Presidential transition guide offers advice

Government-issued identity badges — what they are and who must have them — are one among dozens of do’s and don’ts contained in the Presidential Transition Guide to Federal Human Resources Management.

The 66-page document, which OPM released June 6, is a compilation of the policies and procedures that apply during a presidential transition. The document  warns newcomers that if someone is unable to obtain a security clearance that might be required for a particular federal job, then no agency can issue that person a computer-readable security badge. Those badges are a governmentwide requirement under the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12.

Meanwhile, for many employees who will be involuntarily leaving government service during the presidential transition, there is some compensation: unemployment compensation.


Presidential appointees, non-career and limited Senior Executive Service employees and Schedule C employees are generally eligible for federal unemployment benefits. However, to avoid any possible bureaucratic hangup, OPM warns those who have not been through a transition before to state clearly on the federal SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action form and all claims inquiry forms that the involuntary job loss was “separation due to change in agency leadership” or “separation due to transition to new presidential administration.”

The guide also has other useful legal information for incoming transition teams. It identifies how officials must deal with lobbyists during the transition, how departing employees must leave official records in the custody of the agency they are leaving, and how non-career employees can use outplacement services that an agency establishes for all its employees.

Positions that are generally subject to change during presidential transitions — the plum jobs -- are listed in a document called United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, commonly known as the Plum Book. OPM prepares the document every four years at the request of Congress and publishes it after the election in November on its Web site.

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