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    Duties

    Summary

    This position is located in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of the General Counsel (OGC).  The employee works with appropriate OGC office to review and assist with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and provides the day-to-day coordination and oversight, and ensures statutory compliance with the FOIA.  The employee also processes FOIA requests, consultations, and appeals on behalf of the OGC.

    Learn more about this agency

    Responsibilities

    This position serves as a senior Government Information Specialist with responsibility for managing a substantive and comprehensive FOIA program and assists in Privacy Act requests for the OGC. The incumbent initiates and formulates the development of FOIA regulations, directives, policies and procedures for implementation, and ensures they are conformed to the Department's policies and Federal laws governing FOIA and information privacy.

    • Manages a substantive and comprehensive FOIA program.
    • Coordinates among OGC staff nationwide to prepare final responses to FOIA request 
    • Coordinates the overall release and denial of OGC agency records to ensure compliance with the FOIA, the PA, Department of Justice FOIA guidance, the Departmental FOIA policy, and amplify case law.  
    • Makes reasonable recommendations for improvements or consideration and determine a plan of action.
    • Oversees the initial analysis and evaluation of requests to determine FOIA requests validity and assure requests are accurately and fairly addressed.
    • Researches, gathers, and analyzes background information, reviews responsive records, and completes and signs information packages in response to FOIA requests
    • Processes OGC FOIAs in the Department automated platform

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status

    No

    Promotion Potential

    14

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    Requirements

    Conditions Of Employment

    • You must be a US Citizen or US National
    • Males born after 12/31/59 must be Selective Service registered or exempt
    • Satisfactory background investigation and/or fingerprint check
    • Successful completion of a one-year probationary or trial period.

    •  Selectee must be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance. If selected you may be subject to a National Agency Check and Inquiry (NACI) and a credit report inquiry.

    Qualifications

    Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement (or date of referral if OCR) including time-in-grade restrictions, specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

    Time in grade:
    If you are a current federal employee in the General Schedule (GS) pay plan and applying for a promotion opportunity, you must meet time-in-grade (TIG) requirements of 52 weeks of service at the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the position being filled (example must have 52 weeks at the GS 12 level). This requirement must be met by the closing date of this announcement.

    Specialized experience: 
    In addition to the basic requirements, the following additional experience is qualifying. Your application or resume must clearly show that you possess the specialized experience requirements. Specialized experience is defined as experience that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled and has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position.

    GS 13: Assists with developing and implementing a FOIA program to ensure adherence to federal laws, regulations, legal decisions, procedures and directives. Experience performing quality control/assurance reviews on deliverables prepared by other government information specialists.  Experience drafting and reviewing responses to FOIA requests; and experience performing FOIA research using legal search engines to review records for legal and programmatic sufficiency

    GS-14:
    Experience developing and implementing a FOIA program to ensure adherence to federal laws, regulations, legal decisions, procedures and directives.  Experience performing quality control/assurance reviews on deliverables prepared by other government information specialists.  Experience drafting and reviewing responses to FOIA requests; and experience performing FOIA research using legal search engines to review records for legal and programmatic sufficiency

    For more information on the qualifications for this position, click here: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/Standards/group-stds/gs-admin.asp

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Education

    There is no education substitution at the GS-14 grade level

    Additional information

    • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible see http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to- career-transition/. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
    • This position is eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements. (If applicable.)
    • Veterans who are preference eligible or who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after three years or more of continuous active service are eligible for consideration under the Veteran's Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA). See: http://www.opm.gov/staffingportal/vetguide.asp#VeteransEmploymentAct1998 (if applicable - when open beyond USDA (e.g. government-wide))
    • Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Employees: Permanent County employees without prior Federal tenure who are selected for a Civil Service position under Public Law 105-277 will be given a career- conditional appointment and must serve a 1-year probationary period.(When open to FSA employees, includes USDA and government-wide)
    • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS 'E-VERIFY' system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
    • Direct Deposit - Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
    • Special Hiring Authorities Information: Click here for more information https://help.usajobs.gov/index.php/Special_Hiring_Options regarding applying under the Veteran's Recruitment Act (VRA), 30 percent disabled veterans, certain military spouses, and Schedule A Disabled.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the experience, education, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Assessment Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies listed below: 

    • Analytical Skills
    • Oral Communication
    • Technical Competence
    • Written Communication
    • Planning and evaluating
    • Records Managment
    • Organizational Awareness 

      Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Applicants who meet the minimum qualification requirements and are determined to be among the best qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration. Noncompetitive candidates and applicants under some special hiring authorities need to meet minimum qualifications to be referred.

      Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.

    To view the application form, visit: https://sec.usda.ntis.gov/cp/?event=jobs.previewApplication&jobid=E8057462-567B-45C1-8145-A98F00FAED77

    Background checks and security clearance

    Drug test required

    No

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    Required Documents

    The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration. 
    • Resume that includes: 1) Personal information such as name, address, contact information 2) Education 3) Detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable) 4) Supervisor’s phone number and whether or not the supervisor may be contacted for a reference check 5) Other qualifications. 
    • If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit: a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation. 
     • Current and former Federal employees: Most recent non-award Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) showing that you are/were in the competitive service, highest grade (or promotion potential) held on a permanent basis, position title, series and grade AND most recent performance appraisal (dated within 18 months) showing the official rating of record, signed by a supervisor, or statement why the performance appraisal is unavailable. Do not submit a performance plan.
     • Current permanent FSA County employees must submit your most recent non-award Notification of Personnel Action, (SF-50 or equivalent) showing your highest grade (or promotion potential) held on a permanent basis, position title, series and grade AND most recent performance appraisal (dated within 18 months) per above. 
    • Veteran Hiring Authorities:VEOA, VRA and 30% Disabled Veterans: DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted. 
    • If claiming 10-point veteran’s preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans preference please visit the Feds Hire Vets website
    • Land Mgmt Workforce Flexibility Act: Copies of Notification of Personnel Action(s)(SF-50) showing the employee served in eligible appointment(s) for a period(s) of more than 24 mo. w/o a break between appointments of two+ years. Include initial hire actions, extensions, conversions and separation SF-50s for each period. o Submit performance rating(s) showing acceptable performance for each period counted towards eligibility signed by supervisor(s). If documentation does not exist for one or more periods, submit a statement from supervisor(s) indicating acceptable performance. Applicants who do not have performance documentation for any period shall provide a reason why the documentation is not available and statement that performance for all periods was at an acceptable level. 
    • Schedule A, Persons with Disabilities Appointment: Letter from a physician, local, state or federal rehabilitation office citing eligibility under 5 CFR 213.3102 (u)
    • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330. 

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    Benefits

    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    The Federal service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at http://www.usajobs.gov/ResourceCenter/Index/Interactive/Benefits#icc

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin. You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.

    Applying online is highly encouraged. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00a.m. - 4:00p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages must be complete and submitted no later than noon ET on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.

    This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact the Agency Contact to request this.

    Step 1:  Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not have one) at www.usajobs.gov. It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.

    Step 2:  Create a resume with USAJOBS or upload a resume into your USAJOBS account. Customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. Your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

    Step 3:  Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required.

    You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.

    To begin, click "Apply Online" and follow the instructions to complete the Assessment Questionnaire and attach your resume and all required documents.

    NOTE: You must verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBS transfer into the Agency's staffing system. Applicants may combine all like required documents (e.g., all SF-50s) into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 3MB. Grouping like documents into files will simplify the application process. Documents must be in one of the following formats: GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, RTF, or Word (DOC or DOCX). Uploaded documents may not require a password, digital signature, or other encryption to open.

    Agency contact information

    Angela Ervin

    Phone

    202-239-4528

    Fax

    844-288-3373

    Email

    angela.ervin@ogc.usda.gov

    Address

    Office of the General Counsel
    1400 Independence Ave S.W.
    Washington, DC, 20250
    United States
    Learn more about this agency

    The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) furnishes all the legal services required in administering the programs of the Department of Agriculture. The organization consists of the General Counsel, a Principal Deputy General Counsel, a Deputy General Counsel, and five Associate General Counsels. The field organization, consisting of 12 field offices, is organized on a regional and branch office basis.

    Next steps

    Your application will be reviewed to verify that you meet the eligibility and qualification requirements for the position prior to issuing referral lists to the selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Log in to your USAJOBS account at https://my.usajobs.gov/Account/Login to check your application status. We expect to make a final job offer approximately 40 days after the deadline for applications.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must provide reasonable accommodations:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/517550300. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.