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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the propriety of career appointments in the Civil Service and the Senior Executive Service (SES) during the 1992 presidential transition; and (2) federal workers' allegations of improper career appointments of political appointees, agency reorganizations, and rule changes.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress should consider amending the Ramspeck Act to specifically preclude individuals from returning to Congress for short periods to renew their eligibility. To accomplish this, the act could be amended to: (1) set a minimum time for the last period of congressional service; or (2) preclude or limit eligibility if the latest congressional staff position was accepted when the appointing Member of Congress had announced his or her retirement or was not reelected, or when the length of the appointment would be limited for budgetary reasons.
Closed - Implemented
Congress took the recommendation one step further and repealed the Ramspeck Act in P.L. 104-65.
Congress may wish to consider amending the Ramspeck Act to preclude its use as a noncompetitive appointment authority while an individual is actively serving in a career status position. This could be accomplished by restricting the act's use to one noncompetitive appointment during the 1-year period of eligibility.
Closed - Implemented
Congress took the recommendation one step further and repealed the Ramspeck Act as part of P.L. 104-65.
To provide oversight of these noncompetitive appointments, Congress may wish to direct OPM to review noncompetitive appointments as part of its conversion review process.
Closed - Not Implemented
Since Congress repealed the Ramspeck Act, this recommendation is no longer applicable.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Personnel Management 1. To strengthen OPM oversight of conversions of political appointees to career positions, the Director, OPM, should expand OPM preappointment review coverage to include individuals currently exempted on the basis of prior career service and excepted service appointments.
Closed - Implemented
OPM agreed with the recommendation and is adopting this recommendation during the next presidential transition when the bulk of the conversions occur.
Office of Personnel Management 2. To preserve the flexibility of new agency heads appointed after presidential transitions, the Director, OPM, should suspend all SES appointment processing during future transition periods. In line with current OPM policy, agencies should be able to request SES appointment processing in special circumstances.
Closed - Not Implemented
OPM does not plan to adopt this recommendation because OPM officials believe that existing controls are adequate to protect against improper conversions of noncareer SES appointees to career SES appointments. Recent GAO work on conversions did not reveal any abuses that the recommendation was intended to remedy. Therefore, GAO believes that this recommendation is no longer applicable.

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