Federal Workforce:

Temporary Appointments and Extensions in Selected Federal Agencies

GGD-89-15: Published: Feb 23, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal agencies' implementation of the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) delegated authority to expand and extend hiring of temporary employees, focusing on the: (1) appropriateness of agencies' appointments and extensions of temporary employees and compliance with administrative procedures; (2) OPM and agencies' monitoring approach; and (3) OPM-proposed revision to the guideline for implementing the hiring authority.

GAO reviewed 28 temporary appointments in four selected federal agencies, and found that: (1) 19 appointments were appropriate to meet temporary needs; (2) four appointments were inappropriately made to fill permanent positions, and five appointments were not sufficiently documented to determine their appropriateness; (3) all four agencies did not comply with administrative procedures or statutory requirements for filling temporary appointments, which often resulted in an unfair recruitment and selection process, limited competition, or violations of the merit system; and (4) OPM and agencies' ability to monitor use of temporary hiring authority is often impeded by improper documentation and incorrect action codes. GAO also found that: (1) the revised delegated authority guidelines did not address the frequency of agency and OPM monitoring of temporary appointments; (2) agency officials believed that the OPM annual audit approach was insufficient to monitor agencies' compliance with laws and regulations; and (3) OPM planned to assess temporary appointments as part of its governmentwide personnel management evaluation in fiscal year 1989.

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