Presidential Rank Awards still matter even without the cash, OPM says

Monday - 7/1/2013, 3:27pm EDT

By Cogan Schneier
Special to Federal News Radio

The White House is planning to offer congratulations to winners of the Presidential Rank Awards — but not money.

The Office of Personnel Management said in a statement Thursday the vetting process for the Presidential Rank Award will continue as usual. The memo updates a decision last month to suspend cash bonuses for federal employee winners.

"Specifically, OPM will coordinate on-site evaluations with the PRA coordinators at each agency, at which time OPM will review relevant personnel records and conduct interviews with appropriate persons to obtain information on the performance and professional accomplishments of each finalist for a PRA or non-monetary Presidential recognition," said OPM acting Director Elaine Kaplan.

The White House notified agencies last month that it would no longer be paying cash bonuses to rank awardees due to tight budgets. Presidential Rank Awardees instead would receive "non-monetary Presidential recognition," as OPM is required by law to request nominations for the awards.

In the past, executives could receive between 20-35 percent of their salary in a one-time bonus.

OPM's statement said nominating agencies will continue to bear the cost of screening for presidential recognition. According to a guidance pamphlet, the estimated cost to agencies for doing so in fiscal 2013 was $950 per nominee.

The Presidential Rank Awards began in 1978 as part of the Senior Executive Service program. The 2013 awards recognized executives for saving the government over $94 billion in 2012.

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