Policy and Responsibilities

222 FW 1
FWM Number
Originating Office
Division of Human Capital

1.1 Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to issue guidelines on personnel management responsibilities within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).

1.2 Scope. The guidelines in this chapter apply to all career, career-conditional, and other Service employees.

1.3 Authority. Under the Constitution, sections 3301, 3302 and 7301 of title 5, United States Code, and other pertinent statutes, the President is responsible primarily for personnel management in the executive branch.

A. The President, through staff assistants, through central staff agencies, and through the heads of agencies, performs the following functions:

(1) Formulation of the executive branch civilian personnel management goals, policies, and programs.

(2) Recommendation of personnel legislation and appropriation requests to the Congress.

(3) Provision of leadership to improve the effectiveness and flexibility of personnel management in, and assure its consistency and coordination among, the various executive agencies.

(4) Prescription of rules for the practice of the merit principle and system in all phases of Federal personnel management, and for other personnel management matters.

(5) Making appointments to key positions authorized by law.

B. Federal personnel management operates within a framework of statutes, Executive orders, and regulations.

C. It is the policy of the executive branch of the Government to decentralize and delegate authority for personnel management to the extent consistent with the delegation of authority in other functions of management and with effective control and adherence to standards.

1.4 Personnel Management. Personnel management encompasses the wide range of structured programs and activities involved in the acquisition, development, utilization, and maintenance of the Service's human resources.

A. The Service's personnel programs fall under the broad categories of staffing and employment; position management and classification; employee and labor relations; employee compensation and benefits; and performance management encompassing performance evaluation, employee recognition, and employee training and development. In addition to these program areas, personnel management also includes related activities such as the management of automated personnel information systems and employee records maintenance.

B. The role of implementing public policy is a special dimension of Federal personnel management. Public policy, as expressed in regulations, carries the effect of law, court decisions, and Presidential directives.

C. It is the responsibility of Service management, assisted by the personnel program staffs, to ensure that its personnel management programs achieve optimal results in meeting mission and public policy requirements.

1.5 Objectives. The major objectives of the Service's personnel management program are to:

A. Contribute directly and effectively to the accomplishment of missions and programs. This can best be achieved by:

(1) Recruiting and maintaining a work force of high competence and character that reflects the highest ideals of public service and represents the cultural diversity of the national labor market.

(2) Utilizing human resources wisely, economically, and efficiently.

B. Develop policies and practices that stimulate initiative, productivity, creativity, challenging assignments, and cost consciousness among all Service employees. This objective can best be realized by:

(1) Fostering an attitude of responsive commitment among all managers, supervisors, and employees that results in personal career satisfaction and pride in performance.

(2) Encouraging support of career development systems that provide opportunities for advancement through training, education, development, and utilization. Employee career enhancement program planning and design should reflect employee interests, personal motivation, abilities, and the realization of personal career goals.

(3) Instilling pride in the work force by emphasizing the traditional values of Federal service, including integrity, continuity, competence, and merit. These are essential to the mutual confidence that exists between the Service and the public.

C. Implement pertinent public policy as expressed in laws, Executive orders, regulations, or other mandates. This includes recognizing and dealing with union representatives in accordance with Federal policy. The Service shall strive to promote relationships that are constructive and beneficial to the collective interests of the employees and the accomplishment of the Service's mission.

1.6 Responsibilities.

A. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

In some circumstances laws and Executive orders place certain personnel management responsibilities directly on agency heads subject to OPM standards, review, and/or approval. In other cases, OPM or other central agencies have been given either statutory authority by the Congress or delegated authority by the President to establish standards and regulations regarding major aspects of agency personnel management. In those areas in which OPM has been given regulatory authority, its policy is to delegate to agency heads the authority to effect personnel actions whenever possible including the authority to make personnel management decisions without prior review by OPM.

B. The Secretary of the Interior assigns appropriate personnel management responsibilities to heads of subordinate bureaus and offices. Personnel management responsibilities are communicated through the Office of Personnel (PPM), located in the Office of the Assistant Secretary - Policy, Management and Budget.

C. The Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is responsible for personnel management within the Service and establishes personnel policies tailored to the needs of the Service.

D. The Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration

(1) Assists the Director in providing leadership and allocating resources to administer and maintain an effective personnel management program within the Service. The Assistant Director assures that personnel management is effectively integrated with other general management functions.

(2) Serves as the primary management official in the implementation and evaluation of personnel management programs throughout the Service. The Assistant Director advises the Director of personnel policies that would improve program effectiveness and enhance program support and awareness.

E. The Chief, Division of Personnel Management (DPM), represents the Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration in personnel management matters; consults with the Assistant Director on personnel policy matters; and recommends, develops, implements, and assists members of the Service Directorate in evaluating personnel management programs from a policy perspective. The Chief specifically:

(1) Initiates and actively participates in all elements of personnel management essential to the achievement of the objectives previously stated;

(2) Ensures that personnel management goals, policies, and practices are communicated and understood Servicewide by providing leadership and/or assistance to Regions, as requested;

(3) Represents and advises management in relating substantive program requirements to staffing and program decisions;

(4) Advises and represents management on employee and labor relations matters having Servicewide impact;

(5) Facilitates the full participation of managers, supervisors, employees, and recognized employee unions in appropriate personnel management activities, including the formulation and implementation of objectives, policies, guides, and standards;

(6) Initiates appropriate planning and studies to support personnel management programs, informs the Director or Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration of promising new personnel management concepts, and recommends appropriate changes in Service policies and practices;

(7) Advises managers on how the Federal personnel system may be best used to accomplish program and personnel decisions, and facilitates management's understanding of how personnel management is implemented throughout the Service through the issuance of Service policies and appropriate guidance;

(8) Evaluates the effectiveness of the Service's personnel programs and provides management with the information needed to evaluate the success of subordinate managers and supervisors in implementing the Director's objectives and decisions;

(9) Reviews and takes appropriate action on all personnel actions affecting GS/GM-14 and above positions based on proposals/recommendations from the Headquarters and Regional Offices. Also reviews selected positions at GS/GM-13 or below, as specified by the Department, in accordance with 223 FW 2.

(10) Through the Branch of Headquarters Operations, provides personnel management services to managers, supervisors, and employees located at Headquarters. These services primarily include position management and classification, recruitment, staffing, employee relations, employee benefits, incentive awards, and the processing and maintenance of related personnel records and files. In addition, the responsibility for the staffing and recruitment for all GS/GM-14 and 15 level positions throughout the Service resides in this Branch. See 1.7, below, for additional information regarding administrative personnel support to Region 8 employees.

F. The Chief, Office for Human Resources, provides resources and staff support to ensure that a comprehensive program to promote cultural diversity within the Service functions in compliance with the personnel management policies and procedures that enhance special outreach recruitment efforts.

G. The Chief, Office of Training and Education, provides oversight and coordination to the training and employee development activities of the Service in conjunction with, and with the cooperation of, regional training and other Service Personnel Offices.

H. Regional Directors develop and implement an effective personnel management program within their Regions. Decisions are based upon the broad policies and guidelines established by the Director, the Department, and the OPM.

(1) Regional Directors administer their personnel management programs in a sound and effective fashion designed to enhance the overall program effectiveness of their Regional functions.

(2) Regional Directors provide leadership and allocate resources for administering an efficient personnel program within their Regions. Through the Regional Personnel Officers and the Chief, Office of Administrative Support, in Region 8, the Regional Directors are responsible for the effective implementation of personnel policies and procedures.

I. Assistant Regional Directors - Budget and Administration ensure that Regional personnel activities are accomplished in accordance with established OPM, Department, and Service personnel regulations, policies, and procedures.

J. Regional Personnel Officers

(1) Administer the Service personnel management program through the Assistant Regional Director - Budget and Administration within the geographic boundaries of the Regions and serve as key advisors to the Regional Directors on personnel management matters consistent with governing laws, rules, regulations, and policies of the Department and the Service. They bring to the attention of the Regional Directors issues of concern and make recommendations to improve personnel program effectiveness.

(2) Within their assigned areas, the Regional Personnel Officers are responsible for fulfilling the Service's personnel management responsibilities for all non-research positions through the GS/GM-13 level. They also recommend proposed actions to Headquarters on positions at GS/GM-14 and above, as well as positions in selected program areas (e.g., public information officer, equal employment officer, or personnel officer positions).

(3) For non-research positions in the field activities of Research Centers, the geographic locations of the Center determine the Region that will provide personnel management services. The servicing personnel office for Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units in the field is determined by the geographic location of the Unit. See 1.7, below, for Regional responsibilities regarding administrative personnel support to Region 8 employees.

K. The Chief, Office of Administrative Support, Region 8, is responsible for administering the personnel management program in Region 8. The personnel office function for Region 8 provides classification and staffing services up through the GS/GM-13 level for all positions located at the Region 8 Headquarters, and all research positions through GS/GM-13, regardless of geographic location. (Research positions are those positions that are covered by the Research Grade Evaluation Guide). The Region 8 personnel staff review award nominations for Region 8 employees nationwide. See 1.7, below, for additional information regarding administrative personnel support to Region 8 employees.

L. Managers and Supervisors have significant personnel management responsibilities in the person to person relationships at the work site. These relationships decisively affect employee morale and productivity. The supervisor is the primary member of the management team whose skill in communication, leadership, motivation, evaluation of performance, and human relations generally will result in the actualization of the Director's decisions at the working level. Supervisors are required to:

(1) Utilize staffing resources in an economic and effective manner by clearly defining job requirements and matching the talents of each employee with the specific tasks inherent in work assignments;

(2) Fully inform all employees of their role in accomplishing Service missions, of public policy and management decisions affecting their employment and mission accomplishment, and of their rights, privileges, and obligations as Federal employees;

(3) Develop and motivate employees to attain their fullest potential and recommend recognition for superior work or innovative contributions, as appropriate;

(4) Evaluate individual performance based on objective criteria including valid performance measurements and sound judgment, communicate these evaluations to the employees concerned, and take appropriate corrective action in accordance with applicable personnel management policy, including the initiation of appropriate position changes, training, transfers, separations, or other indicated actions;

(5) Deal with all employees in a fair and equitable manner and in accordance with established policy, including personnel management and equal employment opportunity laws and regulations and;

(6) Operate in good faith and a spirit of cooperation with local union officials and other employee representatives on matters relative to working conditions, grievances, discrimination complaints, and the application of personnel management policy.

1.7 Administrative Personnel Support to Region 8 is provided in accordance with the following guidelines:

A. Staffing.

(1) The Chief, Office of Administrative Support, Region 8, is responsible for processing merit promotion and competitive recruitment actions (i.e., actions resulting from a vacancy announcement, direct hire authority, or a request for certificate of eligibles from OPM) only for those positions within Region 8's purview (i.e., Headquarters and Research Grade-Evaluation Guide classified positions GS/GM-13 and below.) Region 8 will process the action prior to the point of the employee's actual entrance on duty. Relevant paperwork will be forwarded to the appropriate servicing personnel office to continue the process to enter the employee on duty. Selection letters for all research positions are to be issued by Region 8 personnel staff. For noncompetitive actions (e.g., career ladder promotions, reassignments, details, etc.), the Chief, Office of Administrative Support, Region 8, will forward all necessary information and a completed SF-52 to the servicing personnel office for processing.

(2) The Regional Personnel Officers and the Chief, Branch of Headquarters Operations, process all relevant paperwork for actions initiated by the Region 8 personnel staff to complete recruitment, promotion, reassignment, or other actions once the employee is officially on board. They are responsible, within their assigned area, for issuing SF-50's, providing an orientation to the Service, processing health benefits paperwork, and other similar activities.

B. Position Classification.

(1) The Region 8 personnel staff prepare the evaluation statements for all Headquarters research and non-research positions through GS/GM-13. If a personnel action is required, the completed SF-52 and all relevant information are forwarded to the appropriate servicing personnel office. The Region 8 personnel staff recommends classification, via properly prepared evaluation statements, on all Headquarters GS/GM-14 and 15 positions, except those research GS/GM-14 and 15 positions evaluated through the Research Grade-Evaluation Guide. The latter are evaluated and classified by the Headquarters personnel representative as part of the Research Grade-Evaluation Guide panels.

(2) The Regional Personnel Officers complete any classification actions including evaluation statements on all Region 8 non-research positions through GS/GM-13 located outside of Headquarters. The Chief, Branch of Headquarters Operations, provides position classification services for all GS/GM-14 and above employees in Region 8.

C. Dissemination of Information.

(1) The Region 8 Headquarters personnel staff distributes personnel management information or other information that is directed specifically to Region 8 employees.

(2) Regional Personnel Officers and the Chief, Branch of Headquarters Operations, issue information that is applicable to all Service employees or to employees within a specific area to those Region 8 employees under the jurisdiction of the servicing personnel office.

D. Personnel Management Reports. Statistics for personnel management reports required by DPM will be provided by the servicing personnel office for Region 8 employees, unless specific instructions indicate that Region 8 headquarters staff should provide the information.

E. Other Personnel Services. Regional Personnel Officers and the Chief, Branch of Headquarters Operations, provide services for the Region 8 employees in the areas of employee relations, labor-management relations, awards review and processing, employee benefits, personnel action processing, and records maintenance.

1.8 Personnel Clearance Procedures. Information governing personnel clearance procedures is contained in 223 FW 2 and is to be used in conjunction with the Departmental Manual, Federal Personnel Manual, and other pertinent issuances in processing selected personnel action requests.

1.9 Additional Information. Employees desiring more comprehensive information on any subject included in this chapter should contact their servicing personnel office. 

Amended by Decision Memorandum, “Approval of Revisions to ~350 Directives to Remove Gender-Specific Pronouns,” 6/22/2022