Washington (Feb. 13, 2003) -- Lawmakers introduced a bill to streamline the hiring process for certain positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) and Capital Markets Subcommittee Chairman Richard H. Baker (R-La.) on Tuesday introduced the Accountant, Compliance and Enforcement Staffing Act (H.R. 658), which would speed hiring by waiving the civil service hiring rules for accountants, economists and examiners seeking employment at the SEC. SEC lawyers are already exempt from the civil service rules.

The Commission was given $25 million in supplemental funding in FY 2002 to hire 125 additional positions including accountants, lawyers and compliance examiners, but while nearly all of the new attorney positions have been filled, the SEC had filled less than 40 percent of the new accountant positions as of last month, SEC chairman Harvey Pitt told Oxley and Baker in a Jan. 17 letter.

"Bringing Commission accountants, economists, and securities compliance examiners into the excepted service would ease the hiring process and reduce the burden on applicants, assisting the Commission in filling those critical positions with the best possible candidates on an expedited basis," Pitt urged in his letter.

The White House’s proposed SEC budget for fiscal 2004 would enable the Commission to add 710 new members to its staff, many of whom would be accountants. An SEC spokeswoman earlier this month said the Commission would use the money to hire 151 attorneys and accountants in enforcement and another 151 staff, mostly accountants, in corporation finance, among others.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire Staff

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