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Washington’s Latest Must-Read: 'The Plum Book' Hits Bookshelves

By Ed O'Keefe

Who says nobody’s hiring?!

Today marks the release of the Plum Book, a compilation of all of the political jobs in the Bush Administration, including who currently holds the position and salary information. It’s a must-read for any federal government wannabe hoping for gainful employment in the Obama Administration. Check back throughout the day as Federal Eye will peruse the latest edition and post interesting tidbits as we find them.

Plum Book
The Plum Book hits (Government Printing Office) bookshelves today.

The Post’s Lois Romano did a fantastic write-up on the history and importance of the Plum Book last week. Read the whole item, but here are some important highlights:

• The Eisenhower administration produced the first comprehensive political job list in 1952. The Plum Book appeared again in 1960 when John F. Kennedy won the White House and it has since been published after every presidential election.

• The book is alternately published by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform. This year, the Senate side has control.

• About one-third of the jobs listed are strictly political appointments -- that is, patronage jobs that will go largely to Democrats.

• No jobs will be listed in the book for the office of the vice president because the veep’s office is technically neither part of the executive or legislative branch.

• "It's less valuable than it appears,” says Chase Untermeyer, who handled political appointments for President George H.W. Bush in 1988. “All it is is snapshots of the jobs the outgoing administration filled. The new administration might abolish many of those positions.”

Regardless of its usefulness, the Plum Book is still a crucial tool for thousands of people looking for government employment. This year’s edition will list approximately 7,210 jobs, down from the 8,000 initially reported, due to an overlap in two categories that were counted twice, according to Leslie Phillips, spokeswoman for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. The book will differentiate between career positions and the political appointments that require Senate confirmation.

Job descriptions for the political appointments were provided to the McCain and Obama campaigns in September, concurrent with the provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004, which requires the Office of Personnel Management to provide the two major party presidential candidates a list of presidentially appointed positions no later than 15 days after the nominating conventions.

The OPM had to provide the title and description of each presidentially appointed position; the name of each person currently holding the position; any current vacancies; and a recommended date by when the position should be filled by the new president in order to "ensure effective operation of government."

Remember however that the Obama administration may create some new positions, as Mr. In The Loop reported on Tuesday: "For example, plans are underway to establish a White House Office of Urban Policy to better coordinate federal efforts to help cities nationwide, said Valerie Jarrett, co-chairman of the Obama transition team." There may also be some kind of an energy czar.

As with all major government documents, the folks at the Government Printing Office will (you guessed it) print approximately 3,000 copies for distribution and sale. The Office of Personnel Management sends GPO the information for printing and the books are printed at the Washington, D.C. plant. You can download a copy of the book for free, or buy it at the GPO bookstore in Washington or online.

Check back throughout the day for more interesting details from The Plum Book…

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 12, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Revolving Door  
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Next: The Plum Book: Cool Jobs


Ah, the link to the free download copy was broken. I was hoping to see if I was in there, and if they had my information correct.

Posted by: akchild | November 12, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

You are wrong about the office of VP. The official Organization chart has Office of the VP as part of the executive branch. Idiots had used this as a cowardly duck blind for illegal activities.

Posted by: emarkham | November 12, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

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