Federal agencies increased their use of a special retiree rehiring authority for acquisition-related positions last fiscal year but the numbers remain low overall, OMB has told Congress.

OMB was reporting on use of a law allowing agencies to reemploy federal annuitants without the usual offset between their annuities and the salary of the position, for certain acquisition-related jobs for which the government has special recruiting needs. It’s part of an overall effort to strengthen the acquisition workforce in order to better scrutinize contracts issued by federal agencies, which grew substantially in both number and dollar terms in recent years.

According to the report, a total of 140 reemployed annuitants were hired under the authority in fiscal 2009, compared with 57 in the prior year, the first of the authority’s existence. DoD accounted for the majority, 81, followed by Agriculture, 18. The 13 other agencies using the authority all hired eight or fewer.

That is just one of several special retiree rehiring authorities that were enacted in recent years as a reaction to the expected retirement wave, which government officials long have predicted will cause a dropoff in expertise in the federal workforce. Other special authorities apply at DoD, State, and intelligence agencies, and there is a government-wide authority, enacted last year, allowing employment without an offset for limited periods. Generally speaking, those hired under these special authorities do not build additional credits toward their retirement benefits and may not invest in the TSP, although arrangements vary; interested persons should check with the hiring personnel office for the terms of the employment.