SES recertification wastes time, execs say

SES recertification wastes time, execs say

The recertification process for federal senior executives is ineffective and consumes too much money and time, say personnel directors, agency performance review boards and Senior Executive Service members.

According to a new Office of Personnel Management report, 71 percent of career executives and supervisors surveyed said that recertification should not be continued as a means of assessing performance of SES members. Sixty-seven percent of the chairmen of Agency Performance Review Boards and 78 percent of personnel directors agreed.

The majority of respondents said that the recertification process does not contribute to improved executive performance and that performance could be more accurately assessed using the annual performance appraisal process.

OPM surveyed 367 executives, review board chairmen and personnel directors after the 1997 recertification cycle.

The recertification process was created by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 to "ensure that the performance of career appointees demonstrates the excellence needed to meet the goals of the Senior Executive Service." The process examines an executive's performance over a 3-year period. Every third year, executives are recertified, conditionally recertified, or not recertified. There have been three recertification cycles so far: 1991, 1994 and 1997.

Agencies recertified more than 99 percent of their executives during each recertification cycle, according to the report.

Respondents said that the cost and time associated with the recertification process places an administrative burden on agencies.

The total cost of recertification in 1997 for the 50 agencies that provided cost information was about $1 million. Reporting agencies used nearly 17,700 work hours on recertification, which amounts to over 8.5 years of one staff person's time, the report said.

NEXT STORY: Revisiting the Gingrich years