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HRDG 4330 - Career Transition Assistance Plan - Section C

Subchapter 4330
Career Transition Assistance Plan 

Section C - Internal Recruitment



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When Do I Have to Announce a Position?

AMS, APHIS, and GIPSA must search for (i.e., announce a vacancy) and/or select an employee eligible under the USDA CTAP before selecting any other candidate from within (or outside) USDA, unless doing so would cause another employee to be separated by reduction-in-force, or unless an exception is specified (see Exceptions).

CTAP is considered “cleared” for 120 days from the closing date of an announcement. If another vacancy of the same grade, series, duties, qualifications, program, and LCA occurs within the 120-day time period, it may be filled without issuing another announcement.

Exceptions: Internal Recruitment

The following personnel actions are excepted from USDA CTAP provisions. If the targeted candidate or pool of candidate(s) for a position is within USDA, the position does not have to be announced for:

  • Temporary appointments and extensions where the total time does not exceed 120 days.
  • Filling a position through an excepted appointment (e.g., Student Career Employment Program [SCEP], Veterans Readjustment Appointment [VRA], etc.).
  • Reemployment of a former USDA employee exercising regulatory or statutory reemployment rights (e.g., Office of Worker's Compensation Program restoration or military restoration).
  • Extensions of temporary or term actions, up to the full period allowed, provided that the original announcement observed CTAP rules and stated that an extension was possible without further announcement.
  • Career ladder promotions or position changes resulting from reclassification actions (e.g., accretion of duties or application of new classification standards).
  • Temporary promotions and extensions where the total time does not exceed 120 days.
  • Details.
  • Exchange of positions between or among USDA employees, when the actions involve no increase in grade or promotion potential (e.g., job swaps and rotation of employees).
  • Noncompetitive movement of surplus or displaced employees within USDA and within the same LCA.
  • Internal reassignment, voluntary change-to-lower grade, or noncompetitive promotion of an employee from within the LCA of a component (i.e., AMS, APHIS, or GIPSA) if there are no eligible surplus or displaced applicants in that component.
  • Recall of seasonal employees from non-pay status.
  • Conversion of an employee on an excepted appointment which confers eligibility for noncompetitive conversion into the competitive service (e.g., SCEP, VRA, etc.).
  • Movement of excepted service employees within USDA.
  • Placements made under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.
  • Placement activities under reduction-in-force (this does not include directed reassignments).
  • Placement of an employee into a new position as a result of a reorganization, when the former position ceases to exist, and no actual vacancy results. (Not all directed reassignments are included; contact your servicing personnel office if you have questions.)
  • Position changes resulting from disciplinary actions.
  • Placement of an employee, who would otherwise be separated involuntarily, in a position that is a reasonable offer (e.g., a performance-based action). A reasonable offer (as defined in 5 U.S. Code 8336(d) and 8414 (b) is a position:
  • For which the employee is qualified;
  • Within 2 grade levels or pay levels of the current position; and
  • Within the local commuting area.
  • An action taken to return an employee to his/her original or similar position during a supervisory probationary period.
  • Noncompetitive movement of displaced employees between agencies as a result of reorganization, transfer of function, or mass transfer.
  • Placement under disability retirement provisions which allows the continued employment of an employee who has become unable to provide useful and efficient service in his/her current position because of a medical condition (see 5 U.S. Code 8337 or 8451).
  • Internal placement of an injured or disabled worker whose agency has identified a position for which he/she can be reasonably accommodated.
  • An action taken by the agency head (or designee) pursuant to the settlement of a formal complaint, grievance, appeal, or other litigation.
  • Retention of individuals whose excepted positions or positions in public or private enterprise are brought into the competitive service, and subsequent conversion, when applicable.
  • Retention of an employee for whom the Office of Personnel Management has approved a rule 5.1 variation.
  • Placement of a member of the Senior Executive Service under 5 U.S. Code 3594.
Selection Priorities: External Recruitment Actions Selection priority must be given to well-qualified affected employees of USDA who apply for MRP vacancies in the LCA, and follow instructions for displaced employees stated on the vacancy announcement--before selecting another candidate from within or outside the Department. The order of selection when a vacant position is announced under merit promotion procedures (i.e., internal recruitment) is as follows:


1. Displaced or surplus employees from within the vacancy's program (e.g., within Plant Protection and Quarantine whose duty station is within the LCA. (The LCA is generally a 35-mile radius of the vacancy's duty station.)
2. Displaced or surplus employees from within the vacancy's component (e.g, within GIPSA) whose duty station is within the LCA.
3. Any employee from within the vacancy's component whose duty station is within the LCA.
4. Displaced or surplus employees from other MRP components (AMS, APHIS or GIPSA) whose duty station is within the LCA.
5. Displaced or surplus USDA employees whose duty station is within the LCA.

If there are no eligibles under #1-5, selection may be made from #6 or #7.

6. Any USDA employee who applied to the merit promotion announcement, or any noncompetitive USDA employee, or
7. Separated USDA employee listed on the Reemployment Priority List.

If there are no eligibles under #1-5 or #7, then selection may be made from #6 or #8.


Federal employees separated from a position within the LCA who followed the instructions for displaced employees stated on the announcement.

If there are no eligibles under #1-5, #7, or #8, then selection may be made from #6 or #9.

9. Any other eligible applicants.

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