David Goldman/AP

TSA Will Also Partially Continue Its Hiring Freeze

Growing list of agencies decline to follow OMB’s advice to take a more ‘surgical’ approach.

Add another agency to the list of those limping out of the federal hiring freeze, despite President Trump ending the moratorium last week: the Transportation Security Administration is continuing the freeze for some positions.

All non-front line positions will be frozen, TSA’s acting Deputy Administrator Gary Rasicot said in a memorandum to employees last week obtained by Government Executive.

The White House ending the governmentwide freeze “does not mean that TSA hiring managers will be able to immediately begin filling vacancies again,” Rasicot said. “Instead, TSA will continue to maintain a hiring freeze on non-front line positions until we receive greater clarity on the fiscal year 2018 budget outcome.”

The exemption as spelled out in the memo means airport screener positions will not be subject to the freeze. Headquarters and support vacancies will remain unfilled. Rasicot said there could be further exemptions going forward and promised to keep employees informed “as progress is made.”

TSA joins the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Broadcasting Board of Governors in informing employees it will continue to block all or some hiring, despite the Office of Management and Budget ending the moratorium. Agencies are working on plans to restructure themselves and reduce the size of their workforces, with preliminary proposals due June 30.

Other agencies cited the need to assess their current workforces as they develop those plans, in addition to budget uncertainty, as necessitating the continued freeze.

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said last week the freeze was intended as a temporary pause while a new executive team evaluated its enterprise. Ending the freeze, he explained, would allow “something that’s more practicable” and a “more surgical plan.” An OMB spokesman recently told Government Executive the agency would not engage in micromanaging.

“Agencies are free to achieve the president's priorities of a lean, accountable and effective government however they please within the guidelines set out,” the spokesman said.