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United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (Plum Book)

Published by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and House Committee on Government Reform alternately after each Presidential election, the Plum Book lists over 7,000 Federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment, nationwide. Data covers positions such as agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials. The duties of many such positions may involve advocacy of Administration policies and programs and the incumbents usually have a close and confidential working relationship with the agency or other key officials.

The major categories of positions listed in United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions include:

  • Executive Schedule and salary-equivalent positions paid at the rates established for levels I through V of the Executive Schedule;
  • Senior Executive Service "General" positions and Senior Foreign Service positions;
  • Schedule C positions excepted from the competitive service by the President, or by the Director, Office of Personnel Management, and other positions at the GS-14 and above level excepted from the competitive civil service by law, because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties.

The Plum Book is used to identify presidentially appointed positions within the Federal Government. The list originated in 1952 during the Eisenhower administration. For twenty-two years prior, the Democrats controlled the Federal Government. When President Eisenhower took office, the Republican Party requested a list of government positions that President Eisenhower could fill. The next edition of the Plum Book appeared in 1960 and has since been published every four years, just after the Presidential election.

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