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FHWA Order M3000.1C
This order was canceled on June 25, 2010.

Order
Subject
FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 9 Awards and Employee Recognition, Section 2 Employee Suggestion Program
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C February 10, 2006  

Par.

  1. What is the purpose of this section?
  2. Does this directive cancel an existing Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) directive?
  3. What reference was used in writing this section?
  4. How does the Employee Suggestion Program work?
  5. Who can participate in the Employee Suggestion Program?
  6. What is an eligible suggestion?
  7. What must a suggestion include?
  8. Can employees work on their ideas during working hours?
  9. Is there anything a suggester can do to help the evaluator?
  10. What if the suggester wants to remain anonymous?
  11. What if the suggester disagrees with the determination of the deciding official?
  12. What is the role of the evaluator?
  13. What are the steps for evaluating a suggestion?
  1. What is the purpose of this section? The purpose of this section is to provide procedures and guidelines for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Employee Suggestion Program. One of the major goals of the FHWA is to provide the American people with a more efficient and economical government. To do this, all employees are encouraged to submit suggestions to the FHWA through the Employee Suggestion Program.

  2. Does this directive cancel an existing Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) directive? No. This is a new section that has been added to the Personnel Management Manual (PMM).

  3. What reference was used in writing this section? The Departmental Personnel Manual, Chapter 451, dated December 29, 2003, was used in writing this section.

  4. How does the Employee Suggestion Program work? An employee submits his/her ideas to the employee's local Suggestion Program Coordinator. Deciding officials evaluate the ideas and determine if they can be implemented. If the idea is adopted locally, the deciding official, in cooperation with the Suggestion Program Coordinator, determines an appropriate award amount or other form of recognition. Ideas that may have impact on other parts of the FHWA are forwarded to the Suggestion Program Officer for further evaluation.

  5. Who can participate in the Employee Suggestion Program? All FHWA employees, including managers and supervisors, are eligible to participate in the Employee Suggestion Program. An idea may be submitted by an individual or a group of employees. Ideas should be submitted on FHWA Form 90, Official Suggestion Form, to the employee's local coordinator. Further information about the Employee Suggestion Program is in Attachment 1 to this chapter

  6. What is an eligible suggestion? An eligible suggestion is a constructive idea that proposes a method to do a task better, cheaper, faster or safer. Although the suggestion can - and most likely will - relate to the employee's work, it should not be considered an essential part of the employee's job.

  7. What must a suggestion include? A suggestion must include the following:

    1. Describe a current situation which could be improved or a specific problem which impedes the efficiency or effectiveness of Federal government operations and/or services.

    2. Provide a specific solution or improvement to the problems. Use sufficient details so the merits are clear to the evaluator.

    3. To the extent possible, estimate the costs and benefits of implementation to the Federal government

    4. Suggesters should ask their supervisor or a co-worker to read the idea to determine whether it is understandable and workable. The employee's supervisor may also be able to give the employee assistance in presenting the employee's idea

  8. Can employees work on their ideas during working hours? Yes. Employees can work on their ideas during working hours with the permission of their supervisors. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to permit employees to use a reasonable amount of time to develop their ideas.

  9. Is there anything a suggester can do to help the evaluator? Yes. Deciding officials and evaluators are encouraged to contact suggesters to discuss their ideas. They will ask the local Suggestion Program Coordinator for permission to contact the suggester directly. Suggesters should make themselves available. If the evaluator asks for additional information, the suggester should provide it. The suggester must be sure to give the Suggestion Program Coordinator a copy of the information provided to the evaluator so that suggester's suggestion file is complete.

  10. What if the suggester wants to remain anonyous? If the suggester does not want the evaluator to know who the suggester is, the suggester should inform the Suggestion Program Coordinator that he/she wants to remain anonymous. It may help the evaluator to better understand the suggester's idea if the evaluator can talk directly to the suggester.

  11. What if the suggester disagrees with the determination of the deciding official? The suggester has reconsideration rights for 2 years from the date of adoption or rejection of the suggestion. If new evidence becomes available during that time which might cause the suggestion to be adopted or the award to be increased, the suggester may request reconsideration. If the suggestion was rejected, the suggester may resubmit it at the end of the 2-year period and it will be handled as a new idea. It will then receive a new number, a new evaluation, and new reconsideration rights.

  12. What is the role of the evaluator?

    1. The evaluator's job is to get the facts. Decisions based on incomplete information cannot be sound. While the evaluator is not expected to know all the facts personally, a good evaluation will depend on the evaluator's knowledge of how and where to get them. A factual evaluation reveals to the suggester that the idea received a thorough review.

    2. All suggestions must be handled as current business (answered within 20 days of receipt by the evaluator), for both the employee and the FHWA to derive the most benefit from the program.

    3. Evaluations that are delayed unnecessarily are doubly damaging. First, the lack of a reply by the evaluator may raise the employee's expectations that the idea will be adopted. Then, if the suggestion is not adopted, the suggester's disappointment is even greater. Every day of delay means the FHWA is not benefiting from the savings that an idea may generate.

    4. Subjects of critical importance, such as safety, should be answered and returned even more promptly to prevent the possibility of harm to FHWA employees.

  13. What are the steps for evaluating a suggestion? The evaluator must do the following:

    1. Read the file promptly upon receipt. If the suggestion does not involve the evaluator's office, it must be returned to the Suggestion Program Coordinator.

    2. Ensure an understanding of the intent of the suggestion. To do this, the evaluator must determine:

      1. whether the problem actually exists;

      2. whether the problem is of sufficient magnitude to justify costly implementation; and

      3. whether the suggested idea will solve the problem. If the suggestion stimulates thinking or action or an alternative idea that solves the problem, the suggestion should receive credit.

    3. Gather all pertinent data, including

      1. details of current and proposed practices;

      2. estimates of benefits and costs of implementing the idea; and

      3. samples, as necessary.

    4. Analyze the data to determine if:

      1. the evidence is sufficient to make a sound final decision on behalf of management;

      2. another office should also evaluate the suggestion for possible implementation; and

      3. the suggestion is of sufficient merit to recommend it to another program area.

    5. When writing a non-adopt (decline) decision (See Attachment 2 for tips on writing evaluations):

      1. obtain a valid justification for the non-adoption decision;

      2. (2)write a full and complete report; and

      3. (3)send a copy of the evaluation to the suggester with a non-adoption letter and recognize that the suggester may submit a rebuttal to the evaluation.

    6. When writing an adopt decision (see Attachment 2 for tips on writing evaluations):

      1. (1)develop a detailed estimate of the cost (if any) to implement the suggestion;

      2. (2)develop a detailed estimate of first-year tangible savings; and

      3. (3)indicate intangible benefits value and extent of application, using the Intangible Benefits Guide in Attachment 3.

    7. Submit the evaluation promptly to the Suggestion Program Coordinator.

Attachment 1: Useful Information Concerning Suggestions
Attachment 2: Writing the Evaluation
Attachment 3: Tangible Awards Scale

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