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Recruiting for a Senior Legal Position in OPM

Wednesday, August 23, 2000
MSG 2000-075
Human Resources Directors
Recruiting for a Senior Legal Position in OPM



Working with the General Counsel, the Deputy General Counsel is the lawyer for all of the programs and senior officials of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The Deputy is involved in key initiatives affecting the Federal Government's human resource management, from drafting executive orders on telecommuting to implementing long-term care insurance for the 13 million members of the Federal civilian and military family. The Deputy is often called upon to advise OPM officials in dealing with other agencies, with Congress, and with the public.

The litigation under the Deputy's responsibility involves a broad spectrum of law, e.g., administrative, health care, life insurance, retirement, personnel, labor, privacy, and contract. The cases can be complex and the stakes great -- class actions with tens of thousands of plaintiffs, claims against OPM's multi-billion dollar benefit trust funds, challenges to an agency's authority to manage its workforce, and the Government's attempt to recover the cost of treating tobacco-related illnesses.

The Deputy must ensure that the Office of General Counsel (OGC) provides high quality and timely legal analysis and representation. The Deputy consults with the staff on litigation strategy, reviews briefs and opinions, and advises the General Counsel on every significant legal issue. The Deputy helps hire, train, supervise, and evaluate a professional and support staff of 35 people. The Deputy develops and monitors OGC's budget and oversees all the administrative functions

The Deputy is a senior policy and legal advisor in an agency that is leading the work of Government reform. The Deputy must be an able lawyer and an innovative manager with the experience, judgment, and flexibility to meet the daily challenges of human resource management for the 1.8 million civilian employees of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.


U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street, NW
Washington, D.C.


All interested persons who have a law degree from an accredited university; are currently authorized to engage in the practice of law as an attorney under the rules of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and have significant litigation experience.


August 30, 2000 to September 20, 2000


Angelia Bowden (202) 606-2982
TTY (202) 606-2118 or
via the Internet at


The salary range for this position is $115,811 to $130,200. The total compensation package includes other benefits and options. Total employer paid contributions are worth approximately $20,000 to $27,000, not including paid vacation and sick leave, paid holidays, or performance-based bonuses. Our benefits package offers:

Bonuses - You will be eligible for performance bonuses of 5 to 20 percent of base pay for superior accomplishments.

Retirement/Pension Plan - You will be covered by a defined benefit, contributory Federal retirement system that provides benefits for both normal retirement (with as few as 5 years of civilian service) and for circumstances that might occur earlier, such as involuntary retirement because of disability, or benefits for survivors in cases of the death of a worker.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) - You may participate in a retirement savings investment plan that offers before-tax savings and tax-deferred investment earnings. Employees covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System may contribute up to $10,000 per year, and also receive agency contributions up to 5% of salary. Employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System may contribute up to 5% of salary.

Health Benefits - You may select one of a variety of health plans and options under the Government's Federal Employees' Health Benefits program--a program that is often cited as a model of employer-subsidized health benefits plans. Coverage is without medical examination or restrictions because of age, current health, or pre-existing medical condition, and there are no waiting periods.

Life Insurance - You may participate in the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance program--the largest group life insurance program in the world. The program offers employees an opportunity to acquire life insurance protection at group rates with a Government contribution toward the cost of basic insurance. The plan also offers several levels of additional optional insurance coverage to enable employees to select the level of protection that best suits their personal circumstances.

Paid Vacation, Sick Leave, Holidays - You will earn vacation leave on the basis of years of Federal service:

  • 15 or more years = earn 26 vacation days
  • between 3 and 14 years = earn 20 vacation days
  • less than 3 years = earn 13 vacation days

Employees also earn 13 days of sick leave per year. Up to 90 days of unused vacation leave may be carried over from one year to the next. In addition, the Government observes 10 regular paid holidays each year.


Your experience must clearly show that you have the professional, technical and program knowledge, skills and abilities outlined below. Unless you are currently serving under a career SES appointment, are eligible for reinstatement into the SES, or have successfully completed an SES Candidate Development Program approved by OPM, you must submit a narrative statement covering each of the Executive Core Qualifications listed below. Additional information on the Executive Core Qualifications is available at Your narrative must demonstrate that you have the necessary level of executive skills, characteristics, qualities, specialized knowledge and/or technical competence that would indicate successful performance in the SES. Your examples should be clear and concise, and emphasize your level of responsibilities, scope and complexity of programs managed, program accomplishments with results of your actions, policy initiatives and level of contacts.



This core qualification encompasses the ability to develop and implement an organizational vision that integrates key national and program goals, priorities, values, and other factors. Inherent to leading is the ability to balance change and continuity--to continually strive to improve customer and program performance within the basic Government framework, to create a work environment that encourages creative thinking, and to maintain focus, intensity and persistence even under adversity.

Key Characteristics:

(a) Exercising leadership and motivating managers to incorporate vision, strategic planning, and elements of quality management into the full range of the organization's activities; encouraging creative thinking and innovation; influencing others toward a spirit of service; designing and implementing new or cutting edge programs/processes.

(b) Identifying and integrating key issues affecting the organization, including political,

economic, social, technical, and administrative factors.

(c) Understanding the roles and relationships of the components of the national policy making and implementation process, including the President, political appointees, Congress, the judiciary, state and local governments, and interest groups; and formulating effective strategies to balance those interests consistent with the business of the organization.

(d) Being open to change and new information; tolerating ambiguity; adapting behavior and work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; adjusting rapidly to new situations warranting attention and resolution.

(e) Displaying a high level of initiative, effort, and commitment to public service; being

proactive and achievement-oriented; being self-motivated; pursuing self-development; seeking feedback from others and opportunities to master new knowledge.

(f) Dealing effectively with pressure; maintaining focus and intensity and remaining persistent, even under adversity; recovering quickly from setbacks.


This core qualification involves the ability to design and implement strategies that maximize employee potential and foster high ethical standards in meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals.

Key Characteristics:

(a) Providing leadership in setting the workforce's expected performance levels commensurate with the organization's strategic objectives; inspiring, motivating, and guiding others toward goal accomplishment; empowering people by sharing power and authority.

(b) Promoting quality through effective use of the organization's performance management system (e.g., establishing performance standards, appraising staff accomplishments using the developed standards, and taking action to reward, counsel, or remove employees, as appropriate).

(c) Valuing cultural diversity and other differences; fostering an environment where people who are culturally diverse can work together cooperatively and effectively in achieving organizational goals.

(d) Assessing employees' unique developmental needs and providing developmental

opportunities which maximize employees' capabilities and contribute to the achievement of organizational goals; developing leadership in others through coaching and mentoring.

(e) Fostering commitment, team spirit, pride, trust, and group identity; taking steps to prevent situations that could result in unpleasant confrontations.

(f) Resolving conflicts in a positive and constructive manner; this includes promoting

labor/management partnerships and dealing effectively with employee relations matters,

attending to morale and organizational climate issues, handling administrative, labor management, and EEO issues, and taking disciplinary actions when other means have not been successful.


This core qualification stresses accountability and continuous improvement. It includes the ability to make timely and effective decisions and produce results through strategic planning and the implementation and evaluation of programs and policies.

Key Characteristics

(a) Understanding and appropriately applying procedures, requirements, regulations, and policies related to specialized expertise; understanding linkages between administrative competencies and mission needs; keeping current on issues, practices, and procedures in technical areas.

(b) Stressing results by formulating strategic program plans that assess policy/program

feasibility and include realistic short- and long-term goals and objectives.

(c) Exercising good judgment in structuring and organizing work and setting priorities; balancing the interests of clients and readily readjusting priorities to respond to customer demands.

(d) Anticipating and identifying, diagnosing, and consulting on potential or actual problem areas relating to program implementation and goal achievement; selecting from alternative courses of corrective action, and taking action from developed contingency plans.

(e) Setting program standards; holding self and others accountable for achieving these standards; acting decisively to modify them to promote customer service and/or the quality of programs and policies.

(f) Identifying opportunities to develop and market new products and services within or outside of the organization; taking risks to pursue a recognized benefit or advantage.


This core qualification involves the ability to acquire and administer human, financial, material and information resources in a manner which instills public trust and accomplishes the organization's mission, and to use new technology to enhance decision-making.

Key Characteristics

(a) Assessing current and future staffing needs based on organizational goals and budget realities. Applying merit principles to develop, select, and manage a diverse workforce.

(b) Overseeing the allocation of financial resources; identifying cost-effective approaches; establishing and assuring the use of internal controls for financial systems.

(c) Managing the budgetary process, including preparing and justifying a budget and operating the budget under organizational and Congressional procedures; understanding the marketing expertise necessary to ensure appropriate funding levels.

(d) Overseeing procurement and contracting procedures and processes.

(e) Integrating and coordinating logistical operations.

(f) Ensuring the efficient and cost-effective development and utilization of management

information systems and other technological resources that meet the organization's needs; understanding the impact of technological changes on the organization.


This core qualification involves the ability to explain, advocate and express facts and ideas in a convincing manner, and negotiate with individuals and groups internally and externally. It also involves the ability to develop an expansive professional network with other organizations, and to identify the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization.

Key Characteristics

(a) Representing and speaking for the organizational unit and its work (e.g., presenting, explaining, selling, defending, and negotiating) to those within and outside the office (e.g., agency heads and other Government executives; corporate executives; Office of Management and Budget officials; Congressional members and staff; the media; clientele and professional groups); making clear and convincing oral presentations to individuals and groups; listening effectively and clarifying information; facilitating an open exchange of ideas.

(b) Establishing and maintaining working relationships with internal organizational units (e.g., other program areas and staff support functions); approaching each problem situation with a clear perception of organizational and political reality; using contacts to build and strengthen internal support bases; getting understanding and support from higher level management.

(c) Developing and enhancing alliances with external groups (e.g., other agencies or firms, state and local governments, Congress, and clientele groups); engaging in cross-functional activities; finding common ground with a widening range of stakeholders.

(d) Working in groups and teams; conducting briefings and other meetings; gaining cooperation from others to obtain information and accomplish goals; facilitating "win-win" situations.

(e) Considering and responding appropriately to the needs, feelings and capabilities of different people in different situations; being tactful and treating others with respect.

(f) Seeing that reports, memoranda and other documents reflect the position and work of the organization in a clear, convincing, and organized manner.

    • You must have a law degree from an accredited university.
    • You must be currently authorized to engage in the practice of law as an attorney under the rules of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
    • Successful candidates generally will have had substantial litigation experience. Please describe your litigation experience, including the activities you have undertaken (e.g., conducted trials), roles you played (e.g., first chair), the nature and magnitude of the cases (e.g., complexity of the issues, policies or dollars at stake), and cases you have supervised.


You will be evaluated on the basis of the quality and extent of your total accomplishments, experience and education. We will review your application to make sure you meet both the "Executive Core Qualifications" and "Additional Required Qualifications" listed above. Then, an Executive Resources Board (ERB) panel will evaluate your application, using a category ranking procedure, to determine the degree to which you meet the qualification requirements for this position. The ERB panel will then interview the best qualified applicants. After the interview, the names of the top applicants will be referred to the recommending or selecting official for a second-round of interviews, followed by selection consideration. If the person selected for the job has not previously been approved for appointment into the SES, his/her executive qualifications must be reviewed by an interagency Qualifications Review Board (QRB). The QRB, made up of SES members from two or more Federal agencies, reviews the qualifications of the selectee to ensure that s/he meets the SES qualification requirements.


Submit a résumé, curriculum vitae, the Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF 612), or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications. Whatever you submit, you must include the following information in order to receive full consideration for this position:

- Full name, mailing address, and day and evening telephone numbers

- Social Security Number

  • Educational information, including the name, city and state of colleges or universities you attended, as well as the type and year of any degrees received
  • Information about your paid and nonpaid work experience related to this position including:

    - Job title (include series and grade if Federal job)

    - Duties and accomplishments

    - Employer's name and address

    - Supervisor's name and phone number

    - Starting and ending dates of employment (month and year)

    - Hours per week

    - Salary

    - Indicate if we may contact your current supervisor

    - Information about honors, awards, and special accomplishments

    Please reference vacancy announcement number 00-SES-005 on your application package.

    Without all of this information, we cannot consider your application.

    Our evaluation will be based on the information you supply and any interview we may conduct. We may also verify performance, suitability, and security information from reference checks and take that information into account in making employment offers.


    U. S. Office of Personnel Management
    Office of Human Resources and EEO
    ATTN: SES Recruiter/00-SES-005
    1900 E Street NW, Room 1469
    Washington, DC 20415-7800
    Fax Number: (202) 606-1732
    Your application must be postmarked by September 20, 2000

    If you mail your application in a franked Government envelope, you will not be considered for this position.


    We may choose to pay your relocation expenses in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.

    If you are a male and are hired, and if you were born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under Selective Service law.

    If you are hired, you will also have to complete a Public Financial Disclosure Report within 30 days after selection.

    OPM is an equal opportunity employer. Selection for the positions will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status or other differences.

    OPM provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us. Decisions on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.