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Governmentwide Moratorium on Senior Executive Service (SES) Qualifications Review Board (QRB) Cases – Presidential Election Year 2020

Friday, January 8, 2021
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
AGENCY HEADS AND CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICERS
From: 
DENNIS DEAN KIRK, ESQ., EMPLOYEE SERVICES, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Subject: 
Governmentwide Moratorium on Senior Executive Service (SES) Qualifications Review Board (QRB) Cases – Presidential Election Year 2020

In accordance with 5 CFR 317.502(d), the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may suspend the processing of an agency’s SES Qualifications Review Board (QRB) cases when the head of an agency departs or announces his or her departure.  This is done to ensure the incoming head of the agency will have the full opportunity to exercise his or her prerogative to make or approve executive resources decisions that will impact the agency’s performance during his or her tenure.  To that end, OPM has imposed a moratorium on the processing of a particular agency’s SES QRB cases when the head of that agency departs for any reason, effective immediately upon the effective date of his or her departure.  A QRB moratorium will also be imposed when the head of an agency announces his or her intention to leave that office, effective immediately upon that announcement. 

Accordingly, effective January 8, 2021, OPM is imposing a Governmentwide moratorium on all SES QRB cases. SES QRB cases submitted prior to the moratorium will continue to be processed.

While a QRB moratorium is intended to preserve the prerogatives of an incoming agency head, this must be balanced against the need to ensure the continuity of agency operations during such transitions.  Accordingly, OPM will consider requests for exceptions to the Governmentwide QRB moratorium on a case-by-case basis.  Requests for exceptions should be signed by the agency head or the official who is designated to act in the agency head’s absence and must specifically address the potential for adverse impact on national security, homeland security, or a critical agency mission, program, or function if a particular SES candidate is not immediately certified. 

Please direct any questions or requests to:  Dennis Dean Kirk, Associate Director, Employee Services, by email at Dennis.Kirk@opm.gov or telephone at (202) 606-1546, or to Kristopher Goas, Manager, Senior Executive Resources Services, by email at Kristopher.Goas@opm.gov or telephone at (202) 606-4269.  

cc:  Deputy Chief Human Capital Officers, and Human Resources Directors