It was one of the first moves of the new Trump administration – to implement a temporary hiring freeze across the federal government that would help "drain the swamp" by assessing payrolls and cutting back where necessary.
It was a move that infuriated and frustrated many of his employees but was finally ended Tuesday by his successor, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has promised to bring the department's "swagger" back.
In an email sent to staff Tuesday morning and obtained by ABC News, Pompeo announced he was lifting the freeze for all foreign service and civil service positions – and authorizing the department to hire at "current funding levels." In other words, he is disregarding the administration's own budget proposal, which once again called for slashing the department's funding by nearly one-third.
"We need our men and women on the ground, executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy, and representing our great nation," Pompeo wrote. "By resuming hiring of the most gifted and qualified individuals, we will ensure that we have the right people with the right skills working to advance our U.S. national interests and executing the Department's mission in an increasingly complicated and challenging world."
Earlier in May, Pompeo also officially lifted the freeze on eligible family members, so that they "would be treated fairly in seeking to use their skills to deliver our mission," he wrote in the email Tuesday. Tillerson had announced the freeze would end during a town hall in December -- and his aides often countered criticism by saying he signed more than 2,400 exemptions and only denied a dozen or two.
There was no mention of Pompeo's predecessor or why the freeze was in place so long.
In part, that's why there is a long list of other personnel issues ahead for Pompeo, in particular filling many key senior roles that are still vacant or filled by officials in an acting capacity.
In Washington, there are nearly a fourteen Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary roles that are either vacant or filled by someone in an acting capacity. Less than half have a nominee from the Trump administration.
A senior State Department official said during Pompeo's first week that he was already conducting interviews for nominees.