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Guidelines for SES Special Act Award Nominations

Special Act Awards for the SES

Background Information

Current policy requires that the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration (CFO/ASA) approve all requests to grant Special Act Awards to members of the Senior Executive Service (SES). Requests for Special Act Awards for senior executives are rare since the primary vehicle for recognizing SES accomplishments is the end-of-year bonus process. If the nominee received either a performance bonus or pay adjustment, it is highly unlikely that the award would be recommended for approval. 

In those instances when a request is submitted for review and approval, the accomplishments are reviewed against goals documented in the performance plan to determine the extent to which the accomplishments cited in the award justification exceeded expectations. 

It should be noted that Special Act Awards are designed to recognize a specific accomplishment covering a finite period of time, and not performance covering the entire appraisal cycle. 

Guidelines for Completing an Award Recommendation

In the award justification (a minimum of one page) you must list the context in which the nominee addressed the following:

  • What was the specific goal, challenge, or problem? 
  • What was the context in which the nominee addressed the goal, challenge, or problem?
  • What specific actions did the nominee take to address the goal, challenge, or problem?
  • What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?

Then, sum it up with a case why the nominee deserves the award. Note: Not being eligible for a bonus is not a valid reason. 

You must submit form CD-326, Recommendation for Recognition, including all signatures (blocks 7, 9, and 10). Be aware that the period of recognition (block 3) must be a specific period of time related to the accomplishment. Insert the following in block 9:

 Ellen Herbst, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

You should attach the award justification to the CD-326. The Department’s Incentive Awards Officer will review the justification and get back to the author with comments on whether it warrants consideration and if so, what needs to be revised in order to strengthen the justification and make it worthy of a recommendation. 

You should attach a copy of the nominee’s last 2 years of performance plans as well as the following:

  1. Date the employee converted to the SES, if applicable
  2. Length of SES appointment
  3. GS salary (if applicable) and SES salary
  4. Any awards, bonuses, or pay adjustments received in last 2 years

All the above documents must be submitted before the start of the review. Following any revisions to the award justification, an analysis and recommendation (if warranted) will be prepared for the CFO/ASA. 

NOTE: Funds to pay for Special Act Awards for SES are paid from the FY aggregate salary pool allotted to non-SES employees. 

If you need additional information or have questions, contact Michael Osver, the Department’s Incentive Awards Officer, at 202.482.3919 or via e-mail to mosver1@doc.gov.