Comparing Plum Book 2012 and Plum Book 2016

Comparing Plum Book 2012 and Plum Book 20162016-12-14T18:52:52+00:00

The “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions”, commonly known as the Plum Book, is published just after the presidential election every four years. Publishing of the purple-colored book alternates between a committee of the House of Representatives and a committee of the Senate. Information on appointed positions is provided by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The Plum Book contains data on more than 8,000 civil service leadership and support positions in the Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment (e.g., positions such as agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials).

The 2016 version of the Plum Book was published by the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia (OGM) of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. This is just one of the many differences between the latest version of the Plum Book and the one published by the House Committee on Government Reform in 2012.

Following are some of the differences between Plum Book 2012 and Plum Book 2016.

The total number of eligible appointments in the Plum Book has dropped by approximately 11.5% since 2004. That means the new administration will fill 11% fewer jobs in the major Departments and Agencies in the Executive Branch, 13% fewer in the Executive Branch Independent Agencies, and about 3% fewer in the Legislative Branch than during the second Obama Administration.

The largest drops in the number of eligible positions in the newest version of the Plum Book occur in the State Department and in the Department of Homeland Security, with drops of over 50% in State and 36% in DHS.

Overall, the biggest gains were in the Department of Defense with the largest in the Navy at an increase of about 30%, although the Air Force took a loss of approximately 30%.

The Treasury Department leads in non-military agency gains with an increase of approximately 15% of eligible positions in Plum Book 2008.

Salaries have changed in the last four years as well. In looking at Plum Book 2012, the highest salary is $221,100 for a position as Chief of Staff or Chief Economist with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The lowest salary in Plum Book 2016 is $66 for a position as Chairman, Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting in Miami, Florida. This position pays only $66.

The highest salary in the 2012 Plum Book was $186,228 for the Chief of Staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The position of Member, Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting in Miami, Florida, had no published salary. The lowest actual salary was $424 for members of the Ticket-To-Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel of the Social Security Administration.

For more information about politically-appointed positions in Plum Book 2016, go to and Search for Opportunities by State, Branch of Government or by Affinity Group.

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