Federal leaders were recognized for their outstanding service to government at the Dec. 13 Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit, hosted by the Senior Executives Association.

The Presidential Rank Awards, established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, recognize members of the senior executive service, as well as employees in senior-level and scientific positions in two categories of awards: Meritorious and Distinguished.

“The Distinguished Rank recipients are recognized for sustained, extraordinary accomplishment, and only 1 percent of the career SES or senior leadership, senior technical employees, may receive this rank,” said acting Office of Personnel Management Director Margaret Weichert at the summit.

“Meritorious rank recipients are recognized for sustained accomplishment, and no more than 5 percent of our career SES, SL or ST members may receive this award.”

Recipients are nominated by their agency leadership and evaluated by citizen panels before being designated awardees by the president.

In 2018, the Distinguished award was given to 45 federal employees across 19 agencies, and the Meritorious award was given to 85 employees across 24 agencies.

“The importance and leadership in the civil service is more important than ever, and we have a responsibility to maintain and improve it,” said Weichert.

“Leadership by outstanding senior executives such as yourselves, the ones honored here today, are absolutely essential to making government of the people, by the people and for the people a reality.”

NASA had the highest number of leaders recognized in 2018, with 19 employees recognized across the two categories.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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