You are here

3-4.000 - Personnel Management

3-4.100 Introduction
3-4.200 Human Resources
3-4.213 Excepted Service
3-4.250 Human Resources Management in Agencies
3-4.273 Strategic Human Capital Management
3-4.274 Corrective Actions
3-4.294 Availability of Official Information
3-4.295 Human Resources Forms and Documents
3-4.296 Processing Personnel Actions
3-4.300 Employment (General)
3-4.332 Recruitment and Selection Through Competitive Examination
3-4.334 Temporary Assignment Under Intergovernmental Personnel Act
3-4.335 Promotion and Internal Placement
3-4.340 Other Than Full-Time Career Employment (Part-Time, Seasonal, On-Call, and Intermittent)
3-4.410 Training
3-4.451 Incentive Awards
3-4.534 Pay Under Other Systems
3-4.550 Pay Administration (General)
3-4.752 Adverse Actions

3-4.100 Introduction

This title of the United States Attorneys’ Manual (USAM) addresses Human Resources policy matters affecting the Executive Office for United States Attorneys and United States Attorneys’ offices. Policy guidance is structured and numbered in parallel with Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), to facilitate reference by users and to maintain currency with respect to changes in Human Resources law and regulations.

In any instance where policy is not stated in this chapter, and in any instance where policy which is stated in this chapter erroneously conflicts with guidance published by higher authority, e.g., Justice-wide policies or Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations, higher-level guidance will govern.

[updated February 2018]


3-4.200 Personnel

Other reference(s): 28 C.F.R. § 0.15; 28 C.F.R. § 0.138

The employment, separation and general administration of personnel in the Senior Executive Service and of attorneys and law students regardless of grade or pay is delegated to the Deputy Attorney General. Certain of these authorities are redelegated to the Director, Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), and the Director, Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM).

The authority to take final action in matters pertaining to the employment, direction, and general administration of non-attorney/non-law student personnel in General Schedule (GS) grades GS-1 through GS-15 is delegated to the Director, EOUSA.

These authorities are subject to further delegation.

[cited in USAM 3-4.250, USAM 3-4.300]


3-4.213 Excepted Service

Other reference(s): 5 C.F.R. § 213; 28 U.S.C. § 543; 28 U.S.C. § 542

  1. Attorneys appointed to the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) are excepted from the competitive service as Schedule A employees, 5 C.F.R § 213.3102, and are compensated in accordance with the General Schedule pay scale.
    Assistant United States Attorneys appointed to United States Attorneys’ offices (USAOs), are excepted from the competitive service under the aegis of 28 U.S.C. § 542, and are compensated in accordance with an administratively-determined pay system.
    United States Attorneys are authorized to recruit, screen, and submit nominations of the best-qualified candidates to serve as Assistant United States Attorneys.  Appointments must be approved by the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management.
  2. Law Clerks. Law Clerk appointments may be made to law school graduates who have not passed the bar, not-to-exceed 14 months or less under the aegis of 5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(e). Law Clerks are counted against authorized AUSA positions or Paralegal Specialist positions, at the option of the United States Attorney and subject to available funding. Any Law Clerk position counted against the latter category, however, will be funded at the average salary for a Paralegal Specialist position. Law Clerk recruiting and appointments are administered by the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management.
     
  3. Special Assistant United States Attorneys and Special Attorneys. The Director, EOUSA, is responsible for administering the Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) and Special Attorney program.  The cross-designation of State, Local and Tribal attorneys as SAUSAs, the appointment of compensated and uncompensated SAUSAs and the appointments of Special Attorneys must be approved by EOUSA. 
  4. Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP).  SLIP appointees receive appointments as Paralegal Specialists, GS-950, under the aegis of 5 C.F.R § 213.3101.  OARM administers the SLIP program and announces opportunities for students to apply on an annual basis. 
     
  5. Assignment of Attorney Work to Incumbents of Non-Attorney Positions. USAO employees in the General Schedule (GS) who possess a professional law degree (LL.B., J.D., or LL.M.) and who have passed the Bar may be assigned attorney duties only after being appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) or as a Special AUSA (SAUSA). GS employees are eligible for detail to a SAUSA appointment only if their GS rate of basic pay falls within the pay range of the appropriate Administratively Determined (AD) grade level. Otherwise, GS employees must be converted to compensated SAUSA appointments before being assigned attorney work.
     
  6. Pathways Internship Program (Student Employment).
     
  7. Separation of the Schedule C Secretary to the United States Attorney. When a Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed United States Attorney (PAS) separates during a change of administration, all Schedule C employees (if any) in the USAO are expected to resign no later than the date the PAS separates. It is important to note that the Department of Justice can terminate a Schedule C appointment at any time and such termination may happen at the end of an administration. Schedule C employees are political appointees and should understand that a change in administration is a valid reason for them to vacate their positions.
    When a PAS separates outside a change of administration, the District’s interim USA may retain or terminate Schedule C employee(s). While the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) recommends that Schedule C employees be provided 30 days advance notice of termination, less than 30 days advance notice also is permitted. The Director, EOUSA, is authorized to sign a letter notifying the Schedule C employee of the effective date of the termination.
    A new PAS may retain on the same appointment, a Schedule C employee who was retained by the District’s interim USA.

[updated February 2018] [cited in USAM 3-1.200]


3-4.250 Human Resources Management in Agencies

Other reference(s): 5 U.S.C. §§ 2301, 2903 and 3331; 5 C.F.R. § 250; USAM 3-4.200

  1. General. It is the policy of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) to accomplish the most efficient and effective mix of centralized/decentralized services which will satisfy mission requirements while ensuring the integrity of all statutory and regulatory requirements of the Federal Human Resources system and compliance with the Merit System Principles. Accordingly, selected personnel authorities may be delegated to particular United States Attorneys’ offices (USAOs) to the extent that such a delegation will promote the effective accomplishment of the mission of the USAO. Specific delegations will be in writing, and are subject to modification or revocation as necessary.
  2. Oath of Office. All employees are required to execute an oath of office (Appointment Affidavit, SF-61) upon appointment (see 5 U.S.C. §§ 2903, 3331).

[updated February 2018] [cited in USAM 3-4.274]  


3-4.273 Strategic Human Capital Management

Other reference(s):5 U.S.C. § 1103; 28 C.F.R. § 0.22; 5 C.F.R § 250.

Human Capital activities conducted in the USAOs and EOUSA are subject to oversight, review and evaluation by the Office of Personnel Management, Justice Management Division, and EOUSA.  The Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), EOUSA, on behalf of the Director, is responsible for establishing a comprehensive HR audit program that evaluates human capital management systems for 1) alignment with the legal mission and strategic plans; 2) efficiency, effectiveness, and adherence with merit system principles, laws and regulations; and 3) legal and regulatory compliance of transactions, and provides for appropriate corrective actions and program improvement.

[updated February 2018]


3-4.300 Employment (General)

Other reference(s):  5 U.S.C. § 2301; 5 U.S.C. Ž 2302; 5 C.F.R. § 300

  1. Personnel. The authority to take final action in all matters pertaining to the employment, separation and general administration of:
    Non-attorney personnel (not including law students) in United States Attorneys’ offices (USAOs) and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) has been delegated to the Director, EOUSA (see 28 C.F.R. § 0.138); and the Executive Office may, and has, delegated authority beyond that described in this chapter to individual USAOs.
    With respect to Assistant United States Attorneys authority has been delegated to the Deputy Attorney General (see 28 C.F.R. § 0.15), with certain authorities redelegated to the Director, EOUSA. The Director’s authority may not be redelegated. The authority to appoint Assistant United States Attorneys has been delegated to the Director, OARM.
    The Executive Office may delegate authority beyond that described in this chapter to individual United States Attorneys’ offices.
    All recruitment will be conducted with an affirmative effort to achieve the goal of providing an equal opportunity for employment to as many interested, qualified applicants as possible.
    Appointments in EOUSA and USAOs are restricted to United States citizens or those who owe permanent allegiance to the United States (currently, natives of American Samoa, Swains Island, and certain inhabitants of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are the only group that owe permanent allegiance to the United States).
  2. Hiring Manager Training.  Prior to being involved in the hiring process, selecting officials, interview panel members, those who screen applications for further consideration and others involved in the hiring process must complete appropriate training on the Merit System Principles, Prohibited Personnel Practices, Interviewing and Hiring Strategies (including special hiring authorities for Persons with Disabilities), and Veteran Preference and Employment Programs.   
  3. Employee Orientation. The EOUSA and USAOs will provide for a well-planned, organized, and systematic program which will orient new employees to the mission of their office and to their individual jobs within 60 days of hire.
  4. Filling Confidential Positions to United States Attorneys. One position requiring, as a primary assignment, an unusually high level of mutual trust with the United States Attorney, e.g., the Secretary to the United States Attorney, must be filled on a non-permanent basis, e.g.:
  • Time-limited appointment (e.g., Schedule C political appointment if authorized);
  • Time-limited promotion; or
  • Time-limited reassignment
  1. Recruitment and selection of candidates to fill the following positions is subject to prior approval by the individual or office indicated:
Position Being Filled Approval Authority
Administrative Officer Director, EOUSA
Any position covered by special retirement coverage under 5 USC 8336(c) or 5 USC 8412(d), e.g., Criminal Investigators Director, EOUSA
Intelligence Specialist Deputy Director, EOUSA
System Manager, and all IT Specialist positions in the 2210 Occupational Series at or above GS-11 Chief Information Officer, EOUSA
Human Resources Officer or Human Resources Specialist who functions as Human Resources Officer Chief Human Resources Officer, EOUSA
Budget Officer or Budget Analyst who functions as the Budget Officer Chief Financial Officer, EOUSA
  1. Executive Office for United States Attorneys' staff will participate with the United States Attorneys' offices in the interview process as subject matter experts when filling these vacant positions.

[updated February 2018]


3-4.332 Recruitment and Selection Through Competitive Examination

Other reference(s): 5 C.F.R. § 332

Office of Personnel Management Certification and Objections to Eligibles. Districts that do not have delegated personnel authority can make no commitment to an applicant prior to completion of the certification process and approval by the Human Resources Staff, Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA).

If a hiring official requests to pass over a preference eligible candidate, an SF-62, Statement of Reason for Passing Over a Preference Eligible, supporting documentation and justification must be submitted to the CHRO, EOUSA.  Requests to object to 30% compensably disabled veteran will be reviewed and, if fully supported, forwarded to OPM who retains authority to approve. 

All applicants must be apprised of the status of their application upon receipt, determination of qualifications/referral, and at the end of the hiring action, whether due to non-selection or cancellation of the announcement.  Districts that do not have delegated personnel authority must obtain approval of the Human Resources Staff to make appointments.

[cited in USAM 3-1.200, EOUSA Delegated Examining Standard Operating Procedures]

[updated February 2018]


3-4.334 Temporary Assignment Under Intergovernmental Personnel Act

Other Reference(s): 5 C.F.R. § 334.

Cross Designation of Federal Prosecutors as State and Local Prosecutors. Cross designation of a federal prosecutor as a State or Local Prosecutor under the IPA is appropriate only when the assignment will be full-time or last longer than one year.

In all other cases, cross-designation may be authorized upon the request from, or with the concurrence of, a state or local government, and with the consent of the employee and the United States Attorney concerned. While serving in a cross-designated capacity, an Assistant United States Attorney is deemed to be on a regular work assignment.

[updated February 2018] [cited in USAM 3-1.200]


3-4.335 Promotion and Internal Placement

Policy. It is the policy of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) and United States Attorneys’ offices (USAOs) to utilize employee skills and potential to the fullest in filling vacancies and to select, assign, and promote employees solely on the basis of job-related criteria and without regard to religion, parental status, sexual orientation, protected genetic information, race, color, creed, age, national origin, sex, nondisqualifying disabilities, politics, membership or nonmembership in employee organizations, marital status, personal favoritism or patronage.

[updated February 2018]


3-4.410 Training

  1. Responsibilities
    1. United States Attorneys and the Director, EOUSA, shall delegate training approval authority to the lowest appropriate subordinate supervisory levels
    2. Supervisors shall
      • Identify individual and organizational training needs,
      • Consider the most effective approaches to meet training needs, and
      • Approve training requests within their organizations that will promote employee and unit effectiveness.
  2. Training Funded by the Government. Employees and officials of the Department of Justice may attend conferences, conventions, professional meetings or other meetings at government expense provided they meet the following criteria:
    • The conference or meeting is directly related to the individual's work in the Department; or
    • They are to take an active part in the conference or meeting and such participation will benefit the government.
  3. Training for United States Attorneys. Training approval for United States Attorneys was delegated by the Attorney General to the Director, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, who redelegated this authority to the Associate Director, Office of Legal Education.
  4. Attorney Mentoring.   All new Department of Justice Attorneys, including AUSAs, with less than five years of experience are assigned a mentor when they join the Department. The goals are to introduce new attorneys to the Department and federal practice, build their confidence, and shorten their learning curve. OARM conducts an annual survey of the mentees to assess their experiences with their mentors.  Each office is responsible to ensuring mentors receive appropriate training and the goals of the mentoring program are met.
  5. Training for Supervisors and Managers
    1. Individuals assigned to supervisory positions shall complete training within the first year of their initial assignment as a supervisor on the use of appropriate actions, options, and strategies to:
      1. Mentor employees;
      2. Improve employee performance and productivity;
      3. Conduct employee performance appraisals in accordance with agency appraisal systems; and
      4. Identify and assist employees with unacceptable performance.
    2. Follow up training for supervisors and managers shall be completed at least every three years.
    3. Individuals making critical career transitions, for example to managerial or executive positions, shall complete appropriate training consistent with assessments of the agency's and the individual's needs.
  6. Fees for Attendance At Meetings. Fees for attendance at meetings which meet the training criteria may be paid for pursuant to the Department of Justice Order 1200.1, Part 5, Training and Development dated October 3, 2000.

[updated February 2018][cited in USAM 3-6.100]


3-4.451 Incentive Awards

Awards will recognize and reward superior employee performance in such areas as accomplishing organizational goals and objectives, suggestions or accomplishments that contribute to the efficiency or improvement of government operations, and performance as reflected in the employee’s most recent rating of record.

  1. Delegation of Authority
    United States Attorneys (USA) and the Director, EOUSA, may approve:
    • Cash awards to $7,500 for all staff
    • Time-off awards up to 120 hours per leave year per employee. A full-time employee may be granted a maximum of 40 hours of time off from duty as an incentive award for any single contribution
  2. Quality Step Increase (QSI)
    1. Quality Step Increases (QSIs) provide faster than normal progression through the step rates of the General Schedule. Unlike other forms of monetary recognition, a QSI permanently increases an employee’s rate of basic pay by one step and should be limited to recognizing extraordinary levels of employee excellence. To be considered for a Quality Step Increase (QSI), the following criteria must be met:
      1. The employee's performance rating must be at the "Outstanding" level.
      2. The employee must have been performing at that grade for a minimum of six months and there is an expectation that the performance will continue at that level for a minimum of an additional six months; and
      3. The employee has not received a QSI within the preceding 52 calendar weeks.
  3. Cash Awards
    1. Performance-Based Awards. To be eligible for one-time cash award an employee’s most recent rating of record must be “Outstanding” or the employee must be rated “Outstanding” or equivalent on one or more job elements, with additional justification by management on the award nomination form.
    2. Special Act Awards. A special act award may be granted to recognize services in the public interest in connection with, or related to, an employee’s official employment.
    3. On-the-Spot Awards. On-the-spot awards may be granted to recognize promptly short-term special acts or service which do not merit larger awards . Receiving an on-the-spot award is not disqualifying for the subsequent receipt of any other cash or honorary incentive award. The same contribution, however, should not be used as the sole basis for an on-the-spot award and another award unless the on-the-spot award is subsequently deemed clearly inadequate to recognize the value of the employee’s contribution.
  4. Time-Off Awards
    1. Authority to grant time off awards not to exceed one work day may be redelgated to the lowest supervisory level.
    2. Authority to grant time off awards in excess of one work day may be redelgated only if the approving official is at a higher organizational level than the recommending official. The Director, EOUSA and each United States Attorney may serve as recommending and approving officials.
    3. Time off awards may not be converted to cash.

[updated February 2018] [cited in USAM 3-1.200]

 


3-4.534 Pay Under Other Systems

18 U.S.C. § 207; 28 U.S.C. § 546; 28 U.S.C. § 548

This Title contains information on salaries paid to United States Attorneys (USAs) and Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs).

  1. USAs:
    1. General. The salaries of USAs are set by the Attorney General (AG) or Deputy Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 548.
    2. AG-Appointed and Court-Appointed USAs. An individual appointed as USA by the AG or the district court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 546, shall be paid the full salary of the USA position, effective as of the date of appointment, unless they elect a salary at a rate less than 86.5 percent of the rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule. 
  2. AUSAs:
    1. AUSAs. AUSA salaries are set in accordance with an Administratively Determined pay plan approved by the AG or DAG pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 548.
    2. Supervisory and SLC AUSAs. Supervisory and SLC AUSAs occupy their positions via temporary promotions not-to-exceed four years or less, and are subject to subsequent assignment to lower-level supervisory or SLC AUSA positions or to line AUSA positions at any time. Upon such “reassignment,” the AUSA’s grade is reduced and salary set within the new pay grade.
  3. Senior Litigation Counsel. The Senior Litigation Counsel (SLC) program was created for the express purpose of recognizing truly outstanding non-supervisory Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) based on their overall careers as litigators. To qualify, an AUSA must meet the following criteria:
    1. Have at least five years experience as an attorney, the major portion of such experience having been as an active litigator in the Federal court system;
    2. When nominated, be at a salary at least equivalent to GS-15, step 1;
    3. Be recognized as an outstanding litigator in the Federal court system as demonstrated by awards, letters of commendation, press coverage, or other material attesting to the success and quality of the attorney's advocacy skills;
    4. Be responsible for the in-office training of Assistants less knowledgeable in advocacy skills;
    5. Not supervise any AUSAs; and
    6. Have the stated intention of remaining with the Department of Justice for at least one year after designation, and be available, when it will not interfere with assigned caseload, to serve as a rotating faculty member at the National Advocacy Center (NAC).

[updated February 2018]


3-4.550 Pay Administration (General)

Other reference(s): 5 C.F.R. § 550

  1. Overtime. United States Attorneys and the Director, EOUSA, or designees, are authorized to approve overtime subject to availability of overtime budget, subject to the limitations below.
    Pursuant to 5 C.F.R. § 550.111, approval of overtime must be documented in writing by a person authorized to do so. United States Attorneys and the Director, EOUSA, may redelegate, in writing, overtime approval authority to appropriate officials, e.g., to the Administrative Officer or to supervisors delegated authority to approve Time and Attendance records.
    United States Attorneys are NOT authorized to approve overtime premium pay or compensatory time, other than compensatory time for religious purposes and compensatory time off for travel, for attorney personnel.
    Overtime compensation earned while in travel status will be controlled for nonexempt General Schedule (GS) employees by telling the employee when to travel and by what mode. If the employee travels at a different time or by a different mode than that which was ordered, the employee receives the lesser amount of compensation based on actual and estimated travel.
  2. Compensatory Time. It is the policy of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) that employees must use earned compensatory time off for work, but not earned compensatory time off for travel or for religious purposes, prior to using annual leave. However, United States Attorneys, or designated leave approving officials, may approve annual leave for employees with annual leave subject to forfeiture, on a case-by-case basis, prior to using compensatory time for work.
  3. Time and Attendance Reports. Unless an exception is specifically authorized by the Director, EOUSA, only the United States Attorney may sign his/her own Time and Attendance report, as certifying official.

[updated February 2018]

 


3-4.752 Adverse Actions

Other References: Human Resources Order DOJ 1200.1, Chapter 3-1, Discipline and Adverse Actions

Employee disciplinary actions, especially those actions relating to Assistant United States Attorneys, are sensitive issues that must be closely coordinated with the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, General Counsel’s office.

Assistant United States Attorneys. The authority to issue, propose, and decide, as appropriate, disciplinary actions against Assistant United States Attorneys is shown below. This authority may not be redelegated.

Action Delegated Authority to Issue
Written Reprimands Director, EOUSA, or designee; Deputy Directors, EOUSA; United States Attorneys, and First Assistant United States Attorneys
Suspensions (14 Days or less) Proposals: Director, EOUSA, or designee, Deputy Directors, EOUSA; United States Attorneys, and First Assistant United States Attorneys

 

Decisions: Director, EOUSA, or designee; Deputy Directors, EOUSA, and United States Attorneys

Suspensions (15 Days or more), Reductions in Grade/Pay, Removal Proposals: Director, EOUSA, or designee; Deputy Directors, EOUSA  and United States Attorneys

 

Decisions: Director, EOUSA, or designee; Deputy Directors, EOUSA

Non-Attorney Staff. The authority to issue, propose, and decide, as appropriate, any disciplinary actions against non-attorney staff is delegated to each U.S. Attorney and to the Director, EOUSA. This authority has been redelegated as shown below:

Action Delegated Authority to Issue
Written Reprimands Immediate Supervisor
Suspensions, Reductions in Grade/Pay, Removal Proposals: Immediate Supervisor

 

Decisions: Second-Level Supervisor

In its discretion, management may determine that it is appropriate for a higher-level management official to serve as the proposing or deciding official.

Questions relating to the level at which actions should be initiated must be directed to EOUSA’s General Counsel’s Office.

[updated February 2018]

Updated July 31, 2018