SEA Applauds OPM Action to Streamline Executive Performance Appraisal System Certification Process

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senior Executives Association (SEA) congratulates the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for its decision to streamline and improve the Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior Level (SL), and Scientific and Professional (ST) performance appraisal system certification process.

“These common sense modernization efforts are a big improvement over the previous certification process, which was characterized by unnecessary bureaucratic processes and a misalignment with agency mission performance,” said SEA President Bill Valdez. “I encourage OPM to continue down this path of becoming a strategic advisor to agencies on human capital management and focusing less on operational compliance and more on improving the effectiveness of the Federal workforce.”

OPM’s guidance to agencies ( was released November 14th and focuses on several key improvements to the SES, SL and ST performance certification process:

  • Flexibility for agencies to provide “annual performance-based compensation;”
  • Automatic renewal of fully certified systems based on understandable criteria;
  • Reduced process burden resulting in focus on outcomes over compliance; and
  • OPM acting as a strategic partner and not as a process nanny.

“This trust but verify approach is long overdue,” Valdez said. “A common complaint we receive from SEA members is that their agency performance appraisal system certification process is too bureaucratic and sacrifices process to true performance management. OPM’s actions will fix that problem.”

“Consistent with the vision of the President’s Management Agenda, I am encouraged that OPM continues its review of burdensome regulations and oversight that hinder the ability of agencies to build a 21st Century Workforce,” Valdez continued. “This action reflects a positive next step where OPM could take the lead to truly become the government’s strategic human capital advisor. SEA stands ready to assist OPM on this journey.”

The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career Federal executives. Founded in 1980, SEA’s goals are to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the Federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career Federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. For more information, visit