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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

September 7, 2001

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—August 9, 2001


I. Preparation for Secretary Thompson's visit

The Secretary's visit to NIH is scheduled for August 20–23. Dr. Kirschstein reviewed the latest draft schedule, which she distributed.

II. Preparation for the NIH Leadership Forum

Dr. Kirschstein reviewed the proposed agenda. The Tuesday evening speaker has not yet been confirmed. In response to a question on the status of the management and restructuring information due to OS on August 29, Mr. Graeff will ask OS for an extension until after the Leadership Forum.

III. Information Items

Dr. Kirschstein introduced Larry Self as Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity. He intends to meet with each IC Director individually in the near future.

OS granted NIH 150 personnel slots as relief from the administrative freeze. Dr. Kirschstein gave 7 each to NIBIB and NCMHD, held 10 in reserve, and will distribute the remainder. We received about 90 IT slots. Mr. Graeff is working with the ICs on allocating those; the ICs had previously identified 102 critical IT positions. Dr. Kirschstein clarified that recruitments can proceed for scientific positions; she will personally review SES or Title 42 positions in which the pay is above that of a GS-15/10. Mr. Benowitz noted that Dr. Kirschstein can now approve certain scientific staff with high salaries; this means that the Department will not have to approve the majority of scientific appointments. However, each administrative position at the SES level must be requested individually from the Department. There are also concerns about allowing Commissioned Officers to retire (permissive or optional) and then reappointing them into the same positions as members of the Civil Service. Mr. Benowitz said that he understands that OS will be reviewing this policy.

Dr. Maddox is working with the Department on obtaining relief from the travel restrictions. Drs. Katz and Lenfant and Mr. Smolonsky visited Senator Kennedy's staff to discuss loan repayments. The Federal Register notice about our new loan repayment programs should be published very shortly. The Senator's staff said that the Senator does not want the loan repayments to be restricted to only those scientists supported by NIH. The AFMR and the voluntary organizations are pushing for the same expansion of eligibility, and FASEB is pushing to make non-clinical MDs eligible for loan repayments. Dr. Katz said we need to think carefully about eligibility requirements and that we need to do this as early as possible. Dr. Kirschstein agreed and charged Dr. Lenfant's committee to continue to look at expanding the loan repayment programs and to do this expeditiously.

Ms. Quantius reported that OS legal counsel has ruled that HHS, not NIH, is the Federal agency for purposes of semi-postal stamps. We have suggested that HHS prepare a standard letter to the Postmaster General assuring him that NIH can handle the revenue if a semi-postal stamp is approved. Ms. Quantius has asked for the name of a contact at OS with whom she can work on this issue. The Postal Service will approve only one semi-postal stamp in a two-year period.

Dr. Kirschstein asked IC Directors to hold the time on their calendars for an IC Directors' meeting next Thursday morning.

Karen Pelham O'Steen
cc: OD Staff

This page last reviewed on September 28, 2011

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