Senior Executive Service:

Investigating Distinguished Rank Award Nominees

GGD-86-86BR: Published: Jun 19, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) policy of charging agencies a fee to investigate senior executives agencies nominate for a distinguished rank award under the Presidential Rank Awards Program.

GAO noted that up to 6 percent of Senior Executive Service (SES) executives may receive rank awards each year. GAO found that OPM: (1) recommends to the President fewer than half of the distinguished rank award nominees after qualification evaluations; (2) interviews several of the nominee's coworkers, verifies the support for the award nomination, and evaluates the nominee's character and reputation; and (3) began charging a fee for the investigation in 1986 as a result of budget cuts. GAO felt that OPM is not authorized to require agencies to reimburse it for conducting rank award investigations and should change its investigative practices by investigating only those nominees it decides to recommend to the President for an award.

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