A look at the demographics of the U.S. federal government workforce

A look at the demographics of the U.S. federal government workforce

Every four years, just after the Presidential election, the “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions” is published. It is commonly known as the Plum Book and is alternately published between the House and Senate.

The Plum Book has a listing of over 7,000 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. These positions include agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials. Many positions have duties which support Administration policies and programs. The people holding these positions usually have a close and confidential relationship with the agency head or other key officials.

The Plum Book is used to identify presidentially appointed positions within the Federal Government. The list originated in 1952 during the Eisenhower administration. For twenty-two years prior, the Democrats controlled the Federal Government. When President Eisenhower took office, the Republican Party requested a list of government positions that President Eisenhower could fill. The next edition of the Plum Book appeared in 1960 and has since been published every four years, just after the Presidential election.

The Plum Book is published by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs alternately after each Presidential election. 

The most current Plum Book is for 2016.
Barack Obama served 2 terms as President of the United States
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017

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