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Agencies agree to share staff positions for different reasons: for efficiency, for improved customer service and/or to fund a position that neither agency can afford on its own. Often, shared positions evolve from an informal arrangement between two agencies. However, when one person is designated to be a shared staff for a particular function, the agencies must formalize the arrangement.
Shared staff positions are most successful when:
- The position's responsibilities are explicitly spelled out in the Memorandum of Understanding. This includes time spent working for each agency, the employee's direct supervisor, supervision responsibilities, and priorities.
- Expectations are clearly and consistently communicated. The employee, direct supervisor and affected staff in each agency know who to contact about issues and concerns.
- Managers and supervisors determine how shared staff should deal with different agency procedures, rules and regulations.
- The employee learns both agencies' policies and procedures.
- Spending time with staff from both agencies; simply being visible sends a positive message and improves communications.
Delegation of Authority
When supervisors and managers are given dual delegation (sometimes called "dual hatting", "cross delegation", or "reciprocal delegation", they are authorized to perform duties for more than one agency, including supervising another agency's employees. They may also be authorized to make decisions regarding another agency's land, sign decision documents (e.g., grazing permits, application for permit to drill, etc.), and obligate or expend funds. At public meetings, dual delegated managers can speak as decision maker for the land managed by either agency.
There are multiple benefits. Dual delegation has been done for efficiency (not filling a vacancy), to improve coordination and communications, to promote customer service (customers no longer have to shop to find the person authorized to answer their questions), and to develop integrated operations in certain administrative and natural resource areas.
Delegation of Authority Checklist:
- Two or more agencies determine the need for dual delegation.
- Regional/State directors give concurrence/approval for dual delegation.
- Line managers issues a letter of delegation. If money is exchanged, an agreement is necessary. The letter should outline the delegated duties, expectations for the position (full-time, emergency only, for certain functions only, etc.), who the person reports to, how they will be evaluated, etc. Follow the rules and regulations on how to delegate authority for each agency.
- Amend the employee's position description, reflecting the larger authority being granted.
- Write an operational plan (or include in the delegation letter) detailing how the funding will work. Usually one agency pays the dual delegated person, and the other reimburses that agency a percentage of the salary, based on the percentage of time the person spends working for each agency. If funds are exchanged, then employees need to follow each agencies reimbursement agreement process.
Examples of Shared Staff Positions
Interagency Administrative Officer, Oregon
- The Lakeview District BLM and Fremont-Winema National Forest Supervisor's Office created an interagency Administrative Officer position in 2005. The position directly manages an integrated unit responsible for human resources, records, public information, mail and printing, telecommunications, purchasing, budget, fleet, property and information technology. Understanding each agency's administrative policies and procedures has created a more efficient organization and strengthened collaboration among the two agencies.