H.R. 6599 would allow the Director of the National Park Service to modify regulations related to the hiring of temporary seasonal workers for the National Park Service.
Thousands of temporary National Park Service (NPS) employees are hired to assist permanent staff at park sites and offices, including park rangers, firefighters, trail crews, fee collectors, and law enforcement officers. Many NPS temporary employees will return to work at the same park for many seasons. Under current government-wide regulations (5 C.F.R. 316-401-402), temporary seasonal employees can be rehired at the same job title at the same pay grade, with reappointment contingent on a satisfactory performance review. Agencies benefit in cost and time savings from the reduced recruitment, interviewing, and vetting workload, and temporary seasonal employees gain an element of certainty in their work plans. Recently, NPS’ interpretation of this authority was challenged by the Office of Personnel Management after an audit. NPS had allowed temporary employees to work in one park during the summer and a different location in the winter, viewing the different parks as different “major subdivisions” of the agency under the regulations. OPM believes only one temporary assignment per year throughout the entire National Park System is more appropriate. This change in practice created confusion for NPS managers, hiring officials and temporary seasonal employees expecting to return to their previous jobs. H.R. 6599 allows NPS to continue its long-standing practice, thus ensuring adequate staff coverage for our highly-visited national parks.