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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

NORTHERN PLAINS AREA
COUNCIL OF OFFICE PROFESSIONALS

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Chapter 8
Awards

ARS encourages employees to identify deserving candidates and submit nominations for awards. Recognizing worthy individuals or teams is one of our most valuable tools in professional development. Also, when an employee receives an award, each Management Unit is to provide the Area Office with information on each award received. Below are the contacts for the various awards. When either nominating an employee or team for an award, or recognizing someone for receiving an award, please fill out the proper form and forward it to the contact.

Acronyms: See Chapter 2 for a comprehensive list of commonly used acronyms.

References:

P&P 468.5- Acceptance of Non-Federal Awards and Recognition

P&P 418.3- Performance Awards

 

Cross References:

Chapter 8 - Human Resources - Performance Awards Section

Chapter 9- Ethics

Chapter 9- ODEO: Outreach, Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Web Site:  USDA Guide for Employee Recognition http://www.usda.gov/da/employ/recog.htm

SharePoint:  NPA SharePoint Site - Awards (login required)

Forms:

  • Request for Approval to Receive a Reward from a Non-Federal Source
  • NPA Awards of Excellence Nomination Form
  • ARS Awards Newsletter Information Form

Points of Contact:

Olga Lee - NPA Awards & ARS Newsletter Information Form
Management Analyst
USDA-ARS-WBSC
2150 Centre Ave., Building D, Suite 300
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119
Telephone: (970) 492-7057
Fax: (970) 492-7065
E-Mail: olga.lee@ars.usda.gov

Carol Durflinger - Non-Federal Monetary Awards $200 and up (Ethics)
and Coordinates USDA & Non-Federal Awards                                                                Secretary to the Associate Area Director                                                                            USDA-ARS-WBSC
2150 Centre Ave., Building D, Suite 300
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119
Telephone: (970) 492-7058
Fax: (970) 492-7065
E-Mail: carol.durflinger@ars.usda.gov

Dr. Michael McGuire
Associate Area Director, Ethics Advisor
USDA-ARS-WBSC
2150 Centre Ave. Building D, Suite 300
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119
Telephone: (970) 492-7058
Fax: (970) 492-7065
E-Mail: michael.mcquire@ars.usda.gov


Table of ARS Major Award Programs

Major Award Programs.pdf


United States Department of Agriculture
Research, Education and Economics
Agricultural Research Service

Example Only

(Refer to current year’s memo)

August 4, 2008

SUBJECT: Northern Plains Area Awards of Excellence

        TO: Center/Laboratory Directors
              Research Leaders
              Location Administrative Officers

    FROM: W. H. Blackburn, Director, NPA /s/

It is once again time to submit nominations for the NPA Awards of Excellence. Enclosed is nomination information on the following categories to be considered:

  • Administrative Management Support
  • Secretarial
  • Scientific Support
  • Equal Employment Opportunity - Diversity
  • Safety, Health and Environmental
  • Information Technology

I encourage you to identify deserving candidates and submit nominations. Recognizing worthy individuals or teams is one of our most valuable tools in professional development.

Nominations may be submitted by any employee -- please make sure this information is made available to all your employees. 

Please forward your nominations to Garnet Francesca by October 17, 2008.

Enclosure

cc:

NPA Secretaries

Area Office Employees

Northern Plains Area • Office of the Area Director
2150 Centre Ave, Building D, Suite 300 • Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119
Voice: 970-492-7057 • FAX:970-492-7065
E-MAIL: will.blackburn@ars.usda.gov

An Equal Opportunity Employer


USDA-ARS-NPA

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT SUPPORT AWARD

PURPOSE

To annually recognize outstanding achievement which has increased efficiency in the administrative management support activities of the Agricultural Research Service.

CATEGORY

Recognizing the diversity of the administrative management support functions and the importance of both headquarters and field personnel in support of scientific research in ARS, this segment of the program will recognize employees at locations -- specialists and support.

ELIGIBILITY

  • All employees performing administrative support functions, supervisory and non-supervisory, are eligible to be nominated for this award. 
  • Nominees must be permanent employees and have worked for ARS at least 3 years.

SELECTION CRITERIA

1. Sustained performance above the Fully Successful Level -- latest performance appraisal must be Superior or above.

2. There must be evidence of at least one contribution which has significantly improved the efficiency and economy of operations in an administrative or financial management function.

3. The contribution(s) must have increased program effectiveness or resulted in cost reduction. Achievements may reflect dollar savings, systems benefits, increased productivity, or have been the result of an intensive effort to address a problem.

4. There must be a clear showing that the contribution(s) in the management area has (have) positively impacted the ARS mission.

NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. Any ARS employee may submit a nomination.

2. See Exhibit for format. Justification should clearly demonstrate how the nominee meets the criteria.

3. The nominations will be forwarded through supervisory channels to the Area Director’s Office. The supervisor should verify that the information contained in the nomination is correct and that the nominee’s overall performance has been exemplary.

4. All nominations will be forwarded to the Area Director’s Office by no-later-than October 17.

5. An evaluation panel will be appointed to evaluate the nominations. The panel’s recommendations will be submitted to the Area Director for final approval.

NATURE OF RECOGNITION

Winner will receive a cash award and be recognized at an appropriate recognition ceremony.


USDA-ARS-NPA

OFFICE PROFESSIONAL AWARD

PURPOSE

To annually recognize the outstanding achievements and creative efforts of ARS secretaries.

CATEGORY

Nominees must be classified in a secretarial or clerical position.

ELIGIBILITY

Nominees must be permanent employees and have worked for ARS at least 3 years.

SELECTION CRITERIA

1. Nominees must have received an oustanding or superior rating druing their last performance evaluation.

2. The nomination must show evidence of achievements well beyond normal job performance during the past year and must indicate how work performed has substantially improved the operation of an organizational unit.

3. Achievements may include:

a. Organizational Achievement - overall achievement; such as initiatives taken in successfully reorganizing office procedures, improve filing or other systems, mastering or promoting use of new office equipment, etc. which resulted in improved productivity.

b. Skill Advancement - initiatives taken to substantially improve or acquire skills beyond job qualifications, such as individual educational pursuits or taking the lead in the relationships that assist a unit in accomplishing its mission, training co-workers and others and promoting teamwork.

c. Person-to-Person Relationships - Employee sets an example for others by establishing of exceptional inter- and intra-unit relationships that assist a unit in accomplishing its mission, by training co-workers and others, and by promoting teamwork.

NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. Any ARS employee may submit a nomination.

2. See Exhibit for format. Justification should clearly demonstrate how the nominee meets the criteria.

3. The nominations will be forwarded through supervisory channels to the Area Director’s Office. The supervisor should verify that the information contained in the nomination is correct and that the nominee’s overall performance has been exemplary.

4. All nominations will be forwarded to the Area Director’s Office by no-later-than October 17.

5. An evaluation panel will be appointed to evaluate the nominations. The panel’s recommendations will be submitted to the Area Director for final approval.

NATURE OF RECOGNITION

Winner will receive a cash award and be recognized at an appropriate recognition ceremony.


USDA-ARS-NPA

SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT AWARD

PURPOSE

To annually recognize the outstanding achievements and creative efforts of individuals in the scientific support categories who have contributed significantly to the mission of the Agricultural Research Service.

CATEGORY

Wage Grade, Support Scientists, Scientific Technicians, Computer Support and Clerical Positions not covered by other recognition programs, i.e., Secretarial or Administrative Support Awards.

ELIGIBILITY

Nominees must be permanent employees and have worked for ARS at least 3 years.

SELECTION CRITERIA

1. Nominees must have received an outstanding or superior rating during their last performance evaluation. 

2. The nomination must show evidence of achievements well beyond normal job performance during the past year and must indicate how work performed has substantially improved the operation of an organizational unit.

NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. Any ARS employee may submit a nomination.

2. See Exhibit for format. Justification should clearly demonstrate how the nominee meets the criteria.

3. The nominations will be forwarded through supervisory channels to the Area Director’s Office. The supervisor should verify that the information contained in the nomination is correct and that the nominee’s overall performance has been exemplary.

4. All nominations will be forwarded to the Area Director’s Office by no-later-than October 17.

5. An evaluation panel will be appointed to evaluate the nominations. The panel’s recommendations will be submitted to the Area Director for final approval.

NATURE OF RECOGNITION

Winner will receive a cash award and be recognized at an appropriate recognition ceremony.


USDA-ARS-NPA

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - DIVERSITY AWARD

PURPOSE

To annually recognize employees for special achievements in promoting equal employment opportunity and workforce diversity through actions that clearly exceed the responsibilities of their positions or assignments.

CATEGORY

Recognizing individual(s) who have enhanced the Agency's equal employment opportunity program objectives through notable efforts and achievements within or outside the Agency that have a significant impact and a positive outcome on the Area’s EEO program.

ELIGIBILITY

• All employees of the Agricultural Research Service, Northern Plains Area are eligible.

• Nominations may be for individuals or for groups.

SELECTION CRITERIA

Nominees must show evidence of commitment to equal employment opportunity and civil rights and awareness and commitment to workforce diversity. Examples of ways supervisors and managers can meet this commitment are:

1. Motivation of employees through direct encouragement and assistance toward developing their full potential and toward utilizing their skills to the maximum.

2. Effective employee utilization as evidenced by one or more of the following supervisory activities:

(a) Awareness of employees, skills, abilities, needs, and interests, and structuring their jobs to best utilize and build on these.

(b) Meeting periodically with employees to set challenging work goals that are achievable by employees and are productive to the Agency.

(c) Effective integration of all employees into the organization.

(d) Promotion and use of a variety of special employment programs to further EEO objectives.

3. Sensitive treatment of all employees. This could be demonstrated by concern for providing equal opportunity in all phases of management-training, promotion, awards, etc.

Examples of achievements that would qualify employees without supervisory/managerial or specific EEO duties are:

a. Commitment and efforts to further EEO objectives and workforce diversity through participation in agency activities to raise awareness.

b. Participation with management in the creative development of, and assistance in, training programs for lower grades and under-utilized employees.

c. Working with educational institutions to assist students to prepare for Federal employment and to inform students about careers in science.

d. Providing outstanding leadership and full participation in activities that foster a better understanding of EEO in Government.

There are employees and/or groups of employees who have specific assigned EEO responsibilities within ARS. Examples of this are individuals with collateral duty assignments, members of EEO committees or members of the NPA Diversity Taskforce.

Some examples of qualifying achievements are:

a. Provide counsel, guidance, and innovative ideas and approaches to enhance the Agency's EEO objectives beyond that which would be expected in the assignment.

b. Documented evidence that through the individuals personal efforts, significant accomplishments were made in reaching the Agency's equal employment goals.

c. Counseling and guidance to employees which assist them in achieving career goals.

d. Leadership in developing and implementing EEO programs.

e. Establishing and maintaining respect and confidence of all employee groups through advancing Agency's EEO Program.

Any of the criteria shown above may be considered for any or all nominees. These are merely examples and other criteria may also be used.

NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. Any ARS employee may submit a nomination.

2. See Exhibit for format. Justification should clearly demonstrate how the nominee(s) meets the criteria. Nominations should be made only with full knowledge and careful review to assure that individuals nominated meet the criteria for the recognition. The nominations shall be evaluated strictly on merit. Any job-related performance must have been substantially above normal job performance. The justification portion of the nomination must document one or more of the criteria listed.

3. The nominations will be forwarded through supervisory channels to the Area Director’s Office. The supervisor should verify that the information contained in the nomination is correct and that the nominee’s overall performance has been exemplary.

4. All nominations will be forwarded to the Area Director’s Office by no-later-than October 17.

5. The Area Director, in conjunction with the NPA Diversity Taskforce, will appoint an ad hoc screening panel to review the nominations. This panel will evaluate the nominations and rank candidates under each award category. The Area Director may select the individual or group in each category whose contributions warrant recognition.

6. Previous nominees may be re-nominated. However, an award may be received by an individual no more frequently than every three years. 

NATURE OF RECOGNITION

Winner(s) will receive a cash award and be recognized at an appropriate recognition ceremony. If a group of individuals is selected, the award will be disbursed equally among the members of the group.


USDA-ARS-NPA

SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

PURPOSE

To annually recognize individual employees or teams for outstanding contributions to the Safety, Health and Environmental Program through actions that clearly maintain or increase productivity through the elimination or substantial reduction of recognized hazards, accidental injuries, illnesses, worker compensation costs and property damage

CATEGORY

This award is open to all Area employees regardless of affiliation with past or present collateral duties for safety, health and environmental programs.

ELIGIBILITY

All Northern Plains Area employees, including part-time and temporary appointments are eligible. Nominations may be for individuals, teams, or groups.

SELECTION CRITERIA

Substantial contribution to the ARS Safety and Health and Environmental program effort above and beyond what is normally required may include the following activities. 

Cost Reduction

Overall reduction in injury and illness frequency and severity rates by Center, Location, employee, or employee groups. 

Achievement of target activities selected during the previous year based upon ARS accident/illness/injury reduction goals.

Leadership and Commitment

Describe how support for safe practices is frequent, visible and, by example, has resulted in other employees being motivated to aggressively seek ways to fully achieve a safe and healthful work environment for themselves, as well as those around them. Describe leadership which demonstrates that safety is a value, not an obligation.

Integration of Safety Program

Provide evidence that safety is viewed as a basic responsibility with safety objectives and planning actions being fully integrated within the direct mission program planning.

Resolution of Safety Hazards

Provide evidence that the employee or group pursues the correction on minor hazards at a local level. The employee continually assesses the need to develop new ways of operating to eliminate conditions that contribute to and/or cause hazards. It is a self-motivated person.

Adaption of Challenges

Provide evidence of swift adaptation to challenges created by recognized hazards, by either individual or others. Adaption to challenges includes taking necessary actions to eliminate the hazard so that disruption of work is minimized.

Person-to-Person Relationships

The employee fosters an exceptional work relationship which assist the location in accomplishing a safe work environment for all employees.

Pollution Prevention

The location must have a written plan that states specific goals. Substantial progress toward the planned goals must be accomplished.

NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. Any ARS employee may submit a nomination.

2. See Exhibit for format. Justification should clearly demonstrate how the nominee(s) meets the criteria. Nominations should be made only with full knowledge and careful review to assure that individuals nominate dmeet the criteria for recognition. The nominations shall be evaluated strictly on merit. Any job-related performance must have been substantially above normal job performance. The justificiation portion of the nominations must document one or more the criteria listed.

3. The nominations will be forwarded through supervisory channels to the Area Director’s Office. The supervisor should verify that the information contained in the nomination is correct and that the nominee’s overall performance has been exemplary.

4. All nominations will be forwarded to the Area Director’s Office by no-later-than October 15.

5. The Area Director will appoint an ad hoc screening panel to review the nominations. This panel will evaluate the nominations and rank candidates under each award category. The Area Director may select the individual or group in each category whose contributions warrant recognition.

6. Previous nominees may be re-nominated. However, an award may be received by an individual no more frequently than once every three years.

NATURE OF RECOGNITION

Winner(s) will receive a cash award and be recognized at an appropriate recognition ceremony. If a group of individuals is selected, the award will be disbursed equally among the members of the group.


USDA-ARS-NPA

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

PURPOSE

To annually recognize individual employees, teams, or groups for outstanding contributions to the Information Technology program through actions that clearly maintain or increase productivity in support of research and administration.

CATEGORY

Nominees must be classified in the Information Technology series.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Nominees must be permanent employees and have worked for ARS at least 3 years.
  • Nominations may be submitted for individuals, teams, or groups.

SELECTION CRITERIA

1. Sustained performance above the Fully Successful Level -- latest performance appraisal must be Superior or above.

2. The primary basis for selection will be sustained effective program leadership or creativity in one or more of the following areas:

  • Improved customer service in delivery of information technology
  • Effective training and/or outreach to customers
  • Innovative use of information technology and media
  • Dissemination of information through telecommunications, networking, etc.

NOMINATION AND SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. Any ARS employee may submit a nomination.

2. See Exhibit for format. Justification should clearly demonstrate how the nominee(s) meets the criteria.

3. The nominations will be forwarded through supervisory channels to the Area Director’s Office. The supervisor should verify that the information contained in the nomination is correct and that the nominee’s overall performance has been exemplary.

4. All nominations will be forwarded to the Area Director’s Office by no-later-than October 15.

5. An evaluation panel will be appointed to evaluate the nominations. The panel’s recommendations will be submitted to the Area Director for final approval.

NATURE OF RECOGNITION

Winner(s) will receive a cash award and be recognized at an appropriate recognition ceremony. If a group of individuals is selected, the award will be disbursed equally among the members of the group.


(EXHIBIT 1)

GENERAL NOMINATION FORMAT

RECOGNITION PROGRAM: USDA-ARS-NPA Awards of Excellence

CATEGORY:

NAME:

POSITION/GRADE:

LOCATION:

EDUCATION: (Include date of graduate degree)

LENGTH OF FEDERAL SERVICE:

EXPERIENCE: (last 10 years only)

Dates                                   Title, grade, location, organization

PUBLICATIONS: (if appropriate)

PREVIOUS AWARDS: (last 5 years)

CITATION: (25 words or less, beginning with "For...")

JUSTIFICATION:

(Submit a separate sheet, limited to 1-2 pages, single-spaced, and demonstrate how nominee meets criteria).

NAME AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF NOMINATOR:

CONCURRENCE OF SUPERVISOR: ____________________________ Date:__________


ARS Awards Newsletter Information Form

 

1) Area: Northern Plains Area                                      2) Date submitted:

3)  Person (or group) receiving recognition:

NOTE: Spell out first and/or middle names unless initials are specifically preferred.
If person is retired or no longer with ARS, so indicate. For groups, identify leader if appropriate.

 

4) Position and/or job title:

 

5) Office or laboratory and/or research unit:

 

6) Location:                                                                                      Phone: (         )

 

7) Award, honor, or distinction (one per form):

   NOTE: Complete separate form for each award to be mentioned.

8) Organization making award:

9) Is award being shared with others? If so, co-recipient(s) to be mentioned:
       NOTE: Include agency, company, or university affiliation for each co-recipient.
       If ARS, so indicate and complete separate form for each ARS employee to be mentioned.

10) Reason for recognition:

11) Date and location of presentation:

12) Other information:

Jan Suszkiw, Awards Writer
ARS Information Staff
5601 Sunnyside Ave. Bldg. 1, Mailstop 5129
Beltsville, MD 20705
Telephone: (301) 504-1630
Fax: (301) 504-1486
jsuszkiw@ars.usda.gov

Suzanne Suchecki
ARS Human Resources Division
Fax: (301) 504-4435

NPA Locations:   Forward form directly to the Area Director’s Secretary(Form Version:  4-1-05)


 

Attachment 3

NON-FEDERAL AWARD RECIPIENT REQUEST

It is the policy of REE to foster interest in non-Federal awards and recognitions and to recognize those employees who have been rewarded. Supervisors, managers, and employees are encouraged to participate in the non-Federal awards process. Employees, who are recipients of such awards or who are nominated, must avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest in the conduct of official duties. Employees may accept awards and recognitions, other than cash or an investment interest, with an aggregate market value of $200 or less in certain situations. These situations include presentation as a legitimate award or incident to a legitimate award that is given for (a) meritorious public service, (b) achievement by a person who does not have interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee’s official duties, or (c) by an association or other organization consisting of prohibited sources. Awards given in the above situations do not require formal review by an agency ethics official. However, gifts given in connection with awards and recognitions with an aggregate market value in excess of $200 and awards of cash or investment interests, such as bonds or stocks, do require formal review by an agency ethics official.


Attachment 4

REQUEST FOR APPROVAL TO ACCEPT AN AWARD FROM

A NON-FEDERAL SOURCE (Provide all attachments from awarding organization and use supplemental sheets, if necessary)

Name of Awardee

Agency/Area/Region/Division/Location

 

Name of Awarding Organization

Purpose/Mission of Organization

Name of Award and Value                                                                                             $____________

Is the organization : (circle one)

Profit making

Nonprofit/Professional

Who are the members of the Organization?

 

Are they prohibited sources? (Use definition at 5 CFR 2635.203(d)) (circle one)

YES

NO

Is this an established awards program? (circle one)

YES

NO

How is this award funded (where does the money come from)?

 

 

If the award is funded by private industry, do they have authority to approve or disapprove receipt of award?

 

 

Are other than Federal employees eligible? (circle one)

YES

NO

Who is eligible to nominate candidates?

 

What are the nominating procedures?

 

Are the selection standards in writing?  (If so, please provide a copy) (circle one)

YES

NO

Who is on the selection panel, and who appoints them?

 

Is the selection panel a one or two-tier system?

Who makes the final decision?

 

ETHICS ADVISOR REVIEW:

        ð   APPROVAL                   ð    DISAPPROVAL

Signature of Designated Area/Agency Ethics Advisor:

 

 

 

Date:

CONCURRENCE:

Signature of Science Ethics Branch Advisor:

 

 

Date:

                                               

SEB103


Last Modified: 1/15/2015
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