Quick Actions to Improve Recruitment, Hiring, and Accountability in the Federal Workforce

Jeffrey Salmon, Visiting Assistant Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College

Executive Summary: Over the last many years, prestigious commissions have concluded that the Federal civil service needs fundamental reform. However, their proposals confront massive barriers—union obstinance and a requirement for legislative, executive, or judicial branch concurrence. But reform need not pause until these barriers are overcome. This essay explores the potential benefits of a far more aggressive use of term appointments, Schedule A hiring authority, and enhancing agency control over its executive core by empowering Executive Resources Boards. Each measure is within federal agencies’ prerogative, no asking mother-may-I, and if implemented aggressively, can have a positive impact on the federal workforce.