Presidential Rank Awards Return in 2014

The Presidential Rank Awards program is back this year after being suspended in 2013 due to budget constraints.

The Presidential Rank Awards program is back this year after being suspended in 2013 due to budget constraints.

Federal employees may recall last year that the White House suspended the Presidential Rank Awards program, blaming budget constraints for the decision.

The awards will apparently be given this year, however, as Office of Personnel Management director Katherine Archuleta sent a memo heads of executive departments and agencies calling for nominations for the program.

The Presidential Rank Award was established by statute in 1978 as a means of recognizing outstanding service on the part of senior executive employees. The awards are considered the nation’s highest awards for civil service and are offered once each year.

Archuleta’s full memo is included below.


I am pleased to announce the call for nominations for the FY 2014 Presidential Rank Awards (PRA) program. Federal senior executive employees perform valuable services on behalf of the American public and those with the highest level of sustained performance deserve recognition for their contributions.  The Presidential Rank Award was established by statute in 1978 as a means of recognizing that performance.  This memorandum serves as a call for agency nominations for those whose service merits the highest level of recognition through a Presidential Rank Award.  Nominees must meet stringent personal and professional standards.

Nominations for FY 2014 Presidential Rank Awards are due to OPM by Thursday, June 5, 2014.

Agency Heads should consider the current challenging fiscal conditions and resources needed to meet overall agency mission priorities in determining the number of nominations to submit.  Agencies should expect an extremely rigorous review process.  As indicated in 5 U.S.C. § 4507(c), the President has the final authority to determine if Presidential Rank Awards will be conferred.

Attached is detailed guidance for preparing and submitting nominations. When considering potential nominees, agencies must exercise due diligence in reviewing both the background of nominees (including any issues relating to conduct) as well as the programs and organizational components for which the nominees have any responsibility.  This is to ensure the appropriateness of the nominees for receiving Presidential recognition.  You may also decide to re-nominate eligible Senior Executives and Senior Professionals that were nominated in FY 2013 since no monetary awards were conferred for Presidential Rank Award finalists in FY 2013 and therefore none of these nominees are currently subject to the statutory prohibition from receiving the same Rank Award more than once within a five-year period. Inspectors General should nominate executives separately from their parent agencies through the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

If you or your staff members would like any additional information about the program, please contact Stephen T. Shih, Deputy Associate Director, Senior Executive Services and Performance Management, by telephone at (202) 606-8046.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.