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NNSA Launches New Personnel Management System

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is embarking on a major project to improve the way that it attracts and retains its employees through the potential for higher pay.

With the recent approval of the proposed demonstration project by the Office of Personnel Management, employees at NNSA are on track to join the small, but growing, number of government personnel who work under "pay banding," which is the collapsing of the current 15 government pay grades into broader pay bands or groups. The new system will also give managers the ability to reward outstanding performance with extra pay.

"NNSA's dedicated federal workers at headquarters and throughout the country are the department's most important asset. This new plan will give us the management tools that we need to attract and retain the kind of talent that NNSA needs to continue to carry out our vital national security mission," said Thomas P. D'Agostino, NNSA's acting administrator.

Under the new personnel administration plan, NNSA's managers will have greater flexibility to set higher pay for their employees through appointments, promotions, and performance evaluations. The long-term goal of this project is to improve NNSA's recruitment efforts so that it can compete for high-quality candidates through the use of higher-entry salaries. Another goal is to motivate and retain key employees by providing faster pay progression for employees that perform well.

Over the next year, NNSA will roll out the new demonstration project that will impact about 2,000 of NNSA's 2,500 federal workers. The project is expected to last up to five years and, if it is successful, it could become a permanent alternative to NNSA's current personnel system.

"Over the past few years, NNSA has been a leader in federal personnel initiatives and innovations - this new project is no exception," said D'Agostino. "As NNSA begins to modernize the entire nuclear weapons complex and keep up with nonproliferation challenges around the world, this thoughtfully designed plan will help us to better meet our current and future needs."

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently published an announcement about the new personnel system in the Federal Register. Before the new plan is implemented, NNSA's employees will have an opportunity to learn more about the project, and to offer comments and ask questions. On April 4, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., OPM will hold a public hearing in the Department of Energy's Forrestal building at 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, in Washington, D.C. The final project regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register no later than January 1, 2008.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371