Interior IG releases findings on SES reassignments
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- Apr 11, 2018
After months of reviewing the reassignments of about 30 senior executives at the Department of Interior, the agency’s inspector general found that some proper protocols were not followed.
Between June 15, 2017 and Oct. 29, 2017, Interior’s Executive Resources Board—which handles position establishment, performance appraisals, executive development and reassignments— reassigned 27 of its approximately SES 227 members.
Internal whistleblowers and outside groups alleged that the transfers were due to political retribution. Lawmakers called for an investigation.
Although, the IG could not determine whether the reassignments complied with federal legal requirements, it did determine that the ERB did not follow the Office of Personnel Management’s guidance for organizing and implementing the transfers.
“The ERB did not document its plan or the reasons it used when selecting senior executives for reassignment, nor did it gather the information needed to make informed decisions about the reassignments,” the IG findings state. “In addition, the ERB did not communicate the decisions made with the SES corps or with most managers affected by the reassignments.”
Investigators also could not determine why the reassignments occurred, but the IG made four recommendations to improve the process for future reassignments:
- Document a plan for reassigning senior executives to ensure accountability for transparent, economical, and efficient government;
- Communicate with all affected senior executives and supervisors before issuing notifications of reassignment;
- Estimate and plan for all costs associated with geographic moves; and
- Implement guidance outlined in the OPM for establishing an ERB, to include developing a formal charter detailing the roles and responsibilities of all members.
Interior resolved and implemented one of the four recommendations, which was to communicate first with affected parties.
Read the full report here.