[United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (Plum Book), 1996]
[3.  Schedule C Positions]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

The Plum Book (United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions): 1996 Edition



Schedule C positions are excepted from the competitive service because of their confidential or policy-determining character. Most such positions are at grade 15 of the General Schedule or lower. Schedule C positions above the GS-15 level are either in the Senior Level (SL) personnel system or are specifically authorized in law.

The decision concerning whether to place a position in Schedule C is made by the Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, upon agency request. Such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition to consideration of the justification submitted by the agency, OPM may conduct an independent review and analysis. In addition to the Schedule C positions authorized by the OPM Director, a limited number of positions may be placed under Schedule C by Executive Order of the President or by legislation.

Requests for Schedule C exception are appropriate when:

(1) The position involves making or approving substantive policy recommendations; or

(2) The work of the position can be performed successfully only by someone with a thorough knowledge of and sympathy with the goals, priorities, and preferences of an official who has a confidential or policy determining relationship with the President or the agency head. There are special requirements for the types of superiors who are eligible for Schedule C secretaries.

The immediate supervisor of a Schedule C position must be a Presidential appointee, a Senior Executive Service appointee (career or noncareer) occupying a General position, or a Schedule C appointee. The immediate supervisor may not occupy a position in the competitive service or a Career Reserved position in the Senior Executive Service.

The only time when OPM approval is not required for a Schedule C position is when a position is filled by a temporary Schedule C appointment during a Presidential transition, a change of agency head, or establishment of a new agency. Temporary Schedule C positions may be established for 120 days, with one extension of 120 days, under conditions prescribed by OPM. There is a limit on the number of such positions that can be established by an agency. New appointments may be made only during the 1year period beginning on the date of the agency head's appointment, a new Administration or establishment of a new agency.

By law, the agency head must certify to OPM that both Schedule C and temporary Schedule C positions are not being requested for the sole purpose of detailing the incumbent to the White House.

Agencies may fill Schedule C positions noncompetitively. Because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of Schedule C positions, the incumbents serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority (usually the agency head) and may be removed at any time. They are not covered under conduct-based or performance-removal procedures that apply to certain other excepted Service appointees.

Schedule C positions authorized by OPM are automatically revoked when the incumbent leaves the position (i.e., there is no such thing as a "vacant" Schedule C position).