Office of Personnel Management Director Donald J. Devine says a survey of agencies that have 90 percent of the SES career jobs has not produced a single case of a career executive being "involuntarily" transferred since the Reagan administration came to power. Under the Civil Service Reform Act, career SES members are protected from involuntary transfers (a sometime device to sidetrack an official or make him/her quit) until the head of the agency, or immediate political supervisor, has been appointed. With many top agency jobs still unfilled, the 120-day countdown has not started for a majority of SES members.

Devine told a House subcommittee that a number of career workers have been reassigned voluntarily, but none unwillingly. Devine made it clear, however, that reassignment -- voluntary or otherwise -- is one of the things SES members can expect as part of their jobs. He also said he favors the bonus system for executives, but that it must be handled carefully.

Congress last year came close to eliminating all bonuses after it was learned that many members of the boards that approve the bonuses got them. Devine says there is no reason that people on performance review boards should be excluded from bonus consideration, but he says the program must be monitored carefully or Congress may kill the entire program. General Accounting Office auditors are looking at the bonus systems -- and who got them -- in agencies that have it in operation.