The Plum Book

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Books come in all sorts of delicious colors and flavors, and United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (popularly known as the Plum Book) is no exception.

The Plum Book lists all positions that a U.S. president may appoint: “over 7,000 Federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment, nationwide,” according to the Government Printing Office. A new edition of the Plum Book is published immediately after each presidential election, so the 2008 edition should be here very soon (Update, 11/13/08: the 2008 edition is up). In the meantime, the 2004, 2000, and 1996 editions are available online (earlier editions, the first of which dates back to the 1950s, are available in print in the Harvard libraries).

The Plum Book may be of particular interest to those of you who have signed up for HLS’ new third-year tuition waiver in exchange for doing five years of public interest law. Perhaps you would some day like to be NASA’s White House Liaison, or the Chairman of the Postal Rate Commission, or the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations in the Department of Agriculture.

Shout out to George Clark and the Government Information Services Department at Harvard’s Lamont Library for reminding me about this wonderful resource.

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