Foreign Service:

Agencies Use Various Criteria for Granting Limited Career Extensions

NSIAD-93-19: Published: Oct 15, 1992. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Foreign Service agencies' use of limited career extensions, focusing on: (1) whether limited career extension grants complied with applicable laws and policies; (2) the number and percentage of eligible employees granted extensions; and (3) how extensions affected promotion opportunities for employees in lower pay grades.

GAO found that: (1) although the agencies generally complied with applicable laws and regulations, they had differing policies and practices for granting limited career extensions, in particular regarding eligibility requirements; (2) the Department of State mistakenly dropped the law's rank order requirement in 1990, but subsequently reinstated it in its policy; (2) the Agency for International Development (AID) did not always follow its policy to grant extensions only to individuals whom its selection board had considered and recommended, or its selection board's rank order of candidates in granting extensions; (3) although the number and percentage of extensions varied by agency, all agencies except one granted extensions to over half their eligible personnel, with State and AID granting the most extensions because they had larger pools of eligible candidates; (4) State and AID have revised their policies to reduce the number of extensions they grant; and (5) extensions limited promotion opportunities by restricting access to the top salary grades.

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