reviewing applicants for these positions and making selection recommendations to the Chief Counsel.
For positions at the GS-15 level, the Chief Counsel is the selecting official.
SES selections must be approved by the General Counsel.
There are two primary types of boards, National and Local, each of which has its own membership requirements as described in the following subsections.
National Boards handle SES positions and GS-15 Area Counsel positions.
Local Boards handle GS-15 positions, except for GS-15 Area Counsel positions.
It is the policy of the Office of Chief Counsel to hire and maintain a diverse workforce that is comprised of individuals having different racial, gender, religious, cultural, and educational backgrounds, work experiences and perspectives. We will strive to recognize this policy in our ERB activities.
Noncompetitive selection actions, such as the reassignment of a GS-15 or SES employee, may be exempted from the Board process when so authorized by the Chief Counsel and/or his designee. SES actions must, however, be approved by the General Counsel.
National ERB boards will generally be composed of no more than five SES executives as described below:
The Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations) or the Deputy Chief Counsel (Technical), serving as chairperson
The Associate Chief Counsel (Finance and Management) (F&M)
The Division Counsel or the Associate Chief Counsel of the affected organization (i.e., organization where position is located)
A Division Counsel or an Associate Chief Counsel from outside the affected organization
An SES executive from the IRS
In the event the Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations or Technical) is unable or elects not to participate on a board, the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) will serve as chairperson of the board.
The Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations or Technical) will be responsible for making final determinations with respect to the board members who will participate. The Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) will be responsible for tracking these assignments and making recommendations to the Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations or Technical) on board membership, when appropriate.
A Deputy Division Counsel or Deputy Associate Chief Counsel may serve in lieu of their respective Division Counsel or Associate Chief Counsel at the election of the Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations or Technical).
A quorum of three members must participate, in person or via teleconference, in all board deliberations and decisions, unless an exception is authorized by the board Chairperson to promote the efficiency of the Office of Chief Counsel. Such an exception will normally be authorized only in very rare circumstances in which the unavailability of a board member cannot reasonably be anticipated, and rescheduling would unduly inconvenience the applicants under consideration, or be otherwise impractical. One example might be a situation in which a board member is unexpectedly absent due to illness on the day on which applicant interviews have been scheduled.
The composition of the board described above is intended as a guideline. In all cases, however, the Board must have at least one person from outside the affected organization.
Local ERB boards will generally be composed of between three and five SES executives or GS-15 managers/management officials as described below:
The Division Counsel or Associate Chief Counsel of the affected organization (i.e., organization where position is located), who will serve as chairperson
The Area Counsel or the Assistant Chief Counsel of the affected organization
The immediate supervisor of the position (if not already represented above)
An SES executive or GS-15 manager from outside the affected Division/Associate area
At the option of the board chairperson, an SES executive or GS-15 manager from the IRS client organization or Treasury
The Deputy Chief Counsel may participate on any board and serve as chairperson.
Deputy Division Counsel and Deputy Associate Chief Counsel may serve in lieu of their respective Division Counsel or Associate Chief Counsel (including serving as the board chairperson).
The board chairperson is responsible for identifying board members who will serve as members. If needed, assistance in identifying pools of SES and GS-15 managers eligible to participate may be obtained by contacting ERB staff in the office of the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
A quorum of three members must participate, in person or via teleconference, in all board deliberations and decisions, unless an exception is authorized by the board chairperson to promote the efficiency of the Office of Chief Counsel. Such an exception will normally be authorized only in very rare circumstances in which the unavailability of a board member cannot reasonably be anticipated, and rescheduling would unduly inconvenience the applicants under consideration, or be otherwise impractical. One example of such an exception might be a situation in which a board member is unexpectedly absent due to illness on the day on which applicant interviews have been scheduled.
The composition of the board described above is intended as a guideline. In all cases, however, the Board must contain a person from outside the affected organization.
Vacancy announcements will normally be advertised for a period of at least four weeks. (SES announcements must be open for a minimum of 14 calendar days.)
Applicants must submit all application materials listed in the vacancy announcement within the prescribed time frames. These materials will normally include:
A written application (or resume)
A memorandum of interest emphasizing qualifications especially relevant to the position
A copy of the most recent performance appraisal
A supervisory report
For SES positions, a narrative which addresses the position’s Professional/Technical Competencies and the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ)
Applications will initially be screened for minimum qualification requirements by staff in the office of the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). The applications of those candidates who are deemed eligible for the position will then be referred to the Board for a determination as to which candidates are best qualified for the position.
For a bargaining unit (BU) Senior Counsel position, the board uses the "Bargaining Unit GS-15 Rating Sheet" provided by the ERB and, in accordance with the Chief Counsel-NTEU collective bargaining agreement, annotates the four best qualified.
In the unusual event that a BU Senior Counsel vacancy is advertised to an area of consideration beyond the Office of Chief Counsel, the ERB will provide instructions on how to give "first consideration" to Chief Counsel applicants in accordance with the Chief Counsel-NTEU collective bargaining agreement.
Interviews of the best qualified candidates may be conducted at the option of the Board.
After considering the candidates' qualifications (including interviews if conducted), the Board chairperson will prepare a selection recommendation memorandum on behalf of the Board for submission to the Chief Counsel (and General Counsel for SES positions). This memorandum will document the Board’s decisions regarding which candidates were determined to be best qualified, in ranked order whenever possible, and their relative qualifications for the position, including any dissenting opinions.
If the Chief Counsel does not concur in the recommended selection, he/she may make an alternate selection from among the best qualified candidates by preparing a separate memorandum which documents this decision. Otherwise, the Chief Counsel will indicate his/her concurrence by signing the Board’s recommendation.
All SES selections must additionally be reviewed and approved by the General Counsel. New appointments to the SES must also be certified by OPM.
If a previously advertised vacancy becomes vacant within three months of the original selection, the Chief Counsel may authorize an alternate selection to be made from the best qualified candidates. If no selection is made from the original announcement, and/or additional vacancies subsequently arise, the Chief Counsel may authorize new/additional selections when it is determined that it is in the Office’s best interest to do so, and that a sufficient pool of best qualified candidates was recruited under the original announcement.
The Performance Review Board (PRB) makes recommendations to the Chief Counsel concerning performance appraisals and ratings, performance awards and awards of rank, and performs other duties requested by the Chief Counsel or General Counsel or as required under General Counsel Directive No. 15. The role that the Planning and Management Division (CC:FM:PM) plays within this process can be found in CCDM 188.8.131.52.4.3, Strategic and Program Plan.
The PRB services all components of the Office of Chief Counsel, and is responsible for the review of all Counsel SES executives, except the Deputy Chief Counsels (Technical or Operations), who are reviewed by a second Board consisting of the Deputy General Counsel, and two other IRS or Treasury SES executives designated by the Chief Counsel.
OPM requires that the PRB consists of three or more members. At least one of the members should have previous PRB experience. The PRB will generally consist of:
The Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations) or (Technical) as Chairperson
An Associate or Deputy Associate Chief Counsel
A Division or Deputy Division Counsel
Two other Counsel or IRS SES executives designated by the PRB Chairperson
PRB members serve for approximately one year, usually beginning in early October. The names of the PRB members must be published in the Federal Register.
A member of the PRB may disqualify himself/herself when the PRB is considering the performance of a particular executive. When the performance of a member of the PRB is being evaluated, that member shall not participate and shall excuse themselves from the meeting.
Treasury Personnel Management Bulletin (TPMB) 81-9, dated November 3, 1981, outlines the policy for applying for and granting SES Sabbaticals. Members of the Senior Executive Service who meet the eligibility requirements and wish to avail themselves of this program must submit the required material to the Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations or Technical) in the time frames established by TPMB 81-9.
This subsection establishes policies for the recruitment, employment, and merit promotion of attorneys in the Office of Chief Counsel.
Director, Human Resources Division. Under the direction of the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M), the Director, Human Resources Division (HR) has the responsibility to coordinate and execute the attorney recruiting programs, and to conduct a continuing review of these programs. More specifically, the Director will:
Participate with the Chief Counsel, Associate Chief Counsel (F&M), and other supervisory officials in establishing staffing needs and allocations
Issue national guidelines and instructions on recruiting plans, methods, reports, and procedures
Conduct recruiting conferences and seminars
Direct, coordinate, and review recruiting programs and campaigns to determine progress and to advise the Chief Counsel, the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M), and other supervisory officials, as appropriate, on the solution of problems
Serve as the recognized central point of contact for law school students in their filing of the necessary applications for employment
Screen all applications and circulate them throughout the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel offices
Reply promptly to all employment inquiries and inform all applicants of their selection or non-selection for employment
Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel. Under the general direction of the Director, Human Resources Division, Associate Chief Counsels/Division Counsels have the responsibility to support attorney recruiting activities and programs at law schools located within their geographic area. More specifically, Associate Chief Counsels/Division Counsels will:
Furnish recruiting literature and other related information to the law schools in their areas
Schedule interviews at the law schools or field counsel offices of applicants after having screened their applications
Prepare reports of all Office interviews and keep HR currently informed in this regard
Meet with law school officials, faculty members, and placement officers at appropriate times to maintain good relationships and communications with the law schools
Arrange for attorneys of the Office to speak at the law schools within the geographic area for the purpose of explaining the programs, objectives, operations, hiring needs, etc., of the Office of Chief Counsel, and stimulate interest in the Office
Coordinate the arrangements for speakers from the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel offices
Keep HR informed of recruitment program problems and developments at the law schools within the area
Serve as the recognized geographic area point of student contact for the law schools within the geographic area to answer questions and transmit applications received for employment to HR for review
Notify HR of selection of Honors Program, Regular Program and Summer applicants and forward hiring memos to HR to make job offers
Where possible, Associate Chief Counsel (General Legal Services) attorneys should visit law school campuses that have Labor Law Programs for the purpose of holding recruiting meetings of students enrolled in such programs. For those law schools in areas other than the metropolitan area in which the GLS area office is located, such visitations should normally be conducted only when the General Legal Services attorney is in that area on case-related travel.
In the spring or fall of each year, the Office should visit law schools and speak with students to acquaint them with the work of the Office and opportunities for employment. This program is intended to maximize student awareness of the Office and to provide them with helpful information in order that they may consider the advisability of applying for employment under the Honors Program.
Every effort should be made to answer fully any questions that the students may have, and make recruitment brochures and employment applications available for distribution to interested students.
The representative of the Office at these meetings should be an attorney or supervisor who has a thorough knowledge of the Chief Counsel organization.
Applicants should be advised that a completed application package must be received by HR to help facilitate formal interviews on campus or in the office.
Those who conduct interviews will be expected to have precise information about the nature of the positions that are available and about fringe benefits, advancement opportunities, the educational and experience requirements of the positions, and how selections for appointments are made. Due to the importance of the interviewing process, only GS-14 attorneys or higher should conduct interviews.
The interview is the only method by which the Office can judge applicants outside of their "paper" qualifications. The Chief Counsel application form is designed to elicit much of the information which interviewers in the past have had to spend valuable interview time to obtain. Thus, the interviewer should be free to find out more about the applicant and to answer any questions the applicant may have. Applicants interested in General Legal Services (GLS) work should be interviewed by GLS attorneys where possible.
Applicants will be subject to a second interview if they have been determined to be acceptable for employment by the initial interviewer. Ordinarily, an offer of employment will not be made under any of the programs unless the applicant has been interviewed by two officials of the Office. In such case, the initial interviewer will see to it that a second interviewer is immediately available to talk with the applicant to avoid the necessity of a second visit to the office.
Interview expenses may be requested of and authorized by the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) on a case-by-case basis. Authorization may be granted in unusual circumstances based upon the interviewees’ accomplishments which indicate that he/she is of an exceptional caliber.
Each interviewer will complete a separate Form 12990, Interview Data. Interviewers should promptly return interview data sheets along with the original application package to HR when so requested.
Interviewers should check the application package to ensure that it is properly completed. Interviewers should be aware that pursuant to the Privacy Act, the first time information is requested from the individual, either orally (i.e., at an interview) or in writing, a copy of the "Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Notice" , which is on the reverse side of the application form, must be provided to the applicant. Interviews should not be conducted until the applicant has completed an application form that has the "Notice" printed on it.
Checklist. All interviewers should be certain that applicants understand the following:
Criteria and eligibility for the Honors, Regular, and Summer Programs
All appointments are subject to a background investigation which will be conducted during the first year of employment as described in CCDM 184.108.40.206, Investigations.
Three-year Commitment Rule. Counsel generally requires a three-year employment commitment although provisions exist for commitments of two-year duration. The interviewer should explain to applicants that if they were to leave the Office in violation of their two- or three-year commitment without a release, they ordinarily would not be considered for re-employment by the Office and that a breach of commitment will be noted in any letter furnished to prospective employers and others concerning the individual's employment history.
The Office of Chief Counsel does a substantial amount of legal work which does not involve substantive tax law. Criminal tax work involves general substantive and procedural criminal law. General Legal Services attorneys handle legal cases and problems involving labor law, Government contracts, tort law, and administrative law. Disclosure litigation work involves, among other things, matters arising under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, and problems arising from requests for discovery under court procedural rules.
Applicants who profess an interest solely in substantive tax work should be urged to indicate that on their applications; interviewers should also note it in their evaluations. Likewise, applicants who are interested only in other areas of Chief Counsel work should so specify. Applicants are, of course, not required to list any particular work preferences and will not receive less consideration for appointment if they fail to indicate a specific division or function in which they are interested.
Interviewers should evaluate applicants as if applicants would be working for them. The Office depends on the evaluation of the interviewers to select among many well-qualified applicants. Interview data sheets should contain constructive comments; however, when an applicant is not being recommended, one or two explanatory sentences are all that is usually necessary.
Interviewers should include an evaluation of the writing sample submitted in their interview data sheets. An original paper, such as a seminar paper, is more desirable than a law review article or similar document which has been edited a number of times. Since much of the work product of the Office of Chief Counsel is written, the interviewers should review the paper, having in mind the question: "Is this paper of the quality expected by the Office of Chief Counsel?"
In selecting applicants for employment, HR relies heavily on the recommendation of the interviewer and the interview data sheet. In the interview data sheet, the conclusions stated under "comments" and the recommendation should coincide. Since the Office has many more applicants than vacancies, it is essential in recommending applicants for employment that the interviewers be fair but critical and carefully consider whether they would want to have the applicants working with or for them. Supervisors may contact HR for an example of a completed Form 12990, Interview Data sheet.
Applicants for this program must be third-year law students who have graduated from an American Bar Association accredited law school and will take a bar examination shortly after graduation. Applicants may receive a full time appointment prior to graduation and taking the bar. Generally, applicants will not report for duty until after taking the bar exam. Counsel may consider allowing an applicant to report to duty prior to taking the bar exam; however, this practice is not strongly encouraged.
Any applicant who reports to duty before admission to the bar will receive an appointment as a law clerk. Once proof of admission to the bar is submitted, the law clerk is automatically designated as an attorney.
If the clerk is not admitted to the bar within 14 months after appointment, employment is terminated.
In addition, applicants ordinarily should be in the top third of their law school class, or have performed at a comparable level at those law schools which do not rank their classes.
Those qualifying for the Honors Program with a J.D. are employed at grade GS-11 Step 8; those with an LL.M degree in Tax or Labor law at GS-12 Step 4.
Applications for employment under this program will be accepted throughout the year.
Applicants will be informed of their selection or non-selection in writing.
The Regular Program for GS-9 through GS-14 positions and vacancies for GS-15 positions is open to applicants who have graduated from an American Bar Association accredited law school and possess a J.D. degree. Applicants must also:
Have passed a bar examination
Be admitted to the bar
Be in good standing
Professional experience following law school will be considered in determining the appropriate grade level an applicant is qualified for. To qualify for a particular grade level, a year of experience with the nature of the legal tax work and the level of responsibility characteristic of the next lower grade is required. In addition, the following length of experience is required:
GS-9 – Candidates must possess the first professional law degree (LL.B. or J.D.)
GS-11 – Candidates must possess the first professional law degree (LL.B. or J.D.), plus one year of professional legal experience;
– or an LL.M. degree;
– or an LL.B. or J.D. degree plus superior law student work or activities in conformance with General Counsel Directive No. 2
GS-12 – 1 year of general legal experience
GS-13 – 1 year of general legal experience, plus l year of legal tax experience
GS-14 – 1 year of general legal experience, plus 2 years of legal tax experience
GS-15 – 1 year of general legal experience, plus 3 years of legal tax experience
An LL.M. degree in the field of the position (tax, GLS-related, or P&A- FOIA/Disclosure related field) may be substituted for the one year of the general legal experience listed above.
Applicants ordinarily should have been in the top one-third of their law school class, or have performed at a comparable level at those law schools that do not rank their classes.
A number of first- and second-year law students will ordinarily be employed by the Office as interns during the summer months. The period of employment generally will be during the months of June, July, and August and will not exceed 89 days. However, if necessary, a summer appointment of a shorter duration, or one which begins earlier or later, can be arranged. Interns can be assigned to any Counsel office.
Announcements of the forthcoming Summer Intern Program will be sent to law schools accredited by the American Bar Association and all interested students will be invited to apply. The purpose of the program is twofold:
To give outstanding law students the opportunity to gain practical legal experience with the Office
To give the Office an opportunity to evaluate the potential of the student for permanent employment
Appointments under this program are made at the grade GS-7 level for first-year students and GS-9 level for second-year students. Applicants will be notified of their selection or non-selection in writing.
Because of the increased emphasis on the Summer Law Clerk Program for recruiting purposes Form 9163, Summer Intern Evaluation, should be completed by the supervisor as soon as the law clerk leaves. This is a critical and detailed evaluation of the law clerk's performance, including a recommendation for or against hiring for permanent employment. The evaluation should be sent to HR within one week after the law clerk's departure.
Law clerks will be asked to evaluate the Summer Law Clerk Program. Supervisors should notify the law clerks that they are to send their evaluations of the Summer Law Clerk Program, including any suggestions about the program, to HR before they leave the Office.
Summer law clerks who are interested in being considered for permanent employment with the Office should, upon termination of their summer employment, forward to HR a current Chief Counsel Application package.
The Office of Chief Counsel authorizes the use of the Law Student Volunteer Intern Program to provide opportunities for students to become familiar with the Office while gaining practical work experience, to encourage the interchange of ideas between the Office and law schools concerning career options and to expand recruitment sources by allowing firsthand observation of potential employees.
Use of such student volunteer services must be planned to avoid conflict with the summer intern program. In addition, no indication should be given to student volunteers that they will receive special preference for employment as summer interns.
Law students selected as volunteers in this program are prohibited from simultaneous outside employment that would result in a conflict of interest or give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The Human Resources Division is designated as the coordinator of the program, and is responsible for promulgating internal instructions and serving as the point of contact with the law schools. Every effort will be made to inform students about employment opportunities.
Law Student Volunteer Interns may have access to returns and return information to the same extent that attorneys or tax law specialists have access to such material. It is the obligation of the students' supervisors to brief the students on their responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of the tax information they obtain in the course of their service. Interns may not disclose any returns or return information obtained in any manner except as authorized by IRC § 6103(h)(1), (k)(6), and (l)(4).
This program will be periodically reviewed to assess its statutory and regulatory compliance and its effectiveness in accomplishing the goals and objectives of the Office of Chief Counsel in this area.
This program is available to any law school accredited by the American Bar Association that has agreed to execute an agreement similar to Form 13702, Law Student Volunteer Intern Program Agreement. Agreements with the schools and students will be executed by HR for all interns located in Washington, DC; agreements for field offices will be executed by designated Field Counsel. Generally, this agreement will require the students to work a minimum of 12 hours per week in increments of at least 4 hours per day, for a total minimum of 150 hours per period. (A period is a school's normal grading period.)
Students must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis, meet the normal Honors Program criteria for employment with the Office, and be willing to comply with the provisions of the agreement described above.
Students will be eligible to participate if they are enrolled in the second semester of their second year of law school, are third-year law students, or are graduate law students.
Generally, students must have successfully completed a course in Federal taxation to qualify. Those interested in General Legal Services work should have completed some relevant course work, such as Government contracts or labor law.
Students must be recommended by the dean or other representative of the school. Such recommendation will include the student's subject area preference. Students will be selected for the program by the interested Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel.
The Office will ensure that students perform educationally related work assignments.
While no office is required to participate in the program, generally there will be no more than one student accepted in a branch or in a group. This is to enhance the effective use and supervision of the students. Generally, students in this program will not work in the same office in which an intern is working under the summer program.
Students will be evaluated on the work performed and their potential for employment. A copy of Form 9163 will be forwarded to HR. Only that portion of the evaluation pertaining to the work performed will be forwarded to the law school.
Students may be terminated at any time without cause by Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel after consultation with the appropriate law school dean or other representative of the school.
The Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel offices will select and appoint their own students. Upon selection, but at least 30 days prior to the anticipated entry date, the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel office will send the following forms to the student:
Form 13702, Law Student Volunteer Intern Program Agreement
SF 87, Fingerprint Card
OF 306, Declaration for Federal Employment
Each area will prepare a SF 52 with student’s work schedule (days and hours per week) along with a forwarding address.
Non-law and law school students may apply to the student volunteer program. Under this program, students will perform a range of duties for the office. These duties are not necessarily comparable with those assigned to a law student volunteer intern. Students will not receive compensation for services rendered, nor are they required to be enrolled in an accredited course in conjunction with their volunteer service. Students will be eligible to participate if they are enrolled in any college or university. Pursuant to ABA guidelines, first year law students participating in this program should work no more than twenty hours per week during the school year.
The Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel offices will select their own student volunteers. If the student is enrolled in a law school, prior approval must be granted by the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
Use of such student volunteer services must be planned to avoid conflict with the summer program and the law student volunteer intern program. Generally, students in this program will not work in the same office in which an intern is working under the summer program or the law student intern volunteer program. Law students are required to sign a written acknowledgment ( Form 13700, Student Volunteer Acknowledgment Statement), that this is not a formal intern program. No indication should be given to student volunteers of an expectation for future employment with the Office.
Students selected as volunteers in this program are prohibited from simultaneous outside employment that would result in a conflict of interest or give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The Human Resources Division is designated as the coordinator of the program.
Upon selection, but at least 30 days prior to the anticipated entry date, the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel office will send the following forms to the student:
Student volunteers may have access to returns and return information to the same extent that attorneys or tax law specialists have access to such material. It is the obligation of the students’ supervisors to brief the students on their responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of the tax information they obtain in the course of their service. Students may not disclose any returns or return information obtained in any manner except as authorized by IRC § 6103(h)(1), (k)(6), and (l)(4).
Students will be evaluated on the work performed in a manner as set forth in Form 9163, Summer Intern Evaluation. Only that portion of the evaluation pertaining to the work performed should be completed and submitted to the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel with a copy forwarded to HR.
Student volunteers under this program may be terminated at any time without cause by Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel.
This subsection sets forth the policy concerning bar membership requirements and examinations, bar association activities, and admission to the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Admission to the bar is a condition of employment as an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel. If not already admitted at the time of employment, all attorneys hired by the Office must become admitted to the bar of the highest court of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico within 14 months after employment.
It is the duty of every attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel to keep informed of, and in compliance with, the various requirements which may be imposed by the bars and courts to which the attorney is admitted to practice, and to pay fees which may be imposed to maintain good standing. This means that an attorney’s membership in the bar must be such as to permit him/her to practice law. Therefore, an attorney’s membership in a unified bar (also called an integrated bar) must also be such as to permit him/her to practice law in that jurisdiction whether or not it involves maintaining an active status. However, where, under local bar provisions, it is impossible for attorneys working outside of a state to maintain bar membership making them eligible to practice, the attorney need only maintain the highest level of bar membership possible. If this is inactive membership, or some other classification under which they are ineligible to practice, then this is adequate.
By March 10 of each year, all attorneys must advise their immediate supervisor of their bar membership and current standing. The annual certification shall be submitted in such form as prescribed by the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel for the attorneys under his/her supervision.
An annual certification will be made by supervisors to the appropriate Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel by April 10 of each year which states that all attorneys under their supervision have been admitted to practice before the highest court of at least one State, Territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and are members in good standing before the bar of one of these jurisdictions.
Attorneys newly appointed in the Office of Chief Counsel must submit evidence of admission to practice before the highest court of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, through the attorney’s Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel to HR for inclusion in the attorney’s Official Personnel Folder. This must be an original letter generated from the appropriate overseeing agency or court (a standard size letter, on official letterhead with a seal - if used) stating that the attorney is currently an active member in good standing with the bar.
Bar Examination expense. Attorneys will be responsible for the cost of bar review courses, fees for admission to the bar, and fees or expenses for continuing legal education incurred to maintain bar membership.
All attorneys are encouraged to attend bar association meetings and otherwise to participate in bar association activities. For further procedures, see CCDM 30.4.8, Public Information (Speeches, Publications, and Teaching).
Attorneys are encouraged to participate in bar association activities as officers or members, specifically in work of the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association and in similar activities of state and local bar associations. In the course of such activities and as members of such organizations, attorneys are free to express their opinions as individuals and to vote on recommendations in accordance with their own judgment and conscience, recognizing, however, that they may be viewed as representatives of the Departments of the Treasury.
When serving as chairperson of a committee or subcommittee, positions taken become matters of public record, and the chairperson assumes an obligation to express the view of the committee. Consequently, before accepting such an office, attorneys should consider whether or not the jurisdiction of the committee or its expected activities might necessitate taking a position on tax legislation or the administration of tax laws.
Generally, attorneys should decline a committee or subcommittee office which would involve taking positions on the matters described above in order to avoid any misunderstanding as to, or conflict with, official positions of the Office of Chief Counsel. However, this should in no way be interpreted to preclude attorneys from participation as committee members.
Approval by the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel is required before accepting an appointment as chairperson of a committee or subcommittee of a bar association. If the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel has any reservation in granting approval, the matter should be sent to the Deputy Chief Counsel for a final determination.
If an employee is not already admitted to the bar, administrative leave will be approved for the taking of one bar examination and for one local bar admission ceremony when workload considerations permit.
While no administrative leave is to be granted for attending bar review courses or studying for or taking the bar examination, work hours may be adjusted where practical. Also, advanced annual leave or leave without pay may be granted as prescribed by leave policy. See CCDM 30.4.6, Leave Administration.
Attorneys may be given administrative leave to attend bar association meetings, where workload permits. Generally, such administrative leave may not exceed two days for a single meeting, nor five days over the period of one calendar year.
Requests for administrative leave pursuant to this section are handled in accordance with regular leave procedures in each Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel office.
All field attorneys (other than those assigned to GLS), and all other attorneys wishing to be admitted to practice before the Tax Court, should obtain an Application for Admission to Practice and a Practitioner’s Oath from the Admissions Office.
The completed forms and admission fee should be directly submitted to the Admissions Clerk of the Tax Court by the attorney. Attorneys who appear before the U.S. Tax Court pay their own admission fees.
Applications for admission to the Supreme Court are filed with the Supreme Court’s Admissions Office. Attorneys who elect to be admitted on written motion, without going to the Court, must execute the Oath of Admission and have the sponsor whose name is to appear on the certificate sign as the moving party.
The person who moves the admission must be a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court.
The Oath (signed and notarized), together with the completed application, the required certificate, and a check to cover the fee (payable to Clerk, U.S. Supreme Court), must be mailed by the attorney to the Supreme Court’s Admission Office.
Attorneys who wish to have the Chief Counsel execute the Motion for Admission to the Supreme Court may forward the Oath for Admission, signed and notarized, to HR. The executed Motion for Admission will be returned to the attorney for proper submission to the Supreme Court.
Attorneys who elect to be admitted in open Court must return the application and the required certificate to the Supreme Court’s Admissions Office. After their receipt, instructions for being admitted in open Court will be provided by the Admissions Office.
) It is the policy of the Office of Chief Counsel to require, as a condition of employment, the execution of an employment tenure commitment agreement by each newly appointed attorney. In so doing, the attorney commits to remaining in the employ of the Office of Chief Counsel for the minimum time specified. Form 13701, Employment Tenure Commitment, should be used to formalize the agreement.
An attorney appointed to a full-time tour of duty (80 hours per pay period) will be required to execute an employment tenure commitment in which he/she agrees to remain with the Office of Chief Counsel for a minimum period of three years.
If the attorney has at least five years of legal experience, in either the public or private sector, a one-, two- or three-year commitment will be required as determined by the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel to which the attorney is to be assigned.
If the attorney has completed at least two years of employment with the U.S. Tax Court or with the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, a two-year commitment will be required.
If the attorney was previously employed as an attorney by the Office of Chief Counsel, a one-, two- or three-year commitment will be required as determined by the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel to which the attorney is to be assigned.
An attorney on a full-time tour of duty who is given approval to convert to a permanent part-time tour of duty prior to completion of his/her current commitment, must execute a one-year extension of the current commitment.
An attorney appointed to a part-time tour of duty (64 hours, or less, per pay period) will be required to execute an employment tenure commitment in which he/she agrees to remain with the Office of Chief Counsel for a minimum of four years.
Attorneys should not accept offers of employment in disregard of the employment tenure commitment. Prior to committing to a new employer, the attorney should discuss the matter with his/her supervisor, who, in turn, will apprize the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel through supervisory channels.
An attorney who resigns from the Office prior to completing his/her commitment will be regarded as having breached the commitment, unless released from the employment tenure commitment by the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
It is the policy of the Office of Chief Counsel generally not to rehire an attorney who has breached an employment tenure commitment and to note the breach of such commitment in any letter of reference furnished by the Office to prospective employers or others.
An attorney seeking release from his/her employment tenure commitment must submit a request in writing. The request must be endorsed by his/her Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel and submitted via HR to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
A request for early release from the employment tenure commitment shall be granted when the facts and circumstances warrant approval of the request, in the judgment of the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). Favorable facts and circumstances generally include:
The attorney has been employed in the Office of Chief Counsel for less than one year.
The attorney wishes to transfer to another position within the Federal government for a minimum period at least equivalent to the balance of the commitment.
The state of the attorney’s health is such that he/she is unable to perform the duties of his/her position in a satisfactory manner.
The state of the attorney’s health, or that of an immediate member of his/her family, is diagnosed as chronic and severe, requiring relocation to a location at which the Office is unable to offer employment.
The attorney wishes to become a permanent, full-time member of the faculty of a law school.
The attorney seeks release in order to leave the active practice of law to enter another occupational or vocational field. In this regard, intent to join the legal staff of a business, a trade association, or an exempt organization, will not qualify the attorney for early release.
This subsection provides procedures governing the promotion of General Schedule (GS) attorneys, GS-11 through GS-14.
The Office of Chief Counsel has established a 52-week time in grade requirement before an attorney is eligible for promotion to the next higher grade.
The completion of time-in-grade requirements, by itself, does not entitle an attorney to promotion to the next grade level. There must additionally be a clear demonstration that the attorney has successfully performed at the current grade level, and has the ability to perform at the next higher grade level. Managers must, however, be able to explain (and document, if required) decisions not to promote. Law Clerks hired at the GS-11 level will not be eligible for promotion as Law Clerks to the GS-12 level and must have been admitted to practice before the appropriate court before promotion to an attorney position is considered.
In computing an attorney’s experience for time-in-grade purposes, comparable legal experience gained at other Federal agencies may be credited. Promotion based on such experience is treated as a regular promotion, and does not require any justification beyond that of a normal promotion.
Promotion recommendations for attorneys who have fulfilled all time-in-grade requirements require the concurrence of the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel in whose organization the attorney works prior to submission to Human Resources Division.
The Office can announce and fill at the GS-14 level either an Assistant Branch Chief or Assistant to the Branch Chief position where there is an authorized staff of at least five docket attorneys. Prior to filling the position, approval of the Associate Chief Counsel must be obtained and notification provided to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). These positions will provide additional reviewers and will serve as a developmental assignments for attorney/tax law specialist personnel. Under most circumstances, due to the nature of the assignment, it should be for attorney/tax law specialist at the GS-14 grade level only.
The duties of these positions are to:
Assist in planning, directing, and supervising the operations of the branch
Assign work to personnel of the branch and review the work product to the extent authorized by the Branch Chief
Prepare and maintain records and reports with respect to the work of the branch as requested by the Associate Chief Counsel
Act as Branch Chief in the absence of that official
All Assistant Branch Chief and Assistant to the Branch Chief positions will be established and filled only at the GS-14 level.
The Associate Chief Counsel of the affected organization will appoint a panel to review and consider the applications of the qualified candidates. This review panel will be responsible for identifying the highly qualified candidates, conducting interviews (if appropriate), and making a selection recommendation to the Associate Chief Counsel.
The review panel will generally consist of three GM/GS-15 or above employees. The Associate Chief Counsel will appoint a chairperson of the panel who will generally be the Deputy Associate Chief Counsel or the Assistant Chief Counsel of the affected division or the Branch Chief of the affected branch. One of the members of the panel must be from outside the affected Associate area.
The chairperson will prepare a written selection recommendation memorandum on behalf of the review panel for submission to the Associate Chief Counsel (see Exhibit 30.4.1-1). For those organizations with Assistant Chief Counsel, this recommendation will be routed through the affected Assistant. The purpose of the selection memorandum will be to document the selection process by explaining the review panel’s decisions regarding the relative qualifications of the applicants. Its focus should be on identifying the job-related criteria the panel used to assess the applicants’ qualifications, and on describing the extent to which each of the highly qualified candidates met or did not meet these criteria.
Upon approval of the selection by the Associate Chief Counsel (as indicated by his/her signature on the selection memorandum), the recommendation is to be sent to the Human Resources Division Office for processing, along with the applications of all of the candidates who had been referred to the review panel for consideration.
In the event the Associate Chief Counsel does not concur with the recommended selection, he/she may make an alternate selection from among the other highly qualified candidates by preparing a separate written narrative which documents the basis for his/her decision. The original selection recommendation is, however, to remain as part of the file sent to Human Resources Division for processing.
As we hire increasing numbers of paralegals, we want to ensure that there is uniformity and consistency in the hiring of such individuals in the Associate Chief Counsel and Division Counsel Offices.
Generally, paralegal positions can be filled as Paralegal Specialists, at different grade levels, up to GS-11. This series is used to hire applicants from both inside and outside the Chief Counsel organization.
Normally, the full working level of a paralegal position will be at the GS-11, although a small number of unique positions may be lower graded, depending upon the assigned duties and responsibilities of the position. Vacancy announcements will indicate the promotion potential of the particular position being filled.
As a general rule, attorneys (or law school graduates) should not be hired to fill paralegal positions. People who are qualified for, and aspire to, higher legal positions often become frustrated with a job that does not use all of their legal talents. Any resultant job frustration would have obvious adverse affects upon an office. There is also the possibility that an attorney who is hired for a paralegal position may have accepted the position only because he/she was not able to obtain an attorney position. As such, the attorney/paralegal might continue to look for an attorney position while performing the paralegal duties. Thus, the investment in bringing the attorney/paralegal up to speed as a paralegal could be lost as soon as the attorney was able to find other employment.
An additional management consideration is the attorney/paralegal's possible expectation of being selected for an attorney position if he/she performs well on the job as a paralegal. However, the fact that an employee performs well as a paralegal does not ensure that a person would be a good attorney. If an attorney/paralegal was not hired for an attorney position, this could create additional frustration and internal conflict between the attorney/paralegal and the supervisor. For these reasons, attorneys should generally not be hired to fill paralegal positions.
Exceptions to this policy require approval from the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). The hiring official must prepare a memorandum to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) explaining the reason for their request to hire an attorney or law school graduate for a paralegal position.
The Office of Chief Counsel has developed a number of position descriptions (PD) covering the various duties and responsibilities that paralegals can perform, but modifications can, and should, be made to fit particular circumstances. Although the position descriptions list specific functions that can be performed by paralegals, there are a number of ethical considerations that must be kept in mind with respect to paralegal work. Some general rules are set forth here for guidance, which are followed by additional specific rules that pertain to the tax litigation and general litigation activities.
Legal work can be delegated to paralegals as long as an attorney responsible for the supervision of the paralegal maintains a direct relationship with the client and supervises the paralegal in the performance of the delegated work.
A paralegal may sign correspondence as long as the recipient is not misled into believing that the sender is an attorney.
Paralegals may prepare legal documents under the direction and supervision of attorneys.
Paralegals may negotiate settlements, but it is considered improper to delegate to the paralegal final authority for the settlement without obtaining an attorney’s approval. See ABA Informal Opinion 523 (1962).
Improper delegation of tasks to paralegal personnel or inadequate supervision would violate ethical standards prohibiting attorneys from aiding the unauthorized practice of law. See the following:
Rule 5.5(b) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Disciplinary Rule 3-101(A) of the Code of Professional Responsibility
Rules 5.3 and 5.5 of the Revised Model Rules of Professional Responsibility
Paralegals assigned to "S" cases may contact taxpayers and conduct conferences provided that taxpayers are not misled by improper suggestions that a paralegal is an attorney.
Paralegals may prepare stipulations of facts in trial memoranda provided that these documents are reviewed by attorneys in the Division Counsel's office.
Paralegals may engage in settlement negotiations, prepare computations and decision documents, and submit them to the taxpayer for signature, provided that these activities are supervised and that the terms of settlement are approved by authorized attorneys.
Paralegals may prepare answers in regular Tax Court cases provided that the attorney who is assigned to the case signs the answer.
It is ethically improper to delegate to paralegals the authority to conclude the settlement of any Tax Court case and to prepare settlement documents without the approval of an attorney.
A paralegal can review routine requests for summons enforcement and prepare the litigation letter to the Department of Justice for the signature of an attorney, provided that the paralegal's work is actually reviewed and the attorney's signature is not pro forma.
A paralegal may initially review the legal sufficiency of an application for a writ of entry, provided that the paralegal's work is reviewed by an attorney.
The Office of Chief Counsel will not allow an individual to enter-on-duty in any of its business units until FBI fingerprint results and, if applicable, case disposition information are received and reviewed. This policy applies to all positions in all Office of Chief Counsel locations, and there will be no exceptions to the policy. In the event that staff shortages occur, managers should take steps to move existing staff into areas that require additional resources. For contractor personnel, the Office of Chief Counsel will follow the policy contained in IRM 10.23.2, Contractor Investigations. This policy applies to all individuals entering on duty regardless of the appointment type (or work schedule) for all positions in all Office of Chief Counsel locations. There are two circumstances when this policy does not apply:
Current IRS employees applying for jobs through an external announcement (e.g., a temporary employee applies for a permanent position via an external vacancy announcement)
Current IRS employees applying for internal vacancy announcements
Prior to entrance on duty or receipt of an official job offer, a selectee must receive favorable results for tax clearance for the last three years tax returns filed. This policy is required for all individuals entering on duty including current IRS employees applying for jobs through an external announcement (e.g., a temporary employee applies for a permanent position via an external vacancy announcement) and current IRS employees applying for internal vacancy announcements.
A Background Security Investigation will be initiated prior to appointment. After entrance on duty, failure to successfully meet the background investigation and favorable adjudication requirements may be grounds for termination. Background investigations are required for employees upon entry on duty and for movement into a job of greater sensitivity or risk level. Periodic reinvestigations are only conducted for holders of national security clearances, employees in Critical Sensitive positions, and employees in positions designated High Risk.
Depending on the type of job position, employees will be required to complete one of the following:
Form SF 85, Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions
Form SF 85P, Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions
Form SF 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions
Managers are responsible for arranging access to the facility for the investigator, adjusting the employee’s duties to allow time for the interview, and arranging for any source interviews with other employees.
The U.S. Government conducts background investigations and re-investigations to ensure that people applying for Federal jobs, already employed by the Government, or working for the Government under contract, are:
Suitable for the job, and/or
Eligible for a public trust position, or
Suitable to have access to national security information
A background investigation consists of:
Checks of databases maintained by other agencies
A personal subject interview of the employee/applicant
Interviews of individuals who know the applicant/employee (called "source interviews" )
The purpose of the background investigation is to determine information relating to the following topics:
Character and reputation
Honesty and integrity
Use of illegal drugs and alcohol
Negative involvement with law enforcement
Emotional or mental health as it affects the public trust and the safety of the workplace
Untrustworthy or unreliable associations
Susceptibility to blackmail or coercion
In the case of new hires, where there is an inquiry concerning a routine or a conduct matter in the pre- or post-background information investigation, the National Background Investigation Center (NBIC) will contact the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). Finance and Management will then notify the appropriate Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel, Deputy Associate Chief Counsel/Deputy Division Counsel, or other official, that their employee is under investigation and that inquiries are being made about the employee.
If there is a negative background investigation report forwarded to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M), the appropriate manager and employee will be notified. The outcome of the investigation could result in discipline, up to and including removal/termination.
When there is an inquiry concerning a conduct matter for employees who are on-board, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) will contact the Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations), or the designated Acting official in the Deputy’s absence. He/she will then determine which office(s) will serve as the contact point for TIGTA.
The Office of Chief Counsel will make every effort to avoid the demotion of an employee when it is without cause and not at the employee’s request. However, when a demotion such as this is inevitable, this subsection covers those situations where employees qualify for grade/pay retention.
Reductions in force resulting in removals entitle employees only to coverage under the Department of the Treasury’s Reemployment Priority List.
Employees are eligible for the Priority Placement Program who are involuntarily demoted as a result of:
A reduction in force (RIF)
Reclassification of their position to a lower grade
An A-76 contracting out of their position
Declining an offer of transfer with the function to a location outside the commuting area
Employees must otherwise meet the conditions of eligibility for grade and/or pay retention as outlined in 5 CFR 536, Grade and Pay Retention, including any amendments thereto.
Employees become eligible for the program on the effective dates shown on their SF 50. The Human Resources Division office will provide official notice (Employee Notice of Eligibility and Standard Form 50) that the employees meet the eligibility requirements for grade and/or pay retention.
Program eligibility is terminated when the employee:
Transfers to another agency
Receives a "reasonable offer"
Is placed in a position the grade of which is equal to or higher than the retained grade
Elects in writing to terminate the benefits of grade retention
Otherwise loses eligibility for grade and pay retention
A "reasonable offer" must meet the following conditions:
The offer must be in writing, and must include an official position description of the offered position
The offered position must be a permanent position and one for which the employee meets the established qualification requirements
The offered position must have at least the same number of hours as the employee’s former position
The offered position must be in the same commuting area
The offer must come after formal determination and notification of entitlement to grade/pay retention
In the case of an employee eligible for grade retention, the offer must be to a position the grade of which is equal to or greater than the retained grade
In the case of an employee eligible for pay retention, the offer must be to a position the rate of basic pay of which is equal to or greater than the employee’s retained pay
Acceptance of a position at an intervening grade will not terminate an employee’s eligibility to continue in the program unless the position is one in an established career ladder with a full performance level equal to the grade of the position from which demoted.
A priority placement employee will have up to seven days to accept or reject a "reasonable offer" .
Employees in the Priority Placement Program will receive priority placement referral for vacancies within their commuting area which management has determined to fill, for which they are qualified, and that are at the same or an intervening grade/rate of pay as the position from which demoted. The vacancy need not be in the same classification series as the employee’s previous position.
Employees in the program will receive consideration for career ladder vacancies for which they are qualified and that have a full performance level to the same or intervening grade as that from which demoted. Placement within the career ladder will be at the highest grade level for which the employee meets qualification requirements.
Promotions of employees within a career ladder or other career promotions that are made as an exception to competitive procedures and which do not create an additional vacancy are exempted from these provisions.
Whenever an appropriate vacancy is identified, first consideration will be given to employees in the Priority Placement Program before considering other employees. This procedure shall not affect management’s right to fill vacancies from any appropriate source.
Applicants eligible for priority selection under the provisions of 5 CFR 330.601, Agency Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) for Local Surplus and Displaced Employees, et seq., and applicants eligible for priority consideration will precede referrals of Priority Placement Program employees.
If more than one employee is referred for priority placement, the selecting official will select any of those referred, or he or she may make no selection.
The Office of Chief Counsel will participate in the Treasury Reemployment Priority List (RPL). This program is designed to help Treasury employees who would be adversely affected by a reduction-in-force (RIF) that results in an involuntary separation, or who have recovered from work-related (compensable) injuries.
Names of persons registered in the Treasury RPL will be referred to the Office of Chief Counsel from the Department of Treasury, Office of Personnel Policy. When persons are added or deleted from the list, a new listing will be released covering all employees registered for a specific local commuting area.
The list covers all competitive service employees at all grade levels in the Treasury.
Prior to filling a vacancy with a candidate external to the Office of Chief Counsel, HR will check the RPL to see if there are qualified employees registered at the appropriate grade level, series, and in the same commuting area in which the vacancy exists. An employee is entitled to priority consideration only in the commuting area from which he/she was separated or received notification of separation.
In making selections, the Office of Chief Counsel must give preference by tenure group.
This subsection covers information regarding the employment of non-citizens in all positions within the Office of Chief Counsel. The Office of Chief Counsel will give strong priority to hiring United States citizens and nationals. However, non-citizens may be hired in certain circumstances.
Several considerations will determine whether the Office of Chief Counsel may employ a non-citizen. They include:
Executive Order 11935
Whether the position is in the competitive service, excepted service or Senior Executive Service
The annual appropriations act
Immigration law requirement on employing citizens and aliens
Under Executive Order 11935, only U.S. citizens and nationals (persons born in an outlying possession of the United States such as American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for competitive jobs and be given an appointment in the competitive service.
If permitted under relevant appropriations and immigration law, and with approval from The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Office of Chief Counsel may hire qualified non-citizens for a competitive service position only when there are no qualified U.S. citizens or nationals available. A non-citizen may only be given an excepted appointment and does not acquire competitive civil service status when hired in the absence of a qualified citizen.
OPM may, as an exception to this rule and to the extent permitted by law, authorize the appointment of non-citizens to positions in the competitive service when necessary to promote the efficiency of the service in specific cases or for temporary appointments.
The Office of Chief Counsel may hire a qualified non-citizen in the excepted service or Senior Executive Service, if permitted to do so by the annual appropriations act and immigration law.
Annual appropriations law may prohibit the use of appropriated funds to employ non-citizens whose posts of duty are in the CONUS except;
Persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence and seeking citizenship as outlined in 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(3)(B)
A person lawfully admitted for permanent residence and seeking citizenship under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(3)(B) is a person who is considered a protected individual under section 1324(a)(3)(B). Generally, a protected individual includes a permanent legal resident of the U.S. who applies, or intends to apply, for U.S. citizenship within six months of becoming eligible for naturalization.
For any work to be performed within the Office of Chief Counsel, immigration law requires Counsel to hire only individuals who are eligible to be employed. All newly appointed employees are required to complete a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The Human Resources Division must check the employees’ documents to verify employment eligibility.
The Office of Chief Counsel will not discriminate against employees by requesting more or different documents than are required in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990. Acceptable documents are listed on the back of the Form I-9.
The Office of Chief Counsel will only hire an individual in accordance with 8 CFR 274a, Control of Employment of Aliens,
It is the policy of Chief Counsel to detail employees only for the purposes of:
Meeting temporary needs of Chief Counsel’s programs and activities when services cannot be obtained by other, more desirable or practicable means
In order to meet the intent of OPM and Treasury detail requirements, supervisors and managers (executives) should consider using alternative procedures when other than brief periods are involved. Some suggested alternatives are:
Restructuring organizational segments and reallocating duties to existing positions
Temporary promotions or appointments
Amending the position description for a temporary additional assignment for the incumbent
All details shall be made without discrimination for any non-merit reason such as race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital, or parental status.
When an employee is on a detail, the employee performs different duties or is placed on a different position description for a specified period of time after which the employee returns to their regular duties. An employee on a detail continues to be the incumbent of their permanently assigned position and receives the salary attached to that position.
An employee does not have to meet OPM/agency qualification requirements for the position to which he/she is detailed. Experience gained while serving on a detail may be creditable towards meeting qualification requirements for later permanent placement action. However, time served on a detail to a higher-graded position may not be used for purposes of satisfying time-in-grade requirements.
Details may not be made without competition for more than 120 day increments, beyond 120 days to a position with greater promotion potential, or to a higher graded position.
Temporary promotions in the Office of Chief Counsel can only occur through a formal detail from one position to another, i.e., an SF 52 is prepared to document the action.
All details should be made matters of record because the experience and training gained by the employee may be important for later permanent placement actions. A detail over 30 days should be officially recorded on an SF 52. Although details for less than 30 days do not require an SF 52, written documentation may be prepared to create a permanent record and forwarded to HR.
These provisions apply to all employees in the legal functions of Chief Counsel, including non-Chief Counsel employees who are detailed to Chief Counsel.
Time and attendance records of detailed employees will be maintained by the office from which detailed. Detailed employees will keep their timekeeper informed of attendance and leave in accordance with prescribed instructions.
All references within this subsection will be to calendar days rather than workdays.
Employees at GS 14 and below may be detailed to higher graded positions, or positions with greater promotion potential, in 120-day increments. Prior service during the preceding 12 months under noncompetitive details to higher graded positions or positions with greater promotion potential and under noncompetitive time-limited promotions counts toward the 120-day total.
Except for brief periods, employees should not be detailed to perform work of a higher grade level. Details of more than 120 days to a higher graded position or to a position with greater promotion potential must be made under competitive procedures.
One year is the maximum period allowed for each type of detail within Chief Counsel, i.e., detail to unclassified duties, and to the same, lower, or higher graded positions. All extensions beyond the maximum period allowed for each detail must have prior approval from the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
When a detail is expected to last 90 days or longer, the temporary supervisor shall provide elements and standards to the detailed employee. Ratings on the critical elements must be prepared and forwarded to the employee's permanent supervisor for consideration in deriving the employee's next rating of record.
Details of temporary employees are subject to the same time limits and documentation requirements as details of permanent employees.
No employee in the excepted service may be assigned to a position in the competitive service without prior approval of the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
Employees detailed to positions GS-14 and below require the following approval:
Employees may be detailed within their offices in 120-day increments or less upon the approval of the Associate Chief Counsel/Division Counsel
Employees may be detailed between offices of Associate Chief Counsel/ Division Counsel in 120-day increments or less with the approval of both Associates Chief Counsel/Division Counsels
Employees detailed to GS-15 positions require coordination with the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) prior to effecting the action.
Employees may be detailed to unclassified duties.
For details in excess of 30 days to unclassified duties, supervisors are required to prepare a brief task list or paragraph describing the duties associated with the detail. A copy of the duty statement should be given to the employee.
Employees at grade 14 and below may be detailed to unclassified duties between offices with the approval of both Associates Chief Counsel/Division Counsels.
Details of grade 15 employees to unclassified duties require coordination with the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
The Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) may approve details between Chief Counsel and the IRS, other Treasury bureaus, and other Federal agencies.
The Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations) or their designee must approve all requests for Senior Executive Service (SES) details.
The General Counsel or Deputy General Counsel of Treasury must approve all details of 240 days or more and all details outside of Chief Counsel.
The Director, Office of Personnel Policy, Treasury, must approve all details over 240 days, and all details over 30 days outside of Chief Counsel, that are not under competitive procedures.
Career or career-type employees (i.e., GS/GM-15 to SES) may be detailed to career-reserve positions for up to 240 days.
Non-SES employees may be detailed to SES general positions for up to 240 days providing competitive promotion procedures are used for extensions beyond 120 days.
Career SES members may be detailed to career-reserve or general positions up to 240 days.
Details between the Treasury Department (including the Office of the Secretary) and other departments and Federal agencies may be approved by the General Counsel for up to 30 days.
Details to the White House (including the Executive Office of the President) require approval of the Director, Office of Personnel Policy, Treasury.
Requests for details not specifically addressed, such as details to international organizations or foreign governments, will be handled on a case by case basis and should be submitted to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) for approval prior to effecting the action. Additional or differing rules than those described above may apply in these cases.
The detail of Treasury employees to Congress and Congressional committees requires safeguards in order to ensure compliance with governing laws and regulations. The following guidance for such details is taken from 5 U.S.C. § 3341.
An executive agency of the Government may not lend or place employees on a non-reimbursable detail to a Congressional investigating committee unless:
The work of the committee actually aids the agency in the accomplishment of a purpose for which its appropriations are made, or
The services of the employee who is already on the rolls may be spared for brief periods, such as a few days or a week, without detriment to the work of the agency and without necessitating the hiring of additional employees.
Reimbursable details (i.e., all costs are borne by the Congress and no use of Treasury appropriations is involved) and non-reimbursable details are permitted as long as written permission of the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate or the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives is obtained.
Reimbursable and non-reimbursable details to Congress or Congressional committees require the prior approval of the Director, Office of Personnel Policy, Treasury. A request for either a non-reimbursable or reimbursable detail submitted to the Director, Office of Personnel Policy, must include:
An original SF 52
Written approval from the appropriate House or Senate committee as referenced above
A statement outlining the duties the detailed employee will perform
A statement outlining how the work will aid the bureau
This subsection establishes the policy and procedures for the reassignment of employees (both attorneys and non-attorneys); it addresses those circumstances where the Office may have to reassign employees, or where employees request a voluntary reassignment. These procedures apply to reassignments between:
Offices in the same Division
The National Office and a Division
Functions in the National Office
Articles 22 and 23 of the collective bargaining agreement between the National Treasury Employees Union and the Office of Chief Counsel address the reassignment procedures which apply to bargaining unit employees. Those procedures include an annual rotation program and a hardship transfer program.
Attorneys should generally expect to remain where they are first assigned throughout their three-year employment commitment with the Office of Chief Counsel. Generally, no extension of the three-year employment commitment or additional commitment will be required when a reassignment is initiated solely for the convenience of the Office.
Authorized travel, moving expenses, and allowances will be paid by the Office in accordance with relevant travel regulations, if the reassignment is in the best interest of the Government and is at the direction of the Government.
Employees reassigned to another office should be cognizant of the 12-month service agreement as required by 5 U.S.C. § 5724(i). Under such an agreement, the employee will reimburse the Government for travel, moving, and all other expenses incurred upon relocating to a new post of duty if the employee resigns, separates from the Government without authority, or is removed for cause within the succeeding 12-month period. For additional information, see IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide, and IRM 1.32.13, Relocation Services Program.
If the voluntary reassignment is primarily for the employee's benefit or convenience, the employee will pay their own travel and moving expenses.
Requests for voluntary reassignments by non-bargaining unit employees, either based on personal hardship or for some other reason, are to be submitted by the employee directly to his/her immediate supervisor with a copy to the management official where he/she wishes to be reassigned. Both the gaining and the losing office must agree before a voluntary reassignment can take place.
Requests for voluntary reassignments will be considered on a case-by-case basis if the employee has concluded at least one year of employment with the Office and the employee’s performance during the initial one year period is fully successful.
The staffing of each office and division of the Office of Chief Counsel is based on, and determined by, the overall needs of the Office. Therefore, decisions regarding requests for voluntary reassignments must take into consideration the staffing requirements of the Office and whether positions and work are available to accommodate the employee’s request and promote the efficiency of the Office.
The needs of the Office and those of the employee will be carefully considered before a decision to grant a request is made.
If the request for reassignment is approved, the gaining office will notify HR that the employee is being voluntarily reassigned. The Human Resources Division will be responsible for coordinating the administrative process required to effect the reassignment.
When a request is approved, it is the gaining office’s responsibility to coordinate the employee’s reporting date with the losing office. Consideration must be given to the losing office’s need for enough time for the employee to complete projects and work assignments before releasing for duty to the gaining office.
Standard Form 52, Request for Personnel Action, will be used in Chief Counsel to originate requests for personnel actions two pay periods prior to the effective date using Chief Counsel’s automated personnel system.
The Associate Chief Counsel, Deputy Associate Chief Counsel, Division Counsel, and Deputy Division Counsel are delegated the authority to approve non-competitive promotions for attorneys and non-bargaining unit employees. This authority can not be redelegated. Before approving such promotions, the appropriate management official must ensure that the employee meets eligibility requirements as outlined in CCDM 220.127.116.11, Attorneys, and 5 CFR 300.604, Restrictions, respectively. In addition, the employee must be performing at the fully successful level as outlined in 5 CFR § 335.104, Eligibility for Career Ladder Promotion, (meaning an appraisal of fully successful or above).
Supervisors and managers use the SF 52 to request and authorize:
Position actions, such as the establishment of a new position or the reclassification of an existing position
Employee actions, such as the appointment, reinstatement, conversion, transfer, reassignment, change in work schedule/tour of duty, suspension, removal, termination, or promotion of an employee
Actions involving both a position and an employee, such as the establishment and recruitment for a position, or the reclassification of a position and reassignment of an employee to the reclassified position
Temporary actions, such as details in excess of 30 days or temporary promotions for 120 days or less
Dual actions which require one SF 52 for both actions (e.g., reassignment and name change that are effective on the same date)
Through their managers, employees may request any of the following actions (and implementation of these actions requires a SF 52):
Resignation or retirement
Request Leave Without Pay (LWOP) (e.g., LWOP in excess of 30 days, LWOP-US for active military duty, LWOP for an on-the-job injury for 80 hours or more)
Return to duty
Request a name change
Human Resources Division will attach position descriptions to SF 52s for career ladder promotions and actions involving recruitment for a new position.
Managers will forward administratively acceptable documentation on behalf of employees to effect the name change(s) which should include:
Former and new name
Date of name change
Reason for the change
Statement that the Social Security Administration was notified of the change
Signature using the new name
Managers will forward work schedule or LWOP requests which should include:
A written request from the employee
The manager’s written approval
Managers will forward separation notifications which should include:
Action (i.e., resignation or retirement)
Reason for separation
Human Resources Division will maintain manual or automated tracking systems to monitor the timeliness and quantity of SF 52s received for processing.
Administrative Officers are responsible for keeping records and maintaining control of SF 52s for their organization to assure that the requested action is completed. Automated tracking systems are authorized.
Human Resources Division will use SF 52 to record staffing, classification, and other personnel determinations.
SF 52 actions will generate a SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action, which is the permanent official record and is placed in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder (OPF). The employee's copy and the administrative copy will be forwarded by HR to the employee's Administrative Officer who will review the information for accuracy and forward to the employee.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approves and issues position classification standards that define the title, series and grade of positions in the federal government. Position classification is the identification of a position, the analysis of the duties and responsibilities to be performed, and the placement of the position in a class under the position-classification plan established by the OPM under the authority of Title 5 of the United States Code, Chapter 51.
Position management is the assignment of work to positions within an approved or planned organization in an efficient manner that will best achieve the organization’s overall mission and goals, and provides for effective employee utilization within approved resources levels.
Position classification serves as a means for implementing, and as an integral part of, the position management program. The position classification program coupled with position management, when properly administered, provides the basis for compensating employees equally for the performance of substantially equal work, and serves as a tool essential to other federal personnel management programs, such as recruitment, training, reassignment and promotion of employees.
This subsection establishes policies and responsibilities for position classification and position management in the Office of Chief Counsel. These policies are based on the requirements of:
The Classification Act of 1949 (Title 5 of the United States Code)
5 CFR Part 511, Classification under the General Schedule
Treasury Personnel Management Manual Chapter 511
Governing policies, procedures, laws and regulations issued by OPM
The Office of Chief Counsel’s position classification program will be operated in a positive-oriented manner, consistent with governing laws, implementing regulations (including new classification standards), and Treasury’s policies and guidance. Position management will be observed in the classification of positions.
Classification determinations will be made objectively and without discrimination for any non-merit reason such as race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital, or parental status.
The provisions of this subsection apply to all positions within the Office of Chief Counsel that are classified under the General Schedule (GS), and include any positions that are designated as "GM" because those positions were formerly covered under the Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS). These provisions exclude SES positions.
The Chief Counsel has overall responsibility for administering the federal position classification and position management programs for the Office. This responsibility is delegated to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) for all positions classified under the General Schedule with designated "GS" pay plan and grades 1 through 15.
The Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) is responsible for providing a sound position management program that will ensure the efficient distribution of staff resources by:
Aiding in the identification, prevention, and elimination of unnecessary organizational fragmentation, excessive layering, improper design of jobs, outmoded work methods, and inappropriate span of control
Ensuring that position management is considered in Chief Counsel’s budget, planning, personnel, evaluation and management processes
Ensuring that position management provides a proper balance among program needs, efficiency of operations, and effective employee utilization
A position description (PD) is an official description of the major duties, responsibilities, qualification requirements, and supervisory relationships of a position. A position description reports the duties of a position as the duties exist and does not prescribe the duties of a position.
A position description is not considered to be officially established until it has been properly classified by HR or another official to whom this authority has been delegated.
All position descriptions must be properly classified in accordance with the Classification Act of 1949 and related OPM issuances and documents (e.g., OPM Position Classification Standards) to ensure proper titles, pay plan, occupational series, and grade levels. The position classification standards and supplemental guidance published by OPM and Treasury will serve as the sole basis for classification decisions. The use of OPM standards and guidance is mandatory.
Supervisors and managers have a continuing responsibility to maintain the accuracy of position descriptions under their control. They are also responsible for the review of vacant positions for accuracy prior to their being filled. Not withstanding the above, a position will be reviewed for classification accuracy at the discretion of the Human Resources Division (HR) or at any time a review is requested by the supervisor or incumbent.
A properly classified position description must be established prior to the appointment, promotion, reassignment, demotion, or transfer of an employee.
A position description is required to be drafted under these circumstances:
When management wishes to establish a new position
When the major duties of a position (whether filled or vacant) have changed materially since the position was classified
Any other circumstances(s) that are determined appropriate by HR
Any classification decision taken may, at HR's discretion, be reviewed at any time.
A position description reports the current assignments and the organizational design of positions. Managers and supervisors are exclusively responsible for deciding what duties and responsibilities will be assigned to each position. They may also direct and assign specific tasks which are not reflected in the position description. However, should such tasks become major duties, the position description must be modified to incorporate those tasks, and properly classified by HR.
The assignments of duties or the contents of position descriptions are not grievable, under either the negotiated or administrative grievance procedure. However, in the event of a disagreement between the employee and the supervisor over whether the position description accurately reflects the duties and responsibilities being assigned to the position, the employee can use the administrative or (if appropriate) negotiated grievance procedure to resolve the issue.
If an employee has assumed duties not specifically assigned to him or her, or is otherwise performing differently than directed by the supervisor/manager, failure of the supervisor to control the employee’s actions must be interpreted as giving silent consent to the change the employee has made to the position. Changes which take place in this manner must ultimately be reflected in a new or revised position description and certified by the supervisor/manager.
Every effort will be made to resolve informally disagreements or misunderstandings involving the classification of positions to avoid the necessity of a formal classification appeal. Therefore, it is the policy of the Office of Chief Counsel to encourage its employees first to attempt to resolve dissatisfactions with the classification of the position of which he/she is officially assigned through their immediate supervisors, and if necessary, the Human Resources Division.
An employee may, at any time, initiate a classification complaint or appeal the title, occupational series, grade or pay system of their position provided that either the complaint or the appeal relates to the official position to which he/she is officially assigned.
Employees have the right to use the classification complaint process or the applicable appeal system as a means to resolve dissatisfactions relating to the classification of the position to which they are assigned. Supervisors and HR will provide the employee(s) and/or the designated representative with the assistance required to properly and effectively comply with all Office of Chief Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Treasury, and OPM policies, regulatory and procedural requirements.
The employee must submit the complaint in writing, through supervisory channels, to the Director, Human Resources Division. The written classification complaint must clearly specify the classification issues (i.e., title, pay plan, series or grade) with which the employee disagrees, and the employee’s reason(s) for disagreement. The employee’s complaint should include:
Their name, mailing address, office telephone number, employing office and location
Their current position title, pay plan, occupational series, and grade
The requested pay plan, position title, occupational series, and grade
A copy of the official position description along with a statement concerning its accuracy. If the employee believes that the position description is inaccurate, the employee must provide their own description of the work currently being performed.
The employee and the supervisor may include in the complaint any other information that should be considered in the classification of the position.
Upon receipt of the classification complaint HR will:
The decision will take into consideration the representations of the employee and supervisor, applicable position classification standards, and other regulatory requirements. HR will assist the supervisor in explaining the basis for the classification decision to the employee.
If the decision does not grant the employee’s request, HR will advise the employee of their formal classification appeal rights.
If the decision on the complaint requires a change in title, series, grade or pay system of the position, a personnel action to effect the decision will be taken promptly (normally within four pay periods after a classification has been issued).
A position classification appeal is a formal written request by an employee or the agency asking to review the classification of a position to which the employee is officially assigned.
Some classification matters can not be appealed through the position classification appeals process, including, but not limited to:
The accuracy of the official position description such as the inclusion or exclusion of a major duty in the official position description
The assignment or detail outside the scope of normally performed duties that are described in the official position description
Information on all classification matters that are excluded from the position classification appeals process may be found in 5 CFR 511.607, Nonappealable Issues. Supervisors or managers and/or employees should contact HR for more detailed information on and the requirements of the classification appeals process.
The effective date of a classification appeal decision is governed by 5 CFR 511.701, Effective Dates Generally, et seq.
A classification appeal may be cancelled for the following reasons:
At the employee’s written request
If the employee is no longer officially assigned to the position, unless there is a possibility of retroactive benefit
If the employee fails to cooperate and/or provide requested information relating to the appeal
An employee may file a written appeal request with the agency by filing an appeal directly to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). If dissatisfied with the agency’s decision, an employee may file a subsequent appeal with either Treasury’s Office of General Counsel or OPM. The employee’s appeal should include:
Their name, mailing address, office telephone number, employing office and location
Their current position title, pay plan, occupational series, and grade
The requested pay plan, position title, occupational series, and grade
A copy of the official PD
A statement concerning the accuracy of the PD
An employee may file a written appeal directly to OPM. A classification appeal decision made by OPM is the final administrative decision, unless reconsidered and reopened by OPM at the request of either the agency or the employee.
The Office of Merit Systems Oversight may, at its discretion, reopen and/or reconsider an appeal decision only when written information is presented, within 45 calendar days of the date of the decision, that establishes a reasonable doubt as to the technical accuracy of the decision or provides evidence that material facts were not considered in the initial appeal.
To establish reasonable doubt, the requester should refer specifically to the decision and the classification standards to demonstrate possible error in the evaluation of the position.
A final classification appeal decision may not be submitted for reconsideration at a level lower than the adjudicating level, e.g., a final classification appeal decision rendered by OPM may not be reconsidered by Treasury, the Office of General Counsel or the Office of Chief Counsel.
An employee has the right to request a representative of their choice to assist in the preparation and presentation of an appeal. The appellant must notify the Office of Chief Counsel, the Office of General Counsel, or Treasury in writing the name and address of the representative if one is selected.
The Office of Chief Counsel, General Counsel or Treasury may disallow an employee’s representative when:
The individual’s activities would cause a conflict of interest
The individual cannot be released from their official duties because of the priority needs of the Office of Chief Counsel, General Counsel, or Treasury
The individual’s release would give rise to unreasonable costs to the Office of Chief Counsel, General Counsel, or Treasury
The appellant’s representative cannot be a supervisor with line or staff authority over the position or any official having classification authority over the position, (i.e., a personnel officer or personnel specialist).
A representative bears the same obligation to cooperate in processing the appeal as does the appellant. The representative should promptly relay instructions, from either the Office of Chief Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Treasury, or OPM to the appellant, and will be expected to provide information promptly to OPM upon request.
The selection of a representative does not convey a right to the representative to be present during fact-finding conducted by either the Office of Chief Counsel, General Counsel, Treasury, or OPM. The deciding official is responsible for determining the best method of gathering facts concerning the duties, responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the appealed position. The appellant’s representative may submit to the appropriate appellate office significant information concerning the classification of the position.
An employee in a pay and duty status is entitled to a reasonable amount of official time for the preparation of a classification appeal under formal appeal procedures. The actual amount of time to be allowed will be determined on the basis of the particular circumstances in each case.
If the employee’s representative is a Treasury employee in a pay and duty status, then he/she is also entitled to a reasonable amount of official time to assist the employee in the preparation of a classification appeal.
Employees, whether appellants or representatives, must make advance arrangements with their supervisors or managers for the use of official time to be used. If disagreements arise over the amount of official time to be used, then the matter will be submitted to HR for resolution, or will be resolved in accordance with local regulations, laws, or through negotiated agreement, as applicable.
The appeal must be filed with the Office of Chief Counsel, Office of General Counsel, or OPM no later than 15 calendar days following receipt of the written notification of the Chief Counsel’s decision, or 15 calendar days after the effective date of the Office of Chief Counsel’s personnel action, whichever is later.
If initially filed with the Office of Chief Counsel or Office of General Counsel and its decision is unfavorable, the subsequent appeal to OPM must be filed no later than 15 calendar days after receipt of the Office of Chief Counsel’s or Office of General Counsel’s decision.
OPM may extend the time limits if an employee was not notified of the limits and was not otherwise aware of them, or if circumstances beyond the employee’s control prevented them from filing an appeal within the prescribed time limit.
The Office strives to ensure high levels of performance from employees to further the accomplishment of the Office's mission. In setting up performance goals for the year, the Office will take into account employee perspectives and the perspective of the IRS as Counsel’s client. In addition, organizational performance results will be shared with the business units to ensure that ratings given by a particular business unit reflect unit performance.
Critical elements and performance standards, communicated to employees pursuant to 5 CFR 430, Performance Management, and annual written performance evaluations of employees based on the standards, are designed to promote these goals.
This subsection covers the process of establishing performance elements and standards, evaluating employee performance based upon those standards, issuing annual performance ratings, and retaining records regarding performance.
Appraisal Period — The established period of time for which performance will be reviewed and a rating of record prepared.
Critical Element — A component of a position consisting of one or more duties and responsibilities that contributes toward accomplishing organizational goals and objectives and that is of such importance that unacceptable performance in the element would result in overall unacceptable performance in the position.
Non-critical Element — A dimension or aspect of individual, team, or organization performance exclusive of a critical element, that may warrant mention in the evaluation. Non-critical elements are not considered in assigning the overall/summary rating.
Departure Rating — A departure rating is a rating used when an employee temporarily occupies a job or, under certain conditions, leaves one position for another position. Departure ratings will be used when a supervisor prepares an employee’s annual evaluation. A departure rating is only required when an employee:
Completes a detail or temporary promotion (with a new supervisor) for 90 days or more
Leaves one position and moves on a permanent basis to a new position (with a new supervisor) where the Critical Elements are substantially different
Employee Performance File (EPF) — The official performance file maintained on an employee which contains copies of performance elements and standards, annual ratings of record, etc.
Employee Performance Drop File — A file which may be maintained by a manager on individual employees containing performance notes, examples of work, counseling memorandums, and other documents of a temporary nature.
Narrative — A written narrative evaluation which is attached to the rating form used for annual rating of record and provides examples and/or explanation about the performance upon which the critical element ratings are based.
Performance Plan — The written performance elements and standards issued to each employee.
Performance Standard — The management-approved expression of the performance thresholds, requirements, or expectations that must be met to be appraised at a particular level of performance.
Progress Review – A review of the employee’s progress toward achieving the performance standards. A progress review, in itself, is not a performance appraisal or a performance rating, but should be documented as a performance discussion. Progress reviews should be maintained in the EPF and/or drop file.
Summary Rating or Annual Rating of Record — The summary rating of each critical element, and the assignment of an overall rating on the basis of the critical elements.
Performance elements and standards must be communicated to employees at the beginning of the appraisal period.
Employees should acknowledge communication and receipt of elements and standards by signing Form LD-2 or other designated form. The signed form should be maintained in the Employee Performance File (EPF).
Managers should provide progress reviews to employees during the appraisal year. For further guidance, see the requirements in 5 CFR 430.207(b), Monitoring Performance.
Generally, performance ratings are to be issued annually. An employee must have been issued, and been subject to, his/her elements and standards for a minimum period of 90 days in order to receive a rating.
If an employee received a departure rating within the last 90 days of the rating period, the departure rating can be used (at management’s discretion) as the annual rating of record.
Part-time employees will receive an annual performance evaluation. Managers should consider the size and complexity of workload in light of scheduled work hours when rendering such evaluation.
Appraisals should be completed within 30 days of the end of the appraisal period.
Copies of employee appraisals will be forwarded to HR for inclusion in the employee’s OPF. Appraisals will be due to HR within 45 days of the end of the appraisal period or the appraisal will be considered late. HR may notify the Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations) if an appraisal is 90 days overdue.
The rating period for all Office of Chief Counsel managers (including SES members and management officials) is October 1 through September 30 of each year.
The Office of Chief Counsel uses a standardized appraisal period for all employees. This means that each year an employee’s appraisal will be due at the same time, which is generally determined by the employee’s date of hire. The appraisal due dates will not change due to a within-grade increase, LWOP, other absence, or a promotion.
For all Counsel employees on rolls prior to June 1, 2003, managers should consult HR to determine the standard appraisal period for each employee.
For all employees (attorneys and non-attorneys) hired by the Office of Chief Counsel on or after June 1, 2003, the appraisal year for those employees will begin on the date of hire and run through the last day of the month in the following calendar year which is immediately prior to the employee’s month of hire.
However, the first annual appraisal for all new attorneys in the Office of Chief Counsel is due no later than the end of the tenth month. The requirement to submit this first annual appraisal early does not change the appraisal period for any subsequent years; that appraisal period is determined as explained in paragraph (3) above.
Each employee must be evaluated and given a rating on an annual basis. Each rating should be specifically tailored to the employee’s performance over the past appraisal year. The Office of Chief Counsel does not re-validate ratings given in prior years.
The performance rating forms used by the Office of Counsel are as follows:
Position Performance Rating Form SES Executive Performance Agreement See Exhibit 30.4.1-2. Attorney Managers (non SES) LD-2CC/IRS Form 9664 Attorneys LD-2CC/IRS Form 9664 All non-attorneys (including non-attorney managers) Form 6850-CC Form 6850-CC
In order to ensure that timely feedback is provided on employee performance on an annual basis, a narrative evaluation is required with all annual ratings of record.
There are two general types of performance records that may be maintained for each employee in Counsel. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) established an Employee Performance File (EPF) System to include all official performance-related records maintained by an agency on its employees. (See 5 CFR 293, Personnel Records.) Managers may also choose to maintain a drop file which contains temporary information related to an employee.
The records in an EPF are used:
To assist rating officials in monitoring and rating performance
To provide employees with information about their actual performance or matters affecting performance and on how, if necessary, their performance may be improved
As a basis for decisions involving retention, pay, assignments, promotions, rewards, training, reduction-in-force determinations, etc.
Each Counsel employee must have an EPF. Depending on local practice, the EPF may be retained by the individual manager, an Administrative Officer, an Office Manager, or the Area F&M staff.
No documentation relating to any type of disciplinary or adverse action will be placed in an employee's EPF if the action was based purely on non-performance reasons (e.g., failure to file or pay income taxes). The EPF (and drop file, if maintained) may include:
Performance appraisal (narrative and rating form)
Critical Elements and performance standards
Receipt for Critical Elements and performance standards
Any progress reviews not included in summary ratings
Any employee rebuttals or requests for reconsideration of the rating
Records or documentation needed to justify or recommend a pending personnel action
Documents concerning the denial of a within-grade increase (WGI), or reflecting that a request for reconsideration of a WGI denial has been made, and its outcome
Documentation of performance awards, including the required justification for any special act awards
Performance ratings of record, including the performance plan on which they are based, and any supporting documents shall be retained for a minimum of four years (five years for SES employees).
When an advance notice of proposed demotion or removal is issued but not effected, appraisals of unacceptable performance and all related documents containing any entry or other notation of the unacceptable performance for which the action was proposed will be destroyed when the employee demonstrates improved performance and the employee completes one year of acceptable performance from the date of the written advance notice of proposed removal or reduction in grade.
Performance evaluation documentation needed in conjunction with ongoing administrative, quasi-judicial or judicial proceedings may be retained as necessary beyond the time limits specified above.
All EPF records older than four years (five years for SES employees) shall be destroyed.
When an employee is reassigned within Counsel, the EPF will be forwarded to the appropriate new organizational component.
When an employee resigns or retires from the federal government, the official maintaining the EPF shall destroy the EPF. No EPF-type records (including past performance appraisals) will be forwarded to the Federal Records Center.
When an employee leaves the Office of Chief Counsel to go to another federal agency, the official maintaining the EPF will forward all ratings of record which are four years old or less (five years for SES employees), including the performance plan on which the most recent rating of record was based, to HR to be filed in the OPF. These documents will be forwarded to the new employing agency along with the OPF. All other performance-related records should be destroyed.
EPFs and drop files are systems of records covered by the Privacy Act (see CCDM 18.104.22.168, Security of Confidential Information, Official Documents and Tax Data). All employee performance records should be maintained in accordance with the rules and regulations governing the Privacy Act, i.e., they will be maintained in such a manner as to prevent access by unauthorized personnel. EPFs must be secured in a locked file cabinet, desk, or similarly secured storage area when not in use.
Employees may request access to their EPF at any time. An employee's designated representative also has a right to request access.
Whenever an employee's EPF is retrieved for any administrative purpose, the custodian shall review the EPF to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section before turning it over.
Personal notes retained by supervisors or managers that are not required as documentation in the performance appraisal process are not considered a part of the employees' performance file and are not subject to the Privacy Act if such notes are:
For the personal use of the author
Not provided to any other person
Retained at the author's discretion
Supervisors and managers must protect such records to ensure that they are not disclosed or disseminated in any way, except (at the supervisor's discretion) to the individual who is the subject of the notes.
If such notes are used as the basis for a performance-related action, they then become a part of the system of records and are subject to the Privacy Act.
As used in this subsection, the term "separation" refers to a voluntary action in which an employee leaves their employment with the Office of Chief Counsel (i.e., resignation, retirement, or transfer to another agency).
Non-attorney employees should submit a written notification of their intent to separate to their supervisor, Administrative Officer or Office Manager at least two weeks in advance of their separation. The appropriate official will assist them in completing the separation process.
The Office of Chief Counsel has implemented an automated Separating Employee Clearance (SEC) Process, which is the official record of the employee’s clearance. The process described below applies to both Associate Chief Counsel Offices and Field Counsel Offices.
At least two weeks prior to separation, the employee or a designated official will initiate an SF 52 separation action.
The Administrative Officers will complete the SEC module for all separating employees.
For employees in Field Counsel Offices, the SEC module will be completed by the appropriate personnel/offices.
Managers are required to account for three items in the SEC module. The SEC module will generate a reminder (via e-mail) to managers to ensure the following items are returned:
The SF 52 will automatically initiate the following actions:
Deactivate systems passwords
Cancel phone service
Deactivate Government-issued credit cards
Search for outstanding payroll and administrative debts
Attorneys should give at least 30 days' written notice of their intention to separate from the Office of Chief Counsel.
If possible, the notice of intent to separate should be in memorandum form or an e-mail addressed to the employee's immediate manager. The memorandum or separation notification should state a reason for the separation and should also discuss possible post-employment conflicts of interest (see CCDM 22.214.171.124.3, Post-Employment).
Upon receipt, the memorandum or e-mail announcing an attorney’s intent to separate should be forwarded to the Human Resources Division.
If the separation will be effective prior to the completion of the three-year employment tenure commitment, the attorney should consult CCDM 126.96.36.199.3, Employment Tenure Commitments for Attorney Personnel.
Release. If attorneys are separating for one of the reasons given in CCDM 188.8.131.52.3.2, attorneys should request a release from the commitment, citing the appropriate reference.
Breach. If the separation does not meet the criteria of CCDM 184.108.40.206.3.2, a breach of commitment will result. Attorneys should be cognizant of the provisions of CCDM 220.127.116.11.3.1.
Upon separating, employees must return all items of Government property listed in the following paragraphs to their supervisor or other designated official.
All official records and documents — Employees must return manuals, notes or diaries of office business, work papers or personal copies of official papers, orders, correspondence, internal documents, or any other such material.
All files in the possession of a separating employee (including closed files or files borrowed from another office/division) should be returned at least three days before separation.
Removal of such material constitutes violation of the Rules of Conduct and may violate disclosure statutes, e.g., 26 U.S.C. § 6103, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (the Privacy Act).
If an employee wishes to remove any official records and documents upon separation from employment with the Office of Chief Counsel, the employee must consult with his/her manager. The employee’s manager will consult with the IRS Records Officer or designee to determine whether removal of the document(s) is permitted under records management and disclosure rules.
All equipment and supplies issued to employees for use in their official duties, such as keys and calculators; computers, cell phones and pagers; and copies of the Internal Revenue Code, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Uniform System of Citation.
Identification credentials — Employees must return identification cards ("badges" ) pocket commissions, building passes, official passports, GSA drivers' licenses, parking permits, and LEXIS ID cards.
Government credit cards — Employees must return both travel cards and purchase cards.
Employees must provide in writing the secure messaging personal password used to un-encrypt messages prior to separation.
All employees who separate from the Office of Chief Counsel are asked to complete the Department of the Treasury Employee Exit Survey, which replaced IRS' Form 13629, Separation Interview Report. The Treasury exit survey will provide information concerning employees' experience in the Office and will permit frank and open expressions that might otherwise not prevail during the employees' tenure. It will also help enhance the Office's recruitment and retention strategies.
Separating employees automatically receive the Treasury survey by e-mail before their separation date (the survey link is sent directly to employees through the HR Connect system if they registered in the system). The email sent to employees includes both internal and external website links to the survey tool, so employees have the option of completing the survey on their home computer, and a point of contact in case employees experience difficulties using the survey tool.
Separation interviews are conducted with all employees voluntarily leaving the Office of Chief Counsel.
Attorney and paralegal staff members leaving the Associate Chief Counsel offices are interviewed by their Associate Chief Counsel.
Field Counsel Offices. It is the responsibility of the Area Counsel to ensure that attorneys and paralegals leaving their offices in the field are interviewed and notified they will be asked to complete a voluntary Department of the Treasury Employee Exit Survey.
Employees leaving offices where the Area Counsel resides should be interviewed by the Area Counsel, if possible. Employees leaving other field offices may be interviewed by the Deputy Area Counsel or an Associate Area Counsel if it is not practical for the Area Counsel to do so.
Generally, the interviews should not be conducted by immediate supervisors of the separating employees.
If the separating employee and the manager conducting the exit interview are not in the same location, then the exit interview should be conducted by phone.
During separation interviews for attorneys and paralegals, employees should be counseled about the prohibitions on future employment as a precaution against conflicts of interest. See CCDM 18.104.22.168.3, Post-Employment, and the Department of the Treasury minimum standards of conduct booklet.
If an exit interview is not held with a departing employee for any reason, the supervisor will provide written notice to the employee about potential conflicts of interest in future employment and information about the voluntary Department of the Treasury Employee Exit Survey.
The Office of Chief Counsel recognizes that flexible workplace arrangements can, in appropriate circumstances, benefit the office as well as its employees. These arrangements should not result in any additional costs to the Government. This section establishes basic procedures for implementing project-based arrangements under which employees may work at alternate work sites.
Flexiplace is an arrangement in which employees of the Office of Chief Counsel may, under appropriate circumstances and on particular projects, work their normal tour of duty at alternate work sites. Alternate work sites may include the employee's residence or any other location mutually agreeable to the employee and their supervisor. This section does not cover sites such as Tax Court, law libraries, or other government offices.
Flexiplace is not intended to alter the normal tour of duty or serve as a substitute for child care or other care-giving responsibilities. Flexiplace will not affect rules or practices for work performed at such locations.
Supervisor means the immediate supervisor, or when the immediate supervisor is unavailable the person designated to act in their absence.
Employee coverage for work-related injuries or illnesses sustained or occurring at the alternate work site will be controlled by the Federal Worker's Compensation Act.
It is the employee's responsibility to request to participate in the program. He/she must make a specific request, by date, to work at an alternate work site. Eligibility for flexiplace requires that the employee:
Occupies a position in which the work performed is "portable", which is described as work that is definable, specific, verifiable, and is amenable to performance outside of the traditional work site. The employee's work cannot be restructured to fit this requirement except as described in CCDM 22.214.171.124.3, Hardship and/or Medical Situations.
Has successfully completed the one-year probationary/trial period, although under unusual circumstances exceptions may be approved
Has a current rating of at least "fully successful" and is not on a performance improvement plan
Has not been on a leave restriction letter, or has not received any AWOL or discipline during the preceding 12-month period
Be accessible at the alternate work site during the prescribed hours of duty (except for approved leave/credit hours) and also must understand that circumstances may require the employee's presence at the traditional work site
Has executed Form 13626, Alternate Work Site Participation Agreement
Requests will be made to the supervisor in advance by email or by other mutually acceptable medium.
The employee must seek and receive management approval before he/she may work flexiplace.
The decision to permit an employee to work at an alternate work site will be made by the supervisor based on the following factors:
The work must be portable
The work must be definable and specific
The progress on the work performed can be verified as appropriate for the amount of time worked at the alternate work site
The employee's office will have adequate coverage, as determined by the supervisor, at the traditional work site. Supervisors will be reasonable in making this determination and will not make blanket determinations to exclude an office from participation.
The alternate work site must contain compatible, appropriate equipment, software and supplies for the work being performed
The employee has executed an Employee Participation Agreement
There are no other ad hoc circumstances which would require the employee's presence at the traditional work site (e.g., branch meetings, taxpayer conferences, etc.)
An employee may work no more than 60 hours per calendar month at an alternate work site. Before the beginning of a month, employees may submit a request to work flexiplace on specified dates during that month.
It is no longer necessary for managers to complete a flexiplace comment sheet each time an employee works flexiplace.
This subsection applies to those situations in which the presence of a temporary physical illness/injury or other medical condition significantly impairs the mobility of the employee (also called "medical flexiplace" ). In this situation, the employee's physical condition prevents them from reporting to the traditional work site, or the condition imposes such a significant adverse impact on the employee's travel time that the routine use of leave (including leave without pay) would be necessitated.
An employee’s request to work at an alternate work site due to physical incapacitation requires the approval of the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M). The proposed agreement and all supporting documentation, including supportive medical documentation, should be forwarded to the Labor and Employee Relations Division at least two weeks prior to the proposed effective date, if possible. The request may initially be approved for up to two months and extended in two-month increments for an additional four months.
Employees with disabilities as defined under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, may be entitled to reasonable accommodation hereunder, which may include working at an alternate work site.
This subsection applies to those situations in which the temporary presence of adverse weather or commuting conditions prevent the employee from reporting to the traditional work site. In these situations, the office officially remains open but OPM (for Washington, D.C.) or similar authority for offices in other locations, has announced that unscheduled leave, delayed arrival, or similar policy is in effect for the local commuting area.
Employees affected by these conditions or emergencies may work at an alternate work site if he/she would have otherwise been granted Flexiplace on that day and the employee has sufficient project-based work in their possession. Employees may obtain conditional approval pending occurrence of the condition described above. The supervisor will not consider the adequate office coverage in this situation.
Additional information can be found in CCDM 126.96.36.199, Release of Employees in Emergency Circumstances.
Employees working at alternate work sites must comply with all established procedures for requesting approval for and taking leave/credit hours.
Credit hours or religious comp time may be earned on weekends or holidays at an alternate work site. The total hours so earned may not exceed four hours in one work day or 12 hours on each non-work day. Because any such credit hours are flexiplace hours, advance approval must be granted by a supervisor before any such hours can be earned. In addition, all of the procedures, criteria, and restrictions otherwise applicable to a manager's decision whether to allow flexiplace are equally applicable to requests for weekend/holiday flexiplace.
Weekend/holiday project based flexiplace is not intended to alter the employee's normal hours of duty or serve as a substitute for child care or other care giving responsibilities. Before flexiplace is approved, the employee and manager must agree on which hours will be worked during the weekend. Generally, weekend/holiday project-based flexiplace will be during the employee's normal tour of duty unless the supervisor and employee agree to another time period.
All requirements for employee eligibility set out at CCDM 188.8.131.52.1 are required for weekend/holiday flexiplace.
Employees must make a specific request to work at an alternate work site for each weekend/holiday in question in the same manner as for all other flexiplace.
All of the factors described in paragraphs (1) through (5) must be present to support a manager's decision to grant weekend/holiday flexiplace.
The policies and procedures for making determinations concerning the payment of recruitment, relocation and retention incentives within the Office of Chief Counsel are derived from the following:
Incentive Program Authorities Recruitment Incentive Program
Public Law 108.411, October 30, 2004, section 101
5 U.S.C. 5753
Relocation Incentive Program
Public Law 108-411, October 30, 2004, section 101
5 U.S.C. 5753
Retention Incentive Program
Public Law 108.411, October 30, 2004, section 101
5 U.S.C. 5754
Authority to pay incentives is vested in the Chief Counsel, per delegations from the General Counsel, Treasury. This authority has been redelegated to the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M).
The Director, Human Resources Division is redelegated the authority to approve payment of incentives to attorneys or law clerks hired under the Honors Program.
The amount of incentives for appointments of employees under the Office of Chief Counsel will be established by the Chief Counsel in the annual budget.
Employee for the purposes of paying a recruitment, relocation, or retention incentive means:
An individual who has received a written offer to be newly appointed as an employee of the Office of Chief Counsel or to remain as a current employee of the Office of Chief Counsel; and
An individual who has signed a written agreement prior to payment of the incentive.
Exceptions to Paragraph 1a 1. Employment under the Student Educational Employment Program 2. Employment as a law clerk trainee 3. Employment while a student during school vacations under a short-term temporary appointing authority 4. Employment under a provisional appointment if the new appointment is permanent and immediately follows the provisional appointment 5. Employment under a temporary appointment that is neither full-time nor the principal employment of the candidate
Basic Pay refers to the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position to which the employee will be newly appointed or maintained before deductions and exclusive of additional pay of any kind, such as locality-based comparability payments under 5 U.S.C. 5304.
Service Agreement for the purposes of an incentive means a written agreement between the Office of Chief Counsel and an employee under which the employee agrees to a specified period of employment with the appointing agency in return for payment of an incentive.
Newly Appointed refers to:
The first appointment, regardless of tenure, as an employee of the Federal government
An appointment as an employee of the Federal government following a break in service of at least 90 days from the candidate’s last period of Federal employment
Position in a different geographic area for the purposes of paying a relocation incentive means:
A different geographic area if the worksite of the new position is 50 or more miles from the worksite of the position held immediately before the move. If the worksite of the new position is less than 50 miles from the worksite of the position held immediately before the move, but the employee must relocate (i.e., establish a new residence) to accept the position, an authorized agency official may waive the 50-mile requirement and pay the employee a relocation incentive.
In all cases, an employee must establish a residence in the new geographic area before the agency may pay the employee a relocation incentive.
Likely to be difficult to fill means the Office of Chief Counsel is likely to have difficulty recruiting employees with the competencies required for the position or group of positions in the absence of an incentive.
Annual Review for the purpose of authorizing a retention incentive means a review of any applicable Service Agreements and payments at the end of the calendar year in which a retention incentive payment began.
Likely to Leave Federal Service means that it has been determined that in the absence of a retention incentive an employee or group of employees is likely to leave Chief Counsel or an employee has notified the Office of Chief Counsel that he or she will leave his or her position.
Highly or Uniquely Qualified refers to a candidate who possesses the knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics an individual needs to perform the duties of the position.
In determining whether an incentive should be paid and in determining the amount of any such payment, the following factors will be considered:
The success of recent efforts to recruit highly qualified candidates for similar positions, including such indicators as offer acceptance rates, the proportions of positions, and the length of time required to fill similar positions
Recent turnover in similar positions
Labor-market factors that may affect the ability to recruit highly qualified candidates for similar positions now or in the future
The practicability of using the superior qualifications appointment authority provided by 5 U.S.C. 5333 and 5 CFR 531, subpart B, 5 CFR 531.203 alone or in combination with a recruitment, relocation, or retention incentive
For a relocation incentive, the desirability of the duties, work or organizational environment, or geographic location of the position
For a retention incentive, special or unique competencies required for the position and the direct impact of employee’s departure on the agency’s ability to carry out an essential activity or function of the Office of Chief Counsel
A recruitment and/or relocation incentive will be based on a written determination that, in the absence of such an incentive, it would be difficult to fill the position(s) with a highly qualified candidate(s). The determination of attorneys or law clerks newly appointed under the Chief Counsel Honors Program will be on a group basis.
A retention incentive will be based on a written determination that, in the absence of such an incentive, an employee who possesses unusually high or unique qualifications or provides Chief Counsel with a service that fulfills a special need would be likely to leave Chief Counsel.
The HR Division will collect written documentation outlining the basis for determining the incentive.
When using a retention incentive, the Office of Chief Counsel will conduct an annual review of the employee to determine whether payment is still warranted.
The HR Division will conduct periodic reviews and evaluations of the use of incentives to ensure that such payments conform to the criteria established under the Chief Counsel Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentive Plan.
All documentation, certification, and Service Agreements used for the payment of the incentive will be maintained in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder in accordance with 5 CFR 575.113, Records and Reports.
A lump-sum incentive of up to 25 percent of the annual rate of basic pay (excluding locality pay) may be paid to an employee in accordance with 5 CFR 575, subparts A — Recruitment Incentives, B — Relocation Incentives, and C — Retention Incentives.
A recruitment and relocation incentive will be determined before, but not paid before the prospective employee enters duty in the position for which recruited. The incentive will be paid as a lump-sum on the effective date of the employee’s appointment. It will not be considered part of an employee’s rate of basic pay for any purpose.
A retention incentive will be paid as installments after the completion of specified periods of service or a single lump-sum upon completion of the full service period. It will not be considered part of an employee’s rate of basic pay for any purpose.
Recruitment Incentive Service Agreement — A written Service Agreement to complete a specified period of employment (no less than 11 months) with Chief Counsel, must be signed before an incentive will be paid. The minimum period of employment is 11 months.
A copy of Form 13843, Recruitment Incentive Service Agreement, will be prepared for signature by the Director, HR or the Associate Chief Counsel (F&M) as appropriate.
Relocation Incentive Service Agreement — A written Service Agreement to complete a specified period of employment (not to exceed four years) at the new duty station with Chief Counsel, must be signed before a relocation incentive will be paid.
Retention Incentive Service Agreement — A written Service Agreement to complete a specified period of employment (not to exceed four years) at the new duty station with Chief Counsel, must be signed before a retention incentive will be paid. The agreement must include the commencement and termination dates of the required service period.
The Service Agreements may be completed at any time after approval of the incentive, but no later than the time the employee enters on duty in the position for which the incentive is authorized.
The effective date of the Service Agreement shall coincide with the effective date of the personnel action.
An employee who fails to complete the period of employment established under the Service Agreement, whether voluntarily or because of misconduct, will be indebted to the Office of Chief Counsel. The employee will repay the incentive on a pro rata basis.
An employee who is offered a retention incentive who receives a rating of less than "Fully Successful" or equivalent on his or her annual review is considered to have failed to complete the requirements under the Service Agreement and is thereby indebted to the Office of Chief Counsel. If the Office of Chief Counsel terminates a retention incentive Service Agreement based on this reason or fails to complete the period of employment, the following rules apply:
The employee is entitled to retain the retention incentive payments previously paid that are attributable to the completed portion of the service period.
If the payments received are less than the amount that would be attributable to the completed portion of the service period, the Office of Chief Counsel is not obligated to pay the employee for the completed service unless the agency agreed to the payment in the terms of the Service Agreement.
Repayment is not required if the employee is involuntarily separated (for reasons other than misconduct or delinquency).
Amounts owed by an employee for repayment of an incentive will be recovered from the employee under the Treasury Department’s regulation for debt collection by offset under 5 U.S.C. 5514 and 5 CFR 550, subpart K, Collection by Offset from Indebted Government Employees.
The right of recovery of an employee’s debt may be waived in whole or in part by the Agency head if he or she determines that recovery would be against equity and good conscience, or against the public interest.
All documentation regarding the termination of a Service Agreement and incentive will be maintained in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder.
|MEMORANDUM FOR ASSOCIATE CHIEF COUNSEL 1|
|FROM:||Review Panel Chairperson|
|SUBJECT:||Selection Recommendation for Assistant Branch Chief/|
|Assistant to Branch Chief [office]|
|Vacancy Announcement # [announcement number]|
On behalf of the review panel for this position, I am pleased to recommend the selection of [name of proposed selectee]. The review panel consisted of myself as chairperson, [name and title of 2nd panel member], and [name and title of 3rd panel member]. After an initial assessment of the applications of the [number of total qualified] candidates who were rated eligible for this position, the panel determined the following candidates to be highly qualified for this position:
[List applicants interviewed in alphabetical order]
The interviews of these applicants were conducted on [date(s) of interview].
The panel considered a number of factors in distinguishing between the relative qualifications of the candidates. These factors included each candidate’s technical knowledge and experience in [identify specialized law knowledge required; e.g., corporate tax matters2]; supervisory or managerial potential; and [list other factors considered; these can be anything which is job- related3]. Following is a summary of our final qualifications assessments of the highly qualified candidates.
[Starting with the selectee, provide a brief summary for each of the highly qualified candidates which discusses the relevance of his/her experience in terms of the technical, managerial, and any other skills needed to perform in the position, and the panel’s impression of the candidate during the interview. If the panel ranked the non-selected candidates, they should be discussed in rank order; otherwise, the non-selectees can be listed alphabetically.4Summaries should include only information that was used in making final selection decisions. Information about degrees, etc., are available in the candidates’ applications and do not need to be repeated here.]
1. Name of Selectee:
The panel was unanimous in its recommendation of [selectee name].5 [Summarize the basis of selection and why panel believes candidate surpasses other candidates. If any deficiency was noted, or selectee was weaker in an area than some of the other candidates, include a statement regarding how panel believes this weakness was off-set by other skills the candidate possesses, or how it believes the employee or management may address it in the future.]
2. Name of highly qualified candidate - non-select: [Repeat for each non-select]
If candidates were ranked:
[Candidate name] was ranked as the panel’s second choice for this position. [Summarize why applicant was not as well qualified for position as the selectee, but why he/she was better than other ranked candidates.]
If candidates were not ranked:
[Candidate name] was not as well qualified for the position as the selected candidate. [Summarize why applicant was not as well qualified for position as the selectee.]
Based on the above, if you agree with our recommendation of [selectee name] for the subject position, please indicate your approval by signing in the space provided. The file containing the application material is available upon your request.
|I hereby approve the selection of [selectee name] for the position of [title of position and location].|
|ASSOCIATE CHIEF COUNSEL|
Notes for Selection Recommendation Memorandum
1Include a "thru" line, as appropriate, for Assistant Chief Counsel.
2This knowledge should generally be that which is described in the specialized experience and knowledge, skills and abilities sections of the vacancy announcement. If multiple tax areas were considered, but some were considered more important than others, this should be noted; e.g., "experience in corporate tax, particularly in corporate bankruptcy work" .
3The point here is to identify all of the job-related factors that were used by the panel to sort/ rank the candidates. Examples of some appropriate factors might be: experience in writing/reviewing regulations; organizational vision; interpersonal skills; familiarity with litigation processes, etc.
4 It is recommended candidates be ranked so that another selection can be made if the original selection falls through. The panel does not, however, have to rank.
5If recommendation of selectee was not unanimous, this should be discussed here with an explanation of how final resolution was reached.