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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

[appellant's name]
Mail Clerk
GS-305-5
[Appellant’s organization/work location]
Mail Room
Naval Medical Hospital
Department of the Navy
Mail Clerk
GS-305-4
C-0305-04-05

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

02/25/2014


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).

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.  Also, 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 (CFR), must be followed in implementing the decision.  If the appellant is entitled to grade retention, the two-year retention period begins on the date the 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 office which adjudicated this appeal. 

Decision sent to:

[Name and mailing address of appellant]

[Address of appellant’s servicing human resources office]

 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Civilian Human Resources)

1000 Navy Pentagon

Room 4D548

Washington, DC  20350-1000

 

Director, Workforce Relations and Compensation Division

Department of the Navy

Office of Civilian Human Resources

614 Sicard Street SE, Suite 100

Washington Navy Yard, DC  20374-5072

 

Director, Office of Civilian Human Resources

Department of the Navy

614 Sicard Street SE, Suite 100

Washington Navy Yard, DC  20374-5072

 

Compensation and Classification Program Manager

Office of Civilian Human Resources

Department of the Navy

614 Sicard Street S.E., Suite 100

Washington Navy Yard, DC  20374-5072

 

Chief, Classification Appeals Adjudication Section

Department of Defense

Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service

4800 Mark Center Drive, Suite 05G21

Alexandria, VA  22311

Introduction

On June 5, 2013, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Atlanta Oversight office, accepted a classification appeal from [name of appellant].  On July 15, 2013, we received the agency’s complete administrative report.  On October 11, 2013, the appeal was transferred to OPM’s San Francisco Oversight office.  The appellant’s position is currently classified as Mail Clerk, GS-305-5.  However, because as Assistant Official Mail Manager (AOMM) he monitors the work of another mail clerk, runs the day-to-day operation of the Mail Room, and trains mail orderlies, he believes his position should be classified as Lead Mail Clerk, GS-305-7.  The appellant works in the Mail Room, [name of appellant’s organization and location], Department of the Navy (Navy).  We have accepted and decided this appeal under section 5112(b) of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.). 

General issues

The appellant makes various statements about the classification review process conducted by his agency, and compares his position to similar but higher graded positions within other Navy commands and other agencies.  He also states that agency instructions and Base Orders (i.e., numbers BO 5112.1F and 1E and AIRS Checklist) specify that the Mail Room AOMM and Assistant Postal Officer shall be appointed in the grade of GS-6 or above.  In adjudicating this appeal, our responsibility is to make our own independent decision on the proper classification of his position.  By law, we must make that decision solely by comparing his current duties and responsibilities to OPM position classification standards and guidelines (5 U.S.C. 5106, 5107, and 5112).  Since comparison to standards is the exclusive method for classifying positions, we cannot compare the appellant’s position to base operating instructions, internal staffing guidance, or other positions, which may or may not be classified correctly, as a basis for deciding his appeal.  Because our decision sets aside any previous agency decisions, the classification practices used by the appellant’s agency in classifying his position are not germane to the classification appeal process. 

Like OPM, the appellant’s agency must classify positions based on comparison to OPM standards and guidelines.  The agency also has primary responsibility for ensuring that its positions are classified consistently with OPM appeal decisions.  If the appellant considers his position so similar to others that they all warrant the same classification, he may pursue the matter by writing to his agency’s human resources headquarters.  In doing so, he should specify the precise organizational location, classification, duties and responsibilities of the positions in question.  If the positions are found to be basically the same as his, his agency must correct their classification to be consistent with this appeal decision.  Otherwise, the agency should explain to him the differences between his position and the others. 

The appellant requests that OPM review the classification of proposed Mail Room position descriptions (PDs).  Under the provisions of section 5112(b) of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), and its implementing regulations contained in subpart F of part 511 of title 5, CFR, an employee may only appeal the class, grade, or pay system of the position which the employee occupies.  Thus, his request for OPM to review them is beyond the scope of the classification appeal process.  In addition, under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 5107, agencies have the authority to classify positions under their jurisdiction in the appropriate class and grade in conformance with standards published by OPM.  Consequently, the appellant should direct his concerns regarding the classification of any proposed or existing PDs to the agency human resources office holding original classification authority over the positions in question.  The appellant believes the position classification standard (PCS) for the Mail and File Series, GS-305, is outdated.  However, the adequacy of the grade-level criteria in OPM standards is not appealable (5 CFR 511.607(b)(5). 

The appellant disagrees with the accuracy of his PD [number] believing it does not fully address his “lead” responsibilities of the Mail Room, and it contains numerous factual errors regarding the amount and type of mail processed in his unit.  However, the appellant’s supervisor has certified to the accuracy of the appellant’s PD.  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.  This decision is based on the work currently assigned and performed by the appellant. 

Our review disclosed the appellant’s PD contains some factual errors regarding the number of individual key-locked mail boxes assigned to military staff members residing in the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ), and others temporarily assigned to the Naval hospital.  For instance, he sorts mail placed in 358 (rather than 385) individual key-locked mail boxes, and sorts official mail for 72 (rather than 66) internal distribution points, and 17 external distribution points.  He also updates the hospital’s mail directory daily rather than monthly, and no longer processes Defense Automated Printing Service (DAPS) bulk envelope printing requests.  In addition, as opposed to the discussion of Factor 4, Complexity, we find the appellant is not involved with handling a “great variety” of materials received.  Therefore, the appellant’s PD of record 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

The appellant processes mail and serves as AOMM for the Naval hospital.  He receives and processes incoming ordinary, accountable (e.g., registered, certified, insured), personal, and official mail from the [name of base] Branch United States Post Office (USPS), and mail delivered from the USPS bulk mail sorting facility located off base.  He also receives and routes from hospital departments and other organizations “guard mail” which is internal mail addressed to other organizations on base not requiring postage.  His major duties include processing mail/packages for hospital staff members and patients from USPS, FEDEX, UPS, DHL and other non-government delivery services, and processing outgoing mail for the hospital for delivery to [name of base] USPS post office military section which affixes postage.  He routes personal mail for staff members based on their instructions in the Naval Postal Directory System covering 358 individual key-locked mail boxes assigned to military staff members residing at the BEQ, and also processes personal mail for specific staff members who prefer their mail sent directly to their assigned departments in the hospital.  He sorts official incoming mail and guard mail to 72 internal departmental distribution points and 17 external distribution points.  The appellant ensures all outgoing mail has complete return addresses and that packages are properly sealed and wrapped.  He completes all necessary forms and maintains records/documentation of all outgoing official accountable mail.  The appellant maintains and regularly updates the active mail directory system covering approximately 2,000 mail directory entries for the hospital’s military and civilian staff.  He ensures checks received for insurance payments are verified, logged, and delivered to the Uniform Business Office (UBO) for timely processing.  The appellant acts as liaison between the hospital and the [name of base] USPS branch office for all mail related matters. 

In reaching our classification decision, we have carefully reviewed 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 current and former supervisors. 

Series, title, and standard determination

The agency has classified the appellant’s position in the Mail and File Series, GS-305, titling it Mail Clerk.  Although the appellant agrees with the series of his position, he believes it should be titled Lead Mail Clerk because he monitors the work of another employee in the Mail Room, runs the day-to-day operation, and sometimes trains mail orderlies assigned to various hospital directorates. 

We concur with the agency’s title and series determination and find the appellant’s position does not meet the coverage requirement for application of Part I of the General Schedule Leader Grade Evaluation Guide (GSLGEG).  Part I of the GSLGEG is used to classify positions of work leaders who, as a regular and recurring part of their assignment, lead three or more employees in clerical or other one-grade interval occupations in the General Schedule (GS) in accomplishing work.  Work leaders also perform work that is usually of the same kind and level as that done by the team led.  As discussed in Part I of the GSLGEG they perform a range of duties including distributing and balancing workload among employees; monitoring the status, progress and completion of work; instructing employees in specific tasks and job techniques and providing on-the-job training to new employees; reviewing completed work to ensure methods and deadlines are met and amending or rejecting it as necessary; monitoring work conditions, approving leave for a few hours, and resolving simple, informal complaints of employees; and reporting to the supervisor on employee performance including providing input on promotions and reassignments, etc. 

Although the appellant performs some of the above duties, Part I of the GSLGEG specifically excludes coverage of employees who are responsible for work assignments requiring only one or two other workers.  Such positions have as their primary responsibility personal work accomplishment.  Responsibility for work assignments involving one or two other persons is not sufficient to warrant being classified as a leader.  Part I indicates that such positions are classified under appropriate nonsupervisory classification standards.  Therefore, because the appellant oversees the work of only one other assigned employee in the Mail Room his position does not meet the coverage requirement for application of Part I of the GSLGEG and, thus, may not be titled with the prefix “lead.”

The appellant indicates that mail orderlies (usually military staff members) regularly pick up mail for their assigned hospital directorates from the Mail Room, and because he sometimes trains them in basic mail related functions he should be credited with overseeing their work.  However, the mail orderlies are not employees officially assigned to the Mail Room, do not report to the appellant as either their supervisor or leader, and he is not officially delegated any of the authorities listed in Part I of the GSLGEG over their work.  Thus, they cannot be credited as employees led under Part I.  As addressed below, we have evaluated the grade of the appellant’s position solely by applying the grading criteria in the PCS for the Mail and File Series, GS-305. 

Grade determination

The GS-305 PCS uses the FES format, which employs nine factors.  Under the FES, each factor-level in a standard 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 the deficiency is balanced by an equally important aspect that meets a higher level.  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 an employee must understand to do acceptable work (e.g., steps, procedures, practices, rules, policies, theories, principles, and concepts) and the nature and extent of the skills necessary to apply that knowledge.

At Level 1-3 (the highest level for this factor described in the PCS), positions typically require a thorough knowledge of the functions performed within the units serviced (e.g., the various operations performed within an accounting unit, the functions performed within an administrative services unit, etc.), a thorough knowledge of the subject matter content of the materials being processed, and a thorough knowledge of correspondence procedures and filing systems characterized as “complex” in the Occupational Information section of the GS-305 PCS.  Thus mail positions at Level 1-3 are concerned with three inter-related elements:  First, they normally process and route diverse and complex materials such as highly technical materials containing specialized, scientific, or technical terminology which is typically more difficult to review and assign to the proper unit.  This contrasts with mail positions which process items which are clearly identifiable in terms of name, room numbers, subject headings, or file or reference citations.  Second, the clarity of functions in the serviced units also contributes to the complexity of mail positions at Level 1-3.  For example, mail clerks at this level may have problems in distinguishing among possible mail routings because the individual functions of organizational units to which mail is routed are narrow in scope (i.e., very similar in nature) within distinct types, or because functions are otherwise similar and closely related.  Third, the number of distribution points involved is considered in assessing relative difficulty.  However, the number of distribution points described at various levels is illustrative and not restrictive because the number does not, in and of itself, affect grade level, but must be considered in relation to the other two preceding factors in assessing the difficulty and complexity of routing mail. 

At Level 1-3, mail positions encompass practical knowledge of mail systems procedures necessary to recognize problems within the unit and recommend improved procedures and methods to increase efficiency.  Level 1-3 knowledge enables the mail clerk to analyze and route materials to 150 or more discrete organizational units that may have close or overlapping functions when the subject matter of the materials may not be clearly identifiable and may pertain to matters of substantive nature, e.g., technical, scientific, or similarly specialized fields.

The appellant’s position meets Level 1-3.  Like this level, he applies a thorough knowledge of the functions performed within the serviced hospital directorates (e.g., Medical Services, Surgical Services, Nursing Services) and their sub-units (e.g., Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Critical Care Nursing); and a thorough knowledge of the subject-matter content of the mail processed to differentiate between the various professional medical specialties within sub-units in the routing process (e.g., pediatrics/dermatology/family and emergency medicine; neurosurgery/urology/orthopedics/audiology; maternal-child infant nursing/obstetrics-gynecology/critical care nursing).  This level of knowledge is similar to that described in Benchmark Number 3 (BMK#04-3) in the GS-305 PCS covering a GS-4 Mail Clerk position where the clerk applies knowledge of the functions of a number of closely related technical and professional organizations, and possesses knowledge of specialized terminology associated with the activities and programs of those organizations to route specialized subject-matter materials to them. 

Comparable to Level 1-3, the appellant applies the degree of knowledge necessary to perform a range of mail processes including a practical knowledge of mail systems procedures necessary to recognize problems within the mail unit and recommend improved procedures and methods to increase efficiency.  For example, he recommended that multiple large boxes of retirement records from Patient Administration be regularly shipped (by common carrier) by the installation’s Preserving, Preservation, and Packing section rather than the Mail Room which saved $40,000 annually in postage costs.  He also negotiated an agreement with the [name of base] post office to allow the hospital to send its guard mail through that post office for distribution, which reduced delivery time from up to four days to one day, diminished the potential of theft or loss of personal identifiable information (PII), and reduced the distribution work load of the Mail Room.  The appellant was also instrumental in identifying an annual cost saving for the hospital of $43,000 by discovering in a base support agreement that as a Navy tenant activity the [name of service] base host was obligated to cover the cost of metered postage for all official command mail from the hospital.  In addition, he suggested that all accountable mail, such as medical records, be mailed out certified/return receipt rather than just first class because such materials were being lost in transit.  Comparable to Level 1-3 and BMK#04-3, the appellant applies the preceding knowledge to route mail to discrete organizational units of the hospital which have close and overlapping functions within each directorate.  Like that level, due to the diversity and complexity of the organizations serviced the subject-matter of mail is frequently not clearly identifiable because it concerns matters on a variety of substantive specialized medical fields. 

Although the discussion of Level 1-3 notes that mail clerks at that level route materials to 150 or more discrete organizational units, as previously discussed in the Occupational Information section of the GS-305 PCS the number of distribution points in the standard is illustrative and not restrictive because numbers alone do not affect grade level, and must be considered in relation to the other factors involved in routing.  Thus, while the three elements discussed in the Occupational Information section are inter-related, the number of distribution points in and of themselves is not grade-controlling.  Therefore, we find that given the diversity and complexity of mail processed and distributed by the appellant, his organizational subject-matter knowledge, and the discrete, numerous, and varied specialized medical functions performed within the hospital directorates the position overall meets Level 1-3.  

This factor is evaluated at Level 1-3 and 350 points are credited.

Factor 2, Supervisory controls

This factor covers the nature and extent of direct or indirect controls exercised by the supervisor, the responsibility of the employee, and the degree to which work is reviewed by the supervisor. 

At Level 2-2, the clerk receives instructions from the supervisor on non-recurring assignments and changes in procedures.  Most assignments are performed independently according to established procedures and previous experience.  The supervisor is consulted when problems arise for which there are no precedents.  The work is reviewed for accuracy by spot-checking or selective sampling, and may be reviewed occasionally for compliance with regulations. 

At Level 2-3, the clerk receives general guidance from a supervisor who may be concerned with other functions and services in addition to mail and file (e.g., the chief of an administrative services unit, the executive officer or administrative officer of an organization, etc.).  The employee independently plans and adjusts mail and file functions to meet the requirements of serviced units.  The serviced units are concerned with new, emerging, or innovative programs (e.g., research and development, engineering or scientific laboratories, etc.) that are subject to relatively constant change.  The employee must therefore independently recognize the need for and take action to adjust or change mail-processing procedures; to establish new file procedures or systems, and to otherwise adapt or change established procedures.  The supervisor is normally consulted only when problems arise for which no guidance or precedents exist.  The work is reviewed in terms of the results achieved and the effect on resources and other administrative matters. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 2-2.  As described at this level and in BMK#04-3, the appellant works independently on normal mail flow using established procedures and previous experience.  He receives instructions from the supervisor [name of organization] only on non-recurring assignments, unprecedented problems, and resource issues, or when changes in hospital mail distribution procedures occur.  Like Level 2-2, the supervisor reviews work either by spot-checking mail distribution or sampling particular accountable and logged mail (e.g., insurance check receipt verification) for compliance with agency regulations. 

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 2-3.  Unlike this level, the appellant receives more than just general guidance from his supervisor on mail operations, and the supervisor does not oversee an entire administrative services unit or serve as the administrative officer of a particular organization at the hospital, i.e., Director for Administration.  Although the appellant independently performs his assignments, the supervisor is consulted on any significant changes or adjustments in mail handling functions.  In contrast to Level 2-3, the units serviced at the hospital are not engaged in new, emerging, or innovative programs subject to relatively constant change.  Although the appellant recognizes problems in mail processing procedures and recommends improvements, in contrast to Level 2-3 this is not done within the context of new, emerging, or innovative programs.  Unlike Level 2-3, the supervisor is consulted more frequently than just when problems arise for which there is no guidance or in unprecedented situations.  In addition, work is reviewed more closely (e.g., spot-checking) than just in terms of results achieved and impact on resources. 

This factor is evaluated a Level 2-2 and 125 points are credited. 

Factor 3, Guidelines

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

At Level 3-2, guidelines consist of numerous standing oral instructions and written procedural guides that are applicable in differing work situations.  Thus, employees must use judgment and initiative in selecting and applying the proper guide (e.g., in the reading and routing of materials to a number of serviced units when the functions of the units are very similar).  Judgment is also used in selecting alternative means of locating materials missing from files when search information is inadequate or misleading and several locations are possible. 

At Level 3-3, guidelines consist of standing oral instructions and written guides that may not be applicable (and in some cases may not cover) an extensive range of varying operating situations.  Significant judgment is required both to determine which of the guides to apply to specific cases or problems, and to adapt or improvise procedures to accommodate precedent-setting or unique situations.  Written guides typically include various mail management or records management handbooks and manuals that are used in setting up initial mail and file services to serve new organizational requirements or to extensively modify existing services because of major deficiencies or system changes. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 3-2.  Like this level, the appellant applies numerous standing oral instructions and written procedural guides applicable in differing work situations including USPS regulations, Department of Defense (DoD) and Navy postal instructions and regulations, internal written hospital mail processing standard operating procedures, and inter-office agreements on the handling and routing of incoming and outgoing mail.  Similar to Level 3-2 and BMK#04-3, the appellant must exercise judgment and initiative in selecting and applying the proper guide because he routes materials to particular serviced units containing closely allied functions such as Radiology covering Nuclear Medicine, or the Laboratory/Clinical Pathology unit covering Microbiology, Cytology, or Molecular Genetics.  He also applies judgment in selecting the proper guide when there is a conflict between the USPS and DoD/Navy published regulations on mail processing procedures, or internal hospital guidance differs from [name of base] postal requirements.  Comparable to Level 3-2, the appellant uses judgment in selecting alternative means in locating missing addressees including checking current and historical individual and unit locator files, staffing listings, and organization charts. 

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 3-3.  Unlike this level, guidelines used are applicable and cover all mail processing situations, and thus do not require the appellant to adapt or improvise mail processing procedures to accommodate precedent-setting or unique situations.  Additionally, guides used do not typically include various mail management manuals on setting up initial mail services to serve new organizational requirements or modify existing services due to major deficiencies or system changes. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 3-2 and 125 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 4-2, positions require performance of several related duties involving consideration of choices of appropriate procedures or actions to be taken in a variety of work situations.  There is generally variety in the materials processed and in the activity required.  Work at this level also requires a number of steps or processes involving several different types of mail and recognizing what procedure is appropriate for each type (e.g., registered, insured, certified, security classified, etc.); distinguishing among a large number of distribution points where there may be some overlap of functions; classifying to appropriate file categories based on subject-matter content of materials; searching for missing materials and locating requested materials when information varies or conflicts; or similar work. 

At Level 4-3, positions require performance of a number of duties involving the full range of mail and file procedures in a work situation where there is typically a great variety in the materials received, great complexity of subject-matter materials and processing actions (e.g., scientific or technical materials, requirement for multiple actions of an independent or sequential nature, etc.).  Work of this type involves multiple classifications, multiple indexes, multiple cross-referencing, and special searching when such duties are performed in a work context of overlapping classifications categories, diverse and complicated subject-matter content (i.e., legal and technical subject-matter in a variety of formats), and recognition of the need for (and taking action to obtain) improvements in records or mail processing procedures; or work of similar difficulty. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 4-2.  Like this level and as described in BMK#04-3, due to the variety of mail received and diversity of hospital organizations and overlapping functions of serviced units, the appellant performs several related duties in sorting mail to determine its proper routing.  Comparable to Level 4-2, given the complexity of subject-matter, medical terminology, and the number of discrete and related functions of sub-units, he determines proper processing steps for several different types of mail including logging of accountable or sensitive correspondence, and handling of laboratory material and registered, certified, and insured mail.  

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 4-3, or the description for this factor in benchmark BMK#05-2 which describes a Mail Clerk position at the GS-5 level in the GS-305 PCS.  Unlike Level 4-3, the appellant’s work situation does not typically encompass a great variety in the mail received, and great complexity of subject-matter materials and processing actions described at Level 4-3.  Consequently, the work does not involve use of multiple indexing or cross-referencing in the context of overlapping categories and highly complicated subject-matter content such as legal and technical subject-matter in a variety of formats.  Moreover, although the appellant has recognized the need to improve mail processing procedures, this has not been done within the work context described at Level 4-3.  The appellant’s position also fails to meet BMK#05-2.  Contrary to the description of Level 4-3 in the benchmark, the appellant’s duties do not require that he thoroughly study each separate item of correspondence in relation to prior items on the same or related subjects, before making decisions on what action must be taken and which hospital organization will take the action.  Although he sorts and processes mail for diverse organizations and overlapping medical functions, he is not required to locate precedent materials and prepare digests or synopses of contents prior to routing to appropriate action offices. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 4-2 and 75 points are credited.

Factor 5, Scope and effect

This factor covers the relationship between the nature of the work, i.e., the purpose, breadth, and depth of the assignment, and the effect of work products or services both within and outside the organization.

At Level 5-2 (the highest level for this factor described in the PCS), positions are concerned with work involving the improvement of methods or procedures affecting the overall efficiency of the mail and file unit; or work that involves determining and selecting appropriate materials to be made available to serviced units for their use.  Performance affects the ability of personnel in the serviced units to perform their duties in an accurate manner, or provide service to others. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 5-2.  Like this level, given the appellant’s many years of experience and knowledge of mail room activities, both as a civilian employee and former military service member, he is regularly concerned with identifying methods for improving the efficiency, flow, and distribution of hospital incoming and outgoing mail.  For example, as discussed previously under Factor 1 of this decision, the appellant has identified numerous cost-saving and efficient measures for improving routing and processing mail.  He has also recommended changes to agency mail regulations and policies.  For instance, although base mail rooms normally do not receive and process packages sent through private shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS, he was instrumental in getting an exception to policy from the hospital command so that serviced units, individual staff members and patients could receive such mail.  In doing so, he established an internal accountability system to document and track receipt of such mail.  Like Level 5-2, his work affects the ability of hospital personnel in serviced units to perform their duties in an accurate manner by being informed of current postal regulations and internal mailing procedures, and providing service to others, particularly inpatients, by ensuring timely receipt of personal mail. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 5-2 and 75 points are credited.

Factor 6, Personal contacts

This factor includes face-to-face and telephone contact and other dialogue with persons not in the supervisory chain. 

At Level 6-2 (the highest level for this factor described in the PCS), personal contacts are typically with personnel in serviced units and may also include personnel outside the organization (i.e., USPS employees, personnel in administrative units of higher or subordinate levels of the agency, etc.)

The appellant’s position meets Level 6-2.  Like this level and as described in BMK#04-3, in addition to immediate coworkers he typically has contacts with personnel in all serviced hospital directorates including mail orderlies and administrative staff.  Additionally, he regularly contacts staff outside the hospital including USPS employees at the base post office and mail distribution center, and administrative personnel at higher levels (base headquarters and training camp mail processing staff), and subordinate levels, e.g., various medical clinics.

This factor is evaluated a Level 6-2 and 25 points are credited.

Factor 7, Purpose of contacts

The purpose of 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 selected for Factor 6. 

At Level 7-1, the purpose of contacts is to obtain or exchange information regarding performance of functions in the immediate work unit and (as required) to provide information to personnel in serviced units regarding mail and file operations. 

At Level 7-2, the purpose of contacts is to work with personnel in serviced units in resolving such operating problems as delays in receipt of materials, improperly coded or classified files or materials, and problems of similar difficulty, including inadequacy of existing file categories. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 7-1.  Like this level and as described in BMK#04-3, the purpose of the appellant’s contacts is to obtain and exchange information regarding the functions of the Mail Room and, as needed, provide information to personnel in hospital directorates concerning mail distribution operations to ensure efficient mail service. 

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 7-2.  Unlike this level, although occasionally he is involved in resolving delays in serviced units receiving their mail due to inaccurate addresses or sub-unit designations, this does not occur on a regular and recurring basis.  The purpose of his contacts is typically limited to obtaining and exchanging information regarding mail processing operations. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 7-1 and 20 points are credited.

Factor 8, Physical demands

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

At Level 8-2, the work requires long periods of standing, walking, bending, etc.; or requires recurring lifting and carrying of packages, pouches, or bags of moderate weight (under 50 pounds) and occasional lifting and carrying of heavier materials. 

At Level 8-3, the work requires regular and recurring lifting and carrying of objects of heavy weight (over 50 pounds) and occasional lifting and carrying of heavier materials. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 8-2.  Like this level and as described in BMK#04-3, the appellant’s work requires long periods of standing and bending while sorting and routing mail.  In addition, he regularly lifts and carries large mail trays of moderate weight (30-40 pounds), and occasionally lifts and carries heavier materials such as boxes of training materials. 

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 8-3.  Unlike this level, he does not regularly lift and carry objects of heavy weight (over 50 pounds).

This factor is evaluated at Level 8-2 and 20 points are credited.

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 performed in an office setting that is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated.

At Level 9-2, the work is performed on loading docks or other areas exposed to the weather, or in areas subject o high noise levels and vibration, and may require the use of protective clothing.  This level also encompasses working around moving equipment. 

The appellant’s position meets Level 9-1.  Like this level and as described in BMK#04-3, work is performed in an adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated mail room. 

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 9-2.  Unlike this level, he does not perform work on loading docks or other areas exposed to the weather, or in areas subject to high noise levels and vibration which may require using protective clothing.  He also does not perform his duties around moving equipment. 

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

Summary of FES factors

Factor Level Points
1.  Knowledge Required by the Position 1-3 350
2.  Supervisory Controls 2-2 125
3.  Guidelines 3-2 125
4.  Complexity 4-2 75
5.  Scope and Effect 5-2 75
6.  Personal Contacts 6-2 25
7.  Purpose of Contacts 7-1 20
8.  Physical Demands 8-2 20
9.  Work Environment 9-1 5
Total 820

 

A total of 820 points falls within the GS-4 range (655-850) on the Grade Conversion Table in the GS-305 PCS.  Therefore, the appellant’s duties are graded at the GS-4 level. 

Decision

The appellant’s position is properly classified as Mail Clerk, GS-305-4.  

 

 

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