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Office of the Director
United States
Office of Personnel Management
Washington, DC 20415-1000


Linda M. Springer


Qualifications Review Board (QRB) Moratorium Guidance

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This memorandum clarifies guidance issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in the Director's memorandum of December 21, 2004, "Senior Executive Service (SES) Qualifications Review Board Processing During Agency Head Transitions."

In accordance with 5 CFR 317.502(d), OPM suspends the processing of Qualifications Review Board (QRB) cases for agencies whose agency head departs or announces his or her departure. This moratorium remains in effect until the newly approved head assumes the duties of his or her new position. This action is intended to preserve the selection prerogative of an incoming agency head, balanced against the need to ensure continuity of critical agency operations during such transition. As such, the moratorium does not apply to certain Inspectors General or others who would not be subject to the approval of the agency head or his or her designee.

A QRB moratorium applies to cases submitted under Criterion A (demonstrated executive experience) and Criterion C (special or unique qualifications). However, the moratorium does not apply to Criterion B cases submitted after successful completion of an OPM-approved candidate development program (CDP), which may be submitted in the usual manner to OPM after the candidate's completion of the program requirements. CDP candidates approved by a QRB under Criterion B may be appointed subsequently to a position in their agencies regardless of whether the moratorium remains in effect.

OPM expects that agencies will strictly adhere to this moratorium policy, but will consider requests for exceptions to a moratorium on a case-by-case basis. Requests for an exception must demonstrate that filling the position is absolutely necessary to the continuity of essential agency operations, and should include sufficient supporting documentation to allow for an expeditious review.

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to Nancy Randa, Deputy Associate Director, Center for Leadership and Executive Resources Policy, at (202) 606-8046 or, or Diane Cochran, Deputy Associate Director, Center for Natural Resources, at (202) 606-2464 or

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