Survey Manual

302.1 - Automatic Succession - Designation of Successors for Managers and Supervisors

This chapter provides USGS policy regarding the responsibilities, standards, and procedures for automatic succession for all USGS managers and supervisors. 


OPR: Director's Office

Instructions:  This chapter is being revised to include updated U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) organizational titles and to incorporate requirements provided in Departmental Manual (DM) 302 DM 1, Designation of Successors for Supervisors, dated January 18, 2001.

1.  Purpose.  In accordance with 302 DM 1, this chapter provides USGS policy regarding the responsibilities, standards, and procedures for automatic succession for all USGS managers and supervisors.  Designation of succession for the USGS Director is provided in SM 302.2

2.  Automatic Succession.   In the absence of an incumbent or in the event of a vacancy in a managerial or supervisory position, the duties of the position shall be temporarily assumed by another individual serving in an acting capacity.  Permanent arrangements must be made for automatic succession to managerial and supervisory positions.  (See 302 DM 1, Designation of Successors for Supervisors.)

3.  Responsibilities.   The Associate Directors and Regional Directors are responsible for ensuring that automatic succession is provided for all managerial and supervisory positions and that the arrangements for succession are made in accordance with paragraphs 4 and 6 of this SM chapter.

4.  Standards.  The standards for designating successor positions are as follows:

A.  Designations are to be made in writing and should be consistent with the language found in Appendix A.

B.  The designation should be made by the incumbent supervisor, with the concurrence of the incumbent supervisor’s manager, e.g., designations for Associate Directors and Regional Directors will be approved by the Director.

C.  Designations are to be made by position title, not by a person’s name.

D.  The number of designations for a given position should be sufficient to provide for multiple absences, especially in emergencies such as the activation of the applicable Continuity of Operations Plan.

E.  A list of incumbents of designated positions must be kept current and available; all changes should be made as promptly as possible and attached to the existing position designations.

F.  The lists of designated positions and incumbents must be reviewed, updated, and signed annually by office heads;  notwithstanding the annual review, any changes in office staffing or structure that affect the designated positions should be reflected in revised designations (and list of incumbents in those positions) as promptly as possible.

G.  An original copy of the designation of successor positions and the list of incumbents in the positions are to be included in the USGS permanent records.  The documents are considered Emergency Operating Records of the originating office and are to be identified and protected in accordance with the applicable Vital Records Plan.  All updates or revisions shall be treated in the same manner.  Outdated records are to be disposed of in accordance with applicable Records Retention Plan (see SM 432-1-S1, General Records Disposition Schedule).

H.  Copies of the designations and the list of incumbents are to be provided on a timely basis to appropriate officials including the officials responsible for the organization’s Continuity of Operations Plan.  Copies are also to be provided to individuals designated to serve as successors.  At least one copy must be readily available within the affected office.

5.  Delegations of Authority to Successors.  Incumbents in all of the positions covered in this chapter are delegated authority to perform all duties and responsibilities of the supervisor or manager when required.  Authority to act as the head of an organization may be exercised only when there is reasonable certainty that a superior is unable and unavailable to exercise authority and when immediate action is required.  Individuals acting as successors will be relieved of his or her authority as soon as a supervisor on the list is available, able, and assumes the role of successor, or when an official with requisite authority designates a permanent or acting supervisor.  Individuals exercising the authority of a supervisor will keep a record of important actions taken and the period during which the authority is exercised.  

6.  Temporary Designations of Acting Officials

A.  Temporary designations may be made for occasions when deviation from automatic succession is desired.  Temporary designations are to be identified and documented in a manner similar to automatic succession.  Documentation should also include the period covered.  A sample format is provided in Appendix B

B.  Temporary designations must be in writing and must be issued or approved the official having supervision over, or appointing authority for, the position to be filled temporarily.  After approval, the document describing the temporary designation is returned directly to the originating office for record keeping. 


/s/ Diane K. Wade                                                                              12/27/12                                       
_____________________________________                            _______________

Diane K. Wade                                                                                               Date
Associate Director for Administration and 
Enterprise Information

Appendix A

Appendix B