Political Appointees10 Year Staffing Trends at 30 Federal Agencies Gao ID: GGD-93-74FS April 30, 1993
Political appointees at the 30 federal agencies GAO reviewed accounted for 91 percent of the nearly 2,500 appointees governmentwide as of the end of 1991. Except for cyclical drops in the number of appointees during the first year of new administrations (1989 and 1981), there was little change in the total number of appointees at the 30 agencies and governmentwide during the 10-year period. Half of all appointees governmentwide were clustered at the following eight agencies: the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Energy, Education, State, and Justice, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Governmentwide, about 29 percent of the political appointees were noncareer senior executive service appointees in 1991, with about half of the 30 agencies exceeding this governmentwide average. At several smaller agencies, all appointees were Schedule C appointees. Smaller agencies also tended to have a higher ratio of political appointees to full-time permanent employees.
GAO found that: (1) the 30 agencies that had the most political appointees as of December 1991 accounted for the vast majority of the governmentwide total of such appointees throughout the 10-year period; (2) these agencies accounted for 59 percent of FTP employment in 1991; (3) there were more pronounced changes in the number of Schedule C employees employed than in the number of noncareer SES appointees employed; (4) except for decreases in the number of appointees during the first year of new administrations, there was little change in the total number of appointees at the 30 agencies and governmentwide over the 10-year period; (5) 50 percent of the political appointees employed in December 1991 were at the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Energy, Education, State, Justice, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense; (6) the percentage of noncareer SES appointees exceeded the governmentwide average and ranged from 32 percent to 54 percent at 14 agencies; and (7) comparisons of the number of political appointees and FTP employees in 1991 showed that appointees were more concentrated at several smaller agencies with less than 6,000 FTP employees.