There is established in the Department of Agriculture the Senior Scientific Research Service (referred to in this section as the “Service”).
Subject to paragraphs (2) through (4), the Secretary shall appoint the members of the Service.
A member of the Service appointed and employed by the Secretary under subparagraph (A) shall have the same right of appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board and the same right to file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel as an employee appointed to a position at level GS–15 of the General Schedule.
Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary shall determine the compensation of members of the Service.
On the request of a member of the Service who was an employee of an institution of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20) immediately prior to appointment as a member of the Service and who retains the right to continue to make contributions to the retirement system of the institution, the Secretary may contribute an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the basic pay of the member to the retirement system of the institution on behalf of the member.
Subject to subparagraph (B), a member for whom a contribution is made under paragraph (1) shall not, as a result of serving as a member of the Service, be covered by, or earn service credit under, chapter 83 or 84 of title 5.
Service of a member of the Service described in subparagraph (A) shall be creditable for determining years of service under section 6303(a) of title 5.