Letter: No notice on certain 'hiring flexiblities' is problematic
Regarding "Union criticizes OPM's flexible hiring practices": The major problem -- which is also at once the principal reason for the increase in use the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) and other excepted service-appointing authorities -- with the expanded use of these "hiring flexibilities" is in the fact that agencies need not give public notice of these excepted service-based employment opportunities.
The major problem -- which is also at once the principal reason for the increase in use the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) and other excepted service-appointing authorities -- with the expanded use of these "hiring flexibilities" is in the fact that agencies need not give public notice of these excepted service-based employment opportunities.
Publication on OPM's USAJobs Web site is legally required only for competitive service vacancies. This means that agencies can -- and most frequently do -- target recruitment under these excepted authorities to only selected sources, e.g., specific colleges in a given locality, thereby ensuring that those outside the targeted sources (including undesirable candidates such as older individuals and disabled veterans who might "block" consideration of desired younger or otherwise more "politically correct" candidates) never make it into the applicant pool because they can never learn of the existence of these hiring opportunities in the first place.
This is highly questionable because federal excepted service hiring also falls under the aegis of the merit system principles (5 USC 2301), the first of which requires fair and open competition. 5 CFR, Part 213, defines Schedule A and B excepted service positions as being not practicable to to examine for (Schedule A) or to hold a competitive examination for (Schedule B).
However, the vast majority of the types of positions filled through the use of the cited Schedule A and B authorities are also being filled simultaneously through the use of competitive service examining procedures (though in lesser numbers) which DO require public notice.
This being the case, the rationale that it is impracticable to examine/hold competitive examinations in using Schedule A and B appointing authorities is belied by the fact that it is indeed eminently practicable to do so for the vast majority of appointments made under these authorities, as identical positions are being filled routinely through normal competitive service hiring procedures. While I don't often find myself agreeing with NTEU, in this instance I can only say they've got a very valid point.
What do you think? Paste a comment in the box below (registration required), or send your comment to [email protected] (subject line: Blog comment) and we'll post it.