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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

Kim D. Gooden
Support Services Assistant
GS-303-6
Office of the Executive Director
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Department of State
Washington, D.C.
GS-303-5,
(Title at agency discretion)
C-0303-05-27

Robert D. Hendler
Classification and Pay Claims
Program Manager
Agency Compliance and Evaluation
Merit System Accountability and Compliance

11/24/2014


Date

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 the conditions and time limits specified in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards, appendix 4, section G (address provided in appendix 4, section H).

Since this decision lowers the grade of the appealed position, it is to be effective no later than the beginning of the sixth pay period after the date of this decision, as permitted by 5 CFR 511.702.  The applicable provisions of parts 351, 432, 536, and 752 of title 5, CFR, must be followed in implementing this decision.  If the appellant is entitled to grade retention, the two-year retention period begins on the date this decision is implemented.  The servicing human resources office must submit a compliance report containing the corrected position description 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 OPM office which accepted the appeal. 

Introduction

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Agency Compliance and Evaluation, Merit System Accountability and Compliance, accepted this position classification appeal on May 28, 2014.  The appellant occupies the position of Support Services Assistant, GS-303-6, in the Office of the Executive Director, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), at the Department of State (DOS) in Washington, D.C.  She requests reclassification of her position to the GS-342 Support Services Administration Series.  We received the agency administrative report (AAR) on June 10, 2014.  We accepted and decided this appeal under the provisions of section 5112 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.).

General issues

The appellant raises concerns about her organization’s classification review process and requests we exclude certain DOS employees from the appeal process.  By law, we must make our own independent decision on the proper classification of her position solely by comparing the appellant’s current duties and responsibilities to OPM position classification standards (PCSs) and guidelines (5 U.S.C. 5106, 5107, and 5112).  Under 5 CFR 511.609, OPM determines the facts necessary to adjudicate an appeal and the agency personnel who are contacted to obtain those facts.  Further, because our decision sets aside all previous agency decisions, the agency’s classification review process is not germane to this decision.

Position information

The appellant performs a variety of duties primarily in the areas of purchasing and inventory control to support the approximately 200 EAP employees, most of whom are located in the main DOS building in Washington, D.C., as discussed below.

The appellant processes telecommunications service requests (TSRs) against an established DOS contract with the communications/information technology company TWD to order or schedule the repair or installation of land lines, blackberries, iPhones, iPads, entry phones, Wi-Fi, secure telephone equipment, cabling, new computer drops, and other telecommunications-related services and accessories.  For equipment orders, she prepares the TSR for approval by her supervisor and for internal budget clearance and places the order directly with TWD via email.  For service requests, she determines the work required, prepares a TSR requesting a site survey from TWD to obtain a price estimate, then prepares a second TSR for approval by her supervisor and for internal budget clearance to order the services, and schedules, follows up, and oversees completion of the installation or repair.  She maintains and continually updates a TSR tracker to ensure orders are completed expeditiously.  This work is done in connection with office renovations, additional work stations, and conferences and other special events requiring technical support.  The appellant also processes requests for international voice gateway (IVG) telephone lines for all embassies in the EAP region following the same procedures with TWD discussed above.  The appellant reported she has processed over one hundred TSRs with TWD this calendar year. 

The appellant acts as Area Custodian Officer for EAP.  In this capacity, she maintains the inventory of all nonexpendable and accountable office equipment by updating the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS) for new, transferred, and excessed items; assists with the annual inventory review; and schedules the pick-up of excess equipment by the servicing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) component.

The appellant obtains all domestic bureau wireless telephone billing from TWD each month, reviews the bills to ensure the charges are correct, and forwards bills to individual employees who owe for personal usage.  

The appellant is the purchase card holder for express mailing services through accounts with UPS and FedEx.  She assigns tracking numbers to each shipment; receives and verifies the accuracy of the weekly billing; pays the bills via credit card; and runs monthly reconciliation reports for credit card invoices from the issuing bank.  She also orders door signs, name plates, and plaques for the bureau via email from two established providers, ensures the spelling is correct, and consolidates them into a combined order as appropriate, the costs for which are subsequently paid via credit card by another staff member.

The appellant confirms the daily receipt of all newspapers and other periodicals to which the bureau has subscribed.  She orders and renews the subscriptions, mostly through the DOS Library but occasionally directly, although she does not have credit card authority for such purchases.  She troubleshoots nondelivery problems with the vendors, including for digital subscriptions.  She picks up and distributes mail from the mail room, signs for express mail, and ensures that mailing supplies are available.

The appellant's position description (PD) was rewritten and classified (with no change in its classification) on October 17, 2013.  She asserts she still performs certain duties that were included in her previous PD but were omitted from her current PD (number S-96532).  These are addressed individually as follows:

  • Assists with obtaining estimates for renovations and determines appropriateness of the final estimates when compared to the needs of the work area - The appellant provided no documentation that she obtains and reviews estimates for all aspects of renovations as is implied by this statement.  She has, however, performed the more limited function of coordinating the telecommunications aspects of office moves with TWD in connection with renovations, such as assignment of telephone numbers, location of ports, etc.  This is expressed in her current PD as "[s]ecures necessary telephone service for the client offices... [c]oordinates with company in more complex cases of installation, relocations, etc."
  • Works with building facility and contractor to determine appropriate furnishings for the work environment - The appellant provided no documentation that she performs this work.
  • Secures necessary telecommunications services for the client offices such as cell phones, land lines, iPads, secured phone lines, computer data lines and Wi-Fi networks.  Coordinates with company in the more complex cases of installations, relocations, etc. - This work is included in her current PD in the more abbreviated form cited above.
  • Composes correspondence and/or other documents of a routine and non-technical nature on own initiative or based upon general oral instructions, brief notes, or information which is readily available in the files and records of the Admin. Division - This work is not specifically stated in her current PD but is inherent in the duties she performs, such as composing email communications with TWD to track the status of delivery orders, and as such does not represent a separate and distinct duty. 
  • Establishes/maintains a system of requisition control for purchases, orders of equipment and supplies.  Keeps client offices apprised of status of requests - The appellant maintains a spreadsheet tracker for TSRs but does not maintain a system for tracking overall bureau purchases. 
  • Liaises with the building maintenance managers, contractors (internally and externally) and regional offices to ensure serviced bureau/areas are properly maintained.  Ensures that contractors and GSA engineers fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with specified requirements - The appellant performs the more limited function of preparing and submitting delivery orders based on requests submitted by the serviced offices, tracking completion of the requested work, and overseeing any on-site installation or repair done by TWD service personnel.  She does not have contact with building maintenance managers, GSA engineers, or "regional offices," which the bureau does not have.

Based on the above, the appellant's current PD is considered to accurately represent the duties she currently performs and is adequate for classification purposes.

We conducted an on-site desk audit with the appellant on October 16, 2014, and a subsequent telephone interview with her supervisor on October 30, 2014.  We decided this appeal by considering the audit findings and all other information of record furnished by the appellant and her agency, including her official position description and other material received in the agency administrative report on June 10, 2014.   

Series and title determination

The appellant’s position is not classifiable to the GS-342 Support Services Administration Series.  The GS-342 series covers positions which involve supervising, directing, or planning and coordinating a variety of services functions that are primarily work-supporting, such as communications, purchasing, printing, property management, space management, records management, mail service, facilities maintenance, and transportation.  The GS-342 position classification standard (PCS) states “incumbents of positions covered by this series share a common responsibility for assuring the performance of those functions that facilitate the work of the organization serviced.”  By using the language “assuring the performance” rather than “performing,” the PCS limits this series to employees who, in some capacity, oversee the performance of those functions by others rather than personally perform the work.  Operating-level positions in this series (i.e., positions involved in the direct provision of support to a serviced organization) are responsible for supervising the work of other personnel engaged in the various support service functions.  Nonsupervisory positions in this series are limited to staff-level assignments concerned with planning, policy, or advisory functions pertaining to support services programs; i.e., developing guidance or planning for such programs to be implemented by others at lower levels or other components of the organization. 

The appellant performs operating-level work involving the direct provision of various support services.  However, she does not supervise other staff engaged in the provision of support services.  Therefore, her position may not be classified to the GS-342 series.

The appellant performs a variety of functions which are specifically covered by several one-grade interval series including the GS-1105 Purchasing Series (preparing delivery orders for telecommunications equipment and services and ordering newspaper subscriptions, name plates, etc.); the GS-2005 Supply Clerical and Assistance Series (maintaining the non-expendable property record, assisting with the annual inventory review, and coordinating the pick-up of excess property); and, to a lesser extent, the GS-540 Voucher Examining Series (reviewing telephone and express mail billing for accuracy). 

The Introduction to the Position Classification Standards (Introduction) instructs that:

For positions whose duties fall in more than one occupational group, the most appropriate series for the position depends on consideration of a number of factors.  For many of these positions the grade controlling duties will determine the series.  Sometimes, however, the highest level of work performed does not represent the most appropriate series, and the series can be determined only after considering the paramount qualifications required, sources of recruitment and line of progression, the reason for establishing the position, and the background knowledge required. 

The Classifier's Handbook reiterates these factors and adds that organizational function should also be considered, explaining that, for example, the Supply Clerical and Technician Series,

GS-2005,  may be the most appropriate series for a position located in a supply services organization, whereas a similar position located in an acquisition organization may be better classified in the Procurement Clerical and Technician Series, GS-1106.

Given these considerations, the appellant's position is considered properly assigned to the GS-303 Miscellaneous Clerical and Assistance Series, which covers clerical, assistant, or technician work for which no other series is appropriate, where the work requires knowledge of the procedures and techniques involved in carrying out the work of an organization and involves application of procedures and practices within the framework of established guidelines.  Clerical work in this series involves the processing or maintenance of records or documents which represent the transactions or business of an organization. 

The transactions and business of the appellant's organization are the provision of a variety of general support services. Within this context, the appellant performs a variety of functions associated with several one-grade interval series subsumed under the overall management coverage of the GS-342 Support Services Administration Series.  In such situations, the GS-303 series can be considered the one-grade interval counterpart to the GS-342 series.  Thus, the organizational context makes the GS-303 series the most appropriate series allocation in this case in terms of such considerations as the variety of qualifications required, the multiple potential recruitment sources, and the potential line of progression within the immediate organization. 

There are no prescribed titles for positions in the GS-303 series.  Therefore, the agency may construct the position’s title following guidance provided in the Introduction.

Standard and grade determination

The agency evaluated the appellant’s position by applying the grade-level criteria in the Grade Level Guide for Clerical and Assistance Work.  However, because the appellant’s primary duties are directly covered by the GS-1105 and GS-2005 series, the position should be graded by application of the PCSs for those series. 

Both the GS-1105 and GS-2005 PCSs are written in the Factor Evaluation System (FES) format, under which factor levels and accompanying point values are to be assigned for each of the following nine factors, with the total then being converted to a grade level by use of the grade conversion table provided in the standards.  The factor point values mark the lower end of the ranges for the indicated factor levels.  For a position to warrant a given point value, it must be fully equivalent to the overall intent of the selected factor-level description.  If the position fails in any significant aspect to meet a particular factor-level description, the point value for the next lower factor level must be assigned, unless the deficiency is balanced by an equally important aspect that meets a higher level.

Evaluation Using the GS-1105 PCS

This PCS was used to evaluate the appellant’s procurement-related duties, including preparing TSCs for telecommunications equipment and services and ordering newspaper subscriptions, name plates, etc.

Factor 1, Knowledge required by the position

This factor measures the nature and extent of information an employee must understand in order to do the work, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

The knowledge required by the appellant's position meets Level 1-3.  At this level, work requires knowledge of standardized purchasing regulations, policies, and procedures associated with obtaining oral solicitations and preparing delivery orders to make noncompetitive open market purchases or purchases under established contracts.  The following illustration is provided at this level:

Purchasing agents purchase a variety of commercial supplies by placing delivery orders against established contracts.  They verify completeness of item descriptions, minimum allowable purchase quantity, estimated cost, and source of supply by referring to schedules, vendor’s catalogs, and history files, or through contacts with vendors.  They consolidate orders to meet minimum ordering quantities under Federal Supply Schedules.  They help customers define product characteristics, and explain the rules on use of mandatory supply sources and penalties for returning items.

This level fully characterizes the appellant's work; i.e., placing delivery orders under established contracts for a variety of common commercial items and services (e.g., telecommunications equipment and services, name plates and door signs, etc.), where the knowledge required is limited to standardized purchasing policies and procedures and where the employee must help the customer define the products requested or services required (e.g., installation of a particular type of equipment may require additional cabling or lines).  

Level 1-4 is not met.  At this level, work requires in-depth or broad knowledge of purchasing regulations, methods, procedures, and business practices to make purchases involving specialized requirements, and/or commercial requirements that have unstable price or product characteristics, hard-to-locate sources, many critical characteristics, or similar complicating factors.  This includes knowledge of solicitation or purchasing methods to make competitive or sole source small purchases that involve collecting data to determine price reasonableness for new items, preparing detailed written solicitations, or tailoring special terms and conditions. The following illustration is provided at this level:

Purchasing agents purchase modified equipment or equipment repair services for assigned organizations.  The repairs or modifications typically involve the use of detailed RFQs.  For repair services, purchasing agents select or tailor various purchasing provisions, such as clauses stating the value of the item, warranty terms, standby provisions for periods of downtime, and special tests or inspections involved.  Purchases of modified equipment may involve many parts and more than one vendor.  Purchasing agents consider factors such as number of parts involved, which part, if any, has to be built first, the need for compatibility of parts, and number of manufacturers involved, to determine lead time for the vendor’s performance and coordinative efforts to ensure timely completion.  Purchasing agents monitor vendor performance through contacts and review of progress reports.  They discuss reasons for delays, testing failures, or price changes.  They negotiate for price reductions or other remedies.

The appellant's work does not require "in-depth or broad knowledge of purchasing regulations, methods, procedures, and business practices" because she does not make the more difficult types of purchases described at Level 1-4 which would require that level of knowledge, such as competitive or sole source small purchases that involve preparing detailed written solicitations, tailoring special terms and conditions, and determining price reasonableness for new items.  By contrast, the equipment and services she purchases are recurring and require, for example, only a brief statement of requirements on the TSR or a listing of the telephone ports to be relocated or reprogrammed.  Sample TSRs provided by the appellant include such "order remarks" as "one of each [device] unlocked," "site survey to install one open net drop," "reprogramming request for 23 land lines [list attached]," "transfer [telephone number] from Verizon to [bureau's] TWD account," “for  [phone numbers] add call pickup on button D," "add phone lines [list attached with room numbers, etc.],” "swap two phone lines," and other similar remarks.  These do not represent the types of detailed written solicitations, special terms and conditions, or specialized requirements expected at Level 1-4 as depicted in the above illustration.  The items being purchased do not have unstable price or product characteristics or other complicating factors as they are common office equipment and services.  They do not involve hard-to-locate sources, nor do they require the appellant to collect data from other vendors to determine price reasonableness, because the sources are established.   In short, the nature of the items being purchased by the appellant and the procurement method being used to purchase them preclude assignment of this level.

Level 1-3 is credited (350 points).

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.

The supervisory controls under which the appellant works and her level of responsibility meet Level 2-2.  At this level, the supervisor assigns work with standing instructions on applicable procedures and policies to follow, performance expected, and priorities and deadlines to meet, and provides additional specific guidance on new, difficult, or unusual assignments.  The employee carries out recurring work independently, although some employees may work more independently than others because they make purchases for standardized requirements.  The supervisor reviews completed purchase files to ensure that the methods used by the employee are technically accurate and comply with established procedures.

Because her work is standardized and recurring, the appellant works largely independently using established procedures.  Further, since all TSRs are reviewed and approved by the supervisor before the orders are placed, this represents the technical review typical of this level.

Level 2-3 is not met.  At this level, the supervisor assigns work with standing instructions on objectives, priorities, and deadlines, and indicates special considerations or unusual requirements.  The employee plans and carries out successive steps necessary to make purchases and uses accepted practices to resolve problems and deviations.  These may include requirements that have fluctuating price and item characteristics, are sole source, and are urgently required, or items that are new to the market.  The employee independently performs such tasks as negotiating price with a sole source vendor, persuading reluctant vendors to bid, and collecting data to determine price reasonableness for requirements not previously acquired.  The supervisor reviews recommended awards or completed purchase files for technical soundness, appropriateness, and conformance to policy and requirements.

This level relates not solely to the degree of independence exercised in carrying out the work, but also the degree of responsibility assigned in terms of what actions the employee is allowed to take independently.  The appellant is not delegated the authority nor does her work require the performance of such work as negotiating prices, persuading vendors to place bids, or collecting data to determine price reasonableness.  Rather, she works independently in carrying out the more limited and standardized assignments described at Level 2-2.

Level 2-2 is credited (125 points).

Factor 3, Guidelines

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

The guidelines used by the appellant meet Level 3-2.  At this level, established procedures and specific guidelines are available and apply to work assignments, such as procurement history files, Federal Supply Schedules or other established contracts, standard operating procedures, and regulations governing small purchases and delivery orders.  The employee uses judgment in selecting the appropriate reference and procedure to make purchases, such as selecting the appropriate purchasing and solicitation method, form, documentation, and standard terms.  There may be minor gaps in guidelines, and the employee may be expected to use some judgment and initiative in resolving aspects of the work not fully covered by instructions, such as when determining whether the important characteristics of an item match an item description in a mandatory schedule, judging whether quotes are for equal items, or suggesting item substitutes.  The employee refers situations that require significant deviations to the supervisor or others for guidance or resolution.

As at this level, established operating procedures cover the conduct of most of the appellant's work, which involves ordering recurring equipment and services from established suppliers.  However, she must use judgment in, for example, selecting the terminology used to accurately describe the work being requested.

Level 3-3 is not met.  At this level, guidelines are available but not completely applicable to many aspects of the work because of the unique or complicating nature of the requirements, such as when ensuring the adequacy of specialized purchase descriptions where there are no directly related reference sources.  The employee uses judgment to interpret guidelines, adapt procedures, decide approaches, and resolve specific problems, including, for example, reviewing detailed nonstandardized statements of work for adequacy, developing technical ranking factors for award determinations, or negotiating terminations for convenience or default.

The appellant does not prepare specialized purchase descriptions that have no precedents, nor does she perform work comparable to reviewing detailed nonstandardized statements of work, developing technical ranking factors, or negotiating terminations.  Therefore, her work does not require the exercise of judgment beyond what is required to carry out the standardized and precedented purchases described at Level 3-2. 

Level 3-2 is credited (125 points).

Factor 4, Complexity

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

The complexity of the appellant’s work meets Level 4-2.  At this level, the work involves performing a variety of related tasks using primarily simple noncompetitive purchasing methods, such as placing orders against single award Federal Supply Schedules and other similar contracts, or using imprest fund or credit card accounts.  The employee makes such decisions as whether to solicit additional sources or question a price based on knowledge of similar purchases.

As at this level, the appellant’s work involves the use of simple noncompetitive purchasing methods, such as placing orders against established contracts and using a credit card account.

At Level 4-3, the work involves using different processes and methods to make a variety of competitive or sole source small purchases and/or make a variety of purchases against various established contracts and agreements (e.g., multiple award schedules, blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), requirements contracts.)  The employee uses different solicitation methods, ordering or reporting procedures, purchasing methods, or clauses and provisions depending on the type, quantity, dollar value, or urgency of the requirement.  The employee makes such choices as whether to meet requirements by ordering against an existing contract or through open market procedures, whether and how to solicit quotes, or what terms and conditions apply.

The appellant does not use different processes and methods to make a variety of competitive or sole source purchases, nor does she make a variety of purchases and agreements against various established contracts and agreements (such as multiple award schedules, BPAs, and requirements contracts) within the meaning of Level 4-3.  Although she uses different methods to order telecommunications equipment as opposed to name plates and signage (aside from the fact that two different methods does not satisfy the meaning of the term “various”), these methods are prescribed and she does not make independent decisions as to how to purchase the items or from what sources.  Level 4-3 is the highest level described under this factor and thus represents the most difficult purchasing assignments, such as those involving making determinations on what multiple terms and conditions apply (such as those described under Level 1-4).  The appellant’s work does not include these types of characteristics and its complexity is fully represented at Level 4-2. 

Level 4-2 is credited (75 points).

Factor 5, Scope and effect

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

The scope and effect of the appellant's work meet Level 5-3 (the highest level described under this factor).  At this level, the purpose of the work is to purchase various commercial and/or specialized requirements and involves applying conventional practices to resolve a variety of purchasing problems (e.g., inadequate or restrictive specifications, lack of multiple suppliers, urgent need, and insufficient price history).  The work directly affects the ability of the serviced programs to conduct business adequately.  For example, ensuring the clarity and completeness of detailed purchase descriptions for specialized equipment allows a customer to pursue a particular course of action without lengthy delays.

As at this level, the purpose of the work is to purchase various commercial requirements by applying conventional practices and resolving a variety of purchasing problems related to, for example, the responsiveness of the vendors and urgency of need such as when requesting new IVG lines for the embassies in the EAP region and telecommunications capabilities for high-level conferences and media events at the DOS building. The work directly affects the ability of EAP staff to communicate with their overseas counterparts and thus to adequately conduct critical and time-sensitive business. 

Level 5-3 is credited (150 points).

Factor 6, Personal contacts

               and

Factor 7, Purpose of contacts

These factors include face-to-face and telephone contacts with persons not in the supervisory chain and the purposes of these contacts.  The relationship between Factors 6 and 7 presumes the same contacts will be evaluated under both factors.

Persons Contacted

Level 2 is met, where internal contacts are with employees in the same agency or activity but outside the immediate organization, and external contacts include commercial suppliers, contractors, and personnel at other agencies.  Correspondingly, the appellant has routine contacts with TWD staff and their on-site workers.

Level 3 is not met, where contacts include technical or legal representatives of firms who are negotiating substantial purchase order changes or terminations or who are protesting nonselection for award.  The appellant does not have this level of contacts within the vendor companies for issues of this magnitude.

Purpose of Contacts

Level b is met, where the purpose of contacts is to plan and coordinate actions to prevent or resolve delays or misunderstandings in the purchasing process, where a moderate amount of persuasion is required to encourage reluctant vendors to quote, resolve minor conflicts, or get agreement on changes affecting product, price, or delivery.  Correspondingly, the appellant has recurring contacts with contractor staff to resolve delivery delays, explain work requirements, etc. 

Level c is not met, where contacts are to settle conflicts or disputes or to respond to and explain decisions through negotiation and persuasion and the employee must be skillful in negotiating issues, such as termination settlements or other significant changes in the purchase, or explain award decisions to protesting vendors. The appellant's work does not involve issues that would require these types of contacts; i.e., she coordinates the delivery of services and resolves problems and misunderstandings, but she does not negotiate termination settlements or significant purchase and price changes or perform other comparable dispute resolution. 

Level 2b is credited (75 points).

Factor 8, Physical demands

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

The position matches Level 8-1, which covers sedentary work. 

Level 8-1 is credited (5 points).

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. 

The position matches Level 9-1, which describes a typical office environment. 

Level 9-1 is credited (5 points).

Summary
Factors Level Points
Knowldge Required by Position 1-3 350
Supervisory Controls 2-2 125
Guidelines 3-2 125
Complexity 4-2 75
Scope and effect 5-3 150
Personal contacts/Purpose of contacts 2b 75
Physical demands 8-1 5
Work Environment 9-1 5
Total 910

 

The total of 910 points falls within the GS-5 range (855-1100) on the grade conversion table provided in the PCS. 

Evaluation Using the GS-2005 PCS

This PCS was used to evaluate the appellant’s inventory control duties.

Factor 1, Knowledge required by the position

The knowledge required by the appellant's position meets Level 1-3.  At this level, work requires knowledge of standardized supply regulations, policies, procedures, or other instructions relating to the specific functions assigned, and familiarity with automated supply data bases to enter, correct, and retrieve recurring reports and to perform a range of standard clerical assignments.  The following illustration relating to inventory control work is provided by the PCS at this level:

Employees maintain perpetual inventory records (property book) of non-expendable property for the organization served.  When property is declared excess in any location, they verify accurate description and quantity available.  They circulate notifications of excess property available for other serviced units, prepare transfer documents according to prescribed procedures, or where no need exists, complete declarations of excess property.  They circulate reports of excess property submitted by other offices or agencies to identify those with potential for local use, and, after need for item is approved by a local operating office, prepare requisitions for items to be transferred.  When non-expendable property is lost, damaged, or destroyed, employees prepare survey reports.

As at this level, the appellant maintains the inventory of non-expendable property for EAP and scans and enters new items into the system.  When a customer declares an item excess, she reports this to the supervisor for determination of its disposition, coordinates the pick up of excess items, and records its removal in ILMS.  The above illustration fully describes the work she performs.  These are regarded as standard clerical assignments within the meaning of Level 1-3.  

Level 1-4 is not met.  At this level, work requires a thorough knowledge of governing supply regulations, policies, procedures, and instructions applicable to the specific assignment to conduct extensive and exhaustive searches for required information; reconstruct records for complex supply transactions; and/or provide supply operations support for activities involving specialized or unique supplies, equipment, and parts such as special purpose laboratory equipment, prototypes of technical equipment, parts and equipment requiring unusual protections in shipping and storage, or others unique to the organization’s mission.  The following illustration relating to inventory control/property management work is provided by the PCS at this level:

Employees maintain accurate accounting and reporting systems for non-expendable property and perform routine phases of property management.  They review proposed purchases to ensure they are in accordance with fiscal year property goals, review justifications, and recommend actions for property requests not on the plan; plan for and conduct limited segments of management studies on the utilization of property, and make informal recommendations based on data developed; review records and demand data to determine if property has become obsolete or excess to the needs of the organization and/or excess to the overall requirements of the agency, offer recommendations to operating officials for utilization, and prepare reports and necessary documentation for transfer of property; locate surplus property, determine age and probable condition by checking records, contacting local vendors, physically inspecting records, and arranging for transfer of property that can be used; and work with a supply specialist in preparing procedures for annual inventories, participate in inventory process, conduct investigations to determine causes of inventory discrepancies by checking all property records (e.g., purchase orders, surveys, transfers, and other available sources), and compile information necessary for consideration in survey actions relating to loss, damage, or destruction of Government-owned property.

The appellant does not perform inventory control and associated property management work as varied and difficult as that described at Level 1-4.  First, she maintains property records for common office equipment rather than for specialized or unique laboratory or other technical equipment, which limits the knowledge required in terms of understanding item characteristics and their potential usage. Second, she does not participate in the full range of functions normally associated with "the routine phases of property management" and described in the illustration above, such as reviewing proposed purchases to ensure their conformance with property goals, conducting studies on property utilization, and determining if property is obsolete or excess based on its age, condition, or demand data and arranging for its transfer.  The appellant's assignments are more limited because she works in an office setting which does not ordinarily permit the performance of the more difficult types of property management functions envisioned at this level, and because aspects of the work described are performed by other staff.  Rather, the appellant performs the more limited and standard clerical assignments typical of Level 1-3.

Level 1-3 is credited (350 points).

Factor 2, Supervisory controls

The supervisory controls under which the appellant works and her level of responsibility meet Level 2-3 (the highest level described under this factor).  At this level, the supervisor makes assignments by defining objectives, priorities, and deadlines and assists the employee with unusual situations that do not have clear precedents.  Continuing assignments are usually performed with considerable independence.  The employee plans and carries out the successive steps and handles problems in accordance with instructions, policies, or accepted practices.  When the employee assists a supply specialist in performing segments of more complex technical operations, the work may be subject to closer technical guidance and control.  Completed work is evaluated for technical soundness and conformance to policy and requirements.

Since the appellant's inventory control work is largely continuing and standardized, she carries it out with the degree of independence depicted at Level 2-3.

Level 2-3 is credited (275 points).

Factor 3, Guidelines

The guidelines used by the appellant meet Level 3-2.  At this level, procedures for doing the work have been established and a number of specific guidelines are available in the form of supply regulations, policies, and procedures.  The employee must use judgment in locating and selecting the most appropriate guidelines, references, and procedures for application and in making minor deviations in specific cases.  Significant proposed deviations from the guidelines are referred to the supervisor.

The appellant's inventory control work is limited, routinized, and performed in accordance with established procedures; i.e., she enters items into ILMS, arranges for the pick up of excess items, and participates in the annual property inventory.

Level 3-3 is not met.  At this level, guidelines are not completely applicable because of the problem solving or case nature of the assignments.  The employee uses judgment in interpreting and adapting guidelines such as policies, regulations, precedents, and work directions for application to specific cases or problems. 

The appellant neither described nor presented work samples of any work situations requiring her to adapt policies or regulations to solve specific problems.  Her work is controlled by established practices and standard operating procedures, as is typical of Level 3-2, rather than by written guidelines such as regulations.  Her work consists of routine property inventory maintenance rather than problem solving.

Level 3-2 is credited (125 points).

Factor 4, Complexity

The complexity of the appellant's work meets Level 4-2.  At this level, the work consists of duties that involve related steps, processes, or methods including work such as performing routine aspects of technical supply management functions in support of a specialist.  Actions taken by the employee differ in such things as the source of information, the kind of transactions or entries, or other differences of a factual nature.

As at this level, the appellant's work consists of related steps and processes in performing routine inventory control over EAP's office equipment.  The actions taken by her differ in such respects as the kinds of entries made, for example, when entering items into ILMS. 

Level 4-3 is not met.  At this level, the work involves unusually complicated or difficult technical duties involving one or more aspects of supply operations such as actions that are not standardized or prescribed, deviations from established procedures, new or changing situations, or matters for which only general provision can be made in regulations or procedures.  This typically involves supply transactions which experienced employees at lower grades have been unable to process or resolve.  The work involves conditions and elements that the employee must identify and analyze to discern interrelationships with other actions, related supply programs, and alternative approaches.

The appellant's inventory control work cannot be characterized as unusually complicated or difficult in terms of the technical aspects.  She handles a limited variety of items consisting of readily identifiable office equipment and carries out transactions that are standardized and prescribed. 

Level 4-2 is credited (75 points).

Factor 5, Scope and effect

The scope and effect of the appellant's work meet Level 5-2.  At this level, the work involves the execution of specific rules, regulations, or procedures and typically comprises a complete segment of an assignment or project of broader scope, such as when assisting a higher grade employee.  The work affects the accuracy and reliability of further processes or services in meeting customer requirements in the supported organizations.

As at this level, the appellant carries out specific procedures associated with maintaining inventory control, but she is not delegated complete responsibility for the bureau's property management function, aspects of which are performed by higher-graded staff.  Her work affects such further processes in meeting customer requirements as arranging to have excess property removed from the premises.

Level 5-3 is not met.  At this level, the work involves dealing with a variety of problem situations either independently or as part of a broader problem solving effort.  Problems encountered require excessive factfinding, review of information to coordinate requirements, and recommendations to resolve conditions or change procedures.  The work affects the adequacy of local supply support operations or contributes to improved procedures in support of supply programs and operations.

The appellant presented no work samples or descriptions where she was required to conduct excessive factfinding, review information to coordinate requirements, or recommend changing procedures.  The purpose of her inventory control work is not to resolve problem situations but rather to carry out established processes.  Her work cannot be said to directly affect the adequacy of local support operations because she is responsible only for her own personally performed work and not the broader property management operation.

Level 5-2 is credited (75 points).

Factor 6, Personal contacts

               and

Factor 7, Purpose of contacts

Persons Contacted

Level 2 is met, where contacts are with employees in the same agency but outside the immediate organization.

Level 3 is not met, where contacts are with individuals from outside the employing agency in a moderately unstructured setting (e.g., where the contacts are not established on a routine basis, the purpose and extent of each contact is different, and the role and authority of each party is identified and developed during the course of the contact).  Typical of contacts at this level are supply employees in other departments and agencies, inventory item managers, contractors, or manufacturers.  Although the appellant has contacts with USDA staff, these are limited and routinized contacts for the limited purpose of picking up excess items.

Purpose of Contacts

Level b (the highest level described under this factor) is met, where the purpose of contacts is to plan, coordinate, or advise on work efforts or to resolve operating problems by clarifying discrepancies in information submitted by the serviced organizations, resolving automated system problems causing erroneous transaction records, or seeking cooperation from others to resolve complicated supply actions.  The appellant's contacts involve some planning and coordination in, for example, participating in the conduct of the annual inventory, and resolving recordkeeping problems regarding the location of property items. 

Factor 8, Physical demands

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

The position matches Level 8-1, which covers sedentary work. 

Level 8-1 is credited (5 points).

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. 

The position matches Level 9-1, which describes a typical office environment. 

Level 9-1 is credited (5 points).

Summary
Factors Level Points
Knowledge Required 1-3 350
Supervisory Controls 2-3 275
Guidelines 3-2 125
Complexity 4-2 75
Scope and Effect 5-2 75
Personal Contacts/Purpose of Contacts 2b 75
Physical Demands 8-1 5
Work Evironment 9-1 5
Total 985

 

The total of 985 points falls within the GS-5 range (855-1100) on the grade conversion table provided in the PCS.

Guidance provided in the Introduction indicates that duties are grade-controlling only if they occupy at least 25 percent of the employee’s time.  Since other duties performed by the appellant which would be classifiable using the GS-540 series standard do not meet this threshold, they are not individually evaluated in this decision.  

Decision

The appellant's purchasing and inventory control duties are both evaluated at the GS-5 level.  Therefore, the position is properly classified as GS-303-5, with the title at agency discretion

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