Federal employees eligible to apply for a job under a merit promotion posting are also allowed to apply for that job under the DEU posting. Because current employees understand how applications are judged, and because they often have relevant and easily evaluated experience, they have a good chance of being among the best qualified candidates and being referred on the DEU certificate. When they are, they usually also appear on the categorical listing of best qualified candidates on the merit promotion certificate---if, as is frequently the case, they have applied under those procedures.
Therefore, DEU officials say that the practice of
allowing current Federal employees to apply for
job vacancies under both procedures decreases the
effectiveness of the DEU certificate as a tool for
bringing in people from outside the Government.
For example, one DEU official at the Department
of Veterans Affairs told us that in her agency
current Federal employees with veterans preference
rights are applying for jobs under both
procedures because these employees expect that
their job-related experience and veterans preference
status will help them make the DEU certificate
and simultaneously keep others from doing so.
She noted that nearly half of the applicants for jobs
announced by her DEU were current agency
employees with veterans preference status. She
said that these applicants almost invariably were
referred on both the merit promotion and the
DEU certificates, virtually preventing the DEU
certificates from including any applicants who
were not already on the merit promotion certificates.
Eliminate Dual Consideration.
Another way to
increase the utility of DEU certificates is to no
longer allow current employees to be considered
under a DEU posting if they are eligible to apply
for the same job under a merit promotion posting.
Supervisors seeking a DEU certificate in addition
to a merit promotion certificate do so because they
want to see if, in addition to the names on the
merit promotion certificate, there are any other
qualified candidates worth considering. The
supervisors may ultimately decide to hire a merit
promotion candidate, but they want the opportunity
to consider individuals outside the agency.
DEU officials say that supervisors frequently do
not get that chance because agencies routinely
allow at least some current Federal employees to
apply under both postings.
But current employees eligible to apply under a
merit promotion posting already have the right to
be considered for the position. And if they can
also apply under the DEU posting, their presence
on a DEU certificate generally will not increase the
number of candidates referred to the supervisor.
This is so because those current employees will
probably also be included in the categorical listing
of best qualified candidates on the merit promotion
certificate. Management should take a look at
whether allowing some employees to apply under
both sets of procedures is having a negative impact
in their agencies on the ability of supervisors to
consider candidates who are not eligible to apply
under the merit promotion posting. If it is, they
should consider eliminating the practice.10 Moreover,
except for keeping others from being considered,
the value to current employees of making
both certificates is not significant since current
employees prefer not to be selected from DEU
certificates. Such a selection offers no advantage
over selection from a merit promotion certificate,
and unlike the latter type of selection, selection
from a DEU certificate is considered to be a new
appointment that, with some exceptions, can be
summarily terminated during the probationary
Agencies have broad authority to structure their delegated examining as they see fit, and there is no law that specifically forbids adopting a
rule curtailing the practice of allowing employees who can apply under a merit promotion posting from being able to apply under a DEU posting.
But neither is there any law that specifically allows for the adoption of such a rule. Therefore, it would be clearer that agencies had this right if
delegated examining agreements were amended to specifically allow agencies to preclude current employees eligible to apply for a job under merit
promotion procedures from being able to apply for that same job under DEU procedures.