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CAPS board


Revised October 21, 2014


I. Establishment

The CAPS Board, formerly the Departmental Personnel Management Board (DPMB), is a committee established under Federal Register Notice, Vol. 62, No. 247, dated December 24, 1997, which served to announce the Department of Commerce’s (Department) participation in a Demonstration Project. The Demonstration Project became a permanent system on December 26, 2007, with passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-161) and was renamed the Commerce Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). 

On October 6, 2008, as a result of many implementation issues being resolved, the former 22-member DPMB was dissolved, and a 6-member CAPS Board was created. With the modification of CAPS to include expansion of employee coverage and new CAPS innovations requiring Board evaluation, the Board voted on July 22, 2014, to increase the number of representatives from 6 to 10. The revised Board is composed of members from the following bureaus: Office of the Secretary (OS), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Census Bureau (Census), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

The Department’s Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) has overall responsibility for the oversight and accountability of CAPS with the Director for Human Resources Management and Chief Human Capital Officer serving as the Chair of the Board.

II. Purpose

The purpose of the Board is to manage and oversee CAPS at the Department level.

III. Membership

As the Chair of the Board, the Director for Human Resources Management and Chief Human Capital Officer serves as a non-voting representative responsible for managing the Board and its meetings. In cases when the Board cannot reach a consensus, the Board Chair has overall authority to implement CAPS policies and procedures. In the absence of the Chair, the OHRM Deputy Director will serve as the Vice-Chair. The Chair shall appoint OHRM, Office of Policy and Programs staff to assist with meeting agendas, action recommendations, and distribution of meeting minutes and/or voting results to Board members. Additional Board members will include voting and non-voting senior management representatives from operating units covered by CAPS as well as senior managers in the OS Office of Civil Rights, Census, and NIST. 

Voting members of the CAPS Board will include the following:

  • Chief Administrative Officer, BEA
  • Deputy Assistant Administrator, National Ocean Service (NOS), NOAA
  • Director, Workforce Management Office (WFMO), NOAA
  • Director, Department of Commerce Human Resources Operations Center (DOCHROC), OS
  • Associate Administrator and Director, Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (ITS), NTIA

Non-voting members of the CAPS Board will include the following:

  • Director of Civil Rights, OS
  • Director, Financial Reporting and Internal Controls, OS
  • Chief, Human Resources Division (HRD), Census 
  • Director, Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), NIST

Members will serve on the Board indefinitely; however, the composition of the Board may change based on the event of a vacancy or the need for increased or decreased representation. All appointed representatives must be approved by the Board Chair. 

IV. Jurisdiction

The Board has jurisdiction over the Department’s Alternative Personnel System, and over personnel actions effected under CAPS policies and procedures. 

V. Functions

A. The Board shall manage, evaluate, and set policy and procedures for CAPS.

B. The Board shall direct and oversee any CAPS system changes that require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approval or publication in the Federal Register.

C. The Board shall interpret and clarify CAPS policies and procedures.

D. The Board shall establish, revise, and oversee all management and administrative structures for conducting and evaluating CAPS and for managing CAPS human resources systems in general.

E. The Board shall determine and oversee the delegations of authorities to managers, supervisors, and management bodies, including the Operating Personnel Management Boards (OPMBs) and any established review boards.

F. The Board shall make exceptions to existing CAPS procedures on a case by case basis when it believes exceptions are warranted.

G. The Board may establish itself as the approving body for any category of personnel actions under its jurisdiction.

H. The Board shall exercise the above described authorities over all human resources functional areas under its jurisdiction, including:

  1. Position classification
  2. Position management
  3. Staffing and probation
  4. Recruitment and retention allowances
  5. Promotion
  6. Reduction-in-force
  7. Pay administration, including pay for performance
  8. Performance evaluation
  9. Awards
  10. Employee development
  11. Employee relations and adverse actions
  12. Project implementation
  13. Project evaluation
  14. Project budgeting
  15. Automation of human resources systems

VI. Meetings

A. The Board shall determine the time and place of its meetings, provided that it shall meet a minimum of twice annually. 

B. A quorum shall consist of 3 voting members.

C. Board members, not delegates, must attend meetings in person or by conference call if located outside of the Washington DC metropolitan area. 

D. The Chair (or his or her designee) shall provide e-mail notice of the time and place of the Board meeting to each member no later than 3 business days prior to the meetings. In the case of emergency meetings, the 3-business-day notification period shall be waived. 

E. The Chair (or his or her designee) shall announce decisions after taking votes or after determining that there is general consent. The Chair may make emergency decisions to be submitted later for Board ratification.

F. The Department’s OHRM shall provide executive secretarial support to the Board.

VII. Review and changes to the Charter

The Board shall review the Charter on an annual basis and recommend changes as required.