Complaint Concerning Action on Application for Federal Employment

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-05-24.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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         Dear Senator       Tunney:

                  Pursuant to your request of March 10, 1971, we have re-
         viewed the Civil          Service Commission's          reply of January 20,
          1971, to your inquiry            on behalf    of your constituent,
         Mr. Philip       D. Strong,       10 Holiday     Court, Pacifica,         California,
        -who is interested          in obtaining       Federal employment in a senior
          level position.         We have reviewed also the Commission's                     gen-
          eral procedures        for handling       applications       for senior level
          positions     and its records relating              to certain     actions     that
          have been taken with respect               to Mr. Strong's        application        for
          employment.         In addition,     we have inquired          into the status of
          certain     positions     for which Mr. Strong has been considered.

               We believe     that the Civil     Service Commission's      reply to
         your inquiry     represents  a reasonably       complete summary of the
         procedures    and practices    of the Commission regarding          applica-
         tions for senior level positions.             We believe  also  that
         Mr. Strong's     application   for employment has been handled by
         the Commission in a manner consistent            with its established
         procedures    for handling    applications      for employment in senior
         level positions.


                Applicants     for senior level positions        in the Federal ser-
          vice,  in lieu of taking written        examinations,     are required    to
          submit to the Civil       Service Commission resumes of their          educa-
          tion and experience       and, If applicable,      documentary   proof of
          the lo-point     veterans   preference.

                  The resumes (applications)            are screened initially      by the
          Commission's      Bureau of Recruiting           and Examining   for basic ac-
          ceptance.      Upon acceptance       of the applications,        the names of
          the applicants      are included       on the Commissionls       senior level
          register.      The applications        are retained     by the Commission in a
          central    resource    file  which is used when responding             to requests
          from agency appointing         officers       for names of qualified      appli-
          cants who may-be considered             in filling    Job vacancies.      An

                                      50TH ANNIVERSARY        1921

accepted application     is usually   retained   for consideration for a
period of 12 months from the date of the CommissionPs notice          to
the applicant    that his applicataon      has been accepted.

       Upon receipt        of a request from a Federal agency for names
of applicants       eliglrble    for consideration       In filling      a position,
the Civil     Service Commission screens its files                 to identify
all applications          which indicate    backgrounds     and skills         commen-
surate with the requirements             of the position.         A panel of exam-
iners from the agency and the Commission reviews and rates
these applications.            The panel contacts      former employers          and
references,      if necessary,       to identify    the best qualified           appli-
cants.      The Commission then sends the names of the top-ranking
applicants     to the agency which made the request.

        A Federal agency is        not required     to fill     a senior level
position     with one of the       top-ranking   applicants         listed    by the
Civil    Service Commrssion.          On the contrary,       Federal       agencies
fill    most such positions        by reassignment,       transfer,        or promo-
tion of persons already          in the career service.

        In recent years, both the legislative      and executive
branches of the Government have imposed restrictions             on hirzng
by Federal agencies.       Civil  Service Commission officials          esti-
mated that the Commission's       senior level  register      generally
listed    between 16,000 and 17,000 elrgible      applicants,      and they
said that only 820 and 885 appointments        had been made from the
register     during fiscal  years 1969 and 1970, respectively.


        Mr. Strong submitted      an application      for employment (Stan-
dard Form 171--Personal       Qualification      Statement)      to the Com-
mission on November 4, 1969, pursuant             to the Commisslonls
Announcement No. 408 announcing           an examination      for senior  level
positions,      grades GS-13 through       GS-15, in administration,      tech-
nical    services,    staff services,     management, and professional
services.       A copy of this announcement         is enclosed for your in-


          The Commission notified       Mr. Strong on November 17, 1969,
that his application        for employment had been accepted and
that he was eligible        for the senior level register.            On Au-
gust 17, 1970, Mr. Strong requested              an extension    of his eli-
glbllity.       The Commission granted this request           and made a
notation      on Mr. Strong's     application     which lndlcated     that he
was eligible      for an addltional        year.

        Commlsslon records showed that Mr. Strong's            application
for employment had been considered        In Federal      agency requests
relating    to four positions.      The positions    Involved,       the ex-
tent of consideration       given to Mr. Strong's      application,        and
the current     status of the four positions      are described          as fol-

        1. On September 9, 1970, the Department              of Housing and
Urban Development        (HUD) requested         the Commissron to furnish     the
names of applicants        eligible        for a GS-15 insuring   director    po-
sition     in Albany,   New York.          Mr. Strong's was one of 46 ap-
plications      to be considered         by the panel of examiners,       but
HUD canceled Its request before the panel had rated the appli-
cants.       A HUD personnel      official     informed  us in April    1971
that this position        had not been filled.
       2. On October 8, 1970, the General Services Adminlstra-
tlon requested       the Commission to furnish           the names of appli-
cants eligible       for a GS-13 appraiser        position    In Kansas City,
Mlssourl.      Mr, Strong's        was one of 26 appllcatlons      reviewed by
the panel of examiners,            but it was not ranked as one of the
five top-rated       appllcatlons.        The Administration     subsequently
filled    the posltlon      from within     by promoting     one of its em-

        3. On December 1, 1970, the Commission received           a request
from HUD with respect to a GS-13 appraiser         position     in Wash-
ington,    D.C. Mr. Strong's    was one of 50 appllcatlons         selected
for consideration.       HUD canceled Its request,      however, and the
panel of examiners did not rank the applicants.             A HUD person-
nel official     advised us In April  1971 that this position          had
not been fllled.


       4. On January 12, 1971, the Navy Department              requested
 the Commlsslon to furnish           the names of applicants      ellglble     for
 a GS-13 realty     officer    posltlon    In Pearl Harbor,     Hawall.
 Mr. Strong's    was among the 49 applications          revlewed by the
 panel of examiners,        but Mr. Strong was not selected           as one of
 the top qualified       candidates.      The Navy subsequently         fllled
 the posltlon    from withln      by promoting    one of Its employees.

       We trust    that the above      informatlon     will    meet the obyec-
 tives of your     request.

                                        Sincerely     yours,

                            Aersiartarnt Comptroller' General
                                         of the United States

 The Honorable     John V. Tunney
 United States     Senate