Every four years, after the Presidential election, the “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” commonly known as the Plum Book, is published, alternately, by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
This publication contains data on over 9,000 federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment (e.g., positions such as agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials). The duties of many 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.
Following are the major categories of positions listed:
- Executive Schedule and salary-equivalent positions paid at the rates established for levels I through V of the Executive Schedule;
- Senior Executive Service (SES) “General” positions;
- 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; and
- Other 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.
See Appendix 2 for more details on SES appointments and Appendix 3 for more details on Schedule C appointments. The appendices within the Plum Book documents provide additional information on the positions listed and the federal salary schedules that determine their pay. The Legend on the following page shows the codes and acronyms used in this publication.