The Energy Department is about to get the power to hire people much more quickly. The final version of the stimulus bill includes a provision that allows the department to “recruit and directly appoint highly qualified individuals into the competitive service” when there’s a severe shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need.
Excepted service and Senior Executive Service positions will be excluded from Energy’s direct hire authority. But aside from that, Energy will have a wide berth to decide when it needs to directly hire employees, and for what positions.
The stimulus bill can be downloaded from the House Appropriations Committee’s Web site, but be warned: The files are pretty big and a lot of people are downloading them now, so it may take some time to open them up.