Bush exempts promotions from hiring restrictions

Within-grade salary increases and internal career ladder promotions for employees are exempt from Bush administration controls on federal hiring, President Bush's budget director said last week. Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell Daniels also informed agency leaders that they will have to slate management positions for the cutting board in the coming months. Daniels' Jan. 30 bulletin supersedes a recent memo issued by the Office of Personnel Management to agency human resources directors. The hiring controls were initially addressed by Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, in a memo sent shortly after Bush was inaugurated on Jan. 20 to heads and acting heads of executive agencies. According to the memo, "no decision relating to hiring shall be made unless and until such decision is reviewed and approved by a department or agency head appointed by the President after noon on Jan. 20, 2001."

Days later, OPM issued its own memo specifying that the hiring controls applied to all personnel decisions, including appointments, promotions and reassignments. Daniels' bulletin loosens the restrictions, exempting appointments approved by the White House, in-house career ladder promotions, within-grade increases, reinstatements after an absence for extended injury or military duty, placements of people through the Career Transition Assistance Program and veterans or presidential management interns converting to the competitive service. Job offers extended before Jan. 20, 2001 can also be honored. Once Senate-confirmed agency heads take charge, they can throw the restrictions out and develop their own hiring rules. While Bush's Cabinet picks have now been confirmed, most independent agencies are still waiting for Bush-appointed leaders. In his bulletin, Daniels also reminded agency heads of Bush's campaign promise to eliminate 40,000 federal management positions. "In the longer term, every department or agency head will be expected to develop a plan to meet the President's goal of reducing management ranks," Daniels wrote. "Guidance on the development of these plans will be issued by OMB later."

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