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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

Michael R. McKinney
Supervisory Program Analyst
Program Integration Division
Assistant Chief of Staff, G8
Resource Management
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
Department of the Army
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Supervisory Program Analyst

Linda Kazinetz
Classification Appeals and FLSA 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 (CFR), this decision constitutes a classification certificate which 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 5 CFR 511.605, 511.613, and 511.614, as cited in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards (Introduction), appendix 4, section G (address provided in appendix 4, section H).


The appellant’s position is currently classified as Supervisory Program Analyst, GS-343-13.  However, he believes his position should be classified at the GS-14 level.  The position is assigned to the Program Integration Division (PID), Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS), G8, Resource Management, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS), Department of the Army (Army), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  We have accepted and decided this appeal under section 5112 of title 5, United States Code.

General issues

The appellant makes various statements about his agency’s evaluation of his position and cites an increased volume of work performed as support for the requested GS-14 grade.  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).  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 OPM’s classification appeal process.  Thus, we have considered the appellant’s statements only insofar as they are relevant to comparison to OPM standards and guidelines.  In addition, volume of work cannot be considered in determining the grade of a position (The Classifier’s Handbook, Chapter 5).

Position Information

Both the appellant and his supervisor certified to the accuracy of the duties contained in his official position description (PD) (# DN460962).  However, we find the appellant’s PD includes duties that do not accurately represent the appellant’s actual work.  For example, the PD indicates the appellant is delegated authority and responsibility for a variety of resource integration and management activities, processes, and procedures.  However, the authority and responsibility for resource integration and management resides with the ACOS G8 Resource Management and not with the appellant.  In addition, the PD indicates the appellant organizes and coordinates executive level leadership oversight, control, and governance of capabilities/capacities, capability gaps, and solution approaches.  However, these responsibilities rest with the appellant’s supervisor and/or higher level management within the agency.  The PD also indicates the appellant is responsible for modifying existing policies and programs as necessary.  However, the authority and responsibility for modifying current policies and programs rests with the ACOS G8 Resource Manager and higher-level management.  In addition, the PD indicates the appellant acts as a liaison between PID and higher, lateral, and subordinate commands/activities and Headquarters (HQ).  However, responsibility for liaising with the aforementioned individuals and organizational components resides within the Budget Division of USAJFKSWCS.  The PD further indicates the appellant serves as a project team leader and directs team work.  However, the authority and responsibility to direct project team work rests with the action officers (AOs) and program managers (PMs).

The PD indicates the appellant is responsible for providing justification and defense of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Program Objective Memorandum (POM) involving DoD and procurement appropriations.  However, responsibility for justifying and defending O&M POMs rests with the POM AO or PM.  The PD also indicates the appellant negotiates with USAJFKSWCS directors and HQ functional staff to solicit support to accept and implement findings resulting from short, mid, and long-range studies and reviews prior to submitting solution recommendations.  However, this responsibility also rests with the POM AO or PM.  The PD also indicates the appellant negotiates with commodity commands on materiel requirements and fielding matters, and negotiates and coordinates directly with HQ, United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), G4, to integrate fielding and new equipment training associated with new systems fielded.  However, this responsibility rests with the POM AOs.

The PD indicates the appellant is responsible for reviewing and developing Capabilities Development Documents (CDD) and Capability Production Documents (CPD) for systems required to meet training requirements.  However, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Army Centers of Excellence managers are responsible for developing and updating CDDs and CPDs.  In addition, the PD indicates the appellant is responsible for providing status updates regarding the overall fielding/NET program; identifying issues or problems which may negatively impact the program; and designing and implementing remedies.  However, this responsibility rests with the ACOS G8 Resource Management or higher level management within the agency.  Further, the PD indicates the appellant plans work to be accomplished by subordinate employees within PID, sets priorities and completion dates for work, and assigns work based on the priorities and complexity of assignments and the experience and capabilities of the employees.  However, most work is identified at higher levels of the organization (e.g., supervisor, G8) or by the branch PMs or AOs associated with the work (i.e., Requirements Branch, Programming Branch, and Force Modernization Branch).

Because PDs must meet the minimum standard of adequacy as described on pages 11-12 of the Introduction, the appellant’s PD must be updated so there is a clear understanding of the both the supervisory and nonsupervisory duties and responsibilities representing the approved classification.

USJFKSWCS is one of eleven Centers of Excellence which provide training and education and develop and manage operations involving civil affairs, psychological operations, and Special Forces operations for Army, other branches of the U.S. military, and military elements from other countries.  USAJFKSWCS is manned by 2032 military, civilian, and contracted personnel.  PID supports approximately 74 programs within 14 departments and seven battalions and is responsible for identifying shortfalls, gaps, and deficiencies in various facets of military operations (e.g., manpower, equipment, education) and assisting AOs and PMs with the development of funding requests for a variety of projects and studies.

The appellant is a subject matter expert (SME) regarding Army, Special Operations Forces-peculiar (SOF-p) (i.e., not an Army-common requirement or capability), and Force Modernization (FORMOD) project funding regulations, processes, and procedures who uses various analytical and evaluative techniques; knowledge of Federal and agency budgetary programs and processes; and current and proposed regulations and guidance to provide support and assistance to PMs and AOs regarding the development, support, monitoring, and adjustment of POMs and to record, track, and report on various current and projected issues and processes associated with the work of his branch.

In reaching our classification decision, we carefully considered all information gained through interviews, as well as documents submitted by the appellant and his agency.

Series, title, and standard determination

The position is properly allocated to the GS-343 Management and Program Analysis Series.  The basic title for positions engaged in analyzing and/or evaluating the effectiveness of line or operating programs is “Program Analyst.”  Additionally, the appellant’s supervisory responsibilities meet the minimum coverage requirements described in the General Schedule Supervisory Guide (GSSG).  Therefore, in accordance with the titling instructions in the Position Classification Flysheet for the Management and Program Analysis Series, GS-343, the prefix “Supervisory” is appropriately added to the aforementioned title of Program Analyst.  Thus, the correct title for the appellant’s position is “Supervisory Program Analyst.”

Grade determination

Evaluation of nonsupervisory duties using the Administrative Analysis Grade Evaluation Guide (AAGEG)

The agency did not separately evaluate the appellant’s nonsupervisory work.  Nonsupervisory positions in the GS-343 series are evaluated by reference to the AAGEG.  The AAGEG is written in the Factor Evaluation System (FES) format, which employs nine factors.  Each factor is evaluated separately and is assigned a point value consistent with factor-level definitions described in the guide.  Under the FES, each factor-level description 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 an equally important aspect that meets a higher level balances the deficiency.  Conversely, the position may exceed those criteria in some aspects and still not be credited at 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.

At Level 1-7, work requires knowledge and skill in analyzing and evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of program operations carried out by administrative or professional personnel, or substantive administrative support functions such as supply, budget, procurement, or human resources which facilitate line or program operations.  This factor includes knowledge of pertinent laws, regulations, policies, and precedents which affect the use of program and related support resources (e.g., people, money, equipment).

At Level 1-8, the highest level provided in the AAGEG, the appellant is an expert analyst who has mastered the application of a wide range of qualitative and/or quantitative methods for the assessment and improvement of program effectiveness or the improvement of complex management processes and systems.  In addition to knowledge of the next lower level, this level requires comprehensive knowledge of the full range of administrative laws, policies, regulations, and precedents applicable to the administration of one or more important public programs.  Typically, this includes knowledge of agency program goals and objectives, the sequence and timing of key program events and milestones, and methods of evaluating the worth of program accomplishments.  Work requires knowledge of relationships with other programs and key administrative support functions within the employing agency or in other agencies.  For example, knowledge is applied to the design and conduct of comprehensive management studies where the boundaries of the studies are extremely broad and difficult to determine in advance; i.e., the actual limits of the project are developed as the study proceeds.  Study objectives are to identify and propose solutions to management problems which are characterized by their breadth, importance, and severity, and for which previous studies and established management techniques are frequently inadequate.  For other assignments, knowledge may be applied in preparing recommendations for legislation to change the way programs are carried out; in evaluating the content of new or modified legislation for projected impact upon agency programs and resources; and/or in translating basic legislation into program goals, actions, and services.

Level 1-8 is not met.  The appellant reviews a variety of DOD and Army reports related to shortfalls, gaps, and deficiencies in key areas (e.g., manpower, materiel, training) and provides technical and administrative support and guidance to program managers and AOs who are directly responsible for a variety of Army SOFp and FORMOD projects, programs, and studies.  However, his work does not require him to possess a mastery of the relationships within Army sufficient to analyze agency guidelines, directives, and programs; develop, recommend, and implement budgetary policies; or interpret and assess the impact of new and revised legislation on the formulation and execution of the overall Army programs.  In addition, the appellant does not develop new methods and techniques for long-range funding or new timetables for obtaining needed funding for new or modified substantive government programs.  Instead, the appellant’s work deals specifically with providing guidance and advice regarding requests for funding to support Army SOF-p, FORMOD, and USAJFKSWCS projects and studies.  Responsibility for formulation and execution of the overall funding programs rests with higher level management within the agency.  Therefore, the nature and extent of the knowledge and skill required of the appellant’s position does not meet the broader knowledge and skill requirements described at Level 1-8.

The distinction between Levels 1-7 and 1-8 is that Level 1-7 describes operational-type assignments where the employee analyzes and evaluates existing program activities from the standpoint of resource usage, whereas Level 1-8 describes much broader staff responsibilities involved with defining and implementing major changes in program activities or services.  In other words, Level 1-7 relates more to project-based assignments directly associated with the operating work of the organization while Level 1-8 is concerned with issues related to how the overall program functions, such as developing legislative proposals or agency-level program directives.  Within this context, the appellant’s work is analogous to Level 1-7 in that, in support of existing agency programs, he analyzes budgetary, administrative, and procedural needs and issues associated with proposed Army SOF-p, FORMOD, and USAJFKSWCS projects and studies and coordinates with AOs and PMs to develop funding requests for proposed projects and studies.  He also provides guidance, advice, and recommendations regarding issues and concerns arising during all phases of funding proposals and implementation.  However, he does not have broader programmatic responsibilities that directly affect the overall scope, design, or requirements of Army’s funding programs nor is he responsible for developing and defining major changes in Army’s funding activities or services.

Level 1-7 is credited (1250 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, the employee and his supervisor, within a framework of priorities, funding and overall project objectives (e.g., cost reduction, improved effectiveness and efficiency, better workload distribution, or implementation of new work methods), develop a mutually acceptable project plan(s) which typically includes identification of the work to be done, the scope of the project, and deadlines for its completion.  Within the parameters of the approved project plan, the employee is responsible for planning and organizing the study, estimating costs, coordinating with staff and line management personnel, and conducting all phases of the project.  This frequently involves the definitive interpretation of regulations and study procedures, and the initial application of new methods.  The employee informs the supervisor of potentially controversial findings, issues, or problems with widespread impact.  Completed projects, evaluations, reports, or recommendations are reviewed by the supervisor for compatibility with organizational goals, guidelines, and effectiveness in achieving intended objectives.  Completed work is also reviewed critically outside the employee's immediate office by staff and line management officials whose programs and employees would be affected by implementation of the recommendations.

At Level 2-5, the employee, as a recognized authority in the analysis and evaluation of programs and issues, is subject only to administrative and policy direction concerning overall project priorities and objectives.  At this level, the employee is typically delegated complete responsibility and authority to plan, schedule, and carry out major projects concerned with the analysis and evaluation of programs or organizational effectiveness.  The employee typically exercises discretion and judgment in determining whether to broaden or narrow the scope of projects or studies.  Analyses, evaluations, and recommendations developed by the employee are normally reviewed by management officials only for potential influence on broad agency policy objectives and program goals.  Findings and recommendations are normally accepted without significant change.

Level 2-4 is met.  Similar to Level 2-4, the appellant’s supervisor identifies overall assignment objectives and works with the appellant to establish timelines and to discuss overall issues and goals associated with particular funding requests for Army SOF-p, and FORMOD projects and studies, applicable program parameters, and possible approaches to accomplish the work.  Within existing program parameters, the appellant independently plans, develops, proposes, and tracks funding proposals (i.e., POMs) and provides technical, legal, and procedural guidance and direction to peers, AOs, PMs, and subordinates.  Like Level 2-4, the appellant reviews new policies and regulations (e.g., OMB guidance, Defense Planning Guide, USSOCOM and USASOC Strategies and objectives, Army budget administration guidance) and uses this information to recommend changes in PID SOPs.  The appellant keeps his supervisor informed of the overall progress of work and alerts him when potentially controversial issues arise.  The supervisor reviews the appellant’s work to determine if the work meets established timelines and milestones but does not typically focus on the methods used to accomplish work.

Level 2-5 is not met.  Although the appellant’s knowledge and experience regarding regulations, requirements, processes, and procedures associated with research and development of funding proposals directly affect the success of a variety of long-term projects and studies, he is not a “recognized authority” in the analysis and evaluation of programs and issues.  In addition, the appellant is not subject only to administrative and policy direction concerning overall project priorities and objectives.  Instead, he meets regularly with his supervisor to discuss priorities, timelines, and objectives and to provide updates on current work and, although he typically plans and prioritizes his work independently, his supervisor possesses and exercises the authority to alter, suspend, and discontinue the focus and priority of work performed by the appellant.  Further, the appellant does not typically plan, schedule, and carry out projects designed to analyze and evaluate programs or organizational effectiveness.  Instead, the appellant’s work focuses on analyzing and evaluating a variety of issues, shortfalls, and deficiencies identified by higher level management (e.g., manpower, material, equipment) and assists AOs and PMs with the development of long-term funding proposals to address identified needs and issues.

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.

Level 3-4 guidelines consist of general administrative policies and management and organizational theories which require considerable adaptation and/or interpretation for application to issues and problems studied.  At this level, 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.  Administrative guidelines usually cover program goals and objectives of the employing organization, such as agency controls on size of work force, productivity targets, and similar objectives.  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.

Level 3-5 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 in interpreting and revising existing policy and regulatory guidance for use by others within or outside the employing organization (e.g., other analysts, line managers, 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).

Level 3-4 is met.  Like this level, much of the guidance used by the appellant covers funding-related issues associated with broad program goals and objectives (e.g., OMB guidance, Defense Planning Guide, USSOCOM and USASOC strategies and objectives, DA budget administration guidance) which experience regular change or require the appellant to interpret and adapt his current processes to fit new regulations and requirements associated with  a variety of funding proposals.  Also like Level 3-4, the appellant analyzes data gathered during the budget formulation phase to forecast possible fluctuations in long-term projects and studies (i.e., five years or longer) which may be caused by a variety of factors (e.g., service member participation, materiel costs).  He monitors individual projects for unexpected expenses or increases in the rate of spending which may impact the sustainability of current projects and studies and the programs they support.  If significant changes occur, he coordinates with AOs and PMs to update and resubmit POMs in order to achieve program objectives.  He also develops and presents recommendations to correct various issues (e.g., streamlining processes, discontinuing less productive projects) and presents them to all appropriate parties for consideration and action.

Level 3-5 is not met.  The appellant works within established policy controls more specific than legislative history, related court decisions, and State and local laws.  Also unlike Level 3-5, the appellant’s interpretive responsibility is limited to established laws, policies, directives, and SOPs which are associated with and directly affect issues, processes, and procedures concerning PID activities (e.g., funding proposals for Army SOF-p, and FORMOD projects and studies).  Therefore, he is not responsible for developing and implementating agency policies and procedures as would be expected at Level 3-5.  Instead, this responsibility rests with higher level management within the agency.  In addition, while the appellant does coordinate with his supervisor to develop SOPs, they are derived from existing laws, policies, and directives and are typically limited to activities and operations of PID, which is indicative of Level 3-4.

Level 3-4 is credited (450 points).

Factor 4, Complexity

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

At Level 4-4, work involves gathering information, identifying and analyzing issues, and developing recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of work operations in a program or program support setting. Characteristic of this level is originality in refining existing work methods and techniques for application to the analysis of specific issues or resolution of problems.

At Level 4-5, work consists of projects and studies requiring analysis of interrelated issues of effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of mission-oriented programs.  Typical assignments require developing detailed plans, goals, and objectives for the long-range implementation and administration of the program, where the work deals less with concrete administrative processes than with subjective issues requiring value judgments regarding the relative advantages and disadvantages of various ways of improving the effectiveness of program administration.

Level 4-4 is met.  The appellant identifies and discusses issues and concerns associated with developing funding requests for new projects and studies and, when faced with circumstances which may affect the duration or effectiveness of existing projects, he develops and recommends alternatives which are designed to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of current projects and studies in order to fulfill their original objectives and coordinates with affected parties to resubmit and justify revised funding requests.  Like Level 4-4, the appellant coordinates with AOs, PMs, and command management to review a variety of reports, publications, laws, and guidelines (e.g., CDDs, CPDs, OMB guidance, Defense Planning Guide, USSOCOM and USASOC Strategies and objectives, DOA budget administration guidance) to identify gaps, shortfalls, and deficiencies in Army SOF-p and FORMOD programs and processes.  In addition, pertinent information may not always be expressed in specific terms.  Therefore, the appellant may be required to use his knowledge and experience to fill in gaps in information in order to arrive at conclusions.  Also like Level 4-4, the appellant selects which qualitative and quantitative analytical technique (e.g., probability analysis, document review, observation, CBA) is most appropriate for each task (e.g., fact finding, budget forecasting) and adapts these tools and techniques to resolve issues associated with funding proposals for specific projects and studies.

Level 4-5 is not met.  The appellant gathers information associated with gaps, shortfalls, and deficiencies (e.g., manpower, education, equipment) directly related to work being performed within three branches of USAJFKSWCS (i.e., requirements, force modernization, and programming) and provides technical and administrative guidance, recommendations, and support to AOs and PMs who are directly responsible for proposing and defending funding requests for long-term Army SOF-p, and FORMOD project and studies for activities associated with the aforementioned branches.  Thus, the appellant’s work is analogous to Level 4-4 work which focuses more on issues associated with projects and studies which support programs rather than the overall operation of programs.

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 work products or services both within and outside the organization.

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.  Work involves establishing criteria to measure and/or predict the attainment of program or organizational goals and objectives.  Work at this level may also include developing related administrative regulations, such as those governing the allocation and distribution of personnel, supplies, equipment, and other resources, or promulgating program guidance for application across organizational lines or in varied geographic locations.  Work that involves the evaluation of program effectiveness usually focuses on the delivery of program benefits or services at the operating level.

At this level, work contributes to the improvement of productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency in program operations and/or administrative support activities at different echelons and/or geographical locations within the organization.  Work affects the plans, goals, and effectiveness of missions and programs at these various echelons or locations.  Work may affect the nature of administrative work done in components of other agencies (e.g., in preparation and submission of reports, in gathering and evaluating workload statistics, or in routing and storing official correspondence or files).

At Level 5-5, the purpose of the work is to analyze and evaluate major administrative aspects of substantive, mission-oriented programs. This may involve, for example, 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, a regional structure of equivalent scope, or a large complex multi-mission field activity.  The work involves identifying and developing ways to resolve problems or cope with issues which directly affect the accomplishment of principal program goals and objectives (e.g., the delivery of program benefits or services).  Some employees develop new ways to resolve major administrative problems or plan the most significant administrative management aspects of professional or scientific programs, while some employees at this level develop administrative regulations or guidelines for the conduct of program operations, while others develop new criteria for measuring program accomplishments (e.g., the level, costs, or intrinsic value of benefits and services provided) and the extent to which program goals and objectives are attained.

At this level, study reports typically contain findings and recommendations of major significance to top management of the agency, and often serve as the basis for new administrative systems, legislation, regulations, or programs.  Typical of work products prepared by employees at this level are complete decision packages, staff studies, and recommendations which upon implementation would significantly change major administrative aspects of missions and programs, or substantially affect the quality and quantity of benefits and services provided to the agency's clients.

Level 5-4 is met.  Like this level, the appellant’s work involves developing studies designed to assess the productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of education and support programs within USAJFKSWCS aimed at identifying shortfalls and deficiencies in areas such as manpower, equipment, materiel, etc.  The appellant uses the results of his analysis to coordinate with project AOs and PMs to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Army SOF-p and FORMOD project budget proposal process.  The work supports the ability of AOs and PMs to compete for limited funding for projects as well as indirectly affecting the plans, goals, and effectiveness of processes and programs at higher echelons within the organization (e.g., G8, G4).

Level 5-5 is not met.  Unlike Level 5-5, the appellant does not analyze and evaluate major aspects of substantive mission-oriented programs or identify and develop ways to resolve and address issues directly affecting the accomplishment of principal program goals and objectives.  These responsibilities are accomplished at higher levels within the agency.  Instead, consistent with Level 5-4, the appellant assists AOs and PMs to obtain and sustain funding for projects and studies which address various shortfalls, gaps, and deficiencies in programs for which they are responsible (e.g., manpower, equipment).  Also unlike Level 5-5, the findings and recommendations provided by the appellant are not typically of major significance to top agency management nor do they typically serve as the basis for new administrative systems, legislation, regulations, agency programs, or result in complete decision packets, studies, and recommendations which, when implemented, would significantly change major administrative aspects of Army missions and programs.  Instead, as with Level 5-4, the appellant’s work directly affects the ability of USAJFKSWCS’s Army SOF-p and FORMOD AOs and PMs to obtain and sustain funding for their projects which affect various echelons within the agency.

Level 5-4 is credited (225 points).

Factor 6, Personal contacts


Factor 7, Purpose of contacts

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

      Personal contacts                                            

Level 3 personal contacts include persons outside the agency which may include consultants, contractors, or business executives in a moderately unstructured setting.  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.

Level 4 personal contacts include high-ranking officials such as other agency heads, top congressional staff officials, State executive or legislative leaders, mayors of major cities, or executives of comparable private sector organizations.

Level 3 is met.  The appellant’s regular contacts include peers, AOs, PMs, supervisors, managers, and ad hoc communications with Flag Officers several managerial levels removed from the employee, such as Deputy G8, USASOC G4, and, Training and Doctrine Command, etc., especially during the appropriations cycle when funding proposals for projects directly affecting specific shortfalls and deficiencies concerning these organizations are being developed.

Level 4 is not met.  Unlike Level 4, the appellant does not have contact with agency heads, top congressional staff officials, State executive or legislative leaders, mayors of major cities, or executives of comparable private sector organizations.

       Purpose of contacts

At Level c, the purpose of contacts is to influence 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.

At Level d, the purpose of contacts is to justify or settle matters involving significant or controversial issues (e.g., recommendations affecting major programs, dealing with substantial expenditures, significantly changing the nature and scope of organizations).

Level c is met.  Although the appellant provides facts, information, and recommendations during his contacts, he is regularly required to perform and justify and defend the results of studies and analysis of agency-identified shortfalls and deficiencies related to a variety of USAJFKSWCS’s Army SOF-p and FORMOD program issues.  In addition, all POM proposals (i.e., new POMs and resubmissions of current projects and studies) compete for limited funds which regularly results in disagreements among PMs and higher-level managers regarding justification and prioritization of projects.  Therefore, the appellant is regularly required to make and justify recommendations regarding project rejection, modification, and/or continuation to PMs and higher-level managers.

Level 3c is credited (180 points).

Factor 8, Physical demands

This factor covers the requirements and physical demands placed on the employee by the work situation.  The position matches Level 8-1, which covers sedentary work.

Level 8-1 is credited (5 points).

Factor 9, Work environment

This factor considers the risks and discomforts in the employee’s physical surroundings or the nature of the work assigned and the safety regulations required.  The position matches Level 9-1, which describes an adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated office setting.

Level 9-1 is credited (5 points).





1. Knowledge required by the position



2. Supervisory controls



3. Guidelines



4. Complexity

4-4                225

5. Scope and effect



6. Personal contacts/Purpose of contacts     



8. Physical demands



9. Work environment






The total of 2790 points falls within the GS-12 range (2755-3150) on the grade conversion table provided in the AAGEG.  Therefore, the appellant’s nonsupervisory duties are graded at the GS-12 level.

Evaluation of supervisory duties using the General Schedule Supervisory Guide (GSSG)

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

The appellant’s agency credited his supervisory work as follows: 1-2, 2-1, 3-3b, 4A-3/4B-3, 5-7, and 6-5.  The appellant agrees with his agency’s factor level determinations for Factors 2, 3, 4, and 6.  However, he disagrees with his agency’s factor level determinations for Factors 1 and 5 and believes he should be credited at Level 1-3 and 5-8 because he asserts his work directly affects Army’s mission and because he has supervisory responsibility for a GS-13 subordinate.  After careful review, we disagree with the agency’s evaluation of Factor 3.  Therefore, we have confined our analysis to Factors 1, 3, and 5.

Factor 1, Program Scope and Effect

The element Scope addresses the complexity and breadth of the program directed and the services delivered as well as the geographic and organizational coverage of the program within the agency structure.  The element Effect addresses the impact of the work, the products, and/or the programs described under "Scope" on the mission and programs of the customer(s), the activity, other activities in or out of government, the agency, other agencies, the general public, or others.


At Level 1-2, the program segment or work directed is administrative, technical, complex clerical, or comparable in nature.  The functions, activities, or services provided have limited geographic coverage and support most of the activities comprising a typical agency field office, an area office, a small to medium military installation, or comparable activities within agency program segments.

At Level 1-3, the program directed performs technical, administrative, protective, investigative, or professional work.  The program segment and work directed typically have coverage which encompasses a major metropolitan area, a State, or a small region of several States; or, when most of an area's taxpayers or businesses are covered, coverage comparable to a small city.  Providing complex administrative or technical or professional services directly affecting a large or complex multi-mission military installation also falls at this level.

The scope of the work directed by the appellant meets Level 1-2.  Like this level, he directs work which provides administrative, technical and regulatory guidance, services, and support associated with researching, preparing, advising, monitoring, adjusting, and reporting on budget proposals for long-term projects which support a variety of Army SOF-p and FORMOD programs and projects at USAJFKSWCS.

The scope of the work directed by the appellant does not meet Level 1-3.  Unlike Level 1-3, the work directed by the appellant does not typically encompasses a major metropolitan area, a State, a small region of several states, a small city (when most of an area’s taxpayers or businesses are covered), or a large or complex multi-mission military installation.  In addition, although the appellant asserts he is responsible for funds in excess of one billion dollars annually and approximately 10,000 military, civilian, and student personnel, we find he directs administrative program segments within a small to medium-sized military training facility composed of approximately 2032 military, civilian, and contracted personnel.  We also find he is not directly responsible for the facility’s 1.1 billion dollar annual budget for project funding.  Instead, the primary responsibility for management of project funds rests with the project AOs and PMs.

Scope is credited at Level 1-2.


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

At Level 1-3, activities, functions, or services accomplished directly and significantly impact a wide range of agency activities, the work of other agencies, or the operations of outside interests (e.g., a segment of a regulated industry), or the general public.  At the field activity level (involving large, complex, multi-mission organizations and/or very large serviced populations), the work directly involves or substantially impacts the provision of essential support operations to numerous, varied, and complex technical, professional, and administrative functions.

The effect of the work directed by the appellant meets Level 1-2.  Although the projects and studies performed by the Army SOF-p and FORMOD AOs and PMs may impact many activities and processes both inside and outside Army, the work directed by the appellant focuses on helping AOs and PMs obtain funding for the aforementioned projects and studies; i.e., he is not responsible for performance or the effects of the actual projects and studies.  Therefore, the effect of the work directed by the appellant meets Level 1-2.

Effect is credited at Level 1-2.

Both scope and effect are credited at Level 1-2 (350 points).

Factor 3, Supervisory and Managerial Authority Exercised

This factor covers the delegated supervisory and managerial authorities exercised on a recurring basis.

The appellant’s position meets Level 3-2c in that he carries out three of the first four    authorities and responsibilities.  He meets the following numbered responsibilities listed in the GSSG:  (1) plans work to be accomplished by subordinates, adjusts priorities, and prepares schedules for completion of work; (3) evaluates the performance of subordinates; (4) advises, counsels, and instructs employees on work and administrative matters; (5) interviews candidates for positions in his unit and recommends promotions or reassignments.  He also meets:  (6) hears and resolves complaints from employees, and refers group grievances and serious unresolved complaints to higher level supervisors; (7) is authorized to take minor disciplinary measures and recommends other action in more series cases; (8) identifies developmental and training needs of employees and arranges for such training; (9) finds ways to improve work production or increase the quality of work directed; and (10) develops performance standards (measures) for performance elements of positions in his unit.

To meet Factor Level 3-3, a position must meet either 3-3a or 3-3b as described below:

At Level 3-3a, a position exercises delegated managerial authority to set a series of annual, multi-year, or similar types of long-range work plans and schedules for in-service or contracted work.  These positions assure implementation (by lower and subordinate organizational units or others) of the goals and objectives for the program segment(s) or function(s) they oversee.  They determine goals and objectives that need additional emphasis; determine the best approach or solution for resolving budget shortages; and plan for long range staffing needs, including such matters as whether to contract out work.  These positions are closely involved with high-level program officials (or comparable agency-level staff personnel) in the development of overall goals and objectives for assigned staff function(s), program(s), or program segment(s).  For example, they direct development of data; provision of expertise and insights; securing of legal opinions; preparation of position papers or legislative proposals; and execution of comparable activities which support development of goals and objectives related to high levels of program management and development or formulation.

The appellant’s position does not meet Level 3-3a.  Unlike Level 3-3a, he does not have the managerial authority to set a series of annual, multi-year, or similar types of long range work plans and schedules for in-service or contracted work.  He is not closely involved with high level program officials in the development of overall goals and objectives for programs or program segments.  Additionally, the position does not meet the intent of Level 3-3a to credit significant decision-making involvement in bureau-wide budgetary, policy and regulatory matters.  Such matters are addressed at higher levels within Army.  Consequently, Level 3-3a cannot be credited.

To meet Factor Level 3-3b, a position must exercise all or nearly all of the delegated supervisory authorities and responsibilities described at Level 3-2c of this factor and, in addition, at least eight of the fifteen responsibilities listed at Level 3-3b.  Our analysis of those responsibilities follows:

The appellant’s position also does not meet Level 3-3b.  Although he exercises all of the delegated supervisory authorities and responsibilities described at Level 3-2c of this factor, he only exercises four of the 15 responsibilities listed at Level 3-3b (i.e., 7, 9, 14, and 15).  Consequently, Level 3-3b cannot be credited.

Level 3-2c is credited (450 points).

Factor 5, Difficulty of Typical Work Directed

This factor measures the difficulty and complexity of the basic work most typical of the organization directed, as well as other line, staff, or contracted work for which the supervisor has technical or oversight responsibility.

To evaluate first-level supervisors, the GSSG instructs determining the highest grade of basic (mission oriented) nonsupervisory work performed which constitutes 25 percent or more of the workload of the organization.  The guide instructs that work graded based on an extraordinary degree of independence from supervision should be either excluded from consideration, or the grade of such work should be adjusted (for purposes of applying the guide) to that appropriate for performance under “normal” supervision.

The following is a list of the appellant’s current workload by full-time equivalency (FTE) within PID:


1.0 Requirements Specialist, GS-301


1.0 Program Analyst, GS-343

1.0 Force Modernization Analyst, GS-301


1.0 Force Modernization Specialist, GS-301

Total nonsupervisory mission-oriented workload is 4.0 FTEs.  The percentage of nonsupervisory mission-oriented workload at each grade level is as follows:

GS-13:  25%

GS-12:  50%

GS-11:  25%

Since the GS-13 grade level appears to represent 25 percent of the nonsupervisory work performed by PID, the appellant reasons he spends 25 percent of his time directing GS-13 work.  However, after careful consideration of the GS-13 PD, certified accurate by competent agency authority, we find the appellant provides minimal day-to-day technical direction to the GS-13 position.  For example, the PD states the GS-13 employee is “the senior USAJFKSWCS SOCOE technical advisor,” is “solely responsible for managing the commands’ internal business practices for a variety of processes associated with mission shortfalls, capability deficiencies, and requirements validation initiatives,” and is responsible for “independently planning, organizing, and coordinating all phases of assigned projects.”  In addition, the appellant states the GS-13 Requirements Specialist is the only subordinate in PID who is authorized to communicate, negotiate, and develop resolutions to branch-related issues without prior consultation and approval from the appellant and that he seldom directs the day-to-day work of this employee. The grade disparity between this position and the GS-12 positions appears to be predicated on the employee’s designation as the “senior” technical advisor and the relative independence with which he reportedly operates rather than on a substantive difference in the nature of the actual work performed.  Therefore, we adjust the grade of this work to GS-12 as that appropriate for performance under “normal” supervision when determining the highest grade of basic (mission oriented) nonsupervisory work.  Consequently, we find the GS-12 work, at 75 percent, is fully representative of the basic, mission-oriented, nonsupervisory work typically direct by the appellant.






1.  Program Scope and Effect



2.  Organizational Setting



3.  Supervisory & Managerial Authority Exercised



4.  Personal Contacts

      A.  Nature of Contacts



      B.  Purpose of Contacts



5.  Difficulty of Typical Work Directed



6.  Other Conditions





The total of 3230 points falls within the GS-13 range (3155–3600) on the grade conversion table provided in the GSSG.  Therefore, the appellant’s supervisory duties are graded at the GS-13 level.


The appealed position is properly classified as Supervisory Program Analyst, GS-343-13.

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