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Performance management handbook (recognition) - chapter 3

Chapter 3. Delegations of Authority Agency Officials

The following officials of the Department are delegated the authorities described in the delegations section below:

  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Deputy Secretary of Commerce
  • Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration 
  • Under Secretary for Industry and Security
  • Director, Bureau of the Census
  • Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
  • Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
  • Under Secretary for International Trade
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Director, Minority Business Development Agency
  • Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Director, National Technical Information Service
  • Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator
  • Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information
  • General Counsel
  • Inspector General
  • Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Delegated Authorities

The following authorities are delegated to:

  • Grant Bronze Medal Awards; 
  • Recommend the establishment of and grant special operating unit awards in accordance with provisions of this Order; 
  • Recommend individuals or groups for cash awards over $10,000 for superior accomplishments; 
  • Recommend individuals for cash awards based on a performance rating which exceeds $10,000; and 
  • Recommend individuals, organizations, or groups to the Secretary for Presidential, Departmental, and external awards.

Redelegated Authorities

Redelegations of authority must be made in writing with notification to the Servicing Human Resources Office. The following authorities may be redelegated to grant: 

  • Cash awards to individuals or groups for superior accomplishments in amounts not to exceed $10,000; 
  • Cash awards to individuals based on a performance rating in amounts not to exceed $10,000; 
  • Quality Step Increases to General Schedule employees; 
  • Length-of-service recognition to employees for completion of 10 years of service and for subsequent 5-year intervals; 
  • Nonmonetary awards; and 
  • Time Off awards. 

Authority for NonSES Awards in Excess of $7,500

Bureau Performance Review Boards (PRBs) must review NonSES monetary awards in excess of $7,500 in the same manner as proposed SES performance bonuses and pay level adjustments. This will ensure that the narrative justifications for both SES and NonSES award proposals are reviewed in the context of relative contribution to the organization's mission and strategic objectives accomplishments. 

The PRB recommendations regarding NonSES awards in excess of $7,500 will be provided to the appropriate Under Secretary, or equivalent official, who will make final decisions and certify in writing the merit of those approved. This certification authority may be redelegated to the Deputy Under Secretary or equivalent. The appropriate HR Offices must retain copies of these certifications for record purposes.

Awards in excess of $10,000 for individuals and individuals as members of a group require approval by the Office of Personnel Management.

The following groups of employees under Demonstration Programs or Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS) are exempt from the $7,500 rule, since their project plan permits awards in excess of that amount.

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (APMS)
  • Economics and Statistics Administration and (1) Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration and (1) Institute for Telecommunications Sciences
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and parts of the following line offices: (1) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; (2) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; and (3) National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Office of Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration: (1) Office of Human Resources Management; (2) Office of the Secretary; (3) Office of Financial Management; (4) Office of Administrative Services; and (5) Office of Management and Organization