130. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Office of Management Operations (Ealum), the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Administration for Budget and Finance (Feldman), and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Personnel (Gershenson) to the Under Secretary of State for Management (Read)1


  • Report of Hiring Limitation Working Group

The hiring limitation working group, composed of M/DG, A/BF and M/MO has been monitoring hiring since November. Full-time State employment has been reduced by 174 people through January and the Working Group anticipates that when February results are in some relaxing of restrictions can be initiated. This optimism was expressed at the executive directors meeting February 23.2

Department-wide the OMB Ceiling September 30, 1979 for full-time employment is 22,500, which is allocated as follows:

Americans 11,041
FS Nationals 10,052
Total State 21,093
Other Agency (Am.) 1,407

This allocation is basically illustrative in that OMB controls at the total and not by category. However, funding levels are related to these categories. We have not attempted to influence Other Agency (OA) (Am.) employment. State employment against the 21,093 control has been:

Americans FSN Total
October 11,087 10,198 21,285
November 11,071 10,184 21,255
December 11,037 10,166 21,203
January 11,017 10,094 21,111
[Page 512]

A comparison of 21,093 ceiling and 21,111 January employment indicates we are only 18 over ceiling at the end of January. However, the Department is not yet as near its goal as these figures portray. There are future events which will automatically cause employment of Americans to rise, such as the 25 remaining passport conversions from part-time to full-time. Also, within total employment there has to be further changes in current employment by appropriation in order to arrive at budgeted appropriation levels, such as a reduction of 41 Americans from the present level in S&E to allow an anticipated increase in IBWC, etc.

We clearly need to continue to apply restraints on hiring. In mid-March the employment status will be evaluated to determine if some lessening of hiring restrictions can be allowed; namely, that the March level of FSN employment be held constant by allowing a new hire for each new separation (rather than one for each two separations) for the remainder of the year.

The American employment forecast is more difficult to make. Given some unknown fluctuation effects in attrition rates resulting from the age-60 decision3 and the lifting of the government-wide freeze, and the current vacancy patterns by bureau and office, we feel American hiring restraints need to be continued. There are numerous vital positions vacant now and it is expected that the discontinuance of controls would cause a large jump in employment. We envision the WG will not be able to approve hiring of all American personnel as they become ready for appointment, thus we will need to make determinations of relative priority. This process can be expected to cause complaints and appeals.

Other Agency employment is expected to present some problems at the end of the year. Their ceiling is 1,407—however, their January employment was 1,496 and is anticipated by INR to rise to 1,525 by September 1979—118, in excess. A/BF will inform OMB of this matter and ask for relief in the ceiling, or confirmation of OMB’s acquiescence in this anticipated excess. Without OMB’s concurrence, we would need to address this matter with OA.

Once employment is at completely satisfactory levels you may wish to review the relative allocation of positions before all restraints are lifted and the WG disbanded. The question of the large number of vacancies in several bureaus needs to be resolved and balanced within total position allocations before hiring to any significant extent throws us back into an employment problem.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1978–1979, Box 11, Chron March 7–13, 1979. Confidential.
  2. No minutes of this meeting were found.
  3. On June 28, 1977, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found the Foreign Service mandatory retirement age of 60 to be unconstitutional. (Bradley v. Vance, 436 F. Supp. 134 (D.D.C. 1977)) On February 22, 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision. (Vance v. Bradley (440 U.S. 93 (1979))