November 12, 2009
A READER EMAILS ABOUT THIS MEMO FROM THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT:
OPM is now claiming authority to weed out every former political appointee from being considered for ANY federal positions at EVERY level of the GS Pay Scale, for both the competitive AND excepted service – made RETROACTIVE for the past 5 years! (This is a new, extra layer of scrutiny previously reserved for SES hires.) OPM will now check the recommended hires to “ensure they comply with merit system principles and applicable civil service laws.”
It is well established anti-discrimination law in the Federal sector – the public (political appointees included) may not be excluded from consideration for federal jobs because of their political affiliation.
OPM’s alleged rationale is to keep political appointees from “burrowing in,” but agencies would need to have already considered the applicant the best qualified to even reach this new hurdle.
Stated another way, “but for” the applicant having served as a political appointee within the past five years, all agencies would not be required to seek review from OPM for all agency positions. Effectively, the ONLY reason EVERY agency will now be REQUIRED to consult OPM is to “ask permission” to hire a person based on their political affiliation.
Why make the policy retroactive for 5 years? I leave you to draw your own conclusions.