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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

Colin J. Reid
Computer Assistant,
Machinery Systems Integration,
Code 902
Machinery Research and Engineering
Department, Code 90
Naval Surface Warfare Center
Carderock Division
Naval Sea Systems Command
Department of Navy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Computer Assistant,

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



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


On April 16, 2014, OPM’s Agency Compliance and Evaluation (ACE) Philadelphia accepted a classification appeal from Colin J. Reid.  The appellant’s position is currently classified as Computer Assistant, GS-335-7 and is located in Machinery Systems Integration, Code 902, Machinery Research and Engineering Department, Code 90, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Naval Sea Systems Command, Department of the Navy (DON), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The appellant believes his position should be classified as Information Technology Specialist (Customer Service), GS-2210-12.  We received the complete agency administrative report on June 9, 2014, and have accepted and decided this appeal under section 5112(b) of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.).

General Issues

The appellant raises concerns about his organization’s classification review process.  By law, we must make our decision solely by comparing the appellant’s current duties and responsibilities to OPM position classification standards (PCS) and guidelines (5 U.S.C. 5106, 5107, and 5112).  In adjudicating this appeal, our responsibility is to make our own independent decision on the proper classification of his position.  Because our decision sets aside all previous agency decisions, the agency’s classification review process is not germane to this decision.

Position Information

The Machinery Systems Integration Section, Code 902, where the appellant’s position is located, is responsible for the integration of systems, including cross integration involving multiple divisions within the Department.  These functions include oversight of the Department’s Information Technology (IT)/Information Assurance (IA) initiatives.  Within this context, the IT Coordinator in Code 902 serves as the single point of contact for all IT issues in Code 90, and is responsible for assisting Code 90 implement IT policies and practices, communicating pending IT policy and issues to Code 90, and coordinating IT/IA data call responses for Code 90, ensuring IA Work Force deadlines are met.  The IT Coordinator is also responsible for developing and administering IT security programs including direction and control of risk analysis and/or threat assessments, and scheduling and coordinating the work of IT contractor staff which consists of five IT Technicians and two Help Desk clerks.

The appellant supports the Code 902 IT function by providing desktop support to Code 90 users experiencing software and hardware problems while using the Research, Development Testing and Evaluation Network (RDT&E) and limited support to the Hewitt Packard owned Navy and Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network since this is primarily the responsibility of Corporate Information Services, Code 34.  The Help Desk function includes logging and tracking of IT problems.  Support services include security vulnerability support, technical support, Data at Rest, Host Based Security System, limited application support, data recovery, hardware configuration, and software updates.  The appellant provides administrative support to and coordinates Help Desk services for all electronic devices in Code 90.  On average, the Help Desk supports about 1,400 to 1,600 employees and 4,000 to 5,000 devices. 

The appellant's Help Desk duties include providing advice and guidance to users who contact the Help Desk via telephone, email, or Web intranet site.  He identifies the problem and, if he cannot resolve it, escalates the issue by logging the problem into the Help Desk Tracking System and generating a ticket to issue to one of five IT Technicians.  He determines which technician to forward the ticket to based on the IT Technician’s location, skill level, and workload.  The appellant also resolves noncomplex problems.  For example, if an end user reports they are unable to access files on their desktop screen from their portable hard drive, the appellant troubleshoots the problem by observing remotely the user's steps to connect to files on their portable hard drive.  If an error message is received, the appellant reviews the device manager to ensure the hard drive is online and the user has the proper permissions to access the files.  If not, the appellant updates the user’s security permission settings. 

The appellant oversees the daily operations of the desktop support team.  If an IT Technician is unable to perform Help Desk duties due to other priorities, e.g., software deployment, the appellant diverts his or her work to another IT Technician to ensure end user problems are resolved timely.  To improve Help Desk operations, the appellant provides the IT Coordinator with performance metrics to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the Help Desk operations.  The appellant determines which data to collect, e.g., email totals, ticket counts, tickets opened and closed.  He reviews how many tickets were open, closed, open for longer than two weeks and compares the number to the total amount of contacts the Help Desk received and compares that total to the number of tickets generated.  He also reviews the IT Technicians’ current assignments for quantity, and complexity of assigned tickets, and special projects affecting end users or major programs.

With approval from the IT Coordinator and/or supervisor, the Machinery System Integrator, the appellant researches and recommends tools to improve Help Desk efficiency.  For example, he conducts internet researches to locate software which would perform automated software deployments and reviews DON's list of approved and disallowed software.  He contacts vendors for specifications and provides his recommendations to the IT Coordinator.  In addition, when the IT Coordinator needs to purchase software, the appellant researches the product and acquires quotes.  If they have an initiative to facilitate, for example, software deployment, the IT Coordinator tasks the appellant to research a product or technology that can automate deployment.  The appellant will inform the IT Coordinator of his findings and the IT Coordinator decides what is to be purchased. 

When end users request new IT assets for purchase, e.g., hardware and software programs, the appellant speaks to the user to ensure he understands the functions the asset needs to perform and researches the internet and speaks to various vendors to locate the item.  He checks to see that the item meets DON guidelines and requirements for placement on the network, contacts those vendors for quotes, and forwards the information to the IT Coordinator for review and approval.

Examples of end user issues the appellant solves include changing security permissions of a PDF form when an employee is unable to fill in a form, changing the form's security permissions and returning it to the employee.  If it is a widely used standard agency form, the appellant will update the security permission settings, save the corrected version to the SharePoint intranet Web site, and notify all end users.  When an employee contacts the Help Desk because they cannot burn a CD, the appellant explains the procedures to follow.  In his continuing efforts to assist users, he pulls together information about frequently asked processes, e.g., burning a compact disk (CD), backing up a computer, creating a ticket for RDT&E services, and creating a purchase request, and posts them to the Share Point intranet Web site.

The appellant oversees the spare parts, mobile device, and spare asset inventories.  Although, the Help Desk clerks conduct the physical inventory, the appellant is responsible for ensuring the inventory is accurate.  He is also responsible for ensuring parts are available for desktop and server technicians, acquiring parts as needed.  The appellant provides administrative support for the deployment of operating system upgrades.  For example, for the Windows 7 deployment he reviewed the contents of the standard image to be used for the deployment; assisted in the configuration of the deployment lab where the IT Technicians would be working; created a standard form to track progress; maintained an inventory of computers which were ordered to replace older ones; searched for hardware parts needed for a computer not meeting the minimum requirements for Windows 7; assigned the IT Technicians to work in the deployment lab; and reviewed and reported progress to the IT Coordinator. 

Other duties performed by the appellant include attending the Information Technology Execution Group bi-weekly meeting and informing the IT Coordinator of any action items, policy changes and implementation, or senior leadership tasking.  He also serves as a mentor for summer interns and provides input to the IT Coordinator on contractor performance. 

To help decide this appeal, we conducted telephone interviews with the appellant on July 9, 2014 and July 14, 2014.  On July 16, 2014, we interviewed the IT Coordinator and on July 21, 2014, we interviewed the appellant’s immediate supervisor.  In reaching our classification 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 a careful review, we find the appellant’s position description (PD) meets the standards of PD accuracy 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 Computer Clerk and Assistance Series, GS-335, titled it Computer Assistant, and used the GS-335 PCS to evaluate the position.  However, the appellant believes the self-assessment he performed of the duties in his PD and the tasks/duties not specifically stated in his PD, meet the criteria described in the Job Family Standard (JFS) for Administrative Work in the Information Technology Group, 2200 for the Information Technology Specialist Series, GS-2210. 

The 335 PCS covers positions involving performance or supervision of data processing support and services functions for users of digital computer systems.  This work requires knowledge of external data processing sequences, controls, procedures, or user and programming languages, rather than in-depth knowledge of computer requirements or techniques associated with the development and design of data processing systems. 

The 335 PCS covers the work of employees who support or assist other employees who design, operate, or use automatic data processing systems applications and products, by performing work in one or a mix of functional areas.  One of the functional areas identified by the PCS is providing direct support to computer specialists.  In this capacity, some computer assistants at full performance levels perform duties similar to those assigned to entry and trainee level computer specialist positions.  Such support work typically requires knowledge of the scope, contents, and purposes of program documentation.  The duties may also require a working knowledge of programming languages.  Some work may require knowledge of system hardware such as the number and kind of devices, operating speeds, amount of core and other equipment characteristics.  This knowledge may also be supplemented by knowledge of internal software routines. 

The 2200 JFS covers two-grade interval administrative positions which manage, supervise, lead, administer, develop, deliver, and support information technology systems and services.  This series covers only those positions for which the paramount requirement is knowledge of IT principles, concepts, and methods; e.g., data storage, software applications, networking.  This knowledge is used to perform such functions as planning, designing, analyzing, developing, and implementing systems for the organization.  Information technology refers to systems and services used in the automated acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, assurance, or reception of information.  Information technology includes computers, network components, peripheral equipment, software, firmware, services, and related resources. 

The 2200 JFS excludes work which involves IT support or services functions.  Such work requires a practical knowledge of IT systems, workflow, and controls rather than the broad and in depth knowledge of IT principles, concepts, and methods characteristic of positions covered by the 2200 JFS.  The JFS discusses distinguishing between specialist work and assistant work and provides examples of positions whose functions should be excluded from the GS-2210 series because they do not require the regular and recurring application of knowledge of IT principles, concepts, and measures.  Those functions described include monitoring the operations of small networked systems, adding network users, updating passwords, installing or assisting users in installing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software programs, configuring hardware and software according to instructions, running scheduled backups, troubleshooting minor problems, and responding to less complex user questions. 

We find the appellant’s Help Desk work is covered by the previously discussed exclusion from the GS-2210 series and is properly assigned to the GS-335 series.  Although the Help Desk provides operational support to the NMCI and RDT&E network computer system(s), the appellant’s duties do not require the in-depth knowledge of IT principles, concepts, and methods sufficient to plan, analyze, design, develop, test, configure, implement, and maintain the network systems as addressed in the 2200 JFS.  The Help Desk serves Code 90 end users in managing their work tasks.  The appellant performs computer support functions, e.g., resolving printer, software and hardware issues, providing additional file storage, mapping file shares and backing up files.  We find, however, that this work does not require the regular and recurring application of knowledge of IT principles, concepts, and methods, which is fundamental to the GS-2210 occupation. 

The duties and responsibilities of the appellant’s position are characteristic of the kind of work described in the Occupational Information section of the 335 PCS as assistance or support to other employees who design, operate, or use automated data system systems applications and products by performing work in one or a mix of functional areas.  Like computer assistants, the appellant operates within established methods and procedures and, when he encounters a technical problem that cannot be resolved by applying or adapting Defense Information Systems Agency DISA policy and guidelines, he seeks assistance from an appropriate source (i.e., IT technicians, IT coordinators within and outside of Code 90, chief information officer for the command, or the command information assurance manager).  The appellant’s work requires knowledge of external data processing sequences, controls, procedures, or user and programming languages rather than in-depth knowledge of computer requirements or techniques associated with development and design of data processing systems as described in the GS-2200 JFS. 

We find the appellant’s work providing administrative support to the IT Coordinator is properly evaluated by application of the grading criteria in the Grade Level Guide for Clerical and Assistance Work (GLGCAW).  The agency did not evaluate his support work by applying the GLGCAW.  We applied the GLGCAW to the appellant’s applicable work and determined that those duties and responsibilities are graded no higher than his Help Desk work.  Since these duties are incidental to the core Help Desk functions of his position and are not grade controlling, we will not discuss them further.

The work performed by the appellant is characteristic of that described in the GS-335 series and Assistant Series and is properly graded using the GS-335 PCS.  The appropriate title for non-supervisory positions at grade GS-5 and above is Computer Assistant.

Grade determination

The GS-335 PCS uses the Factor Evaluation System (FES), which employs nine factors.  Under the FES, each factor-level description in a PCS 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 aspects, 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 are converted to a grade by use of the grade conversion chart in the PCS.  Our evaluation with respect to the nine factors follows.

Factor I, Knowledge required by the position

This factor measures the nature and extent of information or facts a worker must understand in order to do acceptable work and the nature and extent of the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

At Level 1-4, employees perform a wide range of preparing, advising, assisting, coding, and procedure-related problem-solving duties using knowledge of computer procedures and processing methods.  Work at this level involves knowledge of one or more of the following:  at least one programming language; system control language; system hardware, software, and program capabilities for multi-programming systems operating in more than two partitions; terminology, codes, abbreviations, and graphics for preparing systems documentation or programs; program data contents and methods for defining and retrieving non-standard data and reports.  These knowledges are used to assist programmers or other users.

At Level 1-5, employees carry out limited specialized projects using knowledge of fundamental data processing methods, practices, and techniques in work involving the development, test, implementation, and modification of computer programs and operating procedures.  Work at this level involves using knowledge as the basis for analysis and decision-making in several functional settings such as maintaining, interpreting, and writing portions of program and operational manuals for programming, scheduling and production work functions and similar duties based on an in-depth knowledge of the system and programs. 

The appellants’ position meets Level 1-4.  Like this level, he performs a wide range of duties in a network environment including solving hardware and software problems requiring knowledge of hardware, software, peripheral equipment, and program capabilities and limitations as evidenced by his development of user procedures which he posts to the Share Point intranet Web site.  For example, he is knowledgeable of the NMCI and RDT&E network systems, software applications, and of the system peripherals such as printers.  He resolves technical issues such as researching computer software programs to improve the efficiency of the Help Desk in responding to end users, researching user requests for new IT asset purchases, and creating user guides covering various topics and posts them on the Share Point intranet Web site.  The appellant also reviews the Help Desk performance metrics, which he compiles, to determine if resources need to be shifted and reports his findings to the IT Coordinator.  Similar to Level 1-4, most of the problems encountered by the appellant are recurring in nature and are generally resolved by applying his experience and knowledge of the systems, equipment, and programs involved. 

The appellant's position does not meet Level 1-5, where assignments involve developing, testing, implementing, and modifying computer programs and operating procedures.  Employees at this level prepare programs or write new program documentation and operating procedures.  In contrast, the appellant's regular and recurring work requires he resolve various end user problems.  His work does not include the modification of software or involve responsibility for computer program development.  Any work requiring the development and modification of programs and procedures is performed by higher-level employees such as IT programmers.  The appellant is primarily responsible for supporting standardized COTS hardware and software.  Although the appellant described the steps he took when the system experienced a major hardware failure when the IT Coordinator was not available, this type of duty and level of responsibility is not regular and recurring.  Furthermore, as discussed in the Introduction, I.J., work performed in the absence of another employee may not control the classification of a position.  The record does not show that the appellant's regular and recurring work involves activities related to the development, testing, implementation, or modification of computer programs and operating procedures found at Level 1-5. 

Level 1-4 is credited for 550 points. 

Factor 2, Supervisor controls

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

At Level 2-3, which is the highest level described in the PCS, the supervisor provides direction on objectives and priorities for new work, deadlines, and deadline changes for new and established work.  The employee identifies the work to be done, plans, carries out the steps required, and submits completed work without supervisory review.  The employee can independently deviate from instructions to provide for unspecified dependencies, lower or higher priorities, extended run time, additional core and other changes based on past experience and flexibility within processing specifications.  The employee commonly adapts or develops new work procedures and instructions for application by self and others, but will seek supervisory assistance and discuss work problems such as when processing requests appear to exceed system capacity or could have an adverse effect on other processing requirements.  Completed work is reviewed for conformity to deadlines and accepted practices on the basis of work products.  Work methods are not normally reviewed unless a recurring common pattern of problems develops.

The appellant's supervisory controls meet but do not exceed Level 2-3.  Comparable to this level, within established parameters, the appellant is responsible for determining the approaches taken and the methodology used to assist end users who contact the Help Desk and controls the day-to-day distribution of Help Desk resources to ensure proper user support.  The appellant resolves noncomplex users’ technical issues.  Because the appellant’s supervisor, the Machinery Systems Integrator, lacks IT knowledge, he receives technical oversight and assignments from the IT Coordinator.  The appellant independently plans and carries out his assignments as evidenced by his researching tools to improve Help Desk efficiency, developing user guides, and providing assistance to end users. 

Typical of Level 2-3, the appellant's supervisor is responsible for providing overall work objectives and priorities and must approve the appellant’s projects prior to initiation.  The appellant responds to problems that are brought to his attention by employees within Code 90.  For example, with approval from his supervisor the appellant tested old hardware to determine its usability; and is developing a Cyber Security Workforce Service Level Agreement (SLA), which will be used to detail technical support services provided by the Help Desk.  The agreement will be between the Help Desk staff and end users, and will be signed by the various Department-level and Division-level managers.  If the IT Coordinator initiates a project, the appellant works directly with the IT Coordinator and informs the supervisor of the results.  The supervisor in coordination with the IT Coordinator reviews the appellant’s work.  Similar to Level 2-3, the supervisor also reviews completed work in terms of adequacy based on feedback from Code 90 users.

Level 2-3 is credited for 275 points.

Factor 3, Guidelines

This factor covers the nature of guidelines and the judgment needed to apply them.  Guides used in GS occupations include, for example, desk manuals, established procedures, policies, and traditional practices, and general reference materials such as dictionaries, style manuals, engineering handbooks, and the pharmacopeia.

Level 3-3, the highest level described in the PCS, includes employees working with new requirements or new applications for which only general guidelines are available.  The employee uses judgment in adjusting the most appropriate guidelines to fit new processing requirements or develop new methods for accomplishing the work.  Guidelines may require modification to provide for adding new forms of input, allowing for flexible as opposed to fixed scheduling, adjusting to new or conflicting requirements, or adapting to a new hardware or software capability. 

The appellant’s guidelines meet but do not exceed Level 3-3.  Guidelines consist of various agency regulations, instructions, and directives issued by the Department of Defense DOD, DISA, DON, and the Naval Sea Systems Command.  The guidelines also include user manuals, training books, and procedural manuals typically provided by hardware and software vendors and supplemented by information on their Web sites.  Like this level, the appellant uses judgment to interpret, adapt, and apply this guidance.  He determines which guide is most appropriate for resolving local problems relating to computer workstations/system operations and to integrate new hardware and software into existing systems while maintaining compatibility and accomplishing work.  The appellant uses judgment when applying guidelines based on command IT restrictions.  For example, the appellant suggested using a computer tablet with bar code reader capability to make it easier to update inventory listings.  He reviewed the list of approved software programs on the DON database and determined that none of them was usable because the inventory software in the approved database was warehouse inventory management based, not the needed point-of-sale based program.  The appellant researched and located a point-of-sale software product on the internet and developed a request for DON approval after determining the product met DON requirements.  He also researched which computer tablets provide ease of portability, and bar code functionality for keeping an up-to-date inventory listing.  After the appellant completed his research, he presented his findings to the IT Coordinator.

Level 3-3 is credited for 275 points.

Factor 4, Complexity

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

At Level 4-3, the employee performs a variety of tasks involving discrete methods and procedures, or a variety of related tasks that require a sequent of actions involving differing methods and procedures.  The decision regarding what is to be done results from studying each job order, assignment, or processing problem situation.  The employee identifies the sequence of standard and variable procedures and methods needed to prepare and process the request or to resolve error conditions.  Actions to be taken differ according to the equipment or program system appropriate to satisfy the request and whether the job is processed in batch or time-sharing mode.  An example of work at this level includes explaining system capabilities, limitations, and output variations to users and resolving problems for users who encounter system related problems during remote processing. 

Level 4-4 is distinguished from Level 4-3 by (1) the variety and complexity of operating systems monitored, (2) the nature and variety of problems encountered and resolved, and (3) the nature of independent decisions made by the employee.  At this level, the employee typically monitors the operations of several major computer systems.  Programs run on these systems are a mix of independent and interdependent applications.  Specifically, employees at this level perform problem-solving duties involving a wide range of problem or error conditions in equipment, program data and processing methods and procedures.  This diagnosis and resolution of error and problem conditions involves equipment configurations having different operating characteristics, a wide variety of data and programs, and many different processes and methods to arrive at solutions or develop new procedures.  Decisions regarding what needs to be done include assessing unusual circumstances or conditions, developing variations in approach to fit the specific problems or dealing with incomplete or conflicting data.  For example, in cases of major equipment failure or excessive/unexpected amounts of input data, the employee commonly takes a series of actions affecting a number of programs.  This can include transferring programs to other computer systems, removing jobs from an operating schedule, reassigning equipment allocations to work around program software or equipment deficiencies and other similar actions.  The employee makes decisions and devises solutions based on program, equipment, and systems knowledge, which involves interpreting considerable data to identify the problems, planning and implementing solutions, and refining or designing operating methods or techniques.

Level 4-3 is met.  Like this level, the appellant determines what actions to take in resolving problems based on the results of a series of standard, sequenced diagnostic procedures to isolate and identify the problem.  After identifying the problem, the appellant determines if a resolution can be accomplished through using routine or standard corrective procedures and selecting the one most appropriate for the situation, including information available on information Web sites.  Typical of Level 4-3, when problems are beyond his capabilities, the appellant seeks assistance from the IT Coordinator, CIO, hardware and software manufacturers, and vendors.

Level 4-4 is not met.  The appellant’s work involves a variety of related tasks and he is required to select the most appropriate procedures to complete his assignments, such as when an end user requests the purchase of a new software program or reviewing the Help Desk performance metrics.  The appellant's duties do not equate to Level 4-4, where the employee works with major systems containing multiple processors, a variety of underlying operating systems, and programs that are a mixture of independent and interdependent applications.  The appellant resolves a variety of problems, but the problems encountered are not of the unusual nature, magnitude, or complexity as those typically found in major computer systems.  Problems of this nature must be elevated by the appellant for resolution by higher level employees.

Level 4-3 is credited for 150 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.

Level 5-3, which is the highest level described in the PCS, is distinguished from Level 5-2 by the addition of requirements for solving problems and answering technical questions about control, scheduling, and/or direct support functions.  The problems and error conditions encountered are conventional to data processing although solutions are not always covered by established or standardized procedures.  Work results affect the efficiency of processing services, adequacy of products used in subsequent activities, and processing procedures and methods.

The appellant’s work meets but does not exceed Level 5-3.  Similar to Level 5-3, the appellant’s duties involve resolving a range of problems not always covered by established or standardized procedures, such as searching for IT assets to perform a particular function or recommending changes to increase the efficiency of the Help Desk.  The appellant’s work affects the efficiency of Code 90 end users.   

Level 5-3 is credited for 150 points.

Factor 6, Personal Contacts

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

The appellant’s contacts meet but do not exceed Level 6-2, which is the highest level described in the PCS.  At Level 6-2, contacts are with specialists and recipients of services who are employees of the same agency but outside the immediate organization, employees of other agencies who use the facility, or contractors’ representatives such as vendor repair technicians.  Contacts are structured and routine where the role of each participant is readily determined.  The appellant has regular contact with end users in Code 90, engineers, IT professionals and technicians, legal department personnel, and administrative support personnel.  Like Level 6-2, the appellant’s contacts include Code 34 employees, IT Coordinators located in other departments, hardware and software vendors, and contract employees.  These contacts usually take place in a moderately structured setting similar to the Level 6-2 description.

Level 6-2 is credited for 25 points.

Factor 7, Purpose of Personal Contacts

The purpose of personal contacts ranges from factual exchanges of information to situations involving significant or controversial issues and differing viewpoints, goals, or objectives.  The purpose of the contacts should relate directly to the level of contacts selected under Factor 6.

The appellant’s position meets but does not exceed Level 7-2, which is the highest level described in the PCS.  As at Level 7-2, the purpose of the appellant’s contacts is to exchange and provide factual information, coordinate work, explain options, clarify instructions, resolve hardware and software problems, and provide technical advice, guidance, and training to new and existing users on a range of hardware and software-related issues.

Level 7-2 is credited for 50 points.

Factor 8, Physical Demands

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

Like Level 8-1, the appellant’s work is generally sedentary although there may be some walking or standing for short periods of time and carrying light loads that require only moderate physical ability and physical stress.  His work does not regularly require the physical exertion described at Level 8-2 for prolonged standing, stooping, or crouching or for carrying supplies and equipment that may weigh as much as 45 pounds.

Level 8-1 is credited for 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.

Like Level 9-1, the appellant’s work environment is comparable to that found in a typical office setting.  He performs work in an office with adequate light, heat, and ventilation.  In contrast to Level 9-2, the appellant’s work environment does not involve the level of risk or require special safety precautions, special clothing, or protective equipment as expected at this level.

Level 9-1 is credited for 5 points.


Factor Level Points
1.  Knowledge required by the position 1-4 550
2.  Supervisory controls 2-3 275
3.  Guidelines 3-3 275
4.  Complexity 4-3 150
5.  Scope and effect 5-3 150
6.  Personal contacts 6-2 25
7.  Purpose of contacts 7-2 50
8.  Physical demands 8-1 5
9.  Work environment 9-1 5
Total points 1485


A total of 1,485 points falls within the GS-7 range (1,355 to 1,600) on the grade conversion table in the standard.


The position is properly classified as Computer Assistant, GS-335-7.


























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