Q & A Session – Political Appointees Refused Promotion


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I work at the Executive Office of the President as a career employee. My supervisor recently updated my position description to accurately reflect the work I do. Human Resources reviewed it and said I am doing work above my current grade (GS-12).

Although internal office management and HR both agreed and supported by promotion, two political appointees stopped it. They said that staff in the White House are paid less, that the federal career workforce is overpaid and that I can keep doing all the extra work if I want but they will not pay me for it. They said the position ends at a 12 and the organization is too top heavy anyway.


You can file a clarification appeal to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). That process is supposed to be free from political influence. On behalf of the federal workforce, I find it disturbing that White House political officials believe that hardworking career civil servants are overpaid.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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