Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Policy on Political Appointees

  • To comply with the reporting requirements of the Transitions Act, the updated policy communicates a change to OPM’s previous policy, which excluded certain permanent appointments from OPM’s pre-appointment review process.  The updated policy communicates that moving forward, OPM will review proposed selections of current or former political appointees to permanent positions involving noncompetitive and direct-hire appointments, under 5 CFR 315, subpart F, and 5 CFR 337, subpart B. 
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Agencies must request OPM approval to appoint the following current or former (within five-years) Executive Branch political appointees to permanent competitive service, non-political excepted service, or career SES positions:

     

    • Political appointees requiring Senate confirmation (PAS);
    • Political appointees not requiring Senate confirmation (PA);
    • Political appointees, as defined under 5 U.S.C. sections 5312 through 5316 (relating to the Executive Schedule);
    • Political Schedule A;
      • Appointments made by the President without confirmation by the Senate [5 CFR § 213.3102(c)].
      • Assistants to top-level Federal officials if the position is being filled by a person designated by the President as a White House Fellow [5 CFR § 213.3102(z)].
    • Schedule C [5 CFR §§ 213.3301-3302];
    • Noncareer SES [5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(7); and 5 CFR § 317, subpart F];
    • Limited Term SES [5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5); and 5 CFR § 317, subpart F];
    • Limited Emergency SES [5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(6); and 5 CFR § 317, subpart F];
    • Appointees serving in a political capacity under agency-specific authority; and
    • Provisional Political Appointments [applicable to positions listed above].
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes.  To comply with the reporting requirements of the Transitions Act, OPM will now review non-competitive appointments to the Federal civil service under certain conditions (e.g. the appointment of 30 percent or more disabled veterans, the appointment of Peace Corps personnel, and the appointment of certain former overseas employees).  This action is a change from OPM’s previous policy.  
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No.  For example, a person who was a political appointee in 2015 and was hired for a career Federal job in 2016, with OPM approval, can apply for and be selected for another career Federal job and OPM will not review the selection under the revised policy. 
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • We determine this period by looking back five years from the closing date of the vacancy announcement.  If an applicant for a career Federal job held a political appointment covered by OPM’s policy during that five-year period, OPM will review the proposed selection to ensure it meets merit system principles.  We recognize that vacancy announcements are not always used for excepted service positions.  In such cases, the five-year period will be determined by looking back five years from the date an agency submits its request for pre-hiring review to OPM.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  •  OPM will complete its review and notify the agency of our decision within 15 business days from the date we receive all of the information needed from the agency. 

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Consistent with past OPM policy, our review looks back five years to ensure we safeguard merit principles in consecutive administrations. 
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • OPM’s objective is to safeguard fair and open competition and protect against political influence in the hiring for career Federal jobs. With this in mind, the two most common reasons for OPM not to approve a proposed selection are (1) when the career job appears to have been  created or tailored solely for the benefit of the current or former political appointee or, (2) when competition for the career job has been limited inappropriately. 

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The policy communicated requirements of the Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015 (Pub. L. 114-136, March 18, 2016). 

     

    The “Act” expands the definition of “political appointee” and requires OPM to report on data pertaining to agency requests to appoint current or former political appointees to covered civil service positions.  OPM now requires agencies to provide information on hiring effective dates and basic rate of pay, or notification that the selectee was not appointed (refer to the Agency Pre-Appointment Checklist, Form OPM 5000 and OPM 5001).  This requirement remains in effect.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No.  It has been OPM policy since the Carter Administration and under every President since to ensure that politics play no role when agencies hire political appointees for career Federal jobs.  In the past, OPM conducted a pre-hiring review of proposed appointments to the career competitive service during the year leading up to a Presidential election. 

     

    Effective January 1, 2010, OPM expanded its pre-hiring oversight beyond the Presidential election year to ensure hiring of current or former political appointees—whenever it occurs—is  fair, open, and free from political influence.  The OPM Director’s January 1, 2010, memorandum for Heads of Departments and Agencies communicated two changes in OPM’s policy.  First, as noted above, OPM now conducts pre-hiring reviews on a continuing basis, not just during the year leading up to a Presidential election.  Second, we expanded the scope of our review for future hiring decisions.  In the past, OPM only reviewed an agency’s proposed hiring of a current or former political appointee when the career Federal job was in the competitive service or career SES.  Under our revised policy, OPM reviews proposed hiring of current or former political appointees for jobs in the excepted service as well.  OPM's responsibility to ensure merit-based hiring for Federal jobs includes both the excepted and competitive service.  

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...