Science Support

IM HC 2021-01

 

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DIRECTIVE

INSTRUCTIONAL MEMORANDUM

 

Issuance Number:      IM HC 2021-01

Subject:                       Conflict Resolution for Position Classification          

Issuance Date:            08/03/2021

Expiration Date:          Retain until superseded.

Responsible Office:    Office of Administration/Office of Human Resources

Instruction:                  This temporary directive clarifies time frames, processes, and points of contact for implementation of the                                                                              Conflict Resolution Process addressed in Appendix A of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Position                                                                                  Management and Position Classification Policy Handbook dated February 2018 and revised May 15, 2018. 

Approving Official:       /s/ Katherine M. McCulloch

                                       Associate Director for Administration

 

1.    Purpose and Scope.  This Instructional Memorandum (IM) outlines the Conflict Resolution Process for all Contested Classification Determinations.

2.    Policy.  General provisions regarding policy and limitations are established in the DOI Position Management and Position Classification Policy Handbook, Personnel Bulletin No. 18-03.  3. 

3.    General Procedure.  This conflict resolution process can only begin after the classifier completes initial classification and returns it to the customer.  If the supervisor/manager disagrees with the classification determination, the following steps apply*:

A.  Step 1Conduct an Internal Second Review.  The supervisor/manager should reach out to their Servicing Human Resources Officer (HRO) and request a second review.  This should be an independent review of the classification action by the Lead Classifier in the servicing Human Resources Office or the HRO, dependent upon who has already been involved.  If both of these individuals were involved in the initial classification, then the request for review proceeds to Step 2 below.  The request will be completed within 3 workdays following receipt of request.  In the event Step 1 cannot be completed within the 3 workdays, the servicing HRO will notify the supervisor/manager that they have the option to proceed to Step 2.  The servicing HRO will provide the supervisor/manager with a written determination of the review in Step 1.

B.  Step 2 – Elevate the Disagreement.  In the event there is still disagreement with the outcome following Step 1, the servicing HRO will elevate the issue to the Bureau’s Lead Classifier, Human Resources (HR)/Policy and Special Projects (PSP), who will perform an independent review of the classification action and render a decision.  If the Bureau’s Lead Classifier, HR/PSP, was involved in the initial classification decision, the request for review will proceed to Step 3 below.  This will be completed within 3 workdays following receipt of request.  In the event Step 2 cannot be completed within the 3 workdays, the Bureau’s Lead Classifier, HR/PSP, will notify the supervisor/manager that they have the option to proceed to Step 3 below.  The HRO will provide the supervisor/manager with a written determination of the review in Step 2.

C.  Step 3 – Seek a Final Determination.  In the event the disagreement remains unresolved after Step 2, the supervisor/manager should seek a final determination by submitting a request for third-party review to the Bureau’s HRO, Deputy Associate Director for Human Capital (Deputy AD/HC).  The supervisor/manager will select the DOI Office of Human Resources (OHR) to complete the third-party review by following the DOI Conflict Resolution Process (Appendix A), or via contract with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), costs to be borne by the requesting customer.  Specific responsibilities for the procedure are as follows:

(1)  The Supervisor/Manager must submit the request for third-party review in writing to the Deputy AD/HC within 15 workdays of the date of the classification decision rendered in Step 2.  The request must contain the classification disagreement and supporting documentation.  This is information that will be useful to the third-party reviewer in making a final determination.  For example, annotations on the final evaluation to indicate: “The Position should be credited at 5-4 for scope and effect.  While it is assigned to a Science Center, the position performs work that will be used as procedural guidance across all USGS Offices and Centers.”  Supporting documents may also include delegations of authority such as Departmental instructions, Survey Manual chapters, or specific written delegations from other authorities, as applicable.

(2)  HR will attach the complete classification package, which includes the Position Description (PD), Evaluation Statement, and the Organizational Chart used for the classification determination.  The Deputy AD/HC will forward the request to either the DOI OHR or OPM.

(3)  The Third-Party Reviewer will work directly with the supervisor/manager and HR to obtain/provide additional information or clarification as necessary.

(4)  The DOI OHR or OPM will make the final classification determination, which will be implemented by USGS HR.  If DOI OHR classifies the package, they will sign and finalize the PD.  If OPM classifies the package, the USGS Chief, PSP, will sign the finalized PD within 3 working days of receipt.  At that point, the conflict resolution process is complete, and USGS HR and the supervisor/manager must move forward with implementation of the final PD.

 

*If the classification was done by OPM and the supervisor/manager disagrees with the determination, the procedure begins at "C. Step 3 – Seek a Final Determination."