[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 3 (Wednesday, January 5, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 539-540]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-33307]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Institute of Standards and Technology

[Docket Number: 101129594-0594-02]


Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS) at the National 
Institute of Standards and Technology

AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: This notice provides for changes to existing provisions of the 
National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Alternative 
Personnel Management System (APMS) published October 21, 1997 (62 FR 
54604).

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SUMMARY: This notice announces changes to existing provisions of the 
National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Alternative 
Personnel Management System (APMS), primarily to expedite hiring and 
align APMS Direct-Hire procedures with the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM) Direct-Hire Authority (5 CFR part 337 and 69 FR 114). 
NIST will pilot direct-hire authority under 5 CFR part 337, subpart B, 
for a period of one year from the issuance date of this notice, for all 
positions within NIST in the Scientific and Engineering (ZP) career 
path at the Pay Band III and above, for Nuclear Reactor Operator 
positions in the Scientific and Engineering Technician (ZT) career path 
at Pay Band III and above, and for all occupations for which there is a 
special rate under the General Schedule pay system.

DATES: This notice is effective on January 5, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Essex Brown at the National Institute 
of Standards and Technology, (301) 975-3801; or Pamela Boyland at the 
U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-1068.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

[[Page 540]]

Background

    In accordance with Public Law 99-574, the NIST Authorization Act 
for 1987, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved a 
demonstration project plan, ``Alternative Personnel Management System 
(APMS) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),'' 
and published the plan in the Federal Register on October 2, 1987 (52 
FR 37082). The project plan has been modified twice to clarify certain 
NIST authorities (54 FR 21331 of May 17, 1989, and 55 FR 39220 of 
September 25, 1990). The project plan and subsequent amendments were 
consolidated in the final APMS plan, which became permanent on October 
21, 1997, (62 FR 54604). NIST published an amendment on May 6, 2005 (70 
FR 23996), which became permanent on June 6, 2005.
    The plan provides for modifications to be made as experience is 
gained, results are analyzed, and conclusions are reached on how the 
system is working. This notice formally modifies the APMS plan to align 
Direct-Hire procedures with OPM's Direct-Hire Authority on a pilot 
basis. During this pilot period, NIST will be gathering data on the 
impact of direct-hire authority on veterans preference eligibles as 
well as information supporting whether or not there is a severe 
shortage of candidates for the positions covered under the direct-hire 
authority. Veterans preference is the preferential treatment given to 
qualified veterans of the United States armed forces under Federal law.

    Dated: December 28, 2010.
Charles H. Romine,
Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs.

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. Basis for APMS Plan Modification
III. Changes to the APMS Plan

I. Executive Summary

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) 
Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS) is designed to (1) 
Improve hiring and allow NIST to compete more effectively for high-
quality researchers through direct hiring, selective use of higher 
entry salaries, and selective use of recruiting allowances; (2) 
motivate and retain staff through higher pay potential, pay-for-
performance, more responsive personnel systems, and selective use of 
retention allowances; (3) strengthen the manager's role in personnel 
management through delegation of personnel authorities; and (4) 
increase the efficiency of personnel systems through installation of a 
simpler and more flexible classification system based on pay banding 
through reduction of guidelines, steps, and paperwork in 
classification, hiring, and other personnel systems, and through 
automation.
    Since implementing the APMS, according to findings in the Office of 
Personnel Management's ``Summative Evaluation Report National Institute 
of Standards and Technology Demonstration Project: 1988-1995,'' NIST 
accomplished the following: NIST is more competitive for talent; NIST 
retained more top performers than a comparison group; and NIST managers 
reported significantly more authority to make decisions concerning 
employee pay. This modification builds on this success by piloting 
direct-hire authority under 5 CFR part 337, subpart B, for a period of 
one-year.
    This amendment modifies the October 21, 1997 Federal Register 
notice. Specifically, it enables NIST to hire, after public notice is 
given, any qualified applicant without regard to 5 U.S.C. 3309-3318, 5 
CFR part 211, or 5 CFR part 337, subpart A for a period of one-year. 
During the one-year pilot period, NIST will gather data on the impact 
of direct-hire authority on preference eligibles as well as information 
supporting whether or not there is a severe shortage of candidates for 
the positions covered under the direct-hire authority.
    NIST will continually monitor the effectiveness of this amendment.

II. Basis for APMS Plan Modification

    Section 3304 (c) of title 5, United States Code, provides agencies 
with the authority to appoint candidates directly to jobs for which OPM 
determines that there is a severe shortage of candidates or a critical 
hiring need.
    In 1987 with the approval of the NIST APMS (52 FR 37082), and in 
1997 when the APMS plan was modified (62 FR 54604), OPM concurred that 
all occupations in the ZP career path at the band III and above 
constitute a shortage category; Nuclear Reactor Operator positions in 
the ZT Career Path at the Pay Band III and above constitute a shortage 
category; and all occupations for which there is a special rate under 
the General Schedule pay system constitute a shortage category.
    OPM's Direct-Hire Authority enables agencies to hire, after public 
notice is given, any qualified application without regard to 5 U.S.C. 
3309-3318, 5 CFR part 211, or 5 CFR part 337, subpart A.
    NIST APMS allows the NIST Director to modify procedures if no new 
waiver from law or regulation is added. Given this modification is in 
accordance with existing law and regulation, the NIST Director is 
authorized to make the changes described in this notice. The 
modification to our final Federal Register Notice, dated October 21, 
1997, with respect to our Staffing authorities is provided below.

III. Changes in the APMS Plan

    The APMS at the NIST, published in the Federal Register October 21, 
1997 (62 FR 54604) is amended as follows:
    1. The subsection titled: ``Direct Examination and Hiring'' is 
deleted.
    2. The subsection titled ``Direct Hire: Critical Shortage Highly 
Qualified Candidates'' is deleted.
    3. The information under the subsection titled: ``NIST Applicant 
Supply File'' is replaced with: NIST advertises the availability of job 
opportunities in Direct-Hire occupations by posting on the OPM USAJOBS 
Web site. NIST would follow internal Direct Hire procedures for 
accepting applications.
    4. The subsection titled: ``Referral Procedures for Direct 
Examination and Hiring and Agency Based Staffing Authorities'' is 
deleted.
    5. A new subsection titled: ``Referral Procedures for Direct-Hire'' 
is added and the information under this subsection is as follows: After 
public notice is given, a qualified candidate may be referred without 
regard to 5 U.S.C. 3309-3318, 5 CFR part 211, or 5 CFR part 337, 
subpart A.
    6. The subsection titled: ``Direct Referral'' is deleted.
    7. The subsection titled: ``Rating and Ranking'' is deleted.

[FR Doc. 2010-33307 Filed 1-4-11; 8:45 am]
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