[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 64 (Wednesday, April 2, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 17885-17887]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-6655]


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FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

12 CFR Part 268

[Docket No. OP-1264]


Rules Regarding Equal Opportunity

AGENCY: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the 
Board) has adopted a final rule that amends the section of its Rules 
Regarding Equal Opportunity (EEO Rules) which governs the employment of 
persons who are not United States citizens consistent with the Board's 
requirements for the security of its information. The amendment to this 
rule was first published on November 8, 2005, as an immediately 
effective interim rule with opportunity for public comment. The Board 
received no comments on the rule. On its own initiative, to address 
additional operational issues, the Board made further changes to the 
rule and on August 7, 2006, published a new immediately effective 
interim rule with opportunity for public comment. The Board received no 
comments on the

[[Page 17886]]

rule. With the changes discussed below, the Board is now adopting the 
August 7, 2006, interim rule as the final rule.

DATES: This final rule is effective April 2, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alicia S. Foster, Senior Counsel (202-
452-5289), Legal Division, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve 
System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20551. 
For users of Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) only, contact 
202-263-4869.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 8, 2005, by an immediately 
effective interim rule (70 FR 67641), the Board amended Sec.  268.205 
to permit the Board to hire certain Non-Citizens into positions 
requiring access to information of the Federal Open Market Committee 
(FOMC), subject to particular conditions and a preference for U.S. 
citizens over equally qualified non-citizens.\1\ The Board received no 
comments on the November 2005 interim rule. After the Board published 
the November 2005 interim rule and before the Board published the rule 
in final form, however, it became apparent that the hiring pressures 
that affected positions requiring access to FOMC Information and 
prompted the change in the EEO Rules also existed with respect to 
certain positions requiring access to Confidential Supervisory 
Information, a second category of Sensitive Information. Therefore, on 
August 7, 2006, the Board published a new interim rule (71 FR 44555) 
that extended the hiring requirements that apply to FOMC Information to 
Confidential Supervisory Information and made some additional 
modifications that apply to access to FOMC and Confidential Supervisory 
Information. The 60-day comment period for the interim rule ended on 
October 6, 2006. The Board received no comments on the August 2006 
interim rule. With the changes noted below, the Board is now adopting 
the August 2006 interim rule as the final rule.
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    \1\ Access to FOMC Information is also governed by the rules of 
the FOMC. See, for example, 12 CFR part 271.
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    The Board is making three substantive changes to the August 2006 
interim rule. First, the Board is amending Sec.  268.205(a)(9)(iii), 
which applies only to persons who were employed by the Federal Reserve 
as of January 1, 2006, and permits an employee who is a lawfully 
admitted permanent resident alien, an alien lawfully admitted for 
temporary resident, a refugee, or person granted asylum to qualify as a 
Protected Individual for purposes of the Board's rule even if he or she 
filed for citizenship beyond the six-month period set forth in 8 U.S.C. 
1324b(a)(3)(B)(i). In addition to the requirements set out in the 
interim rule for persons in this category, the final rule is amended to 
reflect the current policy of the Board that these employees complete a 
satisfactory background check. Thus, the Board is amending Sec.  
268.205(a)(9)(iii) to add a new paragraph (E) that expressly requires 
that an employee may qualify under this section only if he or she also 
passes a background investigation acceptable to the Board. Because of 
the addition of this new paragraph, which is now the last paragraph in 
this section, punctuation changes are also being made to existing 
paragraphs (C) and (D).
    Second, the Board is modifying Sec.  268.205(c)(4)(i) of the 
interim rule, which addresses access by Reserve Bank employees to FOMC 
Information, to clarify the interplay between the Sec.  268.205 rule 
and the separate rules of the FOMC. The FOMC's rules now apply the 
Board's rule under Sec.  268.205 to access to FOMC information by non-
citizens employed anywhere in the Federal Reserve System, and the Board 
has amended Sec.  268.205(c)(4)(i) to reflect this action.
    Third, the Board is amending the rule to include a new paragraph, 
Sec.  268.205(c)(5), addressing exceptions to the rule's requirements 
as they apply to access to Confidential Supervisory Information. The 
Board believes this new exception is necessary to cover unusual, 
unforeseen situations that may arise. Because the need for an exception 
should rarely arise, however, the exception is very narrow. To be 
granted an exception, the requester must demonstrate that unusual 
circumstances exist and that the employee for whom access is being 
requested has a strong and particularized need for access to the 
Confidential Supervisory Information. All exceptions for access to 
Confidential Supervisory Information must be approved by the Chairman 
of the Board's Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Affairs. A 
similar provision is not necessary for FOMC Information because the 
rules of the FOMC delineate when exceptions, including those on the 
basis of citizenship may be granted, for access to FOMC Information by 
Board and Reserve Bank employees and others. As a result of this new 
paragraph (5), the existing paragraph (c)(5) has been redesignated as 
paragraph (c)(6).
    Finally, the Board is making editorial corrections to the phrases 
``appropriations laws'' and the ``appropriations ban'' as referenced in 
the definition of ``Country List'' at Sec.  268.205(a)(3).

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.), generally requires an agency to perform an assessment of the 
impact a rule is expected to have on small entities. However, under 
section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 
605(b), the regulatory flexibility analysis otherwise required under 
section 604 of the RFA is not required if an agency certifies, along 
with a statement providing the factual basis for such certification, 
that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Because this rule governs the 
Board's dealings with its employees and applicants for employment and 
access to FOMC and Confidential Supervisory Information by Reserve Bank 
employees, and would not affect small entities as defined for purposes 
of the RFA, the Board certifies that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
ch. 3506; 5 CFR 1320 Appendix A.1), the Board reviewed the rule under 
the authority delegated to the Board by the Office of Management and 
Budget. No collections of information pursuant to the Paperwork 
Reduction Act are contained in this rule.

Plain Language

    Section 722 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires each federal 
banking agency to use plain language in all rules published after 
January 1, 2000. The Board has attempted to use plain language in 
drafting this rule. In the interim proposals, the Board invited 
comments on whether it could take additional steps to make the rule 
easier to understand. The Board received no comments on Sec.  268.205.

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 268

    Administrative practice and procedure, Aged, Civil rights, Equal 
employment opportunity, Federal buildings and facilities, Federal 
Reserve System, Government employees, Individuals with disabilities, 
Religious discrimination, Sex discrimination, Wages.

Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the interim rule 
amending 12

[[Page 17887]]

CFR part 268, which was published at 71 FR 44555 on August 7, 2006, is 
adopted as final with the following changes:

PART 268--RULES REGARDING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

0
1. The authority citation for part 268 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 12 U.S.C. 244 and 248 (i), (k), and (l).


0
2. Amend Sec.  268.205 as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (a)(3), correct ``appropriations' laws'' to read 
``appropriations laws'' and correct ``appropriations' ban'' to read 
``appropriations ban''.
0
b. Remove the word ``and'' at the end of paragraph (a)(9)(iii)(C) and 
add ``; and'' at the end of paragraph (a)(9)(iii)(D).
0
c. Add a new paragraph (a)(9)(iii)(E).
0
d. Revise paragraph (c)(4)(i).
0
e. Redesignate paragraph (c)(5) as paragraph (c)(6), and add a new 
paragraph (c)(5).
    The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  268.205  Employment of aliens; Access to sensitive information.

    (a) * * *
    (9) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (E) Has completed a background investigation acceptable to the 
Board.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) FOMC Information. By action of the FOMC, a Reserve Bank 
employee may access FOMC Information in accordance with these rules.
* * * * *
    (5) Exceptions for access to Confidential Supervisory Information. 
A Board or Reserve Bank employer may request an exception for access to 
Confidential Supervisory Information. The requester must demonstrate 
that unusual circumstances exist and that the Board or Reserve Bank 
employee for whom access is being requested has a strong and 
particularized need for access to the information. All exceptions for 
access to Confidential Supervisory Information must be approved by the 
Chairman of the Board's Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory 
Affairs.
* * * * *

    By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve 
System, March 27, 2008.
Jennifer J. Johnson,
Secretary of the Board.
 [FR Doc. E8-6655 Filed 4-1-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6210-01-P