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In This Section

Classification & Qualifications Appeal Decisions

Washington, DC

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

Thomas L. Nuscis
Field Supervisor
GS-303-7
New York Regional Office
Regional Offices
Field Division
Bureau of the Census
U.S. Department of Commerce
Cape May, New Jersey
Title at agency discretion with the prefix of "Supervisory" or suffix of "Supervisor"
GS-306-6
C-0303-06-18

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

09/28/2016


Date

As provided in section 511.612 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, 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).

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, Code of Federal Regulations, 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 (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 (OPM) office that adjudicated this appeal.

Introduction

On July 22, 2015, OPM’s Agency Compliance and Evaluation (ACE)-Philadelphia accepted a position classification appeal from Mr. Thomas L. Nuscis.  The appellant’s position is currently classified as Field Supervisor, GS-303-7, and is located in the New York Regional Office, Regional Offices, Field Division, Bureau of the Census (Census), U.S. Department of Commerce, in Cape May, New Jersey.  The appellant believes his position should be classified as Field Supervisor, GS-303-10.  We received the complete agency administrative report on September 17, 2015, and have accepted and decided this appeal under section 5112(b) of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.).

Background and general issues

The record shows the appellant sought reclassification of his position, then classified as Field Supervisor, GS-303-6, to the GS-10 grade level in a letter dated February 26, 2014, to the Census’ Human Resources Division, Human Capitol and Decennial Field Staff, which upgraded the position to the GS-7 grade level in a decision dated February 4, 2015.  In a letter dated February 23, 2015, he filed a classification appeal with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Human Resources Management, Office of Policy and Programs, which sustained the classification in a June 25, 2015, letter.  The appellant disputes the Census’ classification determination and subsequently filed this appeal with OPM.

The appellant raises a variety of issues concerning how Census organizes and assigns work, and Census’ determination to employ him in a part-time rather than full-time work status.  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 this 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).  This review does not cover work schedule disputes or the “adjustments commensurate” with a change from a part-time to a full-time work schedule that the appellant views as warranted.  The authority to assign work and establish work schedules is vested in the employing agency (5 U.S.C. 302).  Since these issues are not germane to the position classification process, we will not address them further in this decision.

The appellant believes he should receive GS-10 pay  retroactive to February 2012.  However, the U.S. Comptroller General (CG) states that an “…employee is entitled only to the salary of the position to which he is actually appointed, regardless of the duties performed.  When an employee performs the duties of a higher grade level, no entitlement to the salary of the higher grade exists until such time as the individual is actually promoted… Consequently, back pay is not available as a remedy for misassignments to higher level duties or improper job classifications.”  (CG decision B-232695, December 15, 1989).  Further, the Back Pay Act prohibits back pay for periods of misclassification.  See 5 U.S.C. 5596(b)(3).

Position information

Census  serves as a leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy, honoring privacy, protecting confidentiality,  and conducting their work in an open manner.  Their data are used by others to make determinations such as the distribution of Congressional seats to states; make planning decisions about community services, such as where to provide services to the elderly; distribute more than $400 billion dollars in Federal funds to local, state, and tribal governments each year; and provide age search information for such things as passport applications and qualifying for social security and other retirement benefits.

Census has six regional offices located in Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and Philadelphia, PA.  These offices are responsible for overseeing the data collection in their servicing areas.  The appellant is a Field Supervisor (FS) and his subordinate Field Representatives (FRs) are part of the New York Regional Office.  They form the team collecting data in Atlantic, Cape May, and Ocean counties in southern New Jersey.

The appellant’s FRs collect data on a monthly basis for recurring surveys.  These include the Current Population Survey, which provides information on Americans' work, earnings, and education, the National Crime Victimization Survey which gathers data on criminal victimization, and the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey which make up the Consumer Expenditure Survey program and provide information on American consumers' buying habits.  The appellant’s subordinates also gather data for one-time or less frequently conducted surveys such as the American Housing Survey that provides information on selected housing and demographic characteristics with data gathered for five months during odd number years.  The Private School Universe Survey provides information on private elementary and secondary schools with data gathered for three months each year.  The plans for recurring surveys already exist.  However, the survey sponsor, on an infrequent basis, may modify the survey, e.g., change the questions to ask respondents, add a county to the survey size, etc.  The changes may require the region to temporarily hire additional FRs or re-train the existing FRs.

The planning process for one-time surveys for which the FRs collect data begins when the survey sponsor notifies Census personnel when survey data will be needed, which can occur many months to a year in advance.  They discuss the survey details such as the counties and states from which to gather data, the survey size, the timeframe for collecting data, the questions to ask respondents, whether current and/or new FRs will collect data, and the number of hours to expend on data gathering, etc.  At the regional level, the surveys are assigned to  Survey Statistician (Office) (SSO) staff.  Census headquarters develops and provides a survey planning memorandum containing survey details to the SSO at the regional office overseeing the county or counties where data will be collected.  The SSO in turn analyzes the planning memorandum and provides recommendations to the Supervisory Survey Statistician (Field) who supervises the team that will collect the data, including how many FRs will be needed to collect data and the names of permanent FRs the SSO recommends for the survey.  The Supervisory Survey Statistician (Field) and the Field Supervisor (FS) whose subordinates will collect data then discuss the planning memorandum recommendations to determine how the survey will proceed in the field.  If changes are made, they are sent to the SSO for approval.  If temporary FRs are needed, they are recruited at the regional level and brought on-board so they receive training on the survey for which they will gather data.  Permanent FRs assigned to one-time surveys  also receive survey training as needed.

For one-time surveys in which a survey sponsor requests data from Atlantic, Cape May, or Ocean counties in New Jersey, the appellant is notified of the survey size, i.e., the addresses from which FRs will gather data, through the electronic Regional Office Survey Control System (ROSCOE).  If permanent FRs will be collecting data, he determines survey assignments based on such things as existing workload and scheduled leave, etc.  As the FRs gather data, they call or email the appellant with questions or concerns, e.g., a respondent is hesitant to answer questions, a FR does not feel safe in the neighborhood where the address is located, etc.  He assists FRs with identifying who lives at a particular address when they cannot get in contact with a respondent.  He tracks the progress of data collected by the FRs through the ROSCOE electronic system, which shows the survey data inputted by the FRs.  He also accesses the Contact History Instrument (CHI) system, which is a subsystem of ROSCOE and shows what happens when a FR goes to an address and how often the FR visits the address.  The appellant emails survey progress reports on a daily basis to his supervisor and they discuss survey progress as needed, e.g., lack of performance or incomplete notes in ROSCOE or CHI by an FR. 

Census-level personnel track the progress and quality of data for all surveys.  If the data is incomplete, it is sent back to the region collecting the data to be re-gathered.  After Census approves the quality of the data, it is released to the survey sponsor.

The appellant carries out the full range of first-level supervisory responsibilities over his assigned staff of approximately 10 permanent, part-time FRs.  He plans work, sets and adjusts short-term priorities, and prepares survey assignments.  He assigns work to FRs based on priorities, selective consideration of the difficulty and requirements of assignments, and the capabilities of the FRs.  He evaluates the FRs' work performance and gives advice, counsel or instruction on technical and administrative matters.  He interviews candidates for FR positions on his team and recommends appointment, promotion, or reassignment to such positions.  He effects minor disciplinary measures, such as warnings and reprimands, and recommends other actions in more serious cases. 

The appellant’s supervisor certified to the accuracy of the duties described in the appellant’s official position description (PD), number SA0045.  However, the appellant stated his PD does not cover the duties he performs on a daily basis.  A PD does not have to be a comprehensive and detailed narrative of the tasks assigned to a position.  Rather, a PD is the official record of the major duties and responsibilities assigned to a position or job by an official with the authority to assign work.  Major duties are normally those occupying a significant portion (at least 25 percent) of the employee’s time.  They should be only those duties currently assigned, observable, identified with the position’s purpose and organization, and expected to continue or recur on a regular basis over a period of time.  OPM considers a PD to be accurate for classification purposes when the major duties and responsibilities of the position are listed and proper classification can be made when the description is supplemented by otherwise accurate, available, and current information on the organization’s structure, mission, and procedures. 

Regardless, 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 the PD.  This decision is based on the work currently assigned to and performed by the appellant.

To help decide the appeal, we conducted telephone interviews with the appellant on June 29 and 30, 2016, his immediate supervisor on July 14 and 18, 2016, and his previous supervisor on July 28, 2016.  In reaching our decision, we have carefully considered all of the information obtained from the interviews, as well as all other information of record provided by the appellant and his agency.  After careful review, we find the appellant’s PD meets the standards of PD adequacy for classification purposes as discussed in section III.E of the Introduction and we incorporate it by reference into our decision, as it contains the major duties and responsibilities assigned to and performed by the appellant.

Series, title, and standard determination

The agency classified the appellant’s position to the Miscellaneous Clerk and Assistant Series, 303, titling it Field Supervisor, GS-303, and the appellant does not disagree.  We concur with the agency’s series determination, noting the appellant’s supervisory responsibilities fully meet the coverage requirements for titling as a supervisor addressed in the General Schedule Supervisory Guide (GSSG).  Since there are no prescribed titles for positions in this series, the agency should adhere to the position titling guidance in section III.H.2 of the Introduction and the prefix “Supervisory” must be added.  Because the appellant spends all of his work time performing supervisory responsibilities, we have solely applied the criteria in the GSSG to evaluate the grade of those duties.  Our application of the grading criteria of the GSSG follows. 

Grade determination

The GSSG is a cross-series guide used to determine the grade level of supervisory positions in the General Schedule.  The GSSG has six evaluation factors, each with several factor-level definitions and corresponding point values.  Positions are evaluated by crediting the points designated for the highest level met under each factor, and converting the total to a grade by using the point-to-grade conversion chart in the guide. 

The appellant disagrees with the agency’s evaluation of Factor 6, including the application of the Special Situations under that factor.  After careful review, we concur with the agency’s evaluation of Factors , 2, 3, 4, and 5 but do not concur with the agency’s evaluation of Factor 1. Therefore, we have confined our analysis to Factors 1 and 6.

Factor 1, Program scope and effect

This factor assesses the general complexity, breadth, and impact of the program areas and work directed, including its organizational and geographic coverage.  It also assesses the impact of the work both within and outside the immediate organization.  To assign a factor level, the criteria dealing with both scope and effect, as defined below, must be met.

            Scope

This element addresses the general complexity and breadth of the program (or program segment) directed; or the work directed, the products produced, or the services delivered.  The geographic and organizational coverage of the program (or program segment) within the agency structure is included under this element. 

At Level 1-1, the position directs work that is procedural, routine, and typically provides services or products to specific persons or small, local organizations.  The illustration of such work in the GSSG is directing messenger, guard, clerical, or laboratory support work below grade GS-5 or equivalent that provides local services to an organizational unit, small field office, or comparable activity.

At Level 1-2, the position directs a program segment or work that is administrative, technical, complex clerical, or comparable in nature.  The functions, activities, or services provided have limited geographic coverage and support most of the activities comprising a typical agency field office, an area office, a small to medium military installation, or comparable activities within agency program segments.  Illustrative of such work in a field office providing services to the general public is furnishing a portion of such services, often on a case by case basis, to a small population equivalent to all citizens or businesses in a portion of a small city.  Depending on the nature of the service provided, the serviced population may be concentrated in one city or spread out over a wider geographical area.

The work performed by the appellant’s organization meets the geographic sweep of Level 1-2 because his subordinates gather survey data within Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties in New Jersey.  However, the population contacted by the FRs falls short of Level 1-2 in that the information gathering is limited to samples of the population resident in the assigned counties who are asked routinized questions rather than provide actual services.  Further, this work constitutes a process preliminary to the primary work of the agency, i.e., the compilation and subsequent analysis of the data issued in Census reports.   The work directed by the appellant also fails to meet the degree of complexity required for evaluation at Level 1-2 in that the work is not complex clerical in nature, i.e., GS-5 or higher.

In summary, the appellant's position fails to fully meet Level 1-2 and must be evaluated at Level 1-1 for Scope.

      Effect

This element addresses the impact of the work, the products, and/or the programs described under “Scope” on the mission and programs of the customer(s), the activity, other activities in or out of government, the agency, other agencies, the general public, or others. 

At Level 1-1, the work facilitates the work of others in the immediate organizational unit, responds to specific requests or needs of individuals, or affects only localized functions.

At Level 1-2, the services or products support and significantly affect installation level, area office level, or field office operations and objectives, or comparable program segments; or provide services to a moderate, local or limited population of clients or users comparable to a major portion of a small city or rural county.

Like Level 1-2, the appellant provides services to a moderate, local or limited population of clients comparable to a major portion of a small city or rural county.  However, as previously noted, the FRs' work is limited to routinized fact finding and not directly and substantially affect the citizens contacted.  Thus, while the survey information gathered for subsequent use by the survey’s sponsor to make determinations affecting U.S. citizens at the local and national level; e.g., nationally to determine how many Congressional seats are allotted to each state, and locally to determine where new roads and school are needed and where services for the elderly are needed, etc., the FRs’ work does not have the direct and significant effect found at Level 1-2.  Thus, effect must be credited at Level 1-1.

To assign a factor level, both scope and effect must be met.  Because the scope and effect of the appellant’s position does not fully meet Level 1-2, Level 1-1 is assigned for 175 points.

Factor 6, Other conditions

This factor measures the extent to which various conditions contribute to the difficulty and complexity of carrying out supervisory duties, authorities, and responsibilities.  There are two steps involved in assigning a level under Factor 6:  (1) select the highest level that the position meets, and (2) if the level selected in step 1 is either 6-1, 6-2, or 6-3, refer to the Special Situations section of Factor 6.  If the position meets three or more of the situations, then a single level is added to the level selected in the first step.  If the level selected under step 1 is 6-4, 6-5, or 6-6, the Special Situations section does not apply, and no level is added to the one selected in step 1. 

The appellant states his position should be credited with Level 6-2a because he has full and final technical authority over FR work.  For example, the appellant states he determines the area or neighborhood from which each FR will gather data and the number of samples assigned each FR.  He states he monitors the progress of each FR, provides assistance, and determines if it is cost-effective to reassign cases or request assistance from other FSs as necessary.  The appellant further states he designates an FR to serve as a “subordinate supervisor” when a team of FRs gather medical records data from such institutions as a hospital, medical facility, or prison for a period of up to several weeks.

At Level 6-1, the work supervised or overseen involves clerical, technician, or other work comparable in difficulty to the GS-6 level or lower.  This could vary from basic supervision over a stable work force performing work operations that are routine, to a level of supervision which requires coordination within the unit to ensure that timeliness, form, procedure, accuracy, quality, and quantity standards are met in individual cases.

Level 6-2 describes two sublevels (a and b) and the assignment of either one warrants crediting a position at Level 6-2, as follows:  (1) at Level 6-2a, the work supervised or overseen involves technician and/or support work comparable in difficulty to a GS-7 or GS-8 base level, or work at the GS-4, 5 or 6 level where the supervisor has full and final technical authority over the work, which requires coordination and integration of work efforts, either within the unit or with other units, in order to produce a completed work product or service.  Full and final technical authority includes responsibility for all technical determinations arising from the work, without technical advice or assistance on even the more difficult and unusual problems, and without further review except from an administrative or program evaluation standpoint; and (2) at Level 6-2b, the position under review directs subordinate supervisors of work comparable to GS-6 or lower, where coordinating the work of the subordinate units requires a continuing effort to assure quality and service standards, limited to matters of timeliness, form, procedure, accuracy, and quantity.

Like Level 6-1, the appellant supervises a stable GS-4 work force performing data gathering work.  He coordinates the execution of the surveys for which data is requested from a county or counties encompassing his team’s area of responsibility in southern New Jersey.  The record shows the appellant oversees the procedural aspects of the surveys.  For each survey, the appellant’s duties include designating which FR(s) will be assigned an area and the number of addresses to assign each FR, tracking the FRs' progress with gathering data, providing assistance to FRs as needed, etc., to ensure accuracy and quality of data, that FRs interact with respondents in a professional manner, and that survey requirements are met.

Unlike Level 6-2a, the appellant does not supervise technician and/or support work comparable in difficulty to the GS-7 or GS-8 levels.  Also unlike Level 6-2a, he does not have full and final technical authority over his GS-4 base level of work as described above.  Such credit is precluded given the existence of availability of the appellant’s immediate supervisor, SSO, and Census-level personnel to respond to technical questions.  As discussed previously, Census-level personnel make the final technical decisions on the quality of the data and, if found to be unacceptable, will notify the regional office to re-gather the data if necessary. 

The appellant implies his position meets Level 6-2b, stating “[t]he additional consideration that the position satisfies is the direction of a subordinate supervisor” when he designates an FR “as a supervisor of a team” which may last for several weeks.  The GSSG defines a supervisor as an employee who oversees the work of a recognizable work force through the combined technical and administrative direction of others.  This work must occupy at least 25 percent of the position’s time on a regular and recurring basis and meet at least the lowest level of Factor 3 in the GSSG.  The GSSG specifically excludes positions that have project management responsibilities, like the aforementioned FR who acts as a temporary work coordinator within the appellant’s own GSSG-recognized unit.  Thus, the appellant’s position does not meet Level 6-2b.

Special Situations

Special situations are credited only if they significantly complicate a position’s supervisory and oversight duties and responsibilities.  The appellant asserts his position should be credited with meeting five of the eight special situations.  We have addressed below the special situations the appellant disputes as compared to his position.

Variety of Work

This situation is credited when more than one kind of work, each kind representing a requirement for a distinctly different additional body of knowledge on the part of the supervisor, is present in the work of the unit.  A “kind of work” usually will be the equivalent of a classification series.  Each “kind of work” requires substantially full qualifications in distinctly separate areas, or full knowledge and understanding of rules, regulations, procedures, and subject matter of a distinctly separate area of work.  Additionally, to credit “Variety” (1) both technical and administrative responsibility must be exercised over the work and (2) the grade level of the work cannot be more than one grade below the base level of work used in Factor 5.

The appellant states his position should be credited with this special situation because the “FS positions establishes [sic] a wide variety of work” such as providing training, conducting quality control checks of FR work, working in a virtual environment, etc.  He states each survey requires a different set of knowledge and he receives training on each survey so he can provide assistance to the subordinate FRs as needed through the data gathering process. 

The appellant misconstrues the meaning of “kind of work” as defined in the GSSG as it relates to the work supervised rather than to the work performed by the supervisory position itself.  All of the appellant’s subordinate employees occupy positions in a single series, i.e., GS-303.  While specialized survey tasks may vary, they reflect work in a single kind of work as defined in the GSSG, i.e., survey information gathering.  Thus, this situation may not be credited to the appellant’s position.

Shift Operations

This situation is credited when the position supervises an operation carried out on at least two fully staffed shifts.

The appellant states his position should be credited with this special situation because he must be available at any time of the day to respond to inquiries from regional office personnel, FRs, etc., and provide assistance to FRs and, when FR vacancies exist, he works in the field gathering data, which he considers a second work shift.  The appellant also states the FRs who only work in the evenings and on weekends should be considered second shift workers and if only one or two FRs are working and meeting the production goals for the survey, the shift should be considered fully staffed. 

In order to be assigned this special situation, the appellant’s subordinates need to work a set schedule on more than one fully staffed shift.  A shift has traditionally been defined as consisting of a full eight-hour tour of duty, e.g., day, evening, and night shifts.  As discussed in the Digest of Significant Classification Decisions and Opinions, October 1997, No. 20-09, the GSSG was developed during a time when compressed work schedules, flexitime, and similar work scheduling options were well-established and widely used.  Therefore, using the term “shift,” without reference to compressed work schedules or flexitime, must be considered a careful and deliberate decision by the OPM in its developing of the GSSG.  The record shows the FRs have no set work schedule or work shifts.  FRs work the hours of the day and the days of the week needed to gather data from respondents.  The appellant approves an FR working between the hours of 11:00 pm and 6:00 am.  Thus, the appellant does not supervise an operation carried out on at least two fully staffed shifts as stipulated in the plain language of the GSSG.  That the appellant may need to perform non-supervisory work is not germane to the analysis of this situation as the GSSG does not provide credit for “self-supervision” as the appellant appears to request.  Therefore, this situation is not credited.

Fluctuating Work Force or Constantly Changing Deadlines

Fluctuating work force is credited when the work force supervised by the position has large fluctuations in size (e.g., when there are significant seasonal variations in staff) and these fluctuations impose on the supervisor a substantially greater responsibility for training, adjusting assignments, or maintaining a smooth flow of work while absorbing and releasing employees.

Constantly changing deadlines is credited when frequent, abrupt, and unexpected changes in work assignments, goals, and deadlines require the supervisor constantly to adjust operations under the pressure of continuously changing and unpredictable conditions.

The appellant states his position should be credited with the fluctuating work force special situation because one-time surveys increase his responsibilities, e.g., conducting training classes, ensuring new FRs complete administrative assignments, adjusting assignments to ensure survey goals are met, and monitoring and reporting subordinates' concerns.  The appellant also states he has to balance unexpected shifts in workload; e.g., training sessions and conferences are scheduled and cancelled, work is added, surveys are unexpectedly cancelled, survey completion dates can be extended by days or hour-by-hour, and completion dates can be shortened due to budgetary issues.

The appellant’s permanent subordinate work force has been stable for at least the last two years.  The one-time surveys may require hiring temporary FRs but it is known in advance and is included in the survey planning memorandum provided to the appropriate regional office for planning purposes.  The record shows the appellant meets with each new FR for approximately two hours and they discuss the lap-top computer, equipment, and training guides the appellant provides to the FR.  Each new FR completes a self-study course about the survey for which hired and attends new hire training, which the SSO usually conducts.  If there are many new hires to train, the SSO will request the Supervisory Survey Statistician (Field) who supervises the team collecting data to nominate an FS to also teach the new FRs.  However, this situation occurs infrequently.  Thus, the occasional hiring of additional FRs is not equivalent to the significant variations in staff levels envisioned by this special situation and does not impose on the appellant a substantially greater responsibility for training new employees on a continuing basis and adjusting assignments among the existing staff to accommodate the fluctuating work force.  Therefore, this situation is not credited.

The appellant states his position should be credited with the constantly changing deadlines special situation because the survey deadlines constantly change so the team meets acceptable response rates.  He states he knows the short-term survey goals and adapts to changes such as inclement weather, instrument and computer malfunctions, employee illnesses and resignations, while ensuring the FRs meet the survey goals.  The appellant also states most  “close-out” dates are either extended due to low response rates or shortened due to survey budget issues or high response rates.

The planning memorandum includes the survey goals and deadlines and the record shows they change infrequently.  When the appellant has to deal with unanticipated issues such as inclement weather, equipment malfunctions, or employee illnesses, he notifies his supervisor.  They discuss the situation and develop a plan to get the work completed within the pre-established survey goals.  Changes to the survey goals and deadlines may occur but they do not constantly change as defined under this special situation.  Therefore, this situation is not credited.

We also note that the position classification process requires that the full intent of a PCS be discerned and applied according to established classification principles and practices which do not permit crediting the same aspects of a position multiple times.  For example, we may not credit dealing with the impact of varying and flexible work tours and similar workload control and assignment issues under Shift Operations, Physical Dispersion, and this situation.  As a threshold PCS, Special Situations requires that three of eight situations be met fully to add an additional level under Factor 6.  The presence of a substantial number of and widely varying alternative situations shows the GSSG recognizes many positions may meet one or two additional demands but not three and, therefore, will not receive an additional level for this factor.

These situations deal with various conditions not credited fully in applying earlier portions of the GSSG.  For example, Factor 3 covers the demands of work planning, scheduling, employee instruction, and similar inherent supervisory duties and responsibilities.  In crediting Level 6-1 to this position, we acknowledged the coordinative demands of the position in ensuring that timeliness, form, procedure, accuracy, quality and quantity standards are met.  Thus, the appellant may not rely on these same demands already credited to his position to justify the crediting of multiple special situations to his position.

Physical Dispersion

This situation is credited when a substantial portion of the workload for which the supervisor is responsible is regularly carried out at one or more locations which are physically removed from the main unit (as in different buildings, or widely dispersed locations in a large warehouse or factory building), under conditions which make day-to-day supervision difficult to administer.

The appellant states his position should be credited this special situation because he works at home but meets with his subordinates on a regular basis within a “large geographical area.”  They meet to resolve technical computer issues, getting a respondent to provide requested information, resolving issues with local law enforcement by confirming the reason for the FR’s presence in the area, securing training facilities, conducting training, and observing a subordinate’s work performance.  He states he has accompanied a FR to a respondent’s address because the FR felt unsafe, and another FR parked their vehicle a distance from the respondent’s residence.  The appellant also states he accompanies his subordinates in the field at least nine times a month and provides feedback as needed.

The work performed by the appellant and his staff is inherently independent in nature since all work out of their homes.  Although the data collection is performed within a multi-county area and the appellant may travel many miles to meet with an FR, the appellant can monitor work progress by accessing computer systems.  He can readily communicate with FRs by telephone, text, email, and/or in person and can readily move FRs and/or equipment to accomplish the work. 

This situation is met when physical dispersion adds to the difficulty of day-to-day supervision; e.g., managing teams of subordinates at dispersed worksites where work planning and oversight is complicated by the need to arrange for the staged movement of equipment, supplies, and personnel to accomplish phased projects or managing fully staffed ongoing work operations at multiple sites.  The conditions presented by the appellant do not reflect the complex planning and oversight demands of this special situation.

Special Hazard and Safety Conditions

This situation is credited when the supervisory position is regularly made more difficult by the need to make provisions for significant unsafe or hazardous conditions occurring during performance of the work of the organization.

The appellant states his position should be credited this special situation because he sometimes accompanies a FR when the FR does not feel safe in a particular neighborhood.  He states he has felt unsafe and threatened many times, the team never knows how the person on the other side of the door will react to them, and they go into some high-crime neighborhoods.  He also states members of the public have increasingly become more hostile toward government employees and he takes seriously the safety of the FRs.  He states hazardous conditions exist, e.g., changing road and weather conditions, and any team member can find themselves dealing with bad weather far from home. 

This situation is met when the supervisor must ensure special equipment, regular training in its use, etc., are arranged for and provided to the staff.  These requirements typically occur in occupations with inherent dangers such as law enforcement, firefighting, explosives disposal, chemical manufacturing oversight, etc.  The record shows the appellant has to resolve the occasional hazardous and safety issues presented by the FRs typical of many Federal positions with public contact.  However, they do not meet the depth and breadth of ongoing supervisory attention and planning contemplated by this special situation.  Therefore, this situation is not credited.

As previously stated, Level 6-1 was credited for the first step of the evaluation for this factor.  Because this position meets none of the special situations, a single additional level may not added to the level selected in the first step.

This factor is evaluated at Level 6-1 and 310 points are credited. 

Summary

By application of the GSSG, we have evaluated the appellant’s supervisory duties as follows:

Factor Level Points
1.  Program scope and effect 1-1 175
2.  Organizational setting 2-1 100
3.  Supervisory and managerial authority exercised  3-2 450
4.  Personal contacts
     Nature of contacts 4A-2 50
     Purpose of contacts 4B-1 30
5.  Difficulty of typical work directed 5-2 205
6.  Other conditions 6-1 310
Total points 1320

The total of 1320 points falls within the GS-6 grade range (1105-1350) on the point-to-grade conversion chart in the GSSG.  Therefore, the appropriate grade for the appellant’s position is GS-6. 

Decision

The appellant’s position is properly classified as (title at agency discretion with prefix “Supervisory”), GS-303-6.  

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