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Schedule A Hiring Authority for Information Technology (IT) Modernization and Smarter IT Delivery Initiatives

Friday, November 17, 2017
Schedule A Hiring Authority for Information Technology (IT) Modernization and Smarter IT Delivery Initiatives

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is authorizing the use of excepted service appointments under 5 CFR 213.3102(i)(3) to address the need for hiring technical staff in direct support of agency efforts to transform and modernize Government IT. This authority may be used to fill certain positions directly needed for work on IT Modernization projects and Smarter IT Delivery Initiative projects that are funded in the Fiscal Years (FY) 2017 and 2018 budgets. 

Agencies may use this authority to fill, on a temporary basis for up to one year, technical positions needed to directly carry out provisions of IT Modernization and Smarter IT Delivery Initiative projects at the General Schedule (GS) 11 through 15 grade levels through the end of FY 2018.  These technical positions entail in-depth knowledge and experience in creating modern digital services.  Because this work has not been performed in the Federal Government, current assessments may not be available to measure the required competencies.  Therefore, it is not practicable to examine for these positions.  OPM expects the use of this authority to inform our development of future qualifications standards and assessments for use in competitive examining. 

The authority is limited to those positions whose primary functions include cloud architecture; solutions architecture; and cloud migration from legacy hardware platforms to the cloud.  These types of positions will require unique and emerging skills such as knowledge of cloud computing technologies; knowledge of cloud management; and skill in programming language and coding using modern framework tools such Node.js.  No new appointments may be made after September 30, 2018.  These appointments may be extended in increments of up to one additional year. Agencies may also request extensions of appointments beyond 24 months from OPM on a case-by-case basis. 

When using this authority, agencies must apply the provisions of 5 CFR part 302.  Agencies must apply veterans’ preference when filling positions under this authority, and must have procedures in place for accepting applications.  If seeking to select a non-preference eligible over a preference eligible, agencies must follow the pass-over procedures in 5 U.S.C. §3318(c) and 3319(c)(7) as described in the Delegated Examining Operations Handbook.  Although public notice is not required when filling positions in the excepted service, OPM strongly encourages agencies to conduct appropriate recruiting and notice to meet agencies' technical needs. 

As a reminder, this authority should be used to supplement the normal competitive hiring process.  Agencies may also consider the use of a variety of other hiring flexibilities to meet their technical needs.  Such flexibilities include but are not limited to: 

  • Expertsand Consultants Appointments to perform temporary or intermittent expert or consultant work appointment of experts and consultants, 5 U.S.C 3109, 5 CFR 304; 
  • Government-wide Direct Hire Authority for Information Technology Management (Information Security), GS-2210-09 through GS-2210-15; 5 U.S.C. 3304(a)(3), 5 CFR part 337;
  • Intergovernmental Personnel Act(IPA) Details from State/local governments and educational institutions. 5 U.S.C. 3371-3375, and 5 CFR part 334; and 
  • The Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF)Program, whichpairs top innovators from the private sector, non-profit organizations, and academia with top innovators in Government to collaborate during focused 6-12 month “tours of duty.” 

cc:  Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), Deputy CHCOs, and Human Resources Directors