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Unions want political appointee lists

December 1, 2008
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WASHINGTON - Two powerful employee organizations are pressing the Bush administration to prove that in its final weeks political aides are not improperly winning career government jobs at the expense of more qualified workers.

Leaders of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal workers, and the Senior Executives Association, the group representing federal executives, said they want the government to release lists of political appointees who have been hired for career jobs and show whether agencies sought competition for the positions.

The two groups said they are pressing the Office of Personnel Management for this information because they are concerned the agency is not carefully overseeing last-minute hires of political aides. They point to recent reports in the Washington Post and other evidence suggesting political aides are retained over qualified candidates.

"The recent Post articles raise the possibility that political candidates are being placed in senior executive positions for which they may be unqualified or less qualified than other candidates, or that their service as political appointees was given undue weight," Seniors Executives president Carol Bonosaro and general counsel William L. Bransford wrote to the Office of Personnel Management.

That agency reviews the hiring of political appointees into permanent career posts from March until Inauguration Day. Hires made within this period are viewed with some suspicion by federal employee unions because many loyal political aides face losing their jobs and could be searching for more secure positions.

Personnel Management Associate Director Kevin Mahoney declined to provide a list of political appointees his agency had approved to be moved into career jobs. Though such hires and job titles are public, Mahoney said it was not the "general practice" of the agency to release them. The White House did not respond to a request for the same information.

WASHINGTON POST

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