NEW! We are pleased to announce that we are now offering a two-day SES Application Writing Workshop at the Federal Career Training Institute in the Baltimore/DC metro region!
The Senior Executive Service (SES) was established by the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978 and became effective in July 1979. The CSRA established a distinct personnel system for managerial and leadership positions above grade 15 of the General Schedule. The SES was designed to develop a senior executive corps that has solid executive expertise, public service values, and a broad perspective of government. Bonneville’s top executives occupy positions in the senior executive service. For example, the Administrator/Chief Executive Officer is an SES position as well as the Chief Operating Officer; General Counsel; Senior Vice President, Power Business Line; and Senior Vice President, Transmission Business Line.
Members of the Senior Executive Service hold higher security clearances and are subject to detailed background investigations prior to appointment. In addition, Senior Executives are covered by Federal Government Ethics Standards and are required to complete annual financial disclosure statements (financial disclosure statements are kept confidential).
Senior Executives are subject to a one-year probationary period upon an individual’s initial career appointment to an SES position. An individual’s appointment becomes final only after he/she has successfully completed the probationary period, which begins on the effective date of the appointment and ends one calendar year later.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Public Law 108-136, November 24, 2003 ) established a new performance-based pay system for members of the Senior Executive Service.
The former SES pay system had six levels of pay, which were replaced by an open pay range, and locality pay is no longer extended to SES members. The SES pay range has a minimum rate of basic pay equal to 120 percent of the rate for General Schedule grade 15 step 1, and a maximum salary equal to level III of the Executive Service. The law, however, provides for a maximum salary equal to level II of the Executive Service for agencies that have a performance appraisal system certified by the Office of Personnel Management. An individual’s salary, upon entrance into the Senior Executive Service, is set commensurate with his/her experience and qualifications. The following is the 2012 pay rates for members of the Senior Executive Service.
Structure of the SES Pay System – 2012
|Agencies with a Certified SES Performance Appraisal System||
|Agencies without a Certified SES Performance Appraisal System||
SES Members are also eligible for awards based upon performance as well as individual incentive awards and Presidential rank awards.
Recruitment and relocation bonuses up to 25% of basic pay may be given for hard to fill positions; executives must agree to serve in the Federal Government for one-year or be subject to repayment of all or part of the bonus received.
Retention allowances up to 25% of basic pay may be paid, if unusually high or unique qualifications of individual or a special need of the agency makes it essential to retain the individual, and individual would likely leave the Government in the absence of an allowance.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for establishing the minimum qualification requirements for all Senior Executive Service (SES) positions in the Federal government, which are the SES Executive Core Qualifications. Agencies are responsible for establishing specific professional/technical qualifications required, if any.
The type and level of experience required to meet minimum qualifications is associated with managerial positions that have responsibility for directing major organizations, programs, or program segments that have a significant scope and effect on the Agency’s mission or a major program. Manager positions at this level usually have responsibility for formulating, issuing, and implementing program policies to support the strategic objectives established by the organization’s executives. Managers at this level are also, generally, responsible for the effective management of their organizations and/or program’s resources (i.e., financial, human, etc.), and are responsible for achieving broad program goals and objectives.
A candidate’s qualifications are evaluated based upon their possession of the SES Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) and any technical qualifications identified. In evaluating the qualifications of candidates with no prior Federal experience, an assessment of the candidate’s work experience (e.g., level of responsibility, complexity of organization led, complexity/scope of programs responsible for, etc.) is made in comparison with programs found in the Federal sector.
Senior Executive Service positions are, typically, filled using a merit-based open competitive process; however, positions may be filled through non-competitive means.
If filled competitively:
If filled non-competitively:
Selection Review Process
1. Federally Formatted SES Resume
2. Executive Core Qualification Statements
3. Technical Qualifications (TQs), Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs), or Professional Technical Qualifications (PTQs)
4. Cover Letter
The Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ’s) define the competencies and characteristics needed to build a federal corporate culture that drives for results, serves customers, and builds successful teams and coalitions within and outside the organization. The Executive Core Qualifications are required for entry to the Senior Executive Service and are used by many departments and agencies in selection, performance management, and leadership development for management and executive positions.
There are 5 ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen and Building Coalitions and Communications.
Most agencies require that applicants for SES positions respond to the ECQs as well as provide a detailed resume. You should check the SES vacancy announcement closely to determine if responses to the ECQs are required. You can work with The Resume Place to develop and edit your ECQs to enhance your opportunities for referral to the selecting official, interviewing, and selection.
The ECQs are the core of the SES application and are used to demonstrate executive leadership and competencies. ECQ responses will be highly scrutinized at least 3 times in the SES selection process (merit staffing committee, agency, and final approval by the Office of Personnel Management).
The Executive Core Qualifications are used by OPM to ensure a broad range of executive skills and to confirm that the applicant understands the strategic perspective that the government seeks among its senior executives. Agencies are looking for more targeted technical qualifications, and face more specific managerial challenges. An outside applicant might have strong experience “Building Coalitions,” that includes experience working with Congress. That experience could be incorporated effectively in an ECQ. If, however, the agency needs someone with congressional staff experience, that more targeted background would be addressed in the managerial or technical factor.
Your resume is key to demonstrating a professional record of excellence in leadership and management, and is used by the selecting agency to verify your credentials in these areas. Additionally, your resume provides the agency selecting official with a detailed history of your accomplishments in the positions you have held. A Federal resume is recommended – see the examples in The Federal Resume Guidebook, 2nd edition. (You may order this useful handbook at http://practice.resume-place.com)
All SES vacancies are advertised on the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) website: www.usajobs.gov. From this site, you may download announcements for vacancies of interest to you. Additionally, you may set up an email service where new vacancies are sent to your email address. You may also check agency employment websites, or check www.federaljobsearch.com.