THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
AMENDING THE CIVIL SERVICE RULES RELATING TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 3301 and 3302 of title 5, United States Code, and in order to give individuals with psychiatric disabilities the same hiring opportunities as persons with severe physical disabilities or mental retardation under the Civil Service Rules, and to permit individuals with psychiatric disabilities to obtain Civil Service competitive status, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
(a) It is the policy of the United States to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. The Federal Government as an employer should serve as a model for the employment of persons with disabilities and utilize the full potential of these talented citizens.
(b) The Civil Service Rules governing appointment of persons with psychiatric disabilities were adopted years ago when attitudes about mental illness were different than they are today, which led to stricter standards for hiring persons with psychiatric disabilities than for persons with mental retardation or severe physical disabilities. The Civil Service Rules provide that persons with mental retardation, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities may be hired under excepted appointing authorities. While persons with mental retardation or severe physical disabilities may be appointed for more than 2 years and may convert to competitive status after completion of 2 years of satisfactory service in their excepted position, people with psychiatric disabilities may not.
(c) The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the President's Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities believe that the Federal Government could better benefit from the contributions of persons with psychiatric disabilities if they were given the same opportunities available to people with mental retardation or severe physical disabilities.
Sec. 2. Implementation.
(a) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall, consistent with OPM authority, provide that persons with psychiatric disabilities are subject to the same hiring rules as persons with mental retardation or severe physical disabilities.
(b) Civil Service Rule III (5 CFR Part 3) is amended by adding the following new paragraph to subsection (b) of section 3.1: "(3) An employee with psychiatric disabilities who completes at least 2 years of satisfactory service in a position excepted from the competitive service."
Sec. 3. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to implement this order.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE, June 4, 1999.
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