Office of Personnel Management director Frances Torres Salas said early this week that government employees hired through the American Rescue Plan Act are not for permanent positions and that they may go if ARPA money runs out.
Speaking during the Saipan and Northern Islands Delegation- Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations meeting in the Senate chamber, Salas said when the time comes when a limited term appointment expires and if a department feels the need to keep that employee, it’s the department’s responsibility to plan ahead and migrate that account to a general or local account because there will be no ARPA funds.
This was learned after Rep. Denita Yangetmai (D-Saipan), who is a member of SNILD JGO Committee, asked what will happen to these people hired by the government when the ARPA money runs out. Yangetmai also asked if OPM is making plans on what to do with these workers if there is no more ARPA money.
Salas said that when they have a request for personnel action, they can see whether it is 100% federally funded or ARPA funded. “It’s very clear which one is ARPA, which one is not,” Salas said.
The OPM director said they have to ensure that both the department and the employee understand that the funds are only available for a specific period of time.
She said these employees are not placed on civil service status but what’s called “limited term appointment.” Salas said the department and the employee have to be aware that this is not a permanent position.
“And that’s where we need to be careful. And we need to ensure that both the employee and the department are aware of that,” she said.
The director said it’s very clear on the request for personnel action that it’s only for limited period of time. “I would say 100% of them are for a year. So come Sept. 30, 2022, depending on how much funding is available, that person may not continue if funding is not there,” she said.