OPM has kicked off the 2014 Presidential Rank Awards process—asking agencies to nominate distinguished members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and Senior Level (SL)/Scientific or Professional (ST) employees. 

The Presidential Rank Award (PRA) was established by statute in 1978 as a means of recognizing

the exemplary achievements of individuals in service to the Federal government and the American people.  The PRA, like other awards programs, is important to the continued and future success of our world-class workforce, and it serves as a source of pride and inspiration to all of us.

Specifically, these prestigious awards recognize these SES and SL/ST employees for sustained accomplishments over a period of years. Awards are given in recognition of scientific breakthroughs, improvements in the delivery of service to the American people, and work that has or will result in the saving of billions of dollars for taxpayers. 

In a May 13 blog post, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta writes: “Awards programs such as the Presidential Rank Awards encourage excellence in federal service, recognizing the accomplishments of the dedicated, hard-working men and women of the civil service.”

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Archuleta offers the example of one PRA finalist who developed and executed a new contracting strategy for purchasing renewable energy at the Department of Defense that is projected to save $20 million.

In the call for nominations, OPM reminds agency heads to consider the current challenging fiscal conditions and resources needed to meet overall agency mission priorities in determining the number of nominations to submit.  Agencies should expect an extremely rigorous review process.  As indicated in 5 U.S.C. § 4507(c), the President has the final authority to determine if Presidential Rank Awards will be conferred. 

In her blog post, Archuleta adds, “to ensure the continued integrity of the SES and SL/ST awards programs, all agencies are required to develop plans for the consideration of conduct, where appropriate, when determining performance awards for members of the SES or SL/ST employees. These plans will be made public on the agencies’ websites by September 30.”

Guidelines and nomination templates are available at CHCOC.gov.