5 CFR 359.603 - OPM priority placement.
(a) Agency certification.
(1) If there is no vacant SES position within the agency for which an appointee covered by § 359.602(b) is qualified, the agency head, or the acting agency head in the absence of the agency head, shall certify to OPM in writing that no such position is available. This certification may not be delegated below the Assistant Secretary level in a department, or an equivalent level above the director of personnel in other agencies.
(3) It is the continuing responsibility of an agency that has a surplus career appointee to place the appointee in any vacant SES position in the agency for which the appointee is qualified, even after the appointee is certified to OPM.
(c) OPM referrals.
(1) OPM may formally refer a career appointee to an agency for a specific SES vacancy or general priority consideration. Such a referral may not become a part of the regular competitive staffing process. The appointee must be considered by the agency for a noncompetitive SES appointment.
(2) Any objection by the agency to the qualifications of the appointee must be based on the professional/technical qualifications in the standard for the position. An agency may not rely solely on lack of agency-specific experience for an objection based on lack of professional/technical qualifications if the appointee is otherwise qualified.
(d) Agency response.
(2) If an agency fails to place a referred career appointee in an SES position because of objection to the appointee's qualifications or because of any other reason, the agency response must be in writing and must be signed by the agency head, or the acting agency head in the absence of the agency head. The response may not be delegated below the Assistant Secretary level in a department, or an equivalent level above the director of personnel in other agencies.
(3) If an agency cancels a position while a referral to the position is pending, the appointee will be entitled to priority consideration for the position if it or a successor position is reestablished in the SES within 1 year of the cancellation date and the appointee has not been placed in another SES position.
(f) Declination by employee. If a career appointee declines a reasonable offer of placement, OPM's placement efforts will cease. The appointee may be removed from the SES at the expiration of the agency notice period.