Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
Subject: Senior Executive Service Conversion Rights of Career Appointees to Presidential Appointments
In my memorandum to you of November 8, 1978, I requested that you forward to me names of candidates for Inspector General positions who possess exceptional integrity and ability. This request reflected my desire to fill these Presidential appointments strictly on the basis of merit.
Some candidates for these positions, and for other Presidential appointments, come from the career service and are now occupying positions which will be placed in the Senior Executive Service. If they were to remain in their present assignment, they would be entitled to convert to the Senior Executive Service, but if they should accept Presidential appointment prior to the effective date of the SES, their entitlement to conversion is less clear.
It is unmistakably the intent of Congress that Inspector General positions will be filled on a merit basis. It is equally clear that the Congress intended to permit career members of the Senior Executive Service to accept Presidential appointments while retaining full SES career status and SES benefits (PL 95-454 § 3392(c) and 3393(b)).
To carry out the intent of Congress and to facilitate the merit appointment of able career executives to Presidential appointments during the few months before the Senior Executive Service goes into effect, I am hereby directing the heads of Departments and Agencies to take the following actions:
1. If a career executive in your agency has been nominated by me for a Presidential appointment and that executive is serving in a position which will be in the SES, the executive's present position should be officially designated SES immediately. (Such designation is authorized by Section 413 of PL 95-454, which became effective on October 13, 1978.)
2. The agency designation should be forwarded to the Office of Personnel Management for review and publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER.
3. On official designation by the agency, the career incumbent of this SES position should be given the option to convert to SES or to decline such conversion (PL 95-454 permits the incumbent up to 90 days to make a conversion decision, but the decision may be made at any time during that period. In this instance, the incumbent would need to make the decision before his/her Presidential appointment is confirmed by the Senate.)
4. If the career incumbent chooses to convert to SES, he/she may then elect to retain SES compensation and benefits as provided under PL 95-454 3392(c). Since SES compensation and benefits do not become effective before July 13, 1979, until that date the incumbent will serve under the Executive Level pay and benefit provisions.
If you need further guidance in carrying out this directive, the Office of Personnel Management will assist you.