Trump Nominees Can Serve in SES Roles at Agencies as They Await Confirmation

President-elect Donald Trump listens to a reporter's question in New York on Monday. President-elect Donald Trump listens to a reporter's question in New York on Monday. Evan Vucci/AP

The Obama administration has taken some heat from Republicans for implementing last-minute rules and regulations that could hamper President-elect Trump from implementing his agenda, but Obama is giving his successor at least one parting gift: the ability to place nominees into agency positions while they await confirmation.

The Office of Personnel Management announced the authority on Monday, which will enable Trump appointees to serve in temporary Senior Executive Service positions before the Senate votes on their nominations. The appointees would serve in “advisory or consultative capacity.” Beth Cobert, OPM’s acting director, said in a memorandum to all federal agencies that the authority would “support agencies’ transition needs.”

As an example, OPM said a Trump nominee could serve as a “senior adviser to the secretary” who could weigh in on matters “pertaining to policies, priorities and program direction of the department and to its structure, organization and operation.” The adviser could work on special assignments, the impact of proposed policies and coordinate with department officials and other stakeholders.

» Get the best federal news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

The Trump administration must make the SES appointments during a 10-day window beginning on Inauguration Day. Cabinet-level agencies will be able to place five Trump nominees into temporary SES positions, while non-Cabinet level agencies will be able to do so with just three. Agencies will be able to retain the nominees for 21 days, and then must ask OPM for additional time if necessary. 

The nominees are not subject to competitive hiring requirements, but the agency must sign off on the individual as qualified for the position.

OPM also granted agencies with “Temporary Transition Schedule C Authority,” which will enable them to non-competitively appoint employees to short-term positions after a new secretary takes office. The non-career employees can serve up to 240 days without OPM approval. Each agency in the Trump administration will retain the authority from when the president-elect is sworn in until one year from the time the new agency heads begin their tenures.

Agencies can use the authority to put in place three to 80 temporary workers without any review, OPM said, depending on the number of Schedule C workers they currently employ. 

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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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