Presidential Appointments: Agencies' Compliance With Provisions of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998

GAO-01-701: May 31, 2001

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The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 established new requirements for the temporary filling of vacant executive agency positions that require presidential appointment and Senate confirmation (PAS). The act requires agencies to inform Congress and GAO whenever (1) a PAS position becomes vacant; (2) a vacant position is filled on a temporary basis; (3) a nomination is made to the Senate to fill a vacancy; or (4) a nomination for the position is rejected, withdrawn, or returned. The act also sets limits on the number of PAS positions that can be filled on an acting basis. This report assesses the implementation of the Vacancies Reform Act. GAO found that agencies did not promptly report all vacancies and acting officials to Congress and GAO. Federal agencies had not reported 17 vacancies and 21 acting officials. Moreover, notification was not received for four weeks after the date of their occurrence, although the act requires that this information be reported immediately. GAO also found that acting officials at four agencies exceeded the act's 210-day time limit for temporary service. GAO reported these instances to the President and Congress.