« PreviousContinue »
kets, and others involved in the delivery system of student aid under this title
(A) regarding the degree of satisfaction with the delivery system; and
(B) to seek suggestions on means to improve the delivery system.
(d) CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER.
(1) APPOINTMENT.-The management of the PBO shall be vested in a Chief Operating Officer who shall be appointed by the Secretary to a term of not less than 3 and not more than 5 years, and compensated without regard to chapters 33, 51, and 53 of title 5, United States Code. The Secretary shall appoint the Chief Operating Officer within 6 months after the date of enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. The appointment shall be made on the basis of demonstrated management ability and expertise in information technology, including experience with financial systems, and without regard to political affiliation or activity.
(2) REAPPOINTMENT.-The Secretary may reappoint the Chief Operating Officer to subsequent terms of not less than 3 and not more than 5 years, so long as the performance of the Chief Operating Officer, as set forth in the performance agreement described in paragraph (4), is satisfactory.
(3) REMOVAL.-The Chief Operating Officer may be removed by
(A) the President; or
(B) the Secretary, for misconduct or failure to meet performance goals set forth in the performance agreement in paragraph (4).
The President or Secretary shall communicate the reasons for any such removal to the appropriate committees of Congress. (4) PERFORMANCE AGREEMENT.—
(A) IN GENERAL.-Each year, the Secretary and the Chief Operating Officer shall enter into an annual performance agreement, that shall set forth measurable organization and individual goals for the Chief Operating Offi
(B) TRANSMITTAL.-The final agreement, and any revision to the final agreement, shall be transmitted to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate, and made publicly available.
(A) IN GENERAL.-The Chief Operating Officer is authorized to be paid at an annual rate of basic pay not to exceed the maximum rate of basic pay for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code, including any applicable locality-based comparability payment that may be authorized under section 5304(h)(2)(B) of such title. The compensation of the Chief Operating Officer shall be considered for purposes of section 207(c)(2)(A) of title 18, United States Code, to be the
equivalent of that described under clause (ii) of section 207(c)(2)(A) of such title.
(B) BONUS.-In addition, the Chief Operating Officer may receive a bonus in an amount that does not exceed 50 percent of such annual rate of basic pay, based upon the Secretary's evaluation of the Chief Operating Officer's performance in relation to the goals set forth in the performance agreement described in paragraph (2).
(C) PAYMENT.-Payment of a bonus under this subparagraph (B) may be made to the Chief Operating Officer only to the extent that such payment does not cause the Chief Operating Officer's total aggregate compensation in a calendar year to equal or exceed the amount of the President's salary under section 102 of title 3, United States Code.
(e) SENIOR MANAGEMENT.—
(A) IN GENERAL.-The Chief Operating Officer may appoint such senior managers as that officer determines necessary without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service.
(B) COMPENSATION.-The senior managers described in subparagraph (A) may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates.
(2) PERFORMANCE AGREEMENT.-Each year, the Chief Operating Officer and each senior manager appointed under this subsection shall enter into an annual performance agreement that sets forth measurable organization and individual goals. The agreement shall be subject to review and renegotiation at the end of each term.
(A) IN GENERAL.-A senior manager appointed under this subsection may be paid at an annual rate of basic pay of not more than the maximum rate of basic pay for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code, including any applicable locality-based comparability payment that may be authorized under section 5304(h)(2)(C) of such title. The compensation of a senior manager shall be considered for purposes of section 207(c)(2)(Ă) of title 18, United States Code, to be the equivalent of that described under clause (ii) of section 207(c)(2)(A) of such title.
(B) BONUS.-In addition, a senior manager may receive a bonus in an amount such that the manager's total annual compensation does not exceed 125 percent of the maximum rate of basic pay for the Senior Executive Service, including any applicable locality-based comparability payment, based upon the Chief Operating Officer's evaluation of the manager's performance in relation to the goals set forth in the performance agreement described in paragraph (2).
(4) REMOVAL.-A senior manager shall be removable by the Chief Operating Officer, or by the Secretary if the position of Chief Operating Officer is vacant.
(f) STUDENT LOAN OMBUDSMAN.
(1) APPOINTMENT.-The Chief Operating Officer, in consultation with the Secretary, shall appoint a Student Loan Ombudsman to provide timely assistance to borrowers of loans made, insured, or guaranteed under title IV by performing the functions described in paragraph (3).
(2) PUBLIC INFORMATION.-The Chief Operating Officer shall disseminate information about the availability and functions of the Ombudsman to borrowers and potential borrowers, as well as institutions of higher education, lenders, guaranty agencies, loan servicers, and other participants in those student loan programs.
(3) FUNCTIONS OF OMBUDSMAN.-The Ombudsman shall— (A) in accordance with regulations of the Secretary, receive, review, and attempt to resolve informally complaints from borrowers of loans described in paragraph (1), including, as appropriate, attempts to resolve such complaints within the Department of Education and with institutions of higher education, lenders, guaranty agencies, loan servicers, and other participants in the loan programs described in paragraph (1)(A); and
(B) compile and analyze data on borrower complaints and make appropriate recommendations.
(4) REPORT.-Each year, the Ombudsman shall submit a report to the Chief Operating Officer, for inclusion in the annual report under subsection (c)(2), that describes the activities, and evaluates the effectiveness of the Ombudsman during the preceding year.
(g) PERSONNEL FLEXIBILITY.
(1) PERSONNEL CEILINGS.-The PBO shall not be subject to any ceiling relating to the number or grade of employees.
(2) ADMINISTRATIVE FLEXIBILITY.-The Chief Operating Officer shall work with the Office of Personnel Management to develop and implement personnel flexibilities in staffing, classification, and pay that meet the needs of the PBO, subject to compliance with title 5, United States Code.
(3) EXCEPTED SERVICE.-The Chief Operating Officer may appoint, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, not more than 25 technical and professional employees to administer the functions of the PBO. These employees may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates.
(h) ESTABLISHMENT OF A FAIR AND EQUITABLE SYSTEM FOR MEASURING STAFF PERFORMANCE.-The PBO shall establish an annual performance management system, subject to compliance with title 5, United States Code and consistent with applicable provisions of law and regulations, which strengthens the organizational effectiveness of the PBO by providing for establishing goals or objectives for individual, group, or organizational performance (or any
combination thereof), consistent with the performance plan of the PBO and its performance planning procedures, including those established under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, and communicating such goals or objectives to employees.
(i) REPORT.-The Secretary and the Chief Operating Officer, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, shall report to Congress on the proposed budget and sources of funding for the operation of the РВО.
(j) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.-The Secretary shall allocate from funds made available under section 458 such funds as are appropriate to the functions assumed by the PBO. In addition, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including transition costs.
SEC. 142. [20 U.S.C. 1018a] PROCUREMENT FLEXIBILITY.
(a) PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY.-Subject to the authority of the Secretary, the Chief Operating Officer of a PBO may exercise the authority of the Secretary to procure property and services in the performance of functions managed by the PBO. For the purposes of this section, the term "PBO" includes the Chief Operating Officer of the PBO and any employee of the PBO exercising procurement authority under the preceding sentence.
(b) IN GENERAL.-Except as provided in this section, the PBO shall abide by all applicable Federal procurement laws and regulations when procuring property and services. The PBO shall—
(1) enter into contracts for information systems supporting the programs authorized under title IV to carry out the functions set forth in section 141(b)(2); and
(2) obtain the services of experts and consultants without regard to section 3109 of title 5, United States Code and set pay in accordance with such section. (c) SERVICE CONTRACTS.
(1) SERVICING CONTRACTS.-The Chief Operating Officer shall, to the extent practicable, maximize the use of performance-based servicing contracts, consistent with guidelines for such contracts published by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, to achieve cost savings and improve service.
(2) FEE FOR SERVICE ARRANGEMENTS.-The Chief Operating Officer shall, when appropriate and consistent with the purposes of the PBO, acquire services related to the title IV delivery system from any entity that has the capability and capacity to meet the requirements for the system. The Chief Operating Officer is authorized to pay fees that are equivalent to those paid by other entities to an organization that provides an information system or service that meets the requirements of the PBO, as determined by the Chief Operating Officer. (d) Two-PHASE SOURCE-SELECTION PROCEDURES.
(1) IN GENERAL.-The PBO may use a two-phase process for selecting a source for a procurement of property or services. (2) FIRST PHASE.-The procedures for the first phase of the process for a procurement are as follows:
(A) PUBLICATION OF NOTICE.-The contracting officer for the procurement shall publish a notice of the procurement in accordance with section 18 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 416) and subsections (e), (f), and (g) of section 8 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637), except that the notice shall include only the following:
(i) A general description of the scope or purpose of the procurement that provides sufficient information on the scope or purpose for sources to make informed business decisions regarding whether to participate in the procurement.
(ii) A description of the basis on which potential sources are to be selected to submit offers in the second phase.
(iii) A description of the information that is to be required under subparagraph (B).
(iv) Any additional information that the contracting officer determines appropriate.
(B) INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY OFFERORS.-Each offeror for the procurement shall submit basic information, such as information on the offeror's qualifications, the proposed conceptual approach, costs likely to be associated with the proposed conceptual approach, and past performance of the offeror on Federal Government contracts, together with any additional information that is requested by the contracting officer.
(C) SELECTION FOR SECOND PHASE. The contracting officer shall select the offerors that are to be eligible to participate in the second phase of the process. The contracting officer shall limit the number of the selected offerors to the number of sources that the contracting officer determines is appropriate and in the best interests of the Federal Government.
(3) SECOND PHASE.
(A) IN GENERAL.-The contracting officer shall conduct the second phase of the source selection process in accordance with sections 303A and 303B of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 253a and 253b).
(B) ELIGIBLE PARTICIPANTS.-Only the sources selected in the first phase of the process shall be eligible to participate in the second phase.
(C) SINGLE OR MULTIPLE PROCUREMENTS.-The second phase may include a single procurement or multiple procurements within the scope, or for the purpose, described in the notice pursuant to paragraph (2)(A).
(4) PROCEDURES CONSIDERED COMPETITIVE.-The procedures used for selecting a source for a procurement under this subsection shall be considered competitive procedures for all purposes.
(e) USE OF SIMPLIFIED PROCEDURES FOR COMMERCIAL ITEMS.— Whenever the PBO anticipates that commercial items will be offered for a procurement, the PBO may use (consistent with the