I'm a loyal reader and find your column very informative. Recently, you mentioned that workers in the "Excepted service" comprise over 50% of the federal workforce — which surprised me. What about the GS-level employees who come and go with new administrations? I have heard people refer to them as "Schedule C." What does that mean?
service" consists of all positions in the Executive Branch that statute,
the President, or the Office of Personnel Management has specifically excepted
from the Competitive service or the Senior Executive Service.
Employees in the Excepted
service who are subject to change at the discretion of a new Administration are
commonly referred to as "Schedule C" employees. Schedule C positions
are excepted from the Competitive service because they have policy-determining
responsibilities or require the incumbent to serve in a confidential
relationship to a key official. Most Schedule C positions are at the GS-15
level and below.
The most common use of
Executive Orders has been to authorize Schedule C appointments or noncareer
executive assignments for regional directors, regional representatives, and
comparable positions in various agencies. Most refer to them as "political favors," as many of the Schedule C
GS-9-15's you recognize in special assistant positions appear to be younger
than your typical career fed.
Usually Schedule C staff at
the lower GS do not seem to be as well connected as the higher ones but you never know
who their parents know and hang with. While most are hard working and top notched there are always as few sour
apples in the bunch that drive career feds to start counting the days til the
next election and transition period.
Appointments to Schedule C
positions require advance approval from the White House Office of Presidential
Personnel and OPM, but appointments may be made without competition. OPM does
not review the qualifications of a Schedule C appointee — final authority on
this matter rests with the appointing official.
There are two other
categories of positions that OPM has administratively excepted from the Competitive service because it is not practical to hold competitive
examinations for them. These are Schedule A and Schedule B positions.
— Schedule A Positions. Examples include
chaplains, teachers in military dependent school systems overseas, faculty
positions of service academies, and certain positions at isolated localities.
Attorney positions are also in Schedule A because OPM is prohibited in its
appropriations legislation from spending funds to examine for attorney
— Schedule B Positions. Schedule B is used
primarily for career-related work study positions. The procedural and appellate
rights governing the removal of Schedule A and B appointees vary. Employees
with veterans preference who have 1 year of qualifying service are entitled to
statutory procedural and appellate rights if they are removed from the Federal
service for conduct or performance reasons. In addition, the Due Process
Amendments of 1990 [P.L. 101-376, August 17, 1990] gave procedural and appeal
protections to many excepted service employees who do not have veterans
preference, provided they have completed 2 years of qualifying service.
addition to the policy-determining or confidential positions Congress, the
President, or OPM can except certain agencies and groups of positions from the
competitive service and the Senior Executive Service. These exceptions are made
for a variety of reasons, none of which relate to policy-determining or
confidential factors. Like career appointees, employees in these positions are
not generally subject to change during transitions.
Examples of positions that have been excepted by statute include the
Foreign Service of the Department of State, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
of the Department of Justice; all positions in the Tennessee Valley Authority,
the General Accounting Office, and the Postal Service; and certain employees of
the Veterans Health Administration in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most
of these positions are under separate merit systems and are not subject to
change during transitions.
Yours in Gov,
Read More Q&A from Bureaupat:
[+] What are the pros and cons of excepted service?
[+] What happens to my leave if I transfer to another agency?