Political appointees are now eligible for cash bonuses again-at least in some agencies. They were not illegal but had not been paid in the past few years according to a report in the New York Times.
The reason for the change in policy is that the administration wants to judge and reward political appointees in the same manner as career civil service employees are. In other words, career senior executives and political appointees will be paid bonuses in the same way. The new policy applies to noncareer SES officials and schedule C appointees. It does not apply to presidential appointees such as cabinet secretaries and others who confirmations must be confirmed by the Senate.
Some bonuses have already been paid out to political appointees who played significant roles in counterterrorism efforts. Awards of up to $10,000 can be approved by agency heads and can total $25,000 with approval from the White House.
The awards are to be based on “truly outstanding performance that contributes directly to achieving the president’s and attorney general’s national goals and objectives” according to a Justice Department memo.
The move will not be well received by some federal employees as the bonus money is not paid out of new funds. They will be paid out of the same pools used to pay bonuses to career employees. In other words, there will be competition between political appointees and careerists for the same bonus money.