Personnel Conversions During Presidential Transition:

Improved Monitoring Needed

FPCD-81-51: Published: May 27, 1981. Publicly Released: May 27, 1981.

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) investigated 43 personnel conversions processed during the recently completed Presidential transition period. OPM reviewed conversions at three agencies, and GAO subsequently reviewed conversions at four other agencies. As used in this report, conversion refers to the process in which an employee is converted from a position in the excepted service to a position in the competitive service. Excepted employees may be removed at the discretion of the Administration because they are not covered by the regulations governing the competitive service. However, employees in the competitive service are protected by laws and regulations which prohibit any personnel action based on factors other than job performance.

OPM officials stated that they did not know the total number of conversions from excepted to competitive positions during the transition period because many personnel actions were approved at the agency level without OPM review. However, the OPM and GAO investigations indicated that the transition period triggered a number of attempts to improperly convert excepted service employees. The OPM finding that 30 percent of the 43 conversion cases it reviewed were improper suggested that during transition other agencies may be improperly converting employees. The OPM plans to require weekly reports on conversion actions during the transition period would have certainly enabled it to better oversee Government-wide conversion activity. GAO believes that highly visible procedures for monitoring conversion actions would have been very useful during the transition period.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should (1) require agencies to report to OPM the total number of conversions from excepted to competitive positions made during the 1980 transition period; (2) review these conversions, as appropriate, to insure that the actions were proper; and (3) provide, during future transition periods, more comprehensive monitoring of the conversions of excepted employees to competitive positions.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management


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