U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	2007-S-00001
Office of Inspector General	June 4 2007
At a Glance
Catalyst for Improving the Environment
Why We Did This Review
We conducted this review in
response to an anonymous
hotline allegation of unfair
hiring practices at the U.S.
Chemical Safety and Hazard
Investigation Board (CSB).
The complainant said CSB
ignored standards of fairness
and competition and "wired"
recent supervisory positions for
selected candidates. We sought
to determine whether CSB had
a sufficient pool from which to
select candidates, and if CSB
selected candidates in line with
its Merit Promotion Plan.
CSB reassigned three
investigators to supervisory
positions with promotion
potential to the GS-15 level.
Two other CSB employees had
applied for the positions but
were not selected. The
positions fell under CSB's
Merit Promotion Plan, under
which senior CSB officials
rated and recommended
candidates to select.
For further information,
contact our Office of
Congressional and Public
Liaison at (202) 566-2391.
To view the full report,
click on the following link:
20070604-2007-S-00001 .pdf
U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation
Board Did Not Adhere to Its Merit Promotion Plan
What We Found
CSB did not adhere to its Merit Promotion Plan during the process under which it
reassigned three investigators to supervisory positions. CSB officials said they
announced the supervisory positions in-house because successful candidates
needed knowledge of CSB and its policies and procedures. One recommending
official, who is also a member of CSB's management council, said the
management council knew who the best candidates were, but wanted a robust and
objective selection process to ensure they made a fair decision. However, in our
view, CSB used an overly subjective and inconsistent approach that did not
adhere to its Merit Promotion Plan. CSB's selection process did not emphasize
experience as a factor, as required by the crediting plan under the Merit
Promotion Plan. CSB did not apply several other requirements in its Merit
Promotion Plan, including selection evaluation criteria. Further, recommending
officials said they did not weight CSB experience heavily in the selection
process. Not adhering to the Merit Promotion Plan suggested favoritism and the
appearance of potential hiring offenses.
What We Recommend
We recommend that the CSB Chairman, for future promotions, evaluate
candidates and manage the selection process in accordance with CSB policy.
We also recommend that the Chairman update the Merit Promotion Plan.
Further, we recommend that the Chairman clarify instructions on interview score
sheets to ensure that the interview panel bases scores on information provided by
the candidate during the interview process and not on personal knowledge of the
candidate outside of the interview setting.
CSB generally concurred with the intent of our first recommendation, but CSB
objected to the implication that it did not evaluate candidates and manage the
selection process in accordance with CSB policy or with basic principles of
fairness. CSB officials said they have already taken some actions to clarify
CSB's Merit Promotion Plan and will pursue others, although they did not
address when they expect to complete these other actions. CSB fully concurred
with our other two recommendations, but needs to provide an action plan that
specifies milestones.