A Plum Book of Political Positions

December 5, 2016

21-660_SEN-GOVTAFF_cover.inddWith the change of a new administration, learn about Presidential appointed and other positions within the Federal Government in the new 2016 United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, or the “Plum Book” now available from the U.S. Government Bookstore.

What is the Plum Book? Known officially as the “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” the Plum Book is published alternately by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs or by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who handled this year’s version. The 2016 edition lists over 9,000 civil service leadership and support positions (filled and vacant) in the Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointments.

History of the “Plum Book”

The Plum Book was first published in 1952, when the Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration was voted into office after 20 years of Democratic administrations– first under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and then under President Harry S. Truman. Truman-Eisenhower-Transition

Image: Out-going President Truman meets with incoming President Eisenhower to discuss the transition. (Is that a draft copy of the first Plum Book that Truman is handing to Eisenhower? 😉

With a touch of humor, someone at the original publishers decided the book should have a purple or plum-colored cover to reflect that it contained the “plum” political appointee jobs, and the tradition has stuck ever since for the printed version.

What Type of Positions are Listed in the Plum Book?

The United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions 2016 (Plum Book) includes both politically appointed and Career Civil Service positions, agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisers, and the aides who report to these political appointee officials.  These encompass:

  • 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 (i.e., those positions which may be filled by a career, non-career, or limited appointment)
  • Senior Foreign Service positions
  • Schedule C positions excepted from the competitive service by the President, or by the Director, Office of Personnel Management, because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties
  • Other confidential or policy-determining 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 duties of such positions may involve advocacy of Administration policies and programs, and the incumbents usually have a close and confidential working relationship with the agency head or other key officials.

To Fill or Not to Fill , that is the Question

Interestingly, the book lists ALL such political appointment positions, whether there is someone currently in the job or it was vacant as of June 30, 2016.  If the job was occupied by a career Federal employee appointee, the phrase “Career Incumbent” is shown without a name; otherwise, the name of the political appointee is listed.

And positions such as boards, committees or commissions that require “member” positions by political party affiliation are listed with the name of the incumbent along with a (D) for Democrat, (R) for Republican or (I) for Independent.

Type of Appointment and Salaries

Listings are labeled with letter codes that denote the type of appointment under which the position is categorized:

Appointment Code What It Stands For
CA Career Appointment
EA Limited Emergency Appointment
NA Non-career Appointment
PA Presidential Appointment without Senate Confirmation
PAS Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation
SC Schedule C Excepted Appointment
TA Limited Term Appointment
XS Appointment Excepted by Statute

However, several categories of jobs can be filled by more than one type of appointment, e.g., SES positions listed in this publication may be filled by using career Federal employees or various outside appointments. On these, no ‘‘Type of Appointment’’ is shown for such positions when they are vacant.

Plum-Book-Political-Appointments-GSAImage: List of “noncompetitive” political appointment positions at GSA. Source: 2012 Plum Book. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Finally, information is included on the various base salary scales for each pay plan and level or grade, along with the percent above that base for different locality pay areas.

CONCLUSION

So if you are still hunting for that perfect holiday gift, it might be time to “pick a plum” or two—a 2016 Plum Book, that is—one to give, and one to keep for yourself!

How can I obtain a copy of United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions 2016 (Plum Book)?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Adapted by Trudy Hawkins, Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Michele Bartram, former Government Book Talk Editor in support of the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

 


Great Gift Ideas from the Federal Government – Check Out Our New Holiday Catalog

November 25, 2016

us_holiday_2016_catalog_final_coverThis year consider giving family and friends reading options from publishers across the Federal government. From insightful commentary on how America is reacting to world hot spots, to glorious posters of our nation’s art collection and natural beauty, to fun educational kits for the kids.

Open up the GPO Holiday Catalog and find a few treasures, many of which are incredibly low priced “stocking stuffer” gift ideas.

Enjoy your holidays and learn a lot too!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THE HOLIDAY CATALOG?

You can click on the link or image above to view or print the catalog. Or, click on the Holiday Catalog 2016 collection  below to shop publications in our catalog online.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.


Stunning Images of National Parks Around DC

November 16, 2016

Washington, DC is populated with renowned stone edifices and towering monuments. Some even call our nation’s capital “American Rome.” Of course, national treasures are not limited to the metropolitan and man-made. Sublime natural beauty abounds in the parks of the Potomac River watershed.

Battlefields, wildlife preserves, canals, aquatic gardens, forests. The National Capitol Region has them all. And the National Park Service celebrates them in “A Photographer’s Path: Images of National Parks Near the Nation’s Capital,” available through GPO.

024-005-01275-3_a-photographers-path-images-of-national-parks-near-the-nations-capitalA Photographer’s Path: Images of National Parks Near the Nation’s Capital

National Park Service photographer Thomas Paradis spotlights the idyllic, artful, and even curious scenes within the region. It’s a “pictorial journey” that “reveals the subtlety and nuance of our natural landscapes.”

Now, I’ll let the images speak for themselves:

Swallowtail perched on branch. Manassas National Park

Swallowtail perched on branch. Manassas National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking toward Chimney Rock. Catoctin Mountain Park

Looking toward Chimney Rock. Catoctin Mountain Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heron over Great Falls. Great Falls Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park

Heron over Great Falls. Great Falls Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


Veterans Day: Serving Those Who Served

November 9, 2016

arlington-820751_960_720As we well know, November 11 is Veterans Day. But it wasn’t always called that. At the end of WWI, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as the first Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.” Not until June 1, 1954 did President Dwight D. Eisenhower sign the law that struck out the word “Armistice” and replaced it with “Veterans.” Thus, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. GPO employees printed that original act and now make it digitally available on govinfo.

One important way the U.S. Government honors all military service veterans is by providing first-rate health benefits and services. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs serves more than 8 million Veterans each year. Coverage is immediate, travels with recipients, meets healthcare law standards, and surpasses quality and effectiveness measurements. It’s the care Veterans have earned.

GPO makes available these health and benefits resources from the VA and its Veterans Health Administration:

Health Care Benefits Overview 2016 Edition, Vols. 1 & 2

051-000-00256-3This comprehensive medical benefits publication includes the standard FAQs on basic eligibility requirements, enrollment, copays, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, and the like. It also highlights community living centers, medical foster homes, geriatric evaluation, home telehealth, and online tools that are part of the VA’s silver plate of world-class care.

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors 2016

051-000-00258-0This annual publication provides a complete summary of all Federal benefits available to qualified American veterans and their families. It’s must-have, up-to-date information on the benefits and rights owed to those who accepted the responsibility to defend America when duty called.

In the VA’s own words: “Our Servicemembers and Veterans have sacrificed to keep our country – and everything it represents – safe…Thank you for your service. Now let us serve you.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


College Prep from the U.S. Government

November 4, 2016
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Higher Education Act. Lady Bird Johnson, Congressman Jake Pickle, and others look on. LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Higher Education Act. Lady Bird Johnson, Congressman Jake Pickle, and others look on. LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe.

On November 8th, 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Higher Education Act. A part of LBJ’s Great Society domestic agenda, the legislation authorizes the administration of Federal student aid programs. GPO employees printed the original legislation and now make it digitally available on govinfo.

In addition, GPO makes available a number of free Department of Education eBooks that place real answers in the hands of college and vocational school-bound students. A bit of good guidance can make those first steps toward college more surefooted.

My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College

9780160930959The Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid folks have assembled this ePub to frame some big, scary college planning questions without oversimplifying them. It’s arranged in a series of prompts, mythbusters, and graphics. It features a nifty comparison of vocational, technical, and professional career choices as well.

This booklet tackles the “when should I begin thinking of college?” and “what can a college education do for me?” and “how will I pay for college?” FAQs. As is often the case when undertaking something new, school kids might not even know which questions to ask. Give them a tailor-made activity book like My Future, My Way and post-high school success will be a bit more achievable.

College Preparation Checklist

college-prep-checklist_page_01This checklist is really a to-do list. It breaks down the college planning timeline into elementary, middle, and high school subsections; each subsection details what to do, when to do it, and who can help. It’s full of sensible suggestions about more than just which classes to take. Comprehensive college prep is “also about developing the skills that will help you succeed in college and life.” Things like money planning, time management, test scores, and scholarships all have a place in the balance between studying and having fun.

The College Preparation Checklist is certainly not designed to replace traditional guidance counseling. The goal here is to get any student considering college to start asking questions now that will make career planning less intimidating.

Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid

funding-your-education_page_01If planning for college is a towering task, then paying for college can be an even bigger challenge. This concise electronic brochure highlights the types of federal student aid and steps to remember when applying for aid. With this resource, the Office of Federal Student Aid aims to “ensure that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded financial assistance for education or training beyond high school.”

Getting ready for the post-secondary world may seem daunting but with these Department of Education resources, students don’t have to do it alone.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


What to Read This National Diabetes Month

November 1, 2016

diabetes_blogNovember is National Diabetes Month, a spotlight on a disease that affects tens of millions of Americans. Approximately 1 out of every 11 Americans lives with diabetes. It’s one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. And it has rung up enormous health and financial costs over past decades. Diabetes impacts everyone and it can affect anyone.

U.S. Government agencies are working hard to slow the growing epidemic of diabetes and pre-diabetes. GPO makes available two Government resources designed to educate different segments of the population about diabetes management and prevention.

Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream

017-001-00577-1This Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Native Diabetes Wellness Program young adult picture book discusses diabetes and wellness in American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Tender vignettes and sweeping illustrations serve as a diabetes teaching tool for young readers.

Animal and human residents of a small reservation town weave tales that combine tribal wisdom with health promotion tips. The message: eating healthy traditional foods and being active can help people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. A lot of native youth and tribal leaders contributed to this important work—and it shows.

65+ in the United States

803-005-10065-1The world population is aging. Persons 65 years or older are expected to grow to be 21.7% of the U.S. population by 2040. This U.S. Census Bureau report examines a range of health trends among this growing population, including the alarming prevalence of diabetes. It devotes an entire chapter to diabetes, a health risk among older people that has as much to do with lifestyle as it does with genetics.

As President Obama reminds us in his 2016 National Diabetes Month proclamation, “Every year, too many Americans experience the consequences of diabetes.” He continues, “let us work to show every individual living with diabetes that they are not alone, and let us continue strengthening our investment in the fight against this disease.”

To learn more about this year’s National Diabetes Month, visit NIH’s National Diabetes Education Program website.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College

October 25, 2016

strategic-studies-institute-1

In Carlisle Barracks, PA, one of our nation’s oldest military installations prepares the next generation of senior leaders for a changing world. It’s called the U.S. Army War College—a place where a community of security and military minds convert issues into strategy.

The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) is the “geostrategic and national security research and analysis” arm of the U.S. Army War College. They’re a little bit like the U.S. Army’s own think tank. SSI is filled with experienced research staff who develop strategic recommendations. Such independent analysis is often published in booklet form.

GPO makes available a wide range of SSI publications. Let’s take a quick look at two recent additions to the collection.

9781584877332The Pivot to Asia: Can It Serve as the Foundation for American Grand Strategy in the 21st Century?

In 2012, the Obama administration announced a “Pivot to East Asia” strategy designed to prioritize the deepening of bilateral relationships with emerging economies in the region. This SSI work places that policy in historical context and discusses “problems that the Obama team faced in its efforts to solicit the support of regional friends and allies.” It also provides analysis of how U.S. outreach efforts utilized a network of military partners as well as the role U.S.-China relations in the pivot campaign.

From Assistance to Partnership: Morocco and its Foreign Policy in West Africa

9781584877110Morocco lies at a geopolitical and cultural crossroads like no other country in Africa. Sustained economic growth and political stability are reshaping it into a bulwark of peace and counter-extremism in West Africa. This strategic study examines how Morocco is strengthening its position as a regional security provider in the region. It “aspires to…[be] a partner of choice for the United States and other organizations seeking to develop their interests in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s learning how to savvily leverage “security cooperation, economic development, strengthening cultural ties, and capacity building” with partners inside and outside the region.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE MILITARY RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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