155. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Civil Service Career Development and Assignments (Bourbon) to the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel (Barnes)1


  • Civil Service Reform Legislation

The House Post Office and Civil Service Committee print of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which was expected at CSC today, has not yet arrived. We will get a copy when it does arrive.

A New York Times article of August 3, 1978 (attached)2 reports that the administration has withdrawn its opposition to excluding the FBI from the Senior Executive Service. This has bearing on our own situation since administration opposition to excluding the Foreign Service is based, in part at least, on a desire to maximize the SES coverage by law and deal with specific cases through the process of administrative exemption. That stance has now been modified.

Until quite recently, the proposed schedule of events for the Civil Service Reform Act was to bring the measure to the House floor by August 8 and for it to be voted on by recess. The time-frame has now slipped. The plan currently is to get it to the Rules Committee on August 9 and then get it to the floor for debate before recess. A three week recess, beginning August 18, is now considered likely.

Mr. Udall is expected to be floor manager of the bill. The plan apparently is to try to “blitz” it through the House with minimum amendments. The most likely administration amendments to be offered on the floor, will relate to removing the title containing Hatch Act3 revisions and removing the two-year limitation on the SES. If that works, and no other major amendments are offered and carried, the goal would be to perfect the bill (including the Labor Management Relations Title) in conferences. Mr. Udall expects to have a strong voice in choosing House conferees, thus assuring that the administration changes and desires are fully understood in the conference committee.

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While the above is an interesting strategy, it is certainly at variance with the plans up to this time. Chairman Campbell and others have been indicating that the imperfections in the House bill could largely be cured on the House floor. Either for reasons of time, or because action on the House floor is no longer as predictable as formerly thought, the strategy has changed.

The Senate now appears likely to defer floor action until the House has voted on its version of the bill.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1978–1979, Box 2, Chron August 4–8, 1978. No classification marking. Drafted by Bourbon. Cleared by Nancy Rawls (DGP/PER). Printed from an unsigned copy.
  2. Attached but not printed. See “Civil Service Plan Won’t Include F.B.I.,” New York Times, August 3, 1978, p. A22.
  3. A reference to the Hatch Act of 1939, entitled “An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities.”