This Departmental Regulation (DR) establishes the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) policies, procedures, and responsibilities to satisfy delegated examining (DE) adherence to Merit System Principles and audit requirements in accordance with the requirements set forth in Interagency Agreement DOA-1 between the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and USDA.
This Agreement delegates to USDA the authority to conduct competitive examinations for positions in the competitive service, except for administrative law judges. Specifically, USDA is authorized to fill competitive civil service positions with applicants from outside of the Federal workforce; Federal employees who do not have competitive service status, or Federal employees with competitive service status. While this delegation cannot be
redelegated to any mission area, agency, or staff office, USDA may decide which activity (i.e. component or office) may carry out this authority and the extent to which the activity exercises it. To ensure consistency in the use of this authority across USDA, sub agencies approved to carry out DE activity must strictly follow the policies outlined in this DR and not develop any supplemental policies. Those sub agencies approved to use this authority are required to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) to carry-out DE operations.
The OPM established provisions for Executive Branch agencies of the United States Government to govern competitive procedures used in filling competitive service positions. Provisions of Title 5 U.S.C §1104, as amended by Public Law 104-52 (1995), gives agencies the authority to examine for all jobs in the competitive civil service, except for administrative law judge positions. This policy supplements OPM’s Delegated Examining Operations Handbook (DEOH), which provides detailed guidance for conducting competitive examining activities. The Director, Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), is delegated the authority to ensure that delegated examining within USDA adheres to statutory requirements, DOA-1, Federal-wide regulation, Merit System Principles, and this Regulation.