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AFSC Deputy Director Jim Coe Receives NOAA’s Administrator’s Award

James M. Coe  

Deputy Science and Research Director for Alaska James M. Coe was presented the NOAA Administrators’ Award by Assistant Administrator for Fisheries William Hogarth at ceremonies held in Juneau on 21 August 2007 for leadership at regional and national levels in contributing to the successful expansion of the Demonstration Project within NOAA Fisheries.

Adoption of the Department of Commerce Demonstration Project (Demo Project), a pay for performance system, represented a radical change in how employees were paid and rewarded for their performance. Senior NMFS management elected to place managers, supervisors and those employees not represented by bargaining units into the Demo Project beginning in October 2003.

During 2005-06, Jim led a NMFS-wide review and analysis of performance increase and bonus payouts which involved top administration officials and all NMFS Pay Pool Managers. The analysis included a review of the interpretation and application of benchmark standards, assignment of performance scores, and distributions of performance increases and bonuses for NMFS employees covered by the Demo Project. As a result of this review, clear written guidance was developed for use across NMFS to achieve greater consistencies in all areas of Demo Project operations and administration. This analysis provided Jim with an in-depth perspective of the technical aspects of the Demo Project.

  William Hogarth and James Coe
Bill Hogarth presents Jim with the NOAA Administrator’s Award.

Given the radical departure from the agency’s traditional pay structure, the Demo Project was a particularly confusing and contentious issue among staff. Jim provided credible and highly effective presentations to AFSC staff regarding Demo Project concerns and clearly explained Demo Project policies and procedures, answered questions, dissolved misconceptions, and frankly communicated the benefits and drawbacks of the project. Jim’s leadership throughout the process was directly responsible for the successful implementation of the Demo Project. His ability to communicate technical details in a rational and honest way overcame historical issues of trust between employees and managers and has provided NMFS with a better tool for performance management.

Jim has served as the AFSC Deputy for ten years. He is a NOAA Fisheries member of NOAA’s Labor Relations Forum, the Center’s Pay Pool Manager, and a senior member of the NOAA Fisheries’ Operating Personnel Management Board. Jim received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal award in 1993, the NOAA Administrator’s Award in 2002, and both the Bronze Medal Award and the NMFS Employee of the Year Award in 2003.

By Susan Calderón
 

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