Government Operations:

ACTION's Hiring and Use of Certain Noncareer Employees and Other Personnel Matters

HRD-84-57: Published: Sep 7, 1984. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed ACTION's hiring and use of certain noncareer employees to determine whether: (1) noncareer employee hiring, particularly Schedule B's and C's, was proper; (2) Schedule B noncareer employees were performing duties similar to those performed by career employees; (3) ACTION had complied with P.L. 97-377 that prohibited its use of funds for reducing state office personnel; and (4) ACTION had abused its authorities in proposing to reassign a number of career employees and terminating those who refused to relocate.

GAO found that, although not required to use the competitive examination process under its Schedule B hiring authorities, ACTION filled positions which were appropriate for consideration under the bilingual and cultural certification process. In addition, these Schedule B employees were performing duties normally performed by career employees. ACTION's largest noncareer employee group, Schedule C political appointees, were appointed in compliance with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and separate executive order authorizations. Furthermore, ACTION complied with the continuing resolution prohibiting its use of funds to reduce state office personnel. Finally, ACTION did not abuse its authorities in proposing to reassign a number of career employees and terminating those who refused to relocate. Although congressional appropriations committees were concerned about the percentage of noncareer employees at ACTION, P.L. 97-377 does not restrict the percentage of noncareer personnel that ACTION could employ.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on the final report, OPM disagreed with the GAO recommendation that ACTION be required to consult on a case-by-case basis, but it did say it would be initiating a comprehensive review of special hiring authorities governmentwide.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should require the Associate Director for Staffing to reexamine ACTION's November 19, 1971, and May 12, 1978, Schedule B hiring authorities to determine ACTION's current need for such authorities. If the authorities are necessary, the Director, OPM, should require ACTION to consult on a case-by-case basis with OPM competitive examiners before initiating Schedule B hiring, to determine the feasibility of filling the positions through the competitive Civil Service System.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OPM commented that the recommendation would be too restrictive.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management should require the Associate Director for Staffing to review the position descriptions and actual duties performed by ACTION's current Schedule B employees to determine if the appointments should be advertised as competitive positions.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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