Federal Workforce:

Selected Sites Cannot Show Fair and Open Competition for Temporary Jobs

GGD-90-106: Published: Sep 5, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 1990.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed six federal agencies' use of their authority to hire temporary employees without the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) approval, to determine whether: (1) selected agencies complied with merit selection requirements; and (2) those agencies made temporary appointments for appropriate reasons.

GAO found that: (1) 11 agency installations reported that they complied with merit principles when making temporary appointments, but did not maintain sufficient documentation to assess their compliance; (2) the lack of documentation made it difficult to assess whether agencies ensured fair and equal consideration of all qualified and interested job candidates; (3) OPM documentation requirements were not clearly stated and agencies lacked written procedures for describing the reasons for making temporary appointments; (4) of the 130 temporary appointments reviewed, 97 appeared to be appropriate for hiring temporary employees; (5) agencies made 25 percent of the reviewed appointments to fill permanent needs, which appeared to be inappropriate and could have violated the merit principle of fair and open competition; and (6) some agencies were not making the internal reviews required by OPM for temporary appointment authority.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Final regulations were issued on December 10, 1991. FPM implementing instructions are in clearance in OPM.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that agencies comply with temporary appointment statutes and OPM instructions, the Director, OPM, should revise Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) instructions to specify that agencies must maintain documentation to show that vacancy announcements were sent to OPM and state job service offices.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Both fiscal years 1989 and 1990 included a governmentwide review of temporary appointments. These reviews examined a sample of temporary cases from a regulatory perspective, as well as a review of procedural requirements. OPM also reviews temporary appointments in agency-level and Targeted Installation Reviews as part of the review agenda.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that agencies comply with temporary appointment statutes and OPM instructions, the Director, OPM, should continue to review, on a regular basis, agencies' use of and documentation for the temporary appointment authority and consider revoking the authority from noncomplying agencies.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management


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