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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
19-P-0279
August 21, 2019
Why We Did This Project
The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA's)
Office of Inspector General
(OIG) conducted this audit to
determine how the agency
used its authority under the
Safe Drinking Water Act to fill
administratively determined
(AD) positions.
Under the Safe Drinking Water
Act, the Administrator has the
authority to appoint personnel
to fill not more than
30 scientific, engineering,
professional, legal and
administrative positions. The
agency refers to these
positions as AD positions.
Our audit focused on
appointments made between
January 2009 and
August 2018. Six different
Administrators or acting
Administrators served during
this period, beginning with
Lisa Jackson and ending with
Andrew Wheeler.
This report addresses the
following:
	Compliance with the law.
	Operating efficiently and
effectively.
Address inquiries to our public
affairs office at (202) 566-2391 or
OIG WEBCOMMENTS@epa.oiq.
EPA's Use of Administratively Determined
Positions Is Consistent with Its Authority Under
the Safe Drinking Water Act
What We Found
Between January 2009 and August 2018, the	Since 2009, the EPA has
agency used its authority under the Safe Drinking made 119 appointments
Water Act to make 119 appointments to	to AD positions
AD positions. The appointments varied by	consistent with the
Administrator in terms of location, number and	authority provided by the
classification. Our analysis of the	Safe Drinking Water Act.
119 appointments showed that 63 (53 percent)
were made to positions in the Administrator's office, 26 (22 percent) were made
to positions in program offices, and 30 (25 percent) were made to positions in
regional offices. Former Administrator Scott Pruitt made the most appointments
to AD positions (54), followed by former Administrator Jackson (36). The
appointments were spread across four position classifications allowed under the
Safe Drinking Water Act. Specifically, there were 102 appointments made to
professional positions, five to legal positions, one to a scientific position, and
11 to administrative positions.
The appointments were primarily made for new employees; however, we
identified two existing employees who were converted to AD positions. We also
identified a shift that began in 2017 to use AD positions to facilitate the hiring of
political appointees. In this regard, the agency used its Safe Drinking Water Act
authority to expedite the hiring of individuals who, within a matter of months, were
converted to political appointments (i.e., noncareer Senior Executive Service or
Schedule C positions).
Because the act does not specify how AD appointments are to be used and does
not require that appointees work on drinking-water related issues, the agency's
use is consistent with the authority provided by the statute. As a result, we make
no recommendations.
Agency Response and OIG Comments
The report contained no recommendations; therefore, the agency was not
required to respond. Nonetheless, the agency responded on August 12, 2019.
The response did not address the factual accuracy of the report. As such, the
OIG stands by the factual accuracy of the report and its conclusion that the
agency's use of AD positions is consistent with the authority provided by the
Safe Drinking Water Act.
List of OIG reports.

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