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Classification & Qualifications Appeal Decisions

Washington, DC

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Classification Appeal Decision
Under section 5112 of title 5, United States Code

[Name of appellant]
Security Specialist,
[Name of appellant’s organization]
National Guard Bureau
Security Specialist,

Carlos A. Torrico
Acting Classification Appeals and FLSA Claims
Program Manager
Agency Compliance and Evaluation
Merit System Accountability and Compliance



As provided in section 511.612 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this decision constitutes a certificate that is mandatory and binding on all administrative, certifying, payroll, disbursing, and accounting officials of the Government.  The agency is responsible for reviewing its classification decisions for identical, similar, or related positions to ensure consistency with this decision.  There is no right of further appeal.  This decision is subject to discretionary review only under conditions and time limits specified in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards (Introduction), appendix 4, section G (address provided in appendix 4, section H).

As indicated in this decision, our findings show the appellant’s official position description (PD) does not meet the standard of adequacy described in Section III.E of the Introduction.  Since PDs must meet the standard of adequacy, the agency must revise the appellant’s PD to reflect our findings.  The servicing human resources office must submit a compliance report containing the corrected PD and a Standard Form 50 showing the personnel action taken.  The report must be submitted within 30 days from the effective date of the personnel action to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


The appellant’s position is currently classified as Security Specialist, GS-080-9, but he believes it should be classified at the GS-11 grade level.  The position is assigned to the [name and location of appellant’s organization], National Guard Bureau (NGB).  We have accepted and decided this appeal under section 5112 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.).

General issues

The appellant makes various statements about the agency’s classification review process, submits a PD he developed and annotated as a GS-11 Security Specialist, and states…  In adjudicating this appeal, our responsibility is to make our own independent decision on the proper classification of the appellant’s position.  By law, we must make that decision solely by comparing his current duties and responsibilities to OPM position classification standards (PCS) and guidelines (5 U.S.C. 5106, 5107, and 5112).  Since comparison to PCSs is the exclusive method for classifying positions, we cannot compare the appellant’s position to others that may or may not be properly classified, as a basis for deciding his appeal.  Because our decision sets aside all previous agency decisions, the appellant’s concerns regarding his agency’s classification review process and his assigned duties are not germane to this decision.  

Both the appellant and his supervisor believe the appellant’s current PD of record (number NGD0620000) is not completely accurate.  The appellant stated during his interview that his PD does not describe his level of responsibility because it does not state he manages various security programs.  The appellant’s supervisor stated during his interview that the appellant’s PD should not include duties ensuring the security of [state] troops both overseas and domestically due to a conflict with existing regulations not wanting one position performing both security functions.  However, we found the position does not conduct special security surveys/inspections as required by the National Security Agency because they are conducted by the Department of Defense.  The PD states the incumbent administers the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Classified Information Program and the NATO Classified Document Control Program but neither program exists.  The PD states the incumbent could sometimes be appointed as the NATO control point for the state but this function does not exist and HQ, [state] personnel do not have the authority to develop security clearance requirements.  

A PD is the official record of the major duties and responsibilities assigned to a position by an official with the authority to assign work.  A position is the duties and responsibilities that make up the work performed by the employee.  Classification appeal regulations permit OPM to investigate or audit a position and decide an appeal on the basis of the actual duties and responsibilities currently assigned by management and performed by the employee.  An OPM appeal decision classifies a real operating position, and not simply a PD.  Because this decision is based on the work currently assigned by management and performed by the appellant, based on our review we find the appellant does not perform all of the duties listed in his assigned PD as discussed above.  Therefore, the appellant’s PD does not meet the standard of adequacy addressed on pages 10-11 of the Introduction, and the agency must revise the PD to reflect our findings.

Position information

HQ, [State] is located in [installation], a non-active duty military installation with approximately 2,000 employees.  The installation is comprised of approximately 12 buildings and the tenants provide such services as information technology, human resources, contracting, and facilities engineering.  The HQ provides support to 48 units in approximately 29 armories located throughout the state of [name].  The appellant is one of several employees providing security program support to HQ, [State] tenants and armories and works under the technical and administrative supervision of the Assistant Director of Plans, Operations and Training.

The appellant provides physical security program support.  His duties include conducting physical security inspections, e.g., ensuring key and lock custodians are appointed in writing, and checking that the locks used on the arms, ammunition, and explosives storage facilities are in accordance with established regulations and end-of-day security checks are performed and recorded as required.  The appellant develops and provides recommendations to the unit commander to improve unsatisfactory inspection ratings.  He works with the Facility Management Office (FMO) to ensure the appropriate electronic monitoring systems are installed in the proper locations.  The appellant also conducts physical security risk assessments.  For example, an armory’s motor vehicles were located on a university campus and he developed recommendations for the commander to consider for improving their safety such as enhanced lighting, implementing [State] patrols, and locking the vehicles.  He also monitors intrusion detection systems to ensure the safety of sensitive paperwork and equipment.

The appellant provides operations security program support.  His duties include conducting operations security inspections, e.g., ensuring the inspected unit has an updated operations security plan and there is documentation showing all new unit members receive from their unit commander an operations security briefing within 90 days of assignment.  The appellant develops and provides recommendations to the unit commander to improve unsatisfactory inspection ratings.  He conducts operations risk assessments, e.g., recommending a unit commander instruct the military members who filmed their training in Canada delete what was filmed because some of the captured images were determined to be of a sensitive nature and were considered violations.  The appellant reviews the route to be taken prior to an armory transporting a convoy of military equipment to another location and provides recommendations for consideration if additional security measures should be taken.  He assesses and makes recommendations to armory commanders regarding the operational security of a website to which an armory’s personnel wishes to post sensitive unit information, e.g., unit deployment date and return date and numbers of unit personnel.

The appellant serves as an alternate or back up in providing information, personnel and anti-terrorism security program support.  In this capacity, he stays up-to-date on what is happening in these fields and provides some program support.  The appellant’s duties include information security inspections, e.g., ensuring the combinations of safes containing classified material are changed and a system is in place to track when materials are removed from and returned to the safe in accordance with established regulations.  The appellant develops and provides recommendations to the unit commander to improve unsatisfactory ratings.  He ensures [State] civilian and military employees with a security clearance receive their annual information security briefing and he conducts some of the briefings.  He reviews PDs to determine if the security level designation is appropriate for the work of the position.  The appellant provides assistance to [State] employees who need to access information or sit in on meetings involving issues at a security level that is higher than the employee’s security clearance level.  He conducts anti-terrorism construction assessments of construction plans for remodels of 50 percent or more of a building to ensure the plans include the appropriate safety precautions to protect personnel and assets.  At the two facilities with security guards, the appellant determines when the security guards will implement the random anti-terrorism measures he selects from an established regulation, e.g., searching the glove box and trunk of every seventh vehicle.  The appellant answers questions from contractors who conduct background checks on civilians visiting the base.

The appellant chairs the Force Protection Working Group, which meets on a quarterly basis.  The group is made up of representatives from operations, antiterrorism, physical, industrial, and personnel security fields.  They discuss how to deal with current issues within these fields affecting [state] and develop recommendations for HQ, [State] leadership consideration.  At each meeting the group reviews the names on the Barred Access Roster.  They determine if the individuals listed should remain barred from the base and provide recommendations to the HQ, [State] leadership for consideration.

In reaching our classification decision, we have carefully considered all information provided by the appellant and his agency including his official PD which, although not completely accurate, we have incorporated by reference into this decision.  In addition, to help decide the appeal we conducted separate telephone interviews with the appellant and his supervisor.

Series, title, and standard determination

The agency classified the appellant’s position in the Security Administration Series, GS-080, titling it Security Specialist, and the appellant does not disagree.  We concur with the agency’s title and series determination.  Positions in the GS-080 series are evaluated by reference to the grading criteria in the Security Administration position classification standard (PCS).  Our evaluation of the grade level of the appellant’s position follows.

Grade determination

The GS-080 PCS uses the Factor Evaluation System (FES), which employs nine factors.  Under the FES, each factor-level description in a JFS describes the minimum characteristics needed to receive credit for the described level.  Therefore, if a position fails to meet the criteria in a factor-level description in any significant aspect, it must be credited at a lower level, unless an equally important aspect that meets a higher level balances the deficiency.  Conversely, the position may exceed those criteria in some aspects and still not be credited at a higher level.  Each factor level has a corresponding point value.  The total points assigned are converted to a grade by use of the grade conversion table in the PCS.

Factor 1, Knowledge required by the position

This factor measures the nature and extent of information or facts that a worker must understand to do acceptable work and the extent of the skills needed to apply this knowledge.  To be used as a basis for selecting a level under this factor, knowledge must be required and applied.

At Level 1-6, employees apply a practical knowledge of the criteria, equipment, or techniques for at least one area of security specialization to perform limited independent work.  The assignments require some application of judgment in the use of security knowledge and in weighing the impact of variables such as cost, critical personnel qualifications, variations in building construction characteristics, access and entry restrictions, equipment availability, and other issues that influence the course of actions taken in resolving security questions or issues.  Employees use knowledge of security criteria, equipment, or techniques to resolve well-defined questions or conditions.  Considerations include clearance level required, adjudication of security clearances when clear-cut information is present, nature of materials or information to be protected, cost-benefit relationships for security devices or equipment systems, and similar considerations.  Some employees use knowledge at this level to serve as team members performing security surveys, and/or in planning and implementing specific assignments that comprise part of an overall security plan and the installation of security systems.  Such assignments typically involve coordinating with other members of the team and, perhaps, security and subject-matter specialists concerned with other, related security systems which may impact on the plans and recommendations of the team.

Work at Level 1-6 includes such duties as:  (1) inspecting facilities where security processes and methods are known to the employee and where security programs are operated effectively; (2) advising facility security personnel on matters requiring clear-cut explanations of regulations and procedures; (3) collecting information, interviewing workers, observing physical conditions and related activities concerned with violations and compromises; (4) determining eligibility for access to classified or sensitive information and granting personnel security clearances/accesses in the presence of minor derogatory information.  

At Level 1-7, employees use knowledge of a wide range of security concepts, principles, and practices to review independently, analyze, and resolve difficult and complex security problems.  Such work situations may involve, for example:  overlapping and conflicting requirements within a single facility or for a geographic region; agreements with other organizations, agencies, or with foreign governments for security resources and responsibility sharing; interpreting new policy issuances for application in a variety of environments and locations; or planning and recommending the installation of multilayered security systems which may involve personnel access controls, physical protection devices, monitoring equipment, security forces, remote alarm equipment, and other measures.  At this level, employees often use knowledge of security program interrelationships to coordinate the objectives and plans of two or more specialized programs; make accommodations in study or survey recommendations to allow for differing program requirements; develop or implement procedures and practices to cover multiple security objectives; serve on inter-agency or inter-organization committees and groups to identify and resolve security issues; or to perform similar work.  The work at this level requires knowledge of a broad range of security program relationships or significant expertise and depth in one of the highly specialized areas of security to perform security program planning, or knowledge of a great variety of state-of-the-art security equipment and devices to plan and implement protective methods and security procedures.  Level 1-7 knowledge is also used in security program planning at a major organizational level when such work involves applying policy direction to specific operating requirements and developing guidance for applying security policy, procedures, techniques, equipment, and methods to a variety of work situations and various degrees or levels of security controls.  

Level 1-6 is met.  The appellant utilizes knowledge of common physical, operations, information, personnel, and antiterrorism security concepts, principles, and practices for well-defined projects.  For example, the appellant keeps up-to-date on current events and threats that may impact [State] troops traveling overseas and state side so he can analyze the situation and recommend precautions that can be taken by the troops.  He conveys this information during the troops’ antiterrorism pre-travel briefing so they remain safe, e.g., do not travel in your military uniform or wear any other clothing that would indicate you are a military member.  Similar to Level 1-6, the work requires knowledge of [component], NGB, Department of the Army, and Department of Defense security requirements for tenant organizations, geographical areas on the base and supported armories and units, to resolve the day-to-day hazards concerning the protection of the base and the armories and units throughout the state of [name].  The appellant reads, understands, and evaluates site/facility engineering drawings for potential security deficiencies and vulnerabilities.  He weighs common factors to identify validity, cost, and required actions to meet identified physical and information security needs.  For example, when an armory fails a physical security inspection the appellant works with the commander in prioritizing the needed security enforcement measures such as gate access, alarm equipment, proper lock systems, and fence repairs.  He performs typical Level 1-6 assignments including inspecting armories where known security processes are in place, and advises facility and unit personnel on matters requiring clear-cut explanations of security regulations and procedures.  

Level 1-7 is not met.  This level represents broader assignments involved in planning and setting up security programs and operations.  The work requires a more comprehensive knowledge of security program interrelationships and the application of policy direction to specific operating requirements.  In other words, Level 1-7 encompasses program development work rather than well-defined, operating level security operations.  The focus of the appellant’s work is exclusively to carry out defined processes and procedures to ensure the safety of [component] personnel and assets throughout the state of [name].  He does not plan, develop, and implement security systems, procedures, practices, or controls, but rather follows regulations and guidelines that prescribe most aspects of his work.

This factor is evaluated at Level 1-6 and 950 points are credited.

Factor 2, Supervisory controls

This factor covers the nature and extent of direct or indirect controls exercised by the supervisor, the employee’s responsibility, and the review of completed work.

At Level 2-3, the supervisor defines the employee's scope of responsibilities and the objectives, priorities, and deadlines.  The employee is provided with more detailed assistance in unusual situations which do not have clear precedents.  The employee plans and carries out the steps involved, handles deviations from established procedures, and resolves problems that arise in accordance with agency or local standards, previous training and experience, established practices, or other appropriate security controls.  Projects typically involve conflicting interrelationships between security and subject-matter requirements requiring investigation and solution by the employee to determine the methods and procedures to use in the assignment.  Completed work is usually evaluated for technical soundness and appropriateness in relation to the nature and level of security required by the controlled materials, information, or facility involved.  Techniques used by the employee during the course of the assignment are not usually reviewed in detail.

At Level 2-4, the supervisor sets the overall objectives and decides on the resources available.  The employee consults with the supervisor in determining which projects to initiate, develops deadlines, and identifies staff and other resources required to carry out an assignment.  The employee is responsible for planning and carrying out the work, resolving most of the conflicts that arise, integrating and coordinating the work of others, and interpreting policy in terms of established objectives.  The employee keeps the supervisor informed about progress, potentially controversial matters, or developing security conditions or requirements with far-reaching implications.  Finished work is reviewed from an overall standpoint in terms of feasibility, compatibility with other security program requirements, or effectiveness in meeting objectives and achieving expected results.

Level 2-3 is met.  Like this level, the appellant is assigned continuing functions with the scope of responsibilities and the objectives, priorities, and deadlines defined by his supervisor.  Using his acquired competence and experience with the work, he carries out the multiple steps and processes involved independently, resolving problems that arise in accordance with established practices and controls.  Comparable to Level 2-3, the appellant assists [state] units by providing recommendations as needed to their commanders upon completion of physical security inspections to ensure the required security procedures are in place so the unit’s information remains protected.  Completed work products, including inspection results and recommendations, are reviewed by his supervisor for adherence to prescribed procedures.  

Level 2-4 is not met.  At this level, the employee determines how the work is to be accomplished and is responsible for resolving conflicts among participants and interpreting policy applicable to the work.  However, like Level 2-3 the appellant is responsible for the conduct of certain defined, recurring functions where the procedures to be followed and the parameters of the work are well defined.  The appellant stated during his interview he does not deviate from established processes or depart from mandated controls.  Comparable to Level 2-3, disagreements between the appellant and his co-workers regarding which recommendations to offer are resolved by the supervisor.  The appellant responds to work related questions from the contractors but unlike Level 2-4, he does not integrate nor coordinate their work.

This factor is evaluated at Level 2-3 and 275 points are credited.

Factor 3, Guidelines

This factor covers the nature of guidelines and the judgment needed to apply them.

At Level 3-3, guidelines available and regularly used in the work are in the form of agency policies and implementing directives, manuals, handbooks, and locally developed supplements to such guides, such as building plans, survey schedules, detailed work procedures, and directives that supplement agency directions.  The guidelines are not always applicable to specific conditions or there are gaps in specificity in application to specific security system requirements.  The employee uses judgment in interpreting, adapting, and applying guidelines to analyze and develop security plans within the intent of available guidance and independently resolves gaps in specificity or conflicts in guidelines, consistent with stated security program objectives.  The employee analyzes the applicability of guidelines to specific circumstances and proposes regulatory or procedural changes designed to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of security controls within the intent of directions concerning the level of security required.

At Level 3-4, guidelines provide a general outline of the concepts, methods, and goals of security programs.  The guidelines regularly applied at this level consist of broad security guidance, such as directives issued by national security agencies, general agency policy statements and objectives, interagency security program policy proposals requiring refinement and coordination, or others that are not specific in how they are to be defined, implemented, and monitored.  Where guidelines for performing the work are scarce or of limited use, the employee develops guides to be followed by security specialists at the same and lower levels in the organization, including facilities and programs in various geographical regions.  Typically, departmental guidelines available to the employee at this level are purposely left open to some local interpretation in order to allow accommodation to variations in local and remote environmental conditions that affect the nature of security systems designed to satisfy overall policy direction.  Due to the lack of specificity, the guidelines are often insufficient to accomplish specific objectives.  The employee must deviate from traditional methods and develop new methods, criteria, or proposed new policies.  The work at this level may also include interpretation and preparation of implementing procedures and instructions at field levels based on general agency policy statements.  The specialist establishes and monitors operating security programs to meet specific needs (e.g., for organizations covering a number of locations or a variety of security program situations involving classified information, facilities, devices, industrial or scientific processes, etc.).  Such work typically involves security requirements that require tailoring of programs to meet special circumstances.  The employee uses initiative and resourcefulness in researching and implementing new and improved security methods and procedures within the employing organization.  The employee establishes criteria for identifying and analyzing trends in security violations and other lapses in security, and in measuring organizational effectiveness in achieving security objectives and goals.  At this level, the employee exercises a great deal of personal judgment and discretion with broad latitude for interpreting and applying guidelines across the organization.

Level 3-3 is met.  Like this level, available guidelines regularly used by the appellant in carrying out his assignments include Department of the Army and NGB regulations, pamphlets, and bulletins, state laws and regulations, Department of Defense directives and instructions, and Army Tactics, Techniques and Procedures guidance.  He interprets and applies various subject-matter policies and regulations to include those regarding access to and protection of classified information.  Like Level 3-3, the appellant uses judgment to adapt, interpret, and apply guidelines, e.g., reviews PDs for security level determinations and works with the FMO to ensure the appropriate electronic monitoring systems are installed in the proper locations.
Level 3-4 is not met.  The guidelines regularly used by the appellant are not so broad and general nature, or lacking in specificity, as to require the refinement envisioned at this level.  Unlike this level, the guidance used for the appellant’s work is specific in defining areas to be addressed and methods to be employed in implementing and monitoring the [State] security program to protect the HQ, tenants, armories, and units’ personnel and assets.  He provides assistance regarding security issues to the units throughout the state but he does not develop guidelines to be used by other security specialists because existing guidelines are scarce or of limited use.  Unlike Level 3-4, the appellant does not deviate from traditional methods.

This factor is evaluated at Level 3-3 and 275 points are assigned.

Factor 4, Complexity

This factor covers the nature, number, variety, and intricacy of tasks, steps, processes, or methods in the work performed; the difficulty in identifying what needs to be done; and the difficulty and originality involved in performing the work.

At Level 4-3, employees perform various duties requiring the application of different and unrelated methods, practices, techniques, or criteria.  Assignments characteristic of this level include:  developing alternate security plans for a facility which describe options in levels of protection and the costs involved for a Federal or private sector facility where the minimum protection requirement is well-defined and accepted techniques are appropriate.  Employees compile, analyze, and summarize information relating to the designated security requirements, develop plans for approaches that may be taken, define the level of risk involved for each plan, the costs for implementing each of several options, and recommend a course of action to meet assignment objectives.  Recommendations on implementation of specific security systems and alternatives are based on factual information such as available funding, minimum regulatory requirements, delegated authorities to local managers to accept different levels of risk, and other factors that define the range of acceptable security decisions, programs, or systems related to the assignment.

At Level 4-4, employees perform assignments consisting of a variety of security duties involving many different and unrelated processes and methods relating to well-established areas of security planning and administration.  Assignments typically concern several broad security program areas or, in a specialty area, require analysis and testing of a variety of established techniques and methods to evaluate alternatives and arrive at decisions, conclusions, or recommendations.  Programs and projects may be funded by different organizations with differing security requirements or variations in ability to fund system implementation.  The implementation of established security policies, practices, procedures, and techniques may have to be varied for a number of locations or situations which differ in kind and level of security, complexity, and local conditions or circumstances requiring adjustments or modification in establishing approaches.  Implementation of the results of analysis may have to be coordinated with other organizations and security systems to assure compatibility with existing systems and demands on available resources.

Level 4-3 is met.  Like this level, the appellant’s work involves compiling, analyzing, and summarizing information identifying possible [State] security risks, options available to mitigate those risks, the cost of implementing the options, and other pertinent information that will assist the commanders in making informed decisions as to the course of action to follow.  Regulatory and agency requirements for the security programs are well-defined and based on commonly accepted and established techniques.  Comparable to Level 4-3, the appellant conducts inspections and risk assessments and develops recommendations based on factual observations, such as consideration of available funding and minimum regulatory requirements.  All inspection and risk assessment findings and recommendations are documented and presented to the HQ, armory or unit commander.

Level 4-4 is not met.  The appellant’s work requires performance of well-defined duties, e.g., identifying unsafe security conditions and situations and ensuring required security policies are put in place, related to ensuring that the [State] meets all security requirements for the base and armories and the protection of the personnel and sensitive assets they contain.  His work requires he assist the supported units with resolving local security issues.  For example, the appellant developed recommendations to ensure the safety of an armory’s motor vehicles located on a university campus.  However, unlike this level, these are routine issues and do not require varying security policies, practices, procedures, and techniques at a number of locations with differing levels of security, complexity, and local conditions, as required at this level.  Unlike Level 4-4, his assignments do not routinely involve the analyzing or testing of techniques since those used are well-defined and are required by agency policy.  The appellant’s recommendations are based on his analysis of information developed during risk assessments and inspection findings.

This factor is evaluated at Level 4-3 and 150 points are assigned.

Factor 5, Scope and effect

This factor covers the relationship between the nature of the work, and the effect of the work products or services both within and outside the organization.

At Level 5-3, the work involves resolving a variety of conventional security problems, questions, or situations, such as those where responsibility has been assigned for monitoring established security systems and programs or performing independent reviews and recommending actions involving well-established criteria, methods, techniques, and procedures.  The employee's work products, advice, and assistance affect the effectiveness and efficiency of established security programs and contribute to the security effectiveness of newly introduced programs and facilities requiring such protective services.  The effect of the work is primarily local in nature, although some programs may be part of multi-facility or nationwide program operations with interlocking security requirements.

At Level 5-4, the work involves investigating and analyzing a variety of unusual security problems, questions, or conditions associated with general questions about security or in a specialty area, formulating projects or studies to alter existing security systems substantially, or establishing criteria in an assigned area of specialization.  The work affects security system design, installation, and maintenance in a wide range of activities within the organization and in non-Government organizations, in providing solutions to security problems and questions, and in developing alternatives and options that are designed to meet requirements in a variety of physical and environmental circumstances.  Recommendations and technical interpretations affect the level of funding required to meet program objectives in conducting major substantive or administrative programs or services.  Program and project proposals frequently cut across component or geographic lines within the agency, and may also affect the budgets, programs, and interests of other Federal agencies or organizations, public organizations, and/or private industrial firms.

Level 5-3 is met.  Like this level, the appellant’s work involves implementing and monitoring established security programs.  He monitors intrusion detection systems to ensure the safety of sensitive paperwork and equipment, reviews the route to be taken prior to an armory transporting a convoy of military equipment to another location and provides recommendations if additional security measures should be taken, and assesses and makes recommendations regarding the operational security of a website to which an armory’s personnel wants to post information.  Comparable to this level, the work affects supported facilities and armories geographically dispersed throughout the state of [state].

Level 5-4 is not met.  Unlike this level, his work does not involve investigating problems, formulating projects, or establishing criteria related to the design or installation of security systems.  Like Level 5-3, the appellant’s work primarily involves investigating and analyzing a variety of conventional security problems and conditions related to implementing and monitoring established security programs.  His work affects [component] security activities throughout [state] but does not affect other state [component] or those in the private sector.

This factor is evaluated at Level 5-3 and 150 points are assigned.

Factor 6, Personal contacts

This factor includes face-to-face contacts and telephone dialogue with persons not in the supervisory chain. Levels described under this factor are based on what is required to make the initial contact, the difficulty of communicating with those contacted, and the setting in which the contact takes place.

At Level 6-2, personal contacts are with employees outside the immediate organization, but usually within the same Federal agency, and the roles and relative authorities of participants are explicit.  

At Level 6-3, personal contacts are with individuals from outside the agency who represent the security program interests of other Federal agencies, contractors, private business and financial interests, State and local governments, foreign governments, public and private institutions, or congressional offices.  Contacts take place in a moderately unstructured setting.

Level 6-2 is met.  The appellant’s personal contacts primarily include [State] commanders, managers and employees, and various State and Federal-level agency personnel outside his agency.  However, as with his internal agency contacts, like Level 6-2 those outside his agency are carried out where the roles and relative authorities of the participants are explicit.  Thus, while he contacts individuals outside his agency, the appellant’s contacts do not fully meet Level 6-3 where contacts take place in a moderately unstructured setting.

This factor is evaluated at Level 6-2 and 25 points are assigned.

Factor 7, Purpose of Contacts

The purpose of personal contacts ranges from factual exchanges of information to situations involving significant or controversial issues and differing viewpoints, goals, or objectives. The personal contacts which serve as the basis for the level selected for this factor must be the same as the contacts which are the basis for the level for Factor 6.

At Level 7-2, the purpose of the contacts is to resolve security issues and problems or to carry out security plans and reviews to achieve mutually agreed upon security and program objectives.  

At Level 7-3, the purpose of the contacts is to persuade program managers and other decision-making officials, with widely differing goals and interests, to follow a recommended course of action consistent with established security policies, objectives, and regulations.  At this level, persuasion and negotiation are necessary due to the presence of conflicting security, budgetary, and program objectives which must be resolved.

Level 7-2 is met.  The purpose of the appellant’s contacts is to resolve security issues and problems or for carrying out security reviews of units to achieve mutually agreed upon security and program objectives.  In doing so he ensures that established processes and procedures are in place such as recommending the installation of fences to secure the physical perimeter of an armory, ensuring that safe combinations are changed with the required frequency during inspections, discussing state fire safety requirements and the physical security requirements of assets on the base with state fire marshal personnel, and providing operation security briefings to employees as required.  

Level 7-3 is not met.  Unlike this level, the appellant’s contacts are not uncooperative as they have a vested interest in ensuring the security of [State] personnel and assets.  In contrast to Level 7-3, he is not tasked with persuading or negotiating with decision-making officials, with widely differing goals and interests, to follow a recommended course of action, and is not faced with conflicting security, budgetary, and program objectives which must be resolved during contacts with agency managers.  Such issues fall under the purview of higher level [State] management officials.

This factor is evaluated at Level 7-2 and 50 points are assigned.

Factor 8, Physical demands

This factor covers the requirements and physical demands placed on the employee by the work assignment.

At Level 8-1, the work is sedentary.  Typically, the employee may sit comfortably to do the work. However, there may be some physical activity such as walking, standing, and carrying of light items such as briefcases, notebooks, and data processing reports.  Lifting of moderately heavy objects is not normally required.  No special physical effort or ability is required to perform the work.

At Level 8-2, the work requires regular and recurring physical exertion, such as long periods of standing, walking, bending, stooping, reaching, crawling, and similar activities.  The work may regularly involve lifting and carrying moderately heavy objects of 50 pounds or less when delivering or installing security devices.

Level 8-1 is met.  The appellant’s work is mainly sedentary with some walking, standing, and carrying of light items.

Level 8-2 is not met.  Unlike this level, the appellant is not faced on a regular and recurring basis with the types of physical demands and exertion described at that level.  

This factor is evaluated at Level 8-1 and 5 points are assigned.

Factor 9, Work environment

This factor considers the risks and discomforts in the employee’s physical surroundings, or the nature of the work assigned and the safety regulations required.

At Level 9-1, the work is primarily performed in an office-like setting involving everyday risks or discomforts which require normal safety precautions typical of offices and meeting rooms. The work area is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated.

At Level 9-2, the work is performed in settings in which there is a regular and recurring exposure to moderate discomforts and unpleasantness, such as high noise levels, high temperatures, or adverse weather conditions.  Thus the employee may be required to use protective clothing or gear such as masks, gowns, coats, boots, goggles, gloves, or shields.

Level 9-1 is met.  The appellant works in an office setting involving everyday risks or discomforts.  Only normal safety precautions are required.

Level 9-2 is not met.  Unlike this level, his work does not include recurring exposure to the discomforts described at Level 9-2, nor is he required to wear protective clothing or gear in the performance of his assigned duties.

This factor is evaluated at Level 9-1 and 5 points are assigned.


Factor Level Points
1.  Knowledge required by the position  1-6 950
2.  Supervisory controls 2-3 275
3.  Guidelines 3-3 275
4.  Complexity 4-3 150
5.  Scope & effect 5-3 150
6.  Personal contacts 6-2   25
7.  Purpose of contacts 7-2   50
8.  Physical demands 8-1     5
9.  Work environment 9-1     5
Total Points 1885

The total of 1885 points falls within the GS-9 point range (1855 - 2100) on the grade conversion table in the GS-080 PCS.  Therefore, the appellant's position is properly graded at the GS-9 level.


The appellants' position is properly classified as Security Specialist, GS-080-9.


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