FAQ - Selections-Filling Positions




As an EA represented employee, if I apply on a position should I be considered for the position prior to TVA extending an offer to an outside candidate?


In general it is the policy to promote or transfer present salary policy employees rather than to appoint candidates from outside TVA. After present salary policy employees are considered, an outside candidate may be appointed if his/her qualifications can be shown to be superior to those of employee candidates (for exception, see Supplementary Agreement 5:B).


What is the minimum amount of time a VPA must be posted so employees are afforded the opportunity to apply?

The VPA allows not less than ten calendar days after the date of posting for employees to apply.


Are there any circumstances in which TVA can select someone for a position without posting a vacancy announcement?

Yes, announcement of vacancies are not required under the following circumstances:

a. If the position is hourly or is designated as being filled for six months and one day or less;

b. If the position if filled by an employee in accordance with provisions of the TVA-Agreements for reassignment or recall consideration or requirements of applicable federal law or regulation;

c. If the position is of the type customarily filled through a joint qualifying training program and is field by an employee trained in such program who has not previously been placed in such a position under such program; 

d. If the position is a trainee position in a joint qualifying training program and is filled by promotion or transfer of a trainee;

e. If the position is in the first level of the Engineering, Information Technology, Operations Support, Scientific, or TVA Program Planning & Administration job families and is being filled by applicants obtained through college recruitment;

f. If the positions is filled by transfer of an employee in the same competitive level from a position which is in Groups 1, 2, or 3 (see section B-2) in accordance with provisions stated in section C;

g. If the position is one for which TVA and the EA agree that there would be no well qualified applicants from within TVA; 

h. If the position is in the Technician level of the Technical Support job family and is being filled by applicants obtained through technical school recruitment who at the time of appointment have received associate or other certificates of graduation; or

i. Under other conditions as agreed on between the EA and the TVA organization affected.


What are my rights if I have been selected and accepted a position that is considered a promotion under S-4:L-2 (a) but my transfer is delayed for business reasons?

There are two rights that an employee has if this issue arises. One deals with pay and the other deals with a release date.

Pay – When transfer of an employee selected for an announced position involving increase in pay must be delayed for business reasons, the employee’s status is temporarily changed to the basic annual salary rate as determined by S-4:M-2 of the position for which selected at the beginning of the third pay period following the date the employee accepted the position.

Release Date – TVA has agreed to make every effort to release employees within 30 days after notification of acceptance. However, in situations where because of business needs TVA cannot release employees within 30 days after notification of their acceptance of another offer, the employee should be provided a specific release date.


How are selections for promotions or transfers made by TVA?

Selection for promotion of transfer (except under S-7:C) is made on the basis of merit and efficiency. In making these judgments, major emphasis shall be on the requirements of the job to which promotion or transfer is being considered and the overall competence of each candidate for the job, as best can be appraised by critical examination of TVA service records and examination of other factors, if relevant.

However, in applying merit and efficiency, the organization needs, objectives, and efficiency of TVA shall be taken into account. The organizational needs, objectives, and efficiency of TVA include, but are not limited to, the agency’s affirmative action plans and goals, the agency’s need to recoup investments in training and/or special assignments, the agency’s long-term staffing and/or manpower requirements, and the agency’s need for continuity of operations.


Am I allowed to file a grievance if I am not selected on a position?

If an employee believes they were the most qualified for the position or they believe the responsible supervisor acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner in making the selection then they can file a grievance over their non-selection to the position.

Management’s judgment of merit and efficiency shall be controlling unless shown to be arbitrary or capricious. Supplementary Agreement 5:B (Selection for Promotion or Transfer) shall not be construed to require the appropriate management official acting under the provisions of S-11:B or the Manager of Labor Relations acting under the provisions of S-11:C to find a selection action to be arbitrary or capricious in order to reverse a selection.

The appropriate manager acting under S-11:B or the Manager of Labor Relations acting under S-11:C may substitute his/her judgment on the merit and efficiency of the candidates for that of the supervisor responsible for the selection. However, the arbitrator acting under the provisions of S-11:D is authorized to reverse a selection only upon finding that the selection was arbitrary or capricious.


How is arbitrary and/or capricious defined as it relates to selections?

According to Marlin Volz in a 1988 arbitration decisions, previous TVA arbitrators have found the following actions to meet the criteria:

  1. Deviating significantly from established procedures, policy statements, or manual provisions.
  2. Allowing acquaintanceship or past working relationship with the selectee to taint the selection process.
  3. The selectee does not meet one or more of the essential qualifications for the job specified in the vacancy announcement.
  4. To what extent the selector relied on personal knowledge of the candidates without full review of the record data; to what extent did he or she go outside the record in seeking information or reject or ignore data favorable to the grievant.
  5. Were the service records of the grievant considered by the selector incomplete in a material way due to an omission by TVA and not by the grievant?
  6. Did the selector mistakenly interpret or apply a contractual criterion for selection?
  7. Was information withheld from the selector which was primarily in the possession of management?
  8. Whether the grievant was treated differently from the selectee with respect to an interview.
  9. Inaccuracies or omissions in the spreadsheet.
  10. Over emphasis on one or more of the factors in selection and not a balanced application.

Arbitrator Volz further went on to say, “Even taking into account such deviations, is there sufficient factual support of the decision in the record so that the average person, knowledgeable of industrial relations and of “the organizational needs, objectives, and efficiency of TVA,” reasonably could find a rational basis for the decision and one which would not strike the mind as having been more the product of favoritism, gross error or carelessness, prejudice, or vindictiveness than of reliable, job related, record evidence?”