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How to Ace your EPA Performance Evaluation. Tampa Bay Estuary Program Lindsay Cross, Environmental Scientist. Photo: Donna Bollenbach. It’s OK to freak out, but then get busy!. This process will take several weeks Don’t leave it to the last moment!

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how to ace your epa performance evaluation

How to Ace your EPA Performance Evaluation

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Lindsay Cross, Environmental Scientist

Photo: Donna Bollenbach

it s ok to freak out but then get busy
It’s OK to freak out, but then get busy!
  • This process will take several weeks
  • Don’t leave it to the last moment!
  • Being prepared and organized will ensure a smoother process
proposed steps
Proposed steps
  • Hold a staff meeting to discuss packet and deadlines
  • Divide and conquer among the staff
  • Develop organizational strategy
  • Reference effectively with supporting documentation
  • Be aware of formatting
  • Allow time for collation (~1 week)
key pieces core elements
Key pieces: Core elements
  • Divided into 7 sub-elements
  • Performance Measures
    • Checklist (Fully Performing, Good, Excellent) of Performance Measures
    • Evidence/Workplan Citation: Reference Attachments
  • Clarifying Comments
    • Additional narrative explanation of worksheet and/or evidence
  • Narrative Summaries
    • Workplan (and CCMP) goals: Focus on Activities, Outputs, and Outcomes
other key pieces
Other key pieces
  • Habitat Goals
    • Info already uploaded to NEPORT (Acreage vs. Habitat Category)
  • CCMP Matrix
    • Actions initiated by year
  • Budget
    • EPA funding and leveraging
  • CWA Implementation
    • Projects that specifically support CWA
work together to divide and conquer
Work together to divide and conquer

Tracking/ Reporting

  • Get all staff involved in process
  • Set main goals for the program: e.g., TBEP worked from the bottom up (Fully Performing Good Excellent)
  • Assign sections or items to the relevant staff
  • Set deadlines for information, including reference attachments
  • Submit all information to the “organizer”

Financial Management


Assessment and Monitoring, Program Planning

Outreach and Public Involvement


develop an organizational strategy
Develop an organizational strategy
  • Set up folders on computer files for hard copies
  • Core Elements Worksheets by Sub-elements
    • Performance Measures
    • Clarifying Comments
  • Narrative Summaries
  • Budget
  • Habitat
  • CCMP Goals
  • CWA Implementation
  • Attachments
effective organization is vital
Effective organization is vital
  • If you can’t find or understand it, EPA can’t either!
  • Develop labeling strategy between performance measures worksheet and clarifying comments
  • TBEP labeled Clarifying Comments as “A, B, C” within each Level
  • Then used numbers were sub-items
be consistent with references
Be consistent with references
  • Use consistent Reference #s based on the first time you reference a document (evidence)
  • TBEP abbreviated sub-elements: FM-1 for Financial Management
  • Used same Attachment # throughout all sections
  • All attachments labeled clearly in subfolders within CD and binder
the evidence
The “evidence”
  • Bylaws
  • CCMPs
  • Workplans
  • EPA Quarterly Reports
  • State of the Bay reports
  • Technical publications
  • Board meeting agendas
  • Technical committee reports
  • Web site updates
  • Press releases
  • Outreach materials
include partner projects
Include partner projects
  • Get creative – focus on big projects or reports, but don’t forget about partner projects or other activities
  • Partnerships important for Narrative Summaries of CCMP goals
  • Important for Leveraging Ratios
    • Useful as funding justification to other partners
formatting is frustrating
Formatting is frustrating!
  • Performance Measures Worksheet
    • Keep comments brief so they stay within page limit
  • Clarifying Comments
    • Be aware of text boxes, headers and footers, numbers, and page breaks
allow 1 week to collate
Allow 1+ week to collate
  • Develop materials for hard and electronic versions
  • Use colored tabs or other organizational method
  • Use Illustrator, Publisher, etc. for Table of Contents
  • Provide copy of each referenced material
    • Scan in older documents
    • Save screen shots from websites
    • Include hard copies of outreach materials in clear sleeves
pe is a good tool for future work
PE is a good tool for future work
  • Assess where your program can improve or expand
  • Encourages alternative explanation of program activities (e.g., outputs and outcomes)
  • Prioritizes future work
    • TBEP’s TAC accomplished all of it’s top-ranked research priorities)
    • Next step: TAC will prioritize new research goals at upcoming meeting
enjoy the site visit
Enjoy the site visit
  • Highlight favorite projects or those in need of support
  • Provide hands-on experience to reviewers – good excuse for a field day!
  • Encourage individual time for staff members and EPA
  • Expect additional questions, based on PE evaluation
  • Great opportunity for feedback from EPA
    • Program overall
    • Problem areas

EPA site visit in beautiful Tampa Bay

suggestions to epa for future pes
Suggestions to EPA for future PEs
  • Limit last-minute changes to the packet
  • Eliminate headers, text boxes, and other formatting issues
  • Try a single page for the Performance Measure, Evidence, and Clarifying Comments
  • Limit redundancy throughout categories (e.g., explanations for Narrative Summaries similar to Performance Measures worksheets)
good luck
Good Luck!
  • Start early
  • Stay organized
  • Stay positive!

Photos: Bryon Chamberlin