Civil Service Commission's Reply to an Inquiry About a Summary of the Procedures and Practices Regarding Applications for Senior Level Positions

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

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




    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       t%at
    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;    aai?i,ca-
    tgns     foL.sLnjor    - -.~.level         positions
                                  “...h,,I-IIIC*I ^_l._r-.      0 We believe       also that
    Mr. Strong’s        application                for     employment      has been handled        b-f
    the Commission          in a manner                 consistent      with its established
    procedures       for handling                applications         for employment      in seni.5,
    level    positions.


           Applicants      for senior       level   positions       in the                Federal     ser-m
    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 Commission’s           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

accepted   application     is usually   retained   for consideration      for a
period   of 12 months from the date af the Commission’s             notce    to
the applicant      that his application      has been accepted.

       Upon receipt        of a request    from a Federal          agency for na~v?‘s
of applicants       eligible    for consideration          in filling        a position,
the Civil     Service      Commission   screens     its files        to identify
all applications         which indicate      backgrounds        and skil.ls      commen
surate with the requirements            of the position.             A panel. of cxarn-
iners    from the agency and the Commission                reviews      anti rates
these applications.           The panel contacts         former      employers      s::d
references,      if necessary,       to identify      the best qualified            a~nli-
cants.      The Commission       then sends the       names     of   the   top-rr?.nkhg
applicants     to the agency which made the reqirest.

        A Federal    agency is not required        to fill     a senior       level
position     with   one of the top-ranking       applicants        listed     by the
Civil    Service    Commission.     On the contrary,        Federal       ~g.encit:s
fill    most such    positions    by reassignment,       transfer,        OP pr.o~~!t~
tion of persons       already   in the career      service.

         In recent    years,   both the legislative       and executivt?
branches      of the Government      have imposed restrictions           on hrring
by Federal       agencies.     Civil  Service    Commission    officials       esti-
mated that the Commission's           senior   level  register       generally
listed     between 16,000 and 17,000 eligible           applicants,       and they
said that only 820 and 885 appointments              had been made from the
register      during    fiscal  years 1949 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 Commission's
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 A copy of this announcement            is enclosed    for your in-


          The Commission   notified       Mr. Strong           on November       17, 4969,
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-
gibility.       The Commission        granted      this      request       and made a
notation      on Mr. Strong’s       application          which     indicated       that  he
was eligible       for an additional          year.

         Commission      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 Commission     to furnish          the
names of applicants           eligible          for a GS-15 insuring          direcr.or      !io-
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 0 A HUD personnel               official         informed    us in April       4371
that     this   position     had not been filled.

         2. On October         8, 1970)     the General        Services     Administra-
tion    requested       the Commission         to furnish       the names of ap?li-
cants     eligible      for   a GS-13 appraiser          position        in Kansas City,
Missouri       o Mr. Strong’s         was one of 26 applications               reviewed     by
the panel         of examiners,       but it was not ranked             as one of the
five    top-rated       applications.          The Administration           subsequently
filled      the position         from within      by promoting         one of its       em-
ployees D

        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, Stronges       was one of 50 applications             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 filled.


      4. On January          12, 1971 p the Navy Department           requested
the Commission       to furnish         the names of applicants         eligible             for
a GS-13 realty       officer      position     in Pearl   Harbor,     Hawaii.
Mr. Strong’s     was among the 49 applications               reviewed       by the
panel  of examiners)          but Mr. Strong       was not selected         as one           of
the top qualified          candidates.       The Navy subsequently            filled.
the position      from within         by promoting     one of its     employees,

        We trust    that    the above      information           will     meet   the   objeh.-
tives    of your    request    a

                                               Sincerely        yours    9

                                               of   the    IJnited      States


The Honorable       John V.     Tunney
United  States      Senate