Sunday, July 28, 2013

Federal personnel rules were waived for Obamacare hires

So many problems have plagued federal officials responsible for implementing Obamacare that the president recently ordered delay of an important mandate and did away with anti-fraud verification tools. - Mark Tapscott/Washington Examiner WatchDog

What hasn't been a problem, however, is hiring hundreds of bureaucrats to run Obamacare because federal officials waived civil service personnel rules intended to insure the government hires high-quality people, according to documents obtained by the Judicial Watch nonprofit watchdog group.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry granted "Direct Hiring Authority" to enable officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to expedite employment of 1,814 top-level administrators, most of whom would be paid in excess of $100,000 annually....

Among the 1,814 officials Berry freed HHS to hire without going through normal career civil service hiring procedures were 59 social science analyst/specialists at the GS-15 level, 350 health insurance specialists at the GS-15 level, 55 administrative and program specialists at the GS-15 level, 235 program analysts/management analysts at the GS-15 level, 291 public health advisors/analysts at the GS-14 level, and 261 consumer safety officers at the GS-13 level.

More than 1,100 of the new hires were GS-15s, the highest grade in the career civil service below the senior executive level. Federal pay in 2010 for GS-15s started at $99,628 and ranged as high as $129,517, not counting generous federal retirement and health insurance benefits.

◼ Then there's this: Obamacare Call Center Will Not Offer Health-Care Benefits to Employees - Eliana Johnson/National Review

In order to ensure Americans understand how to access the benefits available to them when many provisions of the Affordable Care Act go online October 1, the Obama administration announced last month that it is setting up a call center that will be accessible to Americans 24 hours a day.

One branch of that call center will be located in California’s Contra Costa County, where, reportedly, 7,000 people applied for the 204 jobs. According to the Contra Costa Times, however, “about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.” The county supervisor, Karen Mitchoff, called the hiring process “a comedy of errors” and said she “never dreamed [the jobs] would be part-time.”