OPM has recently announced that a hiring freeze has been imposed on Senior Executive Service. It will only apply to agencies that have non-termed political appointees has their heads. This freeze happens every time there is a presidential change happening in the country. There will be some exceptions to the moratorium to ensure that crucial tasks are not affected during the transition process that usually takes some time.
The Freeze on Senior Executive Service Announced by OPM
OPM has stated that the hiring freeze on Senior Executive Service will apply only to those agencies that are headed by the non-termed political appointees. The freeze will come into effect from December 7, 2016, and will last until the Inauguration Day. OPM released a memo to share the information. The memo also stated that the processing of SES Qualifications Review Board cases will be suspended by the agency when the respective agency heads make the announcement of their departures.
President Barack Obama has set the deadline of December 7. 2016. By this date, all the non-termed presidential appointees must offer their respective resignation letters. It is pertinent to mention here that SES serves as a kind of bridge between the civil service and political appointees. The board which composes of three SES members reviews all the senior executive hires in order to ensure that they are qualified.
The Implementation of the Moratorium
Sam Schumach, who serves as the Press Secretary for OPM has stated that the moratorium would only apply to the SES positions that have not been approved by the board. He added that OPM will go on to process the cases that are submitted before the moratorium actually takes place.
Schumach also pointed out that a moratorium like this always happens when a presidential transition is in progress. It helps the president-elect to get maximum flexibility in assembling the new leaders of the incoming administration. It also lets the incoming agency heads to get a chance to exercise his or her privilege to approve executive resource decisions that are likely to impact the performance of the agency during his or her tenure.
OPM made it clear that there might be some exemptions to the decision to stop Senior Executive Service hiring. The exemptions would be in cases where the continuity of agency operations is vital during the transition process, says Schumach. For instance, where the moratorium may hinder the agency critical missions, homeland security or national security matters.