Agencies warned: Steer clear of politics when hiring

By Kevin Bogardus | 05/28/2024 01:49 PM EDT

Ahead of the upcoming election, the Office of Personnel Management sent out a memo about the hiring of political employees into career positions.

The entrance to Office of Personnel Management headquarters is pictured.

The entrance to Office of Personnel Management headquarters is pictured. Getty

The federal government’s top human resources manager instructed agencies to keep “political influence” out of the hiring process as the 2024 campaign season heats up.

The Office of Personnel Management said in a memo Friday that agency heads must ensure they adhere to personnel rules regarding who they bring on for career positions, as well as who receives pay bonuses. The notice is a reminder of the upcoming election between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, which would result in thousands of Biden’s political appointees leaving government service if he is defeated.

Yet some of those appointees may stay on at their agencies in a practice known as “burrowing.” If so, they should follow the government’s merit-based hiring system, according to OPM.


“During this Presidential election year, we would like to remind agency heads of the need to ensure all personnel actions remain free of political influence or other improprieties and meet all relevant civil service laws, rules, and regulations,” OPM officials Mark Lambert and Veronica Hinton said in the memo sent to the leaders of department and agencies.