Appointments Raise Suspicion

amaxwell@govexec.com

The circumstances surrounding the career appointments of six political appointees gave the appearance that those appointees received favoritism or preferences that enhanced the prospects of appointment, the General Accounting Office has reported.

Of the 36 career appointments made by 18 agencies between January 1996 and March 1997, the remaining 30 appointments did not raise comparable questions of the appearance of preferential treatment, the report states. And after reviewing the other six questionable appointments, GAO concluded that agencies had followed proper procedures in those cases, too.

Typically, career civil servants are hired through a competitive process, using merit systems principles. The system is designed to select employees on the basis of relative knowledge, skills and ability, after fair and open competition. In two questionable cases, the knowledge, skills and required duties listed in the vacancy announcement appeared to have been tailored to the work experiences of the political appointees who applied for and were appointed to the respective positions.

In another two cases, political appointees obtained career appointments to positions from which they were reassigned shortly after receiving their appointments. This raised the question of whether there was an actual need to fill the positions.

In the fifth case, a political appointee who worked directly for the head of the agency helped create a new executive position that was to be filled through a career appointment.

The final case involved a political appointee who was selected for an executive position after the position was announced a third time. The political appointee was a member of the panel that screened applicants from the first two announcements.

Former Office of Personnel Management Director James B. King expressed concern about the report's findings in a letter dated July 29, 1997. He said that since GAO "was unable to discern the intent of the agency officials" involved in the six questionable appointments, it would be inappropriate to conclude that any prohibited activities occurred.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.