DATES: Written comments will be considered if received on or before May

16, 2000.


ADDRESSES: Send or deliver written comments to Mary Lou Lindholm,

Associate Director for Employment, Office of Personnel Management, Room

6500, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20415-9000.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Riedel-Alvarez or Paul Robinson

on (202) 606-1059, TTY (202) 606-0023, or FAX (202) 606-0927.

 

[Federal Register: March 17, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 53)]

[Proposed Rules]              

[Page 14477-14478]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr17mr00-23]                        


========================================================================

Proposed Rules

                                                Federal Register

________________________________________________________________________


This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of

the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these

notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in

the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


========================================================================




[[Page 14477]]




OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT


5 CFR Parts 3, 213, and 315


RIN 3206-AI94


 

Appointments of Persons With Psychiatric Disabilities


AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.


ACTION: Proposed rule.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------


SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing proposed

regulations to create a new Governmentwide excepted appointing

authority, with noncompetitive conversion to the competitive service

authorized by Executive Order 13124, for persons with psychiatric

disabilities. The proposed regulations also abolish two excepted

service appointing authorities that relate to persons with psychiatric

disabilities, and make technical corrections to reflect the proposed

changes.


DATES: Written comments will be considered if received on or before May

16, 2000.


ADDRESSES: Send or deliver written comments to Mary Lou Lindholm,

Associate Director for Employment, Office of Personnel Management, Room

6500, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20415-9000.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Riedel-Alvarez or Paul Robinson

on (202) 606-1059, TTY (202) 606-0023, or FAX (202) 606-0927.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 13, 1998, the President addressed

the underemployment of people with disabilities by signing Executive

Order 13078 establishing the Presidential Task Force on Employment of

Adults with Disabilities. The Task Force's mission is to create a

coordinated and aggressive national policy to bring adults with

disabilities into gainful employment at a rate as close as possible to

that of the general adult population.

    The Task Force issued their first report, ``Recharting the

Course,'' on November 15, 1998. The report recommended that OPM explore

paralleling the excepted service ``hiring standards'' of adults with

psychiatric disabilities with the excepted service ``hiring standards''

of individuals with mental retardation and severe physical

disabilities. After reviewing, we agree that the ``hiring standards''

for employing individuals with severe physical disabilities, mental

retardation, and psychiatric disabilities should be the same.

    The first step is amending the Civil Service Rules to broaden the

category of people who may noncompetitively convert from the excepted

service to the competitive service. Currently under the Governmentwide

Schedule A excepted service authorities 5 CFR 213.3102(t) and (u),

employees with mental retardation and severe physical disabilities are

able to acquire competitive status after two years of satisfactory

service. Executive Order 13124, signed June 4, 1999, now permits adults

with psychiatric disabilities the same opportunity for noncompetitive

conversion. In order for agencies to appoint adults with psychiatric

disabilities, we are proposing the following.


Creating a New Governmentwide Schedule A Excepted Appointing

Authority


    By way of background, OPM has authority to except some positions

from competitive examining procedures under Schedules A and B when it

is determined that examining is impracticable for those positions, or

that open competition cannot take place. Excepted authorities listed in

5 CFR part 213 under Schedules A and B (Sec. 213.3102 or 3202) may be

used by any agency covered under title 5 appointing procedures to

appoint individuals based on the criteria outlined in the authority.

Agencies may also obtain specific Schedule A and B authorities for

their own use. To do so, the agency must demonstrate to OPM that the

competitive examining process cannot be used for the position(s) the

agency wishes to place in Schedule A or B.

    Employment of individuals under Schedules A and B follows the

guidelines in 5 CFR part 302. Those appointed under Schedule A do not

have to meet OPM qualification standards; agencies may develop their

own standards. Those appointed under Schedule B must meet OPM

qualification standards for the positions in question.

    Currently, there are two Governmentwide excepted appointing

authorities for specific categories of individuals with psychiatric

disabilities. Schedule A excepted appointing authority 213.3102(h) is

used to appoint former patients of Federal mental institutions who are

partially recovered. Appointments are made to positions at Federal

mental institutions only, because the persons still need the support

and structure that the institutions provide.

    Schedule B excepted appointing authority 213.3202(k) is used to

update the job skills of individuals whose psychiatric disabilities are

severe enough to cause significant disruption to their employment. The

appointments help establish a successful performance record to

counteract employer prejudice.

    In order to parallel employment opportunities for all individuals

with psychiatric disabilities with those appointed under 5 CFR

213.3102(t) and (u) (the appointing authorities for those with severe

physical disabilities and mental retardation), Executive Order 13124

was signed June 4, 1999. The Executive Order amended the Civil Service

Rules to permit noncompetitive conversion of persons with psychiatric

disabilities in the excepted service to the competitive service.

    After evaluating the two current excepted appointing authorities

for persons with psychiatric disabilities, we felt they were not

defined broadly enough to encompass all persons with psychiatric

disabilities. Therefore, we are proposing a new Governmentwide Schedule

A excepted appointing authority 213.3102(gg). The authority would

permit a person with a psychiatric disability who either served under a

competitive service temporary appointment, or is certified by a State

vocational rehabilitation office or the U.S. Department of Veterans

Affairs, to be appointed for any job for which they qualify and meet

suitability requirements. After two years of satisfactory job

performance under the (gg) authority, agencies may noncompetitively

convert them to the competitive service.


[[Page 14478]]


    Because the new Governmentwide authority is broad enough to

encompass those individuals who may currently qualify for appointments

under 5 CFR 213.3102(h) and 213.3202(k), we propose abolishing these

two appointing authorities. Individuals currently appointed to these

authorities would be given new appointments under 213.3102(gg). Current

service under 5 CFR 213.3102(h) and 213.3202(k) would count toward the

two-year service requirement of the new (gg) authority. Individuals

would be eligible for noncompetitive conversion after serving two years

total under the old (h) and (k) authorities and the new (gg) authority

combined. Agencies may not require individuals to serve under a

competitive temporary appointment, or begin new two-year service

periods under the (gg) authority, if individuals are currently serving

under the (h) and (k) authorities and are moved to the new authority.


Amending Civil Service Rule III


    To reflect the Executive Order permitting noncompetitive conversion

of adults with psychiatric disabilities, we are amending Sec. 3.1 to

add these employees to the list of individuals who may noncompetitively

acquire status.


Amend Part 315


    We propose amending Sec. 315.709 to reflect the addition of those

with psychiatric disabilities to the list of employees who may be

noncompetitively converted to the competitive service.


Regulatory Flexibility Act


    I certify that these regulations will not have a significant

economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (including

small businesses, small organizational units, and small governmental

jurisdictions) because the regulations apply only to appointment

procedures for certain employees in Federal agencies.


E.O. 12866, Regulatory Review


    This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget

in accordance with Executive Order 12866.


List of Subjects in 5 CFR Parts 3, 213, and 315


    Government employees.


    U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Janice R. Lachance,

Director.

    Accordingly, OPM is proposing to amend parts 3, 213, and 315 of

title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


PART 3--NONCOMPETITIVE ACQUISITION OF STATUS (RULE III)


    1. The authority citation for part 3 continues to read as follows:


    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 3301, 3302.


    2. In Sec. 3.1, paragraph (b)(3) is added to read as follows:



Sec. 3.1  Classes of persons who may noncompetitively acquire status.


* * * * *

    (b) * * *

    (3) An employee with a psychiatric disability who completes at

least 2 years of satisfactory service in a position excepted from the

competitive service.


PART 213--EXCEPTED SERVICE


    3. The authority citation for part 213 continues to read as

follows:


    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 3301 and 3302, E.O. 10577, 3 CFR 195401958

Comp., p. 218; Sec. 213.101 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 2103;

Sec. 213.3102 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3301, 3302, 3307, 8337(h)

and 8456; E.O. 12364, 47 FR 22931, 3 CFR 1982 Comp., p. 185; 38

U.S.C. 4301 et seq.; and Pub. L. 105-339.


    4. In Sec. 213.3102, paragraph (h) is removed and reserved.

    5. In Sec. 213.3102, paragraph (gg) is added to read as follows:



Sec. 213.3102  Entire executive civil service.


* * * * *

    (gg) Positions when filled by persons with psychiatric disabilities

who:

    (1) Under a temporary appointment have demonstrated their ability

to perform the duties satisfactorily; or

    (2) Are certified by a State vocational rehabilitation counselor,

or a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Benefits

Administration or Veterans Health Administration psychologist,

vocational rehabilitation counselor, or psychiatrist, as likely to

succeed in the performance of the duties of the position. Upon

completion of 2 years of satisfactory service under this authority, the

employee may qualify for conversion to competitive status under the

provisions of Executive Order 12125 as amended by Executive Order

13124.

* * * * *

    6. In Sec. 213.3202, paragraph (k) is removed and reserved.


PART 315--CAREER AND CAREER-CONDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT


    7. The authority citation for part 315 continues to read as

follows:


    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 1302, 3301, 3302; E.O. 10577, 3 CFR 1954-

1958 Comp., p. 218, unless otherwise noted.


    Secs. 315.601 and 315.609 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3651 and

3652.

    Secs. 315.602 and 315.604 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 1104.

    Sec. 315.603 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3151.

    Sec. 315.605 also issued under E.O. 12034, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p.

111.

    Sec. 315.606 also issued under E.O. 11219, 3 CFR, 1964-1965

Comp., p. 303.

    Sec. 315.607 also issued under 22 U.S.C. 2506.

    Sec. 315.608 also issued under E.O. 12721, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp., p.

293.

    Sec. 315.610 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3304(d).

    Sec. 315.710 also issued under E.O. 12596, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p.

229.

    Subpart I also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3321, E.O. 12107, 3 CFR,

1978 Comp., p. 264.


    8. Section 315.709 is amended by revising the section heading, the

introductory text of paragraphs (a), (a)(1), and (b)(2) to read as

follows:



Sec. 315.709  Employees who are mentally retarded, severely physically

handicapped, or have psychiatric disabilities serving under Schedule A

appointments.


    (a) Coverage. Employees appointed under Secs. 213.3102(t), (u), and

(gg) of this chapter may have their appointments converted to career or

career-conditional appointments when they:

    (1) Complete 2 or more years of satisfactory service, without a

break of more than 30 days, under nontemporary Schedule A appointments.

* * * * *

    (b) * * *

    (2) A career employee if he or she has completed 3 years of

substantially continuous service in nontemporary appointments under

Secs. 213.3102(t), (u), or (gg) of this chapter, or has otherwise

completed the service requirement for career tenure, or is excepted

from it by Sec. 315.201(c).

* * * * *

[FR Doc. 00-6625 Filed 3-16-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6325-01-P


DATES: Written comments will be considered if received on or before May

16, 2000.


ADDRESSES: Send or deliver written comments to Mary Lou Lindholm,

Associate Director for Employment, Office of Personnel Management, Room

6500, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20415-9000.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Riedel-Alvarez or Paul Robinson

on (202) 606-1059, TTY (202) 606-0023, or FAX (202) 606-0927.