2. Clarify the boundaries between the ladder tracks and other appointments.
There are a number of job categories at NCAR in which a scientist’s or engineer’s contributions could be of great benefit to the organization, so the “up-or-out” policy should apply only to the scientist and research engineer ladder and not explicitly to continued employment at NCAR. Those on the ladder who are unsuccessful in being promoted to the II and III levels should be given fair consideration for available positions in other job categories that are openly advertised and competed.
For consistency with the “up-or-out” policy, if a candidate for promotion to Scientist/Research Engineer III is unsuccessful in the ARG, that individual will not be considered for future appointments or promotions on the scientist/research engineer ladders.
Ladder-track positions have a special nature (person-based and with greater risk), so entering the ladder should require an open process of advertising and hiring. Thus, an employee in a job category outside the scientist or research engineer ladder should first be selected in an open competition before moving to the ladder (or seeking ARG approval for positions at the III and IV levels). If unsuccessful, the individual could then stay in his or her current position, provided that position is retained. (Note: waivers to the search and selection process can be requested following UCAR Policies & Procedures 6-3.6).
3. Better define the policy on stopping or slowing the clock.
The current policy on stopping the clock should be clarified by addressing the following issues:
- How the promotion clock timing is determined and applied.
- How and if the clock and its associated metrics should be interpreted when considering external applicants to the Scientist and Research Engineer II and III positions.
- Circumstances that warrant stopping the promotion clock (which should still allow flexibility for individual circumstances).
- Procedures and responsibilities for granting extensions—for example, the division director makes the recommendation, to be reviewed and approved at the laboratory level.
- Explicit instructions to the ARG that promotion should be based solely on the record, not on the time the candidate’s case has taken to reach the ARG.
- Clear communication of clock policies to the scientific and research engineering staff.
4. Revise and strengthen the post-ARG review.
A strengthened post-ARG review process is needed to guard against abuse of the job security that comes with Scientist and Research Engineering III-IV positions.
To improve the effectiveness of the review and reduce its administrative burden, we recommend transfer of the process to the division or laboratory level. The unit director would use the unit's senior scientists, plus some additional senior scientists appointed by the NCAR director for the expertise needed to assess the case. These scientists are in the best position to assess the quality and significance of the individual's work and contributions to NCAR programs. We further recommend using the current process as a guideline that can be adapted as appropriate to specific needs within the laboratories or divisions. Recommendations would be conveyed to the NCAR director for his or her final decision.