42 U.S. Code § 7231 - Officers and employees
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(a) Authority of Secretary to appoint and fix compensation
In the performance of his functions the Secretary is authorized to appoint and fix the compensation of such officers and employees, including attorneys, as may be necessary to carry out such functions. Except as otherwise provided in this section, such officers and employees shall be appointed in accordance with the civil service laws and their compensation fixed in accordance with title 5.
(b) Appointment of scientific, engineering, etc., personnel without regard to civil service laws; compensation; termination of authority
(1) Subject to the limitations provided in paragraph (2) and to the extent the Secretary deems such action necessary to the discharge of his functions, he may appoint not more than three hundred eleven of the scientific, engineering, professional, and administrative personnel of the department without regard to the civil service laws, and may fix the compensation of such personnel not in excess of the maximum rate payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5.
(2) The Secretary’s authority under this subsection to appoint an individual to such a position without regard to the civil service laws shall cease—
(A) when a person appointed, within four years after October 1, 1977, to fill such position under paragraph (1) leaves such position, or
whichever is later.
(c) Placement of GS–16, GS–17, and GS–18 positions without regard to section 3324 of title 5; termination of authority
(1) Subject to the provisions of chapter 51 of title 5 but notwithstanding the last two sentences of section 5108(a)  of such title, the Secretary may place at GS–16, GS–17, and GS–18, not to exceed one hundred seventy-eight positions of the positions subject to the limitation of the first sentence of section 5108(a)  of such title.
(2) Appointments under this subsection may be made without regard to the provisions of sections 3324 of title 5, relating to the approval by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management of appointments under GS–16, GS–17, and GS–18 if the individual placed in such position is an individual who is transferred in connection with a transfer of functions under this chapter and who, immediately before October 1, 1977, held a position and duties comparable to those of such position.
(d) Appointment of additional scientific, engineering, etc., personnel without regard to civil service laws; compensation
In addition to the number of positions which may be placed at GS–16, GS–17, and GS–18 under section 5108 of title 5, under existing law, or under this chapter, and to the extent the Secretary deems such action necessary to the discharge of his functions, he may appoint not more than two hundred of the scientific, engineering, professional, and administrative personnel without regard to the civil service laws and may fix the compensation of such personnel not in excess of the maximum rate payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5.
(e) Determination of maximum aggregate number of positions
For the purposes of determining the maximum aggregate number of positions which may be placed at GS–16, GS–17, or GS–18 under section 5108 (a) of title 5, 63 percent of the positions established under subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be deemed GS–16 positions, 25 percent of such positions shall be deemed GS–17 positions, and 12 percent of such positions shall be deemed GS–18.
(f) Intelligence and intelligence-related positions exempt from competitive service
All positions in the Department which the Secretary determines are devoted to intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government are excepted from the competitive service, and the individuals who occupy such positions as of August 14, 1991, shall, while employed in such positions, be exempt from the competitive service.
 See References in Text note below.
Source(Pub. L. 95–91, title VI, § 621,Aug. 4, 1977, 91 Stat. 596; 1978 Reorg. Plan No. 2, § 102, eff. Jan. 1, 1979, 43 F.R. 36037, 92 Stat. 3784; Pub. L. 102–88, title IV, § 403,Aug. 14, 1991, 105 Stat. 434.)
References in Text
Section 5108 (a) of title 5, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), was amended generally by Pub. L. 101–509, title V, § 529 [title I, § 102(b)(2)], Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1427, 1443, and, as so amended, contains only one sentence.
This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (c)(2) and (d), was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 95–91, Aug. 4, 1977, 91 Stat. 565, known as the Department of Energy Organization Act, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 7101 of this title and Tables.
August 14, 1991, referred to in subsec. (f), was in the original “the date of enactment of this Act”, which was translated as meaning the date of enactment of Pub. L. 102–88, which enacted subsec. (f) of this section, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.
1991—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 102–88added subsec. (f).
Transfer of Functions
“Director of the Office of Personnel Management” substituted for “Civil Service Commission” in subsec. (c)(2), pursuant to Reorg. Plan No. 2 of 1978, § 102,43 F.R. 36037, 92 Stat. 3783, set out under section 1101 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees, which transferred all functions vested by statute in United States Civil Service Commission to Director of Office of Personnel Management (except as otherwise specified), effective Jan. 1, 1979, as provided by section 1–102 of Ex. Ord. No. 12107, Dec. 28, 1978, 44 F.R. 1055, set out under section 1101 of Title 5.
References in Other Laws to GS–16, 17, or 18 Pay Rates
References in laws to the rates of pay for GS–16, 17, or 18, or to maximum rates of pay under the General Schedule, to be considered references to rates payable under specified sections of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees, see section 529 [title I, § 101(c)(1)] of Pub. L. 101–509, set out in a note under section 5376 of Title 5.
Appointments of Exceptionally Well Qualified Individuals to Scientific, Engineering, or Other Critical Technical Positions
“(a) In General.—Subject to subsections (b) through (d), the Secretary may appoint, without regard to the provisions of chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, exceptionally well qualified individuals to scientific, engineering, or other critical technical positions.
“(1) Number of positions.—The number of critical positions authorized by subsection (a) may not exceed 120 at any one time in the Department.
“(2) Term.—The term of an appointment under subsection (a) may not exceed 4 years.
“(3) Prior employment.—An individual appointed under subsection (a) shall not have been a Department employee during the 2-year period ending on the date of appointment.
“(A) In general.—The Secretary shall have the authority to fix the basic pay of an individual appointed under subsection (a) at a rate to be determined by the Secretary up to level I of the Executive Schedule [5 U.S.C. 5312] without regard to the civil service laws.
“(B) Total annual compensation.—The total annual compensation for any individual appointed under subsection (a) may not exceed the highest total annual compensation payable at the rate determined under section 104 of title 3, United States Code.
“(5) Adverse actions.—An individual appointed under subsection (a) may not be considered to be an employee for purposes of subchapter II of chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code.
“(1) In general.—The Secretary shall ensure that—
“(A) the exercise of the authority granted under subsection (a) is consistent with the merit principles of section 2301 of title 5, United States Code; and
“(B) the Department notifies diverse professional associations and institutions of higher education, including those serving the interests of women and racial or ethnic minorities that are underrepresented in scientific, engineering, and mathematical fields, of position openings as appropriate.
“(2) Report.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act [Jan. 17, 2014], the Secretary and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall submit to Congress a report on the use of the authority provided under this section that includes, at a minimum, a description or analysis of—
“(A) the ability to attract exceptionally well qualified scientists, engineers, and technical personnel;
“(B) the amount of total compensation paid each employee hired under the authority each calendar year; and
“(C) whether additional safeguards or measures are necessary to carry out the authority and, if so, what action, if any, has been taken to implement the safeguards or measures.
“(d) Termination of Effectiveness.—The authority provided by this section terminates effective on the date that is 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act.”
Authority for Appointment of Certain Scientific, Engineering, and Technical Personnel
Pub. L. 103–337, div. C, title XXXI, § 3161,Oct. 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 3095, as amended by Pub. L. 105–85, div. C, title XXXI, § 3139,Nov. 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 2040; Pub. L. 105–261, div. C, title XXXI, §§ 3152, 3155,Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2253, 2257; Pub. L. 106–398, § 1 [div. C, title XXXI, § 3191], Oct. 30, 2000, 114 Stat. 1654, 1654A–480; Pub. L. 107–314, div. C, title XXXI, § 3174,Dec. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 2745, which was formerly set out as a note under this section, was renumbered section 4601 ofPub. L. 107–314, the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, by Pub. L. 108–136, div. C, title XXXI, § 3141(i)(2),Nov. 24, 2003, 117 Stat. 1776, and is classified to section 2701 of Title 50, War and National Defense.