This chapter sets forth policy governing delegations of authority to carry out USGS activities.
OPR: Office of the Director
Instructions: This chapter is being revised to reflect current title of OPR.
1. Purpose. This chapter sets forth policy governing delegations of authority to carry out USGS activities.
A. Authority is the power vested in a person to approve or authorize an action. The exercise of an authority enacts a binding decision that commits the direct or indirect expenditure of funds or other resources.
B. Delegating is the official vesting of an authority, in whole or in part, by one person to another, in order to give legal effect or administrative approval to actions taken.
3. Policy. Authority in the USGS is to be delegated: (1) to the lowest level practicable, so that decisions can be made where the issues/problems exist; (2) so that it is not more restrictive than permitted by higher authority, unless there is good management reason for doing so; and (3) in a manner that strengthens the chain of command so that authority is commensurate with responsibility. An orderly system for approving, issuing, limiting, withdrawing, and keeping track of delegations of authority shall be in place at all levels of the Bureau.
4. Guidelines. In making decisions to delegate authority, the following guidelines are to be followed:
A. The delegation to a lower level would provide for greater efficiency.
B. Adequate guidance must exist for the proposed recipient to carry out the authority. (NOTE: If not, guidance must be adopted prior to, or concurrent with, the delegation of authority.)
C. The proposed recipient is trained and qualified to exercise the authority effectively.
D. The delegation of authority would not interfere with the operations and functions of other employees or with other programs and does not conflict with other delegations of authority that demand segregation of duties or the use of checks and balances.
E. The delegating official shall monitor the use of the authority and retains accountability for the results. (NOTE: An official delegating authority does not relinquish the power to exercise that authority at any time and is not relieved of the responsibility for action taken by the person(s) to whom the authority has been delegated.) The official delegating the authority may, temporarily or permanently, withdraw or limit the delegation by issuing such a decision.
F. Delegations should be in writing and leave no doubt as to the extent or limits of the authority delegated. In emergency situations or for temporary periods, authority may be delegated verbally.
G. A delegation of authority made to an individual is also made to that individual's supervisor unless stated otherwise in the delegation of authority. Also, when designated as "Acting," an individual has the same authority as the person for whom they are acting, unless a further restriction is documented. (See SM 205.4 for procurement authority exception.)
H. Delegatees must exercise redelegated authority in conformance with any requirements the delegator must observe.
I. Delegations should be issued to position titles rather than to named officials whenever possible. The delegating official must decide whether the authority being delegated is to a position or to an individual and so specify in the delegation of authority.
/s/ Jose R. Aragon January 6, 2016
Jose R. Aragon
Associate Director for Administration