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There are no waivers to the entry-level requirement for the 1102 series, though people already in the series as of January 1, 2000 can be promoted to GS-12 without meeting the requirement or processing a waiver.

Waivers can only be granted on a job specific basis at the GS-13 or higher level. That is, if a person who does not meet the standard is tentatively selected for GS-13 or higher 1102 position, then a waiver must be granted in order for that person to be allowed to fill this position. Further, in order to even be considered for a position that is covered by the standard, the job announcement must state that candidates who do not meet the standard will be considered.

If you are preparing a job announcement and wish to consider applicants that do not meet the standard, you must include language such as the following:

"The Institute will consider applicants who do not meet the educational requirements stated in Paragraph B. of the Revised Qualification Standard for GS-13 and above. The selecting official may choose to pursue a waiver of the education requirements, if an applicant who does not meet the requirements is found to be the best qualified for the position."

Waiver requests are prepared by the office that is requesting authority to hire an individual who doesn’t meet the standard. The request is forwarded through the Head of the Contracting Activity (Diane Frasier) and are granted or denied by the Senior Procurement Executive.
Sample Waiver Request: Microsoft word format MS word icon: Blue W letter on a blue square , PDF format PDF icon: black PDF on a small black square (PDF require Acrobat Reader. Click here to download).

The Department has released the following guidance for requesting 1102 qualification standard waivers:



The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued a revised qualification standard for the GS-1102 Contract Specialist Series, effective January 1, 2000 which applies to all new hires and to existing employees selected to fill GS-1102 positions in civilian agencies. This revised standard does not change the minimum educational levels defined by the former standard. In addition to replacing the January 1, 1998 date with a January 1, 2000 date, and removing language that permitted examinations to substitute for the 24-hour requirement, the revised standard expands the qualification waiver authority related to filling GS-13 and above positions. A copy of the revised standard, along with a set of “Questions and Answers Concerning Revised Qualification Standard,” prepared by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), is attached.

The previous standard allowed an agency’s senior procurement executive to only waive one of the two educational requirements contained therein. The revised version permits waivers of any or all of the requirements of Paragraphs A. and B. of the standard. Paragraph A. requires completion of all mandatory training prescribed by the agency head, and at least four years experience in contracting or related positions. Paragraph B. imposes the requirement for a four-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree that included or was supplemented by at least 24 semester hours of business or business-related courses.

The “senior procurement executive” referred to in the standard is the highest career civil servant having responsibility for the procurement function within an agency. This individual may be different from the person designated as a “senior procurement executive” pursuant to OFPP Act (41 U.S.C. 414(3)) and as defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, who is a political appointee in some agencies. In the Department of Health and Human Services, the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grants and Acquisition Management. The waiver authority is not delegable to Operating Division (OPDIV) or Staff Division (STAFFDIV) Heads, Heads of Contracting Activity, or Principal Officials Responsible for Acquisition (PORA).

The expanded waiver authority was created to provide agencies flexibility in accommodating unique situations, but OFPP has indicated that it expects waivers to be the exception rather than the rule. Accordingly, the HHS SPE will consider waivers on a case-by-case basis. Waivers will be granted in rare, exceptional cases where the best candidate for a specific job does not meet some requirement of the standard. The employee’s ability to demonstrate good-faith progress toward meeting the standard will be weighed heavily in the waiver decision. In addition, only requests for waivers of the educational requirements in Paragraph B. of the standard will be considered. It is the Department’s policy that no waivers will be granted for the training and experience requirements set forth in Paragraph A.

Procedure for Requesting a Waiver of the Standard

If an OPDIV or STAFFDIV determines when recruiting for a GS-1102 vacancy for a Grade 13 or higher that it will consider applicants for a waiver, the OPDIV or STAFFDIV should work with human resource specialists to ensure that the vacancy announcement incorporates language to this effect. One example of a situation where waiver authority might be needed is when hiring for hard-to-fill positions or duty locations where it is difficult to attract qualified candidates. Another case may be where a strong performer is on a career ladder but fails to meet the requirements for promotion. At the OPDIV’s or STAFFDIV’s option, the waiver may be applied to any of the Part B. educational requirements as specified in the vacancy announcement. This will allow individuals who do not meet the qualification standard to apply for the vacancy and be considered for the position. If an individual who does not meet the standard is tentatively selected for the position, the selecting official will then need to send a waiver request, through the OPDIV PORA, to the HHS SPE. Along with a cover memorandum, the waiver request shall contain the following information:

1. A position description;

2. A copy of the vacancy announcement (not applicable to career-ladder promotions);

3. A description of the recruiting efforts undertaken by the organization and the results of those efforts including the sources used for recruiting (not applicable to career-ladder promotions);

4. The tentatively selected individual’s application or resume, with a narrative from the selecting official describing the potential of the applicant for advancement to levels of greater responsibility and authority based on demonstrated analytical and decision making capabilities, job performance, and qualifying experience;

5. A copy of the employee’s individual development or career development plan. (Individual development plans for GS-1102s were mandated by the Federal Acquisition Reform Act (Clinger-Cohen), and implemented by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in Policy Letter No. 97-01, dated September 12, 1997.) The individual development plan shall be accompanied by a plan signed by the selecting official and the tentative selectee showing a time line for achieving the educational requirements of Part B., transcripts documenting college education attained to date and;

6. A justification for the waiver, including a description of why the individual was selected in lieu of a candidate who fully met the educational qualification standard, and the impact of waiver disapproval on the organization.

Requests for waivers received without the documentation listed in items 1. through 6. above will be returned to the initiating OPDIV or STAFFDIV without further action. If a waiver is granted, it is based on the unique circumstances of a specific hiring action. It is not a “blanket” waiver for an individual or an organization. Waiver requests will be reviewed by a panel consisting of one HHS procurement analyst and one HHS personnel management specialist who will make a recommendation to the SPE. However, the decision on whether to grant the waiver is the SPE’s, and that decision is final.

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