According to National Journal’s Kellie Lunney, the newly-released 2008 Plum Book contains more than 8,000 federal leadership positions in the executive and legislative branches. A number of the executive branch positions, though, are part-time, such as members of boards and commissions. The Plum Book is published shortly after each Presidential election.
The 210-page Plum Book does not cover career civil servant jobs, which are competitive and merit-based. It includes a range of federal jobs that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment, from assistant secretaries to confidential assistants. The types of positions included in the guide are:
• Executive Schedule and salary-equivalent jobs at Level I-V pay rates.
• Senior Executive Service “General” positions that can be filled by a career, non-career or limited appointment. Career employees fill most of these jobs.
• Senior Foreign Service vacancies. Career appointments account for most of these jobs.
• Schedule C positions excepted from the competitive service by the president or Office of Personnel Management director because of the job’s confidential or policy-determining duties.
• Other confidential or policy-determining positions at the GS-14 and above level that are excepted from the competitive civil service.