Personnel Practices:

The Department of Energy's Use of Schedule C Appointment Authority

GGD-90-61: Published: Mar 8, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information about the number of Schedule C employees at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and Office of Public Affairs.

GAO found that, although DOE complied with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations and guidelines in establishing 19 permanent Schedule C positions for the two offices, DOE: (1) did not comply with requirements to report to OPM changes it made to the positions; (2) used Schedule C appointment authority to hire three permanent employees and detail them directly to the White House, although it had certified that the positions and the employees would be located within DOE; (3) did not follow its procedures in billing the White House for two of the details; and (4) did not annually report the details to Congress. GAO also found that: (1) OPM disagreed with a previous GAO recommendation that OPM issue a regulation prohibiting the detailing of Schedule C appointees within 90 days of appointment; and (2) DOE prepared a procedure to improve controls over the transmission of reimbursable detail agreements between its personnel and accounting offices.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Legislation was enacted prohibiting agencies from obligating or expending federal funds to pay the salaries or expenses or any employee appointed to a Schedule C position without a certification to OPM by the agency head that the position had not been created solely or primarily to detail the employee to the White House.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should discontinue the practice of hiring Schedule C appointees and assigning them immediately to the White House.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Legislation was enacted prohibiting agencies from obligating or expending federal funds to pay the salaries or expenses of any employee appointed to a Schedule C position without a certification to OPM by the head of the agency that the Schedule C position was not created solely or primarily to detail the employee to the White House.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should report the three details to OPM and not renew them at their conclusion.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Energy admitted it was not aware of reporting requirements and is now preparing the reports.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should prepare reports on details for fiscal year 1989 and implement procedures to ensure that they continue to be prepared in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has been reimbursed and has established new procedures for the future.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should implement, without delay, the procedures that were recently prepared to ensure that agencies are promptly billed for such details.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM has implemented requirements of new law on agency certifications, as of May 10, 1991.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should require agencies to certify in their applications that Schedule C positions are not being established solely or primarily for details.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OPM believes that existing procedures are adequate. Legislation was enacted prohibiting agencies from obligating or expending federal funds to pay the salaries or expenses of any employee appointed to a Schedule C position without a certification to OPM by the agency head that the position had not been created to detail the employee to the White House.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should disapprove applications that do not contain the certification that Schedule C positions are not being established solely or primarily for details.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM has notified agency personnel directors of these requirements.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should reemphasize to agencies that Schedule C employees can only occupy positions in the agency that OPM approves. It should make clear that any changes to those assignments must be approved by OPM and it should also encourage agencies to submit annual reports as required by Public Law 100-202.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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