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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

Janice M. Turner
Management Analyst
GS-343-13
Standards and Compliance Unit
Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
Washington, D.C.
Management Analyst
GS-343-11
C-0343-11-06

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

02/24/2015


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 and a Standard Form 50 showing the personnel action taken.  The report must be submitted within 30 days from the effective date of the personnel action to the OPM office which accepted the appeal. 

Introduction

On June 3, 2014, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Merit System Accountability and Compliance, accepted a position classification appeal from Ms. Janice Turner, who is employed as a Management Analyst, GS-343-13, in the Standards and Compliance Unit (SCU) of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), in Washington, D.C.  She requests reclassification of her position as Program Analyst,

GS-343-14.  We received the agency administrative report (AAR) on July 9, 2014.   We accepted and decided this appeal under the provisions of section 5112 of title 5, United States Code.

General issues

The appellant raises concerns about her agency’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 the position.  Because our decision sets aside all previous agency decisions, the agency’s classification review process is not germane to this decision.

Background

The SCU was most recently staffed with three Management Analysts (including the appellant) and a GS-15 Supervisory Management Analyst.  Over the past two years, the rest of the staff except for the appellant has either retired or been reassigned.  The appellant is currently detailed to another component of the agency, but her official position of record remains the GS-343-13 position in the SCU. 

Position information

The appellant is responsible for conducting various studies including caseload audits and other operational analyses and management studies relating to organizational procedures, workflow, and other subjects, and preparing comprehensive reports of findings.  Although in adjudicating an appeal we normally confine our review to work performed within the past year, the appellant produced only two reports in that time frame.  Since this is not a large enough sample on which to base a grade determination, we expanded our review to include the five reports she independently produced in the past three years, as described briefly below:

  • Caseload audit of Community Supervision Officer (CSO), Team 5 – This was a review of one individual CSO’s caseload, using primarily information documented in the Supervision Management Automated Record Tracking System (SMART), to determine the extent to which the cases were managed and supervised in accordance with established policies and procedures.  Specifically, the report addressed such areas as the frequency of monthly contact with offenders during a six-month period by supervision level (intensive, maximum, medium, or minimum) and supervision status (i.e., active and monitored status transferable and non-transferable offenders); whether loss of contact (LOC) procedures were initiated on those offenders for which two or more consecutive months elapsed without contact; whether national criminal justice database checks were conducted every 30 days for warrant status offenders to determine if any new arrests or convictions had occurred; whether monthly records checks were conducted of specific criminal justice databases to ensure that offenders under active and monitored supervision had not incurred any new charges or warrants; whether collateral contact information on offenders was complete; whether violations and corresponding sanctions and alleged violations were documented in each offender’s violation history in SMART; and whether court-ordered special conditions (e.g., restitution, anger management counseling, drug/alcohol treatment) were satisfied by the offenders prior to case closure.  
  • Review of File Management Unit (FMU) operations – The FMU, with a staff of about 7-8 employees, receives, maintains, and archives closed offender files, transferring approximately 800 boxes of folders to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) each year.  The report was a review of FMU management operations and practices to determine the extent to which file management tasks were based on reliable policies, processes, or procedures; whether sufficient guidance was provided to staff; and to identify quality control measures to ensure staff accountability and that the records management functions were performed in accordance with NARA policy.  The report consisted of a detailed review of various supervisory and operational issues which identified systemic problems in the management of the FMU.  The methodology used included interviews with the FMU supervisor and staff, review of FMU statistical reports and documentation of records accessions, review of monthly staff meeting agendas and supervisory emails to staff, and multiple site visits to observe FMU operations and attend FMU operational instruction meetings.  The report examined such issues as whether files were transferred to NARA’s Federal Records Center (FRC) in a timely and well-organized manner and whether the archiving was carried out correctly (e.g., folders and boxes properly labeled, inventory of the contents of each box prepared) and in accordance with established procedures, and whether staff members had clear and consistent instructions on how to carry out the work.  The recommendations made were that standard operating procedures be developed; that all file requests be sent via the FMU Helpdesk; that current resources be assessed to meet work demands; that the FMU staff complete NARA training; and that a reliable information management tracking system be developed.
  • Review of the offender token distribution program for the Day Reporting Centers (DRCs) and Branch III – CSOSA provides bus tokens to provide transportation assistance to offenders with a demonstrated need in order to maintain employment and participate in treatment programs, at an annual cost of about $8000.  This review was initiated at the request of the Office of Financial Management due to continuous requests from the DRCs and Branch III for additional tokens beyond those established by policy.  The review was limited to those components and was intended to determine whether token distribution had been done according to policy and whether sufficient controls were in place.  The report found that token distribution was not being adequately documented and that about $934 in tokens were provided to offenders without sufficient proof of exigent circumstances.  It contains detailed data on the monthly token distribution for a six-month period in aggregate and by offender for each team in the reviewed components, and comparison of the number of distributed tokens reported in the token log forms with documentation in SMART.  The main recommendations made included that a review system be developed to ensure that token distribution is accurately documented in SMART; that an automated process be developed to track and reconcile token distribution; and that the token program be audited each year.   
  • Informational report on the 2013 National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) Audit – This report was done at the request of the Director, CSOSA, as a synopsis of the 2013 NSOR audit of CSOSA conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), compared to the 2010 NSOR audit and a predecessor 2004 pilot audit.  It also included a lengthy list of email summaries among CSOSA information technology staff about a proposed alternative on-line SOR validation system that was eventually abandoned in favor of the Metropolitan Police Department’s on-line validation application.
  • Review of Office of Financial Management (OFM) business process and activities - This report was done at the request of the Director, CSOSA, to provide an overview of OFM's operations.  It summarizes the circulars, policies, and operational instructions governing the financial management of agency resources and explains the major functions of the component, including budget operations, financial management operations (including detailed data related to unpaid invoices for a six-month period), Government charge card programs, and accounting operations.  The report concluded that OFM has checks and balances in place to ensure the integrity of its activities, but recommended that the timeliness of invoice processing be addressed.

The appellant submitted with her appeal copies of earlier reports dating back to 2005 when she transferred to CSOSA.  These reports include: sex offender treatment contract review (evaluation of invoice billing for sex offender treatment services) (2011); methods used to verify and document offenders' employment (2010); token distribution program review (2008); Offender Processing Unit review (2007); active caseload audit - team 15 (2006); Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 compliance report relating to personal identity verification (PIV) card issuance (2006); and active caseload audit - team 41(2005).  These reports were not directly considered in the below evaluation.  However, with the exception of the report dealing with methods used to verify and document offenders' employment, they do not differ significantly in kind from those of the past three years in that they consist of either caseload audits or reviews of agency administrative functions or processes, such as invoice billing and PIV card issuance.

The appellant does not contest the accuracy of the duties listed in her position description (PD) (unnumbered), which is basically adequate for classification purposes in that it includes all of her major duties and responsibilities.  However, it also includes the following duties which she does not perform:

  • "Meets with agency's senior staff to review and/or follow-up on study findings and established performance targets/metrics for the organizational units"; "Meets with the appropriate mid-level managers and line managers to provide training assistance in agency data collection requirements and outcome-based measurements" - The appellant provided no indication that she performs this work.
  • "Some projects are self-initiated and completed without technical guidance" - The appellant's major projects have been assigned by her supervisor in response to management requests.
  • "Provides to or develops guidelines for junior analysts and reviews work for appropriateness of methodology" - As the sole remaining analyst in the SCU, this is not applicable.

Therefore, the appellant's PD must be updated so there is an accurate documentation and clear understanding and of the duties and responsibilities representing the approved classification.  

To help decide this appeal, we conducted a desk audit with the appellant on December 19, 2014.  With the first-level supervisor having retired, we conducted a telephone interview with the appellant’s second-level supervisor, the Director, CSOSA, on February 10, 2015.  This decision is based on our assessment of the appellant's duties and responsibilities as determined through our desk audit, review of work samples furnished by the appellant, further details of her work contained in the appeal record, and all other material received in the AAR.                       

Series determination

The position is properly classified to the Management and Program Analysis Series, GS-343, which covers positions that serve as analysts and advisors to management on the evaluation of government programs and operations, or on the productivity and efficiency of the management of Federal agencies, or both.  The appellant does not dispute the series allocation.   

Title determination

Nonsupervisory positions in this series primarily concerned with analyzing, evaluating, and/or improving the efficiency of internal administrative operations, organizations, or management are titled Management Analyst.  Nonsupervisory positions primarily involved in planning, analyzing, and/or evaluating the effectiveness of line or operating programs are titled Program Analyst.  Positions which involve a mix of these functions where neither is predominant are titled Management and Program Analyst.

The appellant requests that her position be titled as Program Analyst.  However, she is not involved in “planning, analyzing, and/or evaluating the effectiveness of line or operating programs.”  The line programs of CSOSA relate to community supervision programs and services.  The appellant’s studies have focused almost exclusively on CSOSA’s administrative organizations, such as the FMU and OFM, administrative processes such as token distribution, or measures of individual productivity (as opposed to overall program accomplishments) in caseload audits.  Although the appellant has occasionally been assigned studies dealing with line or operating programs, such as most recently the NSOR audit informational report, the administrative studies are clearly predominant.  Therefore, the appellant’s position is properly titled as Management Analyst.

Grade determination

There are no grade-level criteria specific to the GS-343 series.  The GS-343 standard instructs that nonsupervisory positions in this series at grade GS-9 and above be evaluated by reference to the Administrative Analysis Grade Evaluation Guide (AAGEG).  

Evaluation using the Administrative Analysis Grade Evaluation Guide

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

Factor 1, Knowledge required by the position

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

The knowledge required by the appellant’s position matches Level 1-6.  At this level, the assignments require skill in applying analytical and evaluative techniques to issues or problems of a procedural or factual nature.  The issues or problems deal with readily observable conditions, written guidelines covering work methods and procedures such as performance and production standards, and information of a factual nature (e.g., number and type of units produced).  Included at this level is knowledge of the theory and principles of management and organization, including the administrative practices and procedures common to organizations, such as those pertaining to areas of responsibility, channels of communication, delegations of authority, routing of correspondence, filing systems, and storage of files and records.  Assignments typically involve using qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques such as: literature search; work measurement; productivity charting; determining staff to workload ratios; organization design; development and administration of questionnaires; flowcharting of work processes; graphing; and calculation of means, modes, standard deviations, or similar statistical measures.  The following illustrations of Level 1-6 knowledge requirements are provided in the guide:

Knowledge of management principles, organizational theory, and techniques of analysis and evaluation, along with knowledge of standardized administrative practices and procedures to conduct studies of clerical work processes in various organizations to identify, analyze, and recommend solutions to problems in organizational structure, staffing, administrative procedures, work processes, or workload distribution. 

Knowledge of administrative regulations and operating procedures plus skill in applying factfinding and investigative techniques (e.g., employee/supervisor interviews, review of work procedures, instructions, records, and files) to gather clear-cut factual evidence of waste and abuse or compliance with regulations.

The appellant's reports over the past three years have been consistent with Level 1-6.  This level describes assignments where the nature of the functions or components being studied lend themselves to the reporting of factual and largely quantitative information and data, and the resulting analysis is therefore limited because it is based on readily observable or measurable conditions (such as number of units).  The appellant's caseload audit matches this criteria in that it focuses on the frequency with which certain actions were taken and whether required documentation was completed; i.e. numerical and otherwise readily observable measures to determine production and compliance with required procedures, consistent with the second illustration above.  This was also the case with the token distribution program review, which focuses on number of tokens issued and whether the reasons for the issuance had been properly documented.  The FMU review is typical of the studies described at this level; i.e., the study of such administrative practices and procedures as those dealing with filing systems, the storage of files and records, and channels of communication as directly described at Level 1-6 and depicted in the first illustration above (i.e., the study of clerical work processes).  As also described at this level, the studies involved such analytical techniques as work measurement, productivity charting, staff and management interviews, and research of the applicable program regulations, policies, and operating procedures.  The remaining two reports, the OFM review and the NSOR audit report, were primarily informational and thus factual in nature, which is likewise consistent with Level 1-6 where issues or problems deal with "information of a factual nature." 

Level 1-7 is not met.  At this level, the assignments require knowledge and skill in analyzing and evaluating program operations carried out by administrative or professional personnel, or substantive administrative support functions (i.e., internal functions such as supply, budget, or procurement which serve to facilitate line or program operations).  This includes knowledge of the laws, regulations, and policies which affect the use of resources (people, money, or equipment) in the area being evaluated.  The projects and studies typically require knowledge of the major issues, program goals and objectives, work processes, and administrative operations of the organization.  This knowledge is used to plan and conduct projects and studies to recommend ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of work operations; develop new or modified work methods, organizational structures, records and files, management processes, staffing patterns, guidelines and procedures, and automating work processes; or make recommendations concerning the centralization or decentralization of operations.  The following illustrations of Level 1-7 knowledge requirements are provided in the guide:

Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative techniques for analyzing and measuring the effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of administrative and technical programs, along with knowledge of the mission, organization, and work processes of programs throughout a military command, complex multi-mission local installation, or equivalent, and the relationships of administrative support activities (e.g., data processing, accounting, budget) to such missions.  Knowledge is applied in conducting studies, analyzing findings and making recommendations on substantive operating programs; e.g., weapons testing or commodity management. 

Knowledge of organization, programs, missions, and functions of the parent military command along with knowledge of analytical and investigative techniques to conduct staffing requirements and utilizations at field installations.  Assignments require skill in conducting detailed analyses of complex functions and work processes including:  examination of production standards; past, present, and programmed workloads; nonproductive time; and deviations from standards to determine validated staffing requirements for the function studied.

Thorough knowledge of the service or bureau benefit programs, operations, objectives, and policies along with a comprehensive knowledge of management and organizational techniques, systems, and procedures is applied in performing a wide variety of analytical studies and projects related to management improvement, productivity improvement, management controls, and long-range planning.  Assignments include: developing guidance on techniques for management and methods improvement; analyzing and advising on proposed reorganizations or realignment of functions; and developing manuals and directives covering the administrative aspects of field station operations.

This level goes beyond the reporting of data found at Level 1-6 and includes analyzing and evaluating program or substantive administrative operations; i.e., identifying how programs are currently operating and recommending changes to improve operations.  The three illustrations above depict the types of studies intended at this level and their scale; i.e., studies of the mission-oriented operating programs of a military command or large installation, the staffing requirements of the field installations of the command, and the management processes and organizational structure of a service or bureau.  The work is qualitative rather than primarily quantitative as found at Level 1-6; i.e., it relates to more intangible assessments of effectiveness and efficiency than numerical measurements. 

The appellant has not produced any reports of the nature or magnitude as those described at Level 1-7 in the past three years.  She has conducted small-scale studies of the productivity of an individual staff member, the number of bus tokens distributed by the DRCs and one branch, and the operations of a file unit.  She has not conducted any large-scale studies of the mission-oriented programs of CSOSA or of its substantive administrative programs, such as supply, budget, or procurement, to recommend ways to improve their effectiveness and efficiency and to develop new or modified work methods, organizational structures, records and files, management processes, etc.  Further, although her reports included recommendations on actions to be taken to improve efficiency and accountability in the units under review, these recommendations were largely limited to proposing further work projects; e.g., that current resources be assessed to meet work demands and that a reliable information management tracking system be developed (FMU review); that a review system be developed to ensure that tokens distributed are accurately documented in SMART and that an automated process be developed to track and reconcile token distribution; and that the timeliness of invoice processing be addressed (OFM review).  The appellant was not tasked to “recommend ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of work operations” in more detailed terms than these generalized recommendations, or to actually develop improved work methods, management processes, guidelines or procedures, or new automated processes, which are expected at Level 1-7. 

Level 1-6 is credited (950 points).

Factor 2, Supervisory controls

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

At Level 2-4, within a framework of priorities, funding, and overall objectives, the employee and supervisor develop overall work plans covering requirements, scope, and deadlines.  Within these overall parameters, the employee is responsible for planning and organizing the work, estimating costs, coordinating with staff and management, and conducting all phases of the work.  The employee keeps the supervisor informed of potential controversies or problems with widespread impact.  Completed work is reviewed for compatibility with organizational goals and effectiveness in achieving objectives. 

At Level 2-5, the employee is a recognized authority in the analysis and evaluation of programs and issues, subject only to administrative and policy direction concerning overall priorities and objectives.  The employee is typically delegated complete responsibility and authority to plan, schedule, and carry out major projects, and exercises discretion in determining whether to broaden or narrow studies.  The employee’s analyses and recommendations are normally reviewed only for potential influence on broad agency policy objectives and program goals.

Level 2-4 describes work carried out with a high degree of independence and recognized expertise and as such fully represents the manner in which the appellant operates.  Level 2-5 recognizes not only independence of action, but also the degree of responsibility and authority inherent in the work as the context for the independence exercised.  Level 2-5 is predicated on responsibility for independently planning and carrying out major program activities or projects, with only broad administrative and policy direction.  Because the parameters of the work are not clearly defined, the employee has the authority to determine the most productive areas of endeavor.  In contrast, the appellant carries out assigned studies, the boundaries of which are defined at their outset.  The nature of her work is not such that it would permit the exercise of this level of responsibility and authority, which is properly credited to the head of a program or function.  In addition, her studies are limited to such topics as the productivity of individual staff members or the operations of clerical units, and thus are not of the scale to potentially impact "broad agency policy objectives and program goals."        

Level 2-4 is credited (450 points).

Factor 3, Guidelines

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

The guidelines used by the appellant match Level 3-4.  At this level, guidelines consist of general administrative policies and management and organizational theories which require considerable adaptation or interpretation for application to the issues and problems studied.  Administrative policies and precedent studies provide a basic outline of the results desired, but do not go into detail as to the methods used to accomplish the project.  Within the context of broad regulatory guidelines, the employee may refine or develop more specific guidelines such as implementing regulations or methods for the measurement and improvement of effectiveness and productivity in the administration of operating programs.

The appellant uses a variety of reference material relative to the mission and functions of the components under review.  Although precedent studies are available for some reviews, such as caseload audits, other studies are unique and there is no guidance on how to proceed or structure the reports. 

Level 3-5 is not met.  At this level, guidelines consist of basic administrative policy statements concerning the issue or problem being studied, and may include reference to pertinent legislative history, related court decisions, State and local laws, or policy initiatives of agency management.  The employee uses judgment and discretion in determining intent and interpreting and revising existing policy and regulatory guidance for use by others within or outside the employing organization (e.g., other analysts, line manages, or contractors).  Some employees review proposed legislation or regulations which would significantly change the basic character of agency programs, the way the agency conducts its business with the public or with private industry, or which modify important inter-agency relationships.  Other employees develop study formats for use by others on a project team or at subordinate echelons in the organization.  At this level, the employees are recognized as experts in the development and/or interpretation of guidance on program planning and evaluation in their area of specialization (e.g., work force management, contingency/emergency planning, position management, work measurement, or productivity improvement).

The distinction between Level 3-4 and 3-5 is that at Level 3-4, the employee uses the general guidelines to which the particular program or component under review is subject whereas at Level 3-5, the employee develops these guidelines; e.g., developing or revising policies and regulations to incorporate statutory changes, or developing guidelines for the use of other management or program analysts.  Corresponding to Level 3-4, the appellant applies the various regulations and operating procedures pertinent to her study subjects, but she does not perform the staff-level policy and regulatory development functions addressed at Level 3-5. 

Level 3-4 is credited (450 points).

Factor 4, Complexity

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

The complexity of the appellant’s work is comparable to Level 4-4.  At this level, the work involves gathering information, identifying and analyzing issues, and developing recommendations to resolve substantive problems of effectiveness and efficiency of work operations in a program or program support setting.  The projects assigned usually consist of issues, problems, or concepts that are not susceptible to direct observation and analysis, such as projected missions and functions, and difficulty is encountered in measuring effectiveness and productivity due to variations in the nature of the processes studied.  Information about the subject is often conflicting or incomplete, cannot readily be obtained by direct means, or is otherwise difficult to document.  For example, assignments may involve compiling, reconciling, and correlating voluminous workload data from a variety of sources with different reporting requirements and formats, or the data must be carefully cross-checked, analyzed, and interpreted to obtain accurate and relevant information.  The following illustration of Level 4-4 complexity is provided in the guide:

Serves as management advisor in the bureau headquarters of an agency (or equivalent organization) with responsibility for performing a range of analytical studies and projects related to field program operations in the areas of management and productivity improvement (including effectiveness of work methods, manpower utilization, and distribution of functions); management controls; and work planning.  Assignments typically involve the study of organizations, work processes, or functions that are interrelated.  The work requires detailed planning to conduct information gathering; interpretation of administrative records and reports; correlation of information to corroborate facts; and coordination with management representatives.

As at this level, the appellant's work involves gathering information regarding caseload, program functions, operating procedures, etc.; identifying the issues involved; and developing recommendations to resolve problems of effectiveness and efficiency of work operations.  Although some projects deal with readily-observable issues, such as numbers of tokens distributed or frequency of monthly contacts with offenders, others deal with more intangible matters such as the clarity of instructions provided to staff, and thus "not susceptible to direct observation and analysis."  The Level 4-4 illustration above basically characterizes the appellant's role in the organization, particularly given her current status as the sole analyst remaining in the SCU. 

Level 4-5 is not met.  At this level, the work consists of projects and studies which require analysis of interrelated issues of effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of substantive mission-oriented programs.  Typical assignments require developing detailed plans, goals, and objectives for the long-range implementation and administration of the program, and/or developing criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the program.  Decisions about how to proceed with the studies are complicated by conflicting program goals and objectives which may derive from changes in legislation or regulations, productivity, and/or variations in the demand for program services; the need to deal with subjective concepts such as value judgments; the quality and quantity of actions are measurable primarily in predictive terms; and findings and conclusions are highly subjective.  Recommendations developed by the employee take into account uncertainties about the data and other variables which affect long-range program performance.  For example, the employee may need to consider and assess the relative advantages and disadvantages of centralizing or decentralizing work operations in organizations with several echelons of geographically separated components, or develop data about workload and program accomplishments which is currently unavailable or ambiguous. 

Whereas both Level 4-4 and Level 4-5 studies deal with issues of efficiency and effectiveness, Level 4-5 studies relate to the development of plans, goals, and objectives of "substantive mission-oriented programs," meaning the line programs that represent the mission of the agency.  Although the NSOR and OFM reports can be construed as dealing with programs of this nature, they were informational reports that did not include the development of plans and objectives for the "long-range implementation and administration" of these programs or criteria to evaluate their effectiveness.  Further, recommendations made by the appellant are not comparable to such multifaceted issues as the centralization or decentralization of functions in a geographically dispersed organization, nor do her reports require developing workload data which is "unavailable or ambiguous," given that such data is documented in the SMART system.

Level 4-4 is credited (225 points).

Factor 5, Scope and effect

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

At Level 5-3, the purpose of the work is to plan and carry out projects to improve the efficiency and productivity of organizations and employees in administrative support settings.  Employees at this level identify, analyze, and make recommendations to resolve conventional problems in workflow, work distribution, staffing, organizational structure, and/or administration.  They may be assigned portions of broader studies of largely administrative organizations or participate in the evaluation of program effectiveness at the operating level.  The following illustration of Level 5-3 scope and effect is provided in the guide:

Analyzes and evaluates current management and organizational practices to determine the most efficient way to organize work within a word processing center, records holding area, or comparable clerical organization (e.g., a claims processing or record keeping operation), including the number and skills mix of positions needed to staff the office.  Recommendations result in increased productivity and efficiency in providing service to users.

At Level 5-4, the purpose of the work is to assess the productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of program operations, or to analyze and resolve problems in the staffing, effectiveness, and efficiency of administrative support and staff activities, by measuring or predicting the attainment of program goals.  Work that involves the evaluation of program effectiveness usually focuses on the delivery of program benefits or services at the operating level.  The work contributes to the productivity and effectiveness of program operations and/or administrative support activities at different echelons and/or geographic locations within the organization, or the plans, goals, and effectiveness of missions and programs at these various echelons or locations.  The following illustration of Level 5-4 scope and effect is provided in the guide:

Conducts interviews with employees who carry out administrative programs and performs non-financial audits of program and administrative records to determine compliance with agency program and administrative policies and regulations, to assess staff utilization, and to evaluate effectiveness of program administration.  Prepares formal reports of violations detected involving possible fraud, waste, or abuse.  Completed assignments contribute to effectiveness and economy of a range of agency activities.

The appellant has conducted studies that match Level 5-3 (e.g., FMU review) that relate exclusively to the evaluation of clerical operations and matters of efficiency, and others that are more consistent with Level 5-4 (e.g., caseload audits and token distribution program review) in that they focus on potentially more serious issues of compliance in the sense depicted in the above illustration.  To the extent that the latter types of studies would appear to represent the primary intent of her position, the scope and effect of her work are considered to meet Level 5-4. 

Level 5-5 is not met.  At this level, the purpose of the work is to analyze and evaluate major administrative aspects of substantive, mission-oriented programs.  This may involve the development of long-range program plans, goals, objectives, and milestones, or evaluating the effectiveness of programs conducted throughout a bureau or service of an independent agency.  The work involves identifying and developing ways to resolve problems which directly affect the accomplishment of principle program goals and objectives (e.g., the delivery of program benefits or services).  Study reports typically contain findings and recommendations of major significance to top agency management and often serve as the basis for new administrative systems, legislation, regulations, or programs.  Typical work products at this level are decision packages and staff studies which would significantly change major administrative aspects of missions or programs, or substantially affect the quality and quantity of benefits and services provided to the agency's clients.  The following illustration of Level 5-5 scope and effect is provided in the guide:

Serves as project officer responsible for the evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of major program operations throughout an agency (e.g., shipbuilding, aircraft overhaul and repair, or health care).  Evaluations take into consideration factors such as cost-effectiveness, attainment of program goals and objectives, and compliance with pertinent legal and regulatory guidelines.  Recommendations made by the employees usually result in changes in the way service and benefits are distributed to the public, or the way business is conducted with major industrial concerns.

The appellant has not conducted studies of CSOSA's major line programs as a whole; i.e., those directly related to community supervision, in order to develop long-range plans and objectives and perform problem resolution for the delivery of program services.  Because her studies are narrower in scope, they may have such effects as improving efficiency in administrative operations or identifying potential misuse of resources by individual staff members or organizational units as depicted at Level 5-4.  She has not demonstrated, however, that they have served as the basis for new administrative systems, legislation, regulations, or programs as expected at Level 5-5. 

Level 5-4 is credited (225 points).

Factor 6, Personal contacts

                and

Factor 7, Purpose of contacts

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

Persons contacted

The appellant’s personal contacts match level 2, where contacts are primarily with employees, supervisors, and managers within the same agency.  The position does not meet level 3, where contacts are with persons outside the agency such as consultants, contractors, or business executives.  The appellant has no external contacts of this nature.  This level may also include contacts with the head of the employing agency or program officials several managerial levels removed from the employee when such contacts occur on an ad hoc basis.  The Director, CSOSA, is the appellant's second-level supervisor to whom she has presented her findings on the two recent studies requested by the Director.  Otherwise, however, the appellant does not have direct personal contact with this official on a regular and recurring basis in connection with the conduct of her ongoing work; i.e., her regular and recurring contacts with agency management are more accurately represented at level 2.

 Purpose of contacts

The purpose of the appellant’s contacts is consistent with level b, where contacts are to provide advice to managers on program related issues and concerns and typically involve such matters as identification of decision-making alternatives, appraisals of success in meeting goals, or recommendations for resolving administrative problems.  This level accurately depicts any involvement the appellant may have in presenting her findings and recommendations to the management officials of the organizational components under review.

Level c is not met.  At this level, contacts are for the purpose of influencing managers or other officials to accept and implement findings and recommendations on organizational improvement or program effectiveness where resistance may be encountered due to such issues as organizational conflict, competing objectives, or resource problems. While the appellant may present her findings to management of the programs or staff reviewed, she is not expected to attempt to influence them to accept her recommendations and in fact, was unclear whether any actions had been taken in response to her findings in her various studies. 

Level 3b is credited (110 points).

Summary
Factors Level Points
Knowledge Required 1-6 950
Supervisory Controls 2-4 450
Guidelines 3-4 450
Complexity 4-4 225
Scope and Effect 5-4 225
Personal Contacts
Purpose of Contacts 3b 110
Physical Demands 8-1 5
Work Evironment 9-1 5
Total 2420

 

The total of 2420 points falls within the GS-11 range (2355-2750) on the grade conversion table provided in the guide. 

Decision

The position is properly classified as Management Analyst, GS-343-11.  

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