The civil service appointment system;


Material Information

The civil service appointment system; the gateway to a government career
Series Title:
Its Pamphlet
Physical Description:
12 p. : ; 20 cm.
United States Civil Service Commission
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Civil service -- United States   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 004683616
oclc - 25835529
sobekcm - AA00005290_00001
lcc - JK765 .A35 1955
System ID:

Full Text



SJUN 2 1955
Gov nt C

Pamphlet 53
April 1955


to a

A new system for filling positions in Federal agen-
cies has been established by the Civil Service
Commission. Known as the Career-Conditional
Appointment System, it represents a new approach to
the rights, privileges, and obligations of career civil
The new plan is designed to give the Federal per-
sonnel system flexibility while assuring stability of the
career service during expansions and contractions re-
sulting from limited national emergencies. Keystone
of the new system. is the requirement that appointees
qualify competitively and serve a conditional period
before attaining full career standing. The 3-year con-
ditional period of service should enable employees to
demonstrate their intention to make careers in public
service and establish the ability of the Government to
provide reasonable assurance of continuing career

During rapid emergency buildups of the Federal
work force, the traditional system of making perma-
nent appointments through open competitive exami-
nations was found lacking. Examinations could not
be conducted fast enough, and civil-service lists of
eligibles were inadequate to meet manpower require-
ments of expanding agencies. Stopgap procedures
had to be developed to facilitate mass hiring in critical
periods. Different types of nonpermanent appoint-
ments were adopted, and agencies were authorized to
hire on the open market. When the emergencies
passed, the inevitable reductions in force and labored
efforts to return to normal personnel operations
brought damaging disruptions to the Federal service.
Legislative restrictions on permanent appointments
and promotions after the outbreak in Korea further
complicated the situation. Serious administrative

problems and inequities to employees resulted. Re-
cruitment was hampered. Employee morale was
lowered because indefinite employees had no prospects
for career standing. Employing agencies had no in-
centive to fill jobs competitively. And the ranks of
career employees became seriously depleted.


In future periods of emergency short of full mobili-
zation, it will not be necessary to suspend normal
hiring procedures and resort to such expedients as the
indefinite appointment system of the post-Korea
period. The new system recognizes the fact that not
all persons who enter Government intend to spend
the rest of their working lives in Federal service and
that the Government may not have continuing jobs
for all those who may be needed at a given time, such
as during an emergency. Moreover, it distinguishes
between those who get their jobs through regular
civil-service examining procedures and those who are
hired without competition.
The new normal type of appointment--career-
conditional-is given to persons who pass open
competitive civil-service examinations and are selected
in regular order from lists of eligibles established as
a result of the examinations. Generally, the first year
of the appointment will be probationary and consid-
ered part of the examination. During the probation-
ary period the employee's competence on the job is
observed, and he is dismissed if he cannot learn to
do the work satisfactorily. At the end of 3 years,
career-conditional employees automatically acquire full
career standing.
When there is no civil-service list of eligibles for a
specific kind of job or when the list is not adequate,
employing agencies may fill continuing positions by
hiring outside of civil-service registers. Persons re-
cruited by agencies on the open market are given a

"Temporary Appointment Pending Establishment of
Register." They serve only until a competitive exami-
nation is held and an adequate list of eligibles is estab-
lished. At that time the temporary employees are re-
placed by persons on the civil-service register. If a
temporary employee competes in the examination and
comes within reach for selection from the list of eligi-
bles, he may be given a career-conditional appoint-
ment. Agencies making temporary appointments
must give preference to veterans, and all appointees
must meet the Commission's qualifications standards
for the jobs.
Two other kinds of appointments are used for short-
term work under the new system. Agencies may make
job appointments to positions limited to a year or less,
and they may make emergency appointments for not
more than 1 month. Job appointments must be made
from Commission lists of eligibles if appropriate and
adequate lists are available.
No new indefinite appointments are being made.
After a transitional period under the new appointment
system, indefinite employees who fail to qualify for
conversion will be subject to displacement by eligibles
from civil-service registers.


Full consideration has been given to the equities of
present employees.
Employees with so-called permanent status auto-
matically enter the career group, retaining all rights
and privileges they enjoyed under the previous system.
Such employees who are still serving their probationary
period also are in the career group. However, these
workers will not have full career rights until they finish
their year of probationary service. Included in this
group are a few employees (mainly engineers and

scientists) who were given probational appointments
since 1950 because their skills were critical, and em-
ployees serving probationary appointments in the
Postal Field Service.
Hearing Examiners and former legislative and judi-
cial employees eligible for competitive status under
provisions of the Ramspeck Act are not required to
serve probation. They acquire full career rights at
the time of appointment.
Indefinite employees who were appointed in regular
order from civil-service lists of eligibles automatically
become career or career-conditional, depending upon
whether they have 3 years of substantially continuous
service. Those with less than 3 years of creditable
service automatically enter the career group when they
complete the necessary period of conditional service.
Employees who were given an "indefinite appoint-
ment in lieu of reinstatement" also become career or
career-conditional, subject to the 3-year service require-
ment. These employees are those who had been
permanent or probational but left the service for a
time and returned while permanent appointments and
reinstatements were restricted.
Indefinite employees who left Federal service to
enter the Armed Forces will be considered as though
they had remained in civilian service.
Indefinites who were appointed outside of civil-
service lists of eligibles remain indefinite. Generally,
however, they will have a chance to qualify for career
or career-conditional appointment. They may apply
for current or future open competitive examinations.
They may also file for two examinations which are
no longer open to the general public if lists of
eligibles established by the examination are still in
use and appropriate for filling positions in their
If these employees pass a competitive examination
and come within reach for selection, they will be

automatically certified to their agency for career or
career-conditional appointment, according to the
3-year formula. Appointment can be made only to a
position properly filled through the examination the
employee passes, however. In other words, a person
who received a direct appointment as an accountant
and later was promoted to budget examiner could not
be converted in the latter position as a result of com-
peting in an examination for accountant and auditor

Indefinite employees have until June 30, 1955, to
file for examinations no longer open to the general
public. Persons who are otherwise eligible for such
examinations, but are now serving in the Armed Forces,
will be permitted to file up to 30 days following
reemployment in the Federal service. All experience
up to the date of filing may be counted. The Com-
mission will send to employing agencies a list of
examinations for which late filing will be permitted,
and agencies in turn will make the information avail-
able to employees.

Special provisions have been made for veterans with
compensable service-connected disabilities. They do
not have to serve a full 3-year conditional period to
attain career standing, and they may qualify noncom-
petitively for conversion. Those who have completed
probation may be converted to full career standing on
recommendation of their agency and on passing a
noncompetitive examination, if they have not already
passed an examination appropriate for the position
held. Those who have not completed probation may
be converted to career-conditional on the same basis;
these employees attain full career standing on comple-
tion of the year of probation. The special provisions
for compensably disabled veterans will apply until
December 31, 1957. They will apply not only to
present employees, but also to new employees who are
compensably disabled veterans.

Conversion actions will be based on agency per-
sonnel records which indicate whether appointment
was made from a civil-service list of eligibles.


Not all Federal service may be counted toward the
3-year conditional period. As a general rule, to be
creditable toward the conditional period, service must
date from contemporary appointment to a position in
the competitive service, or from appointment by selec-
tion in regular order from a civil-service register to a
position in the excepted service, and not include a
break in service of more than 30 days.
However, a person who held a contemporary posi-
tion in the excepted service when that position was
brought into the competitive service may count his
conditional service from the date of entry into the
excepted job.


Career employees enjoy all of the rights and pri-
vileges previously accorded to so-called permanent
They may be promoted, reassigned to another job
in their agency, transferred to another agency, or rein-
stated without time limit after leaving the Federal
service, without again competing with the public.
Career employees who have completed probation
may be separated only for cause or in a reduction in
force. In a removal for cause, they must be presented
with charges in writing and be given an opportunity to
In a reduction in force, they are in the highest
retention preference group. If reached for separa-

tion in a staff reduction, they must be considered for
assignment to another job for which they are qualified
and which is held by a person in a lower retention
preference group. If they cannot be placed in this
manner, they are entitled to displace indefinite em-
ployees in their own or other agencies in the employ-
ment area.
For a year after separation in a staff reduction they
must be carried on their agency's reemployment
priority list and be considered for vacancies for which
they are qualified. For the same period, they are
entitled to priority referral by the Commission for
vacancies in other agencies.
If they transfer from a nondefense to a defense
agency, they are entitled to reemployment rights in the
nondefense agency. They are entitled to mandatory
restoration rights after military service, and for a year
after restoration may be removed only for cause. They
are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System.

Career-conditional employees enjoy many of these
rights and privileges, but some of them are limited.
After the first 3 months of career-conditional serv-
ice, they may be promoted, reassigned, or transferred
without open competition. After completing the
1-year probationary period, they have the same proce-
dural protections against removal as career employees.
In a reduction in force, they rank below career
employees. If reached for separation, they must also
be considered for reassignment in the agency. And
if separated in a reduction in force, they go on the
agency's reemployment priority list.
Career-conditionals who are separated in a reduc-
tion in force also will be given priority certification
to vacancies in other agencies in the area for a year
after separation. However, they are not entitled to

displace indefinite employees in their own or other
Career-conditional employees have noncompetitive
reinstatement privileges if they leave Federal service-
veterans may be reinstated without time limit, but
nonveterans enjoy this privilege only for 3 years after
leaving the service. Reinstated career-conditional
employees generally must begin a new conditional
period of service, and if they had left the service during
probation a new probationary period must be served.
Career-conditionals will not have reemployment
rights if they transfer from a nondefense to a defense
agency. However, they will have mandatory restora-
tion rights after military service, and during the first
year of service after restoration they will have reten-
tion preference rights superior to those of other em-
ployees in retention preference group II.
Career-conditionals are under the Civil Service Re-
tirement System.

Temporary Pending Establishment of
Employees who receive a temporary appointment
pending establishment of a register have few of the
rights and privileges enjoyed by career and career-
conditional workers.
They are not required to serve a trial period, but
they may be removed at any time by simple notice.
They cannot be promoted, reassigned, or transferred
to another job in the competitive service. Nor do they
have restoration rights after military service.
In a reduction in force they are in group III, out-
ranking only unsatisfactory employees and those
holding jobs for specified short terms. If reached in
a reduction in force, they must be separated.
They are under social security rather than the Civil
Service Retirement System.

Job and 30-day Appointments

Job and emergency appointees must be separated
at the end of the period for which they have been
hired, unless an extension is authorized. They are
the first to be dismissed in a staff reduction, and they
have no reassignment rights. They may not be moved
to another job by promotion, reassignment, or transfer.
They may be removed at any time by simple notice.
They are under the social-security program.


Indefinite employees who remain in Federal service
during the transitional period will have few of the
rights and privileges given to career and career-
conditional employees.

Indefinite employees who remain in Federal service
may be dismissed only for cause or in a reduction in
force. They are in group III for retention preference
purposes, ranking below career and career-conditional
employees. If reached in a reduction in force, they
are separated. They have none of the benefits of the
separated career employee program; in fact, they may
be separated for the purpose of placing a separated

Indefinites may be promoted or reassigned non-
competitively within their agency, but they cannot be
considered for noncompetitive appointment in another
agency except under special circumstances-within 90
days after (1) separation in a reduction in force,
(2) separation because they do not accompany an
activity that has been moved to another geographic
location, or (3) separation from military service which
they entered while serving under indefinite appoint-
ment. They are entitled to regulatory restoration
rights after military service.
Indefinites are under the social-security program.

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