This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Public Affairs Specialist (Speechwriter)

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

Job Announcement Number:W-CPAO-2012-0011

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$74,872.00 to $115,742.00 / Per Year


Wednesday, April 11, 2012 to Wednesday, April 25, 2012




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington, DCView Map


This vacancy is advertised under Delegated Examining (DE) procedures and is open to US Citizens. The vacancy is also being advertised under Merit Promotion (MP) procedures for status candidates under announcement W-CPAO-2012-0010. Candidates who wish to be considered under both DE and MP procedures MUST apply to both vacancy announcements.


JOIN A GREAT FSIS TEAM!! The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a public health regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Our mission is to protect consumers by ensuring that the commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products moving in interstate commerce or exported to other countries is safe and correctly labeled and packaged. We offer opportunities for future merit-based promotion, career enhancement and professional development; flexible work schedules; and transit subsidies in some locations. For more information about the agency, visit FSIS.

This position is located in the Congressional and Public Affairs Office (CPA) in the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education (OPACE) at the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The mission of CPA is to conduct the Agency's public communications programs. CPA develops the agency's messages to inform and educate a variety of audiences, including: Congress, the media, industry and consumers. CPA also coordinates internal employee communications. 

The incumbent will serve as a Public Affairs Specialist. And while the central duties of the position will be to serve as a speechwriter for senior officials, other duties required for this position may include writing and editing articles for agency publications and initiatives, writing opinion and other editorial analysis pieces for outside publications, blogs, PowerPoint presentations, press releases when required, backgrounders, briefing materials and participating in other outreach efforts. This position is covered by the Public Health Human Resource System (PHHRS) Demonstration Project. Effective July 19, 2009, FSIS began operating under the PHHRS, a Pay Banding and Pay for Performance Demonstration Project, in which non-bargaining unit positions will be classified by career path, occupational series, and pay bands rather than the traditional General Schedule (GS) grades in the Federal Service. The AP-04 pay band is equivalent to the GS-12/13 grade levels. PHHRS will allow FSIS the flexibility to offer exceptional candidates higher salaries than most other Federal agencies. Additionally, employees will be eligible to receive an annual pay increase based upon performance. For more information on PHHRS, including information on its pay tables and how it will benefit employees, please visit PHHRS.


  • This announcement may be used to fill one or more vacancies.
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid.
  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job.
  • Position may be eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements.


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Your duties will include: *Under CPA management direction, the speechwriter researches, writes and develops speeches, drafts talking points and blog entries, PowerPoint presentations and other materials for delivery by selected sub-cabinet and/or senior agency officials that effectively communicate the Agency's goals and activities to a variety of internal and external audiences. *Also maintain liaison with speakers' offices, CPA, USDA communications offices, program offices and event representatives to coordinate speaking requests, status, and logistics. *Regularly update and monitor reporting systems designed to track speeches and/or presentations by senior officials. *Participate with CPA management to research, write and develop agency messages, feature articles, publications, podcasts, social media entries, public meetings, backgrounders and other tools that effectively communicate the Agency's goals and activities to a variety of internal and external audiences. *Recommend and develop specific communication programs and other activities designed to meet the needs of the Agency and intended national or targeted audiences. *Remain abreast of complex agency and related USDA programs, issues, and developments as well as developing and maintaining effective relationships with program and other officials to ensure communications products are technically accurate, relevant and consistent. *Work with the Office of the Administrator and the Office of the Under Secretary and program officials to accurately publicize new activities, programs, and developments a variety of communications channels. *Advise CPA Management, Assistant Administrator of OPACE, and other Agency officials of the various audiences' potential reactions with regard to Agency policies and programs and recommending appropriate actions. *Represent the Agency and CPA at meetings, forums, work groups and other special activities.


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To qualify at the AP-04 level, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the AP-03 level (or the GS-11 level) or higher in the Federal Service. Examples of qualifying experience includes researching and writing news releases, fact sheets, brochures; contacting and responding to inquiries from the news media; initiating public awareness activities; developing proactive outreach/marketing strategies; providing information to the general public; conceptualizing, researching, writing and preparing speeches, talking points, news releases, fact sheets, reports, position papers; representing the organization; providing strategic, technical and creative expertise for the development of products, exhibits and events; and establishing and maintaining avenues of communication with professional societies and constituent groups. All qualification requirements must be met within 30 days after the closing date of this announcement. Additional information on the qualification requirements is outlined in the OPM Qualifications Standards Handbook of General Schedule Positions. Click here: for more information.

All supporting documents in the "How to Apply" section must be submitted by 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on the closing date of the announcement.


Applicants are evaluated in accordance with Delegated Examining Procedures using Category Rating. All applicants are rated on the extent and quality of experience, education, and training relevant to the duties of the position. If qualified, you will be placed into a quality category based on how well your background demonstrates examples of the following competencies:  Attention to Detail, Communication, Writing, Written Comprehension, etc.  An automated ranking system based on the on-line application process is used. Before a certificate of names can be issued to the selecting official, the resume is reviewed carefully by an HR Specialist to assure that (a) minimum qualification requirements are met, (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions, and (c) that your resume addresses experience and education relevant to this position, and (d) copies of any required documents are submitted.

Your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the applicant assessment questions. High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official. If you are found to be one of the top quality candidates or are eligible for special hiring authorities, you may be asked to develop a written response to narrative/essay type questions in the second round of the application process. If this applies to you, you will be contacted by an agency representative. Please keep your records updated with your current email address. The automated system will place applicants in categories based on their responses to the on-line job-related assessment questions, which are based on the duties and competencies required of the position. These categories are "qualified," "well-qualified," and "best qualified." "Best qualified" is the top category.

Veterans who meet qualification requirements and have adjudicated veterans' preference will be placed at the top of the category they fall into based on their answers to the assessment questions; this could be one of several categories, however, non-veterans cannot be selected over veterans that are in the same category. Only candidates in the top category are referred to the selecting official, unless categories are merged. Adjudicated veterans are those who meet the requirements for preference and submit legible documentation by the closing date of the announcement. A member 4 copy of the DD-214 must be submitted, or a letter from the Veterans Administration specifying eligibility as a disabled veteran, and in either case, documents must specify discharge under honorable conditions. For disabled veterans, the SF-15 is requested; in the absence of an SF-15, the VA letter specifying eligibility for preference and discharge under honorable conditions is sufficient, assuming all requirements for preference are met. For positions other than professional and scientific at or equivalent to the GS-9 level or higher, qualified CPS and CP preference eligibles are placed at the top of the highest quality category. For professional and scientific positions at or equivalent to the GS-9 level or higher, qualified CPS and CP preference eligibles are placed at the top of the appropriate quality category for which rated.

After the announcement closes your application package (resume, assessment, and/or supporting documentation) is reviewed by Human Resources. If a determination is made by Human Resources that you have inflated your qualifications, specialized experience, or did not submit required documents, you may lose consideration for this position.

To preview questions please click here.


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Working for FSIS offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. The following Web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees. To find out more visit: Benefit Information.


FEDERAL LAW REQUIRES ALL EMPLOYERS TO VERIFY THE IDENTITY AND EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY OF ALL PERSONS HIRED TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES. FSIS utilizes E-Verify to verify identity and employment eligibility by providing to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) information from each new employee's Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. E-Verify cannot be used to pre-screen job applicants or to re-verify current employees and may not limit or influence the choice of documents presented for use on the Form I-9. If you have concern that there has been a violation of the E-Verify program or you feel you have been discriminated during the verification process based on your national origin or citizenship status, contact the Office of Special Counsel at 1-800-255-7688 (TDD: 1-800-237-2515). For more information on E-Verify you may contact DHS at 1-888-464- 4218. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. This Agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Decisions on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis. Employees new to the federal government or the agency will be required to complete a 'Declaration of Federal Employment,' (OF-306), prior to being appointed to determine their suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation. False statements or responses on your resume or questionnaire can jeopardize your employment opportunity and subject you to disciplinary action, including removal from Federal service. A background investigation including fingerprints will be required for new Federal employees. The results of the background investigation could impact your initial employment or affect your retention. Selectees may be subject to a probationary period. Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System before they can be employed by an Executive Agency of the Federal Government. Click here: for more information. Before hiring, you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your application. False statements can jeopardize your employment opportunity and subject you to disciplinary action, including removal from Federal service.


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Please read the instructions carefully before calling with questions. Thank you! You must begin the application process online at USAJobs. You will be required to submit a resume, respond to core questions, and to the online vacancy questions. Completed applications include: 1. Your on-line resume. Resumes are entered into USAJOBS. Resumes can be copied and pasted into the personal information area of your application from other word processing documents at any time prior to 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on the closing date of the vacancy announcement. 2. Answers to all core questions (completed when registering on-line in USAJOBS and as part of the initial application process). 3. Answers to all vacancy-specific questions (completed for each job). 4. Via fax imaging, providing any supplemental documents needed. Applicants who do not respond to the on-line vacancy questions and who do not submit supporting resumes will be rated ineligible.


If you claim CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, please provide a copy of your most recent performance appraisal (at least "fully successful" or equivalent), and proof of eligibility, i.e., a RIF separation notice or Certification of Expected Separation and a SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location. Click here: for more information. If you are eligible for veterans preference, you MUST submit proof of your eligibility (member 4 copy of your DD 214, SF 15, and a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs stating the percentage of your disability, as applicable). Copies of your DD-214 may be requested by calling 800-827-1000 or TDD# 800-829-4833 or online at click here. Future Military Retirees WHO ARE CURRENTLY ON TERMINAL LEAVE: You are required to submit a copy of your retirement DD-214 or a copy of your retirement letter AND a copy of your terminal leave request. Future Military Separatees WHO ARE CURRENTLY ON TERMINAL LEAVE: You are required to submit a copy of your most recent DD-214 and/or a copy of your most recent active duty orders AND a copy of your terminal leave request (if applicable). Supporting documentation should be uploaded or sent using the fax imaging instructions after you have applied for the vacancy announcement. To upload documents, please click here for instructions: Upload Information. If you are unable to upload your documents, you may still fax your documents. Faxing Supporting Documentation: The next step of the application process is to fax all the required supporting documentation specified in the "Required Documents" section of this vacancy announcement. You do not need to have all of your supporting documentation submitted in order to continue with the on-line portion of the application process. Please carefully follow the instructions below to ensure your supporting documents are properly faxed and received. All required documents must be received by 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on the closing date of the vacancy announcement. ***Not all of the document types listed will pertain to you; only submit documents needed to complete your application package. FAX INSTRUCTIONS: Please read the instructions carefully before calling with questions. Thank you! 1. If you have previously faxed supporting documentation the status of those documents will indicate "received". There is no need to resubmit documents which show a status of received unless you are submitting an updated copy. (If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the human resources office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing, a previous submission, you must fax both the old document and the new document for them both to be accessible to HR.) 2. You must use a separate cover sheet for each category of supporting documentation (i.e., transcripts, SF-50, DD-214). Choose the document cover sheet(s) you would like to print by selecting the appropriate check boxes in the Selected Documents column. 3. Click the [Print Cover Sheets] button. A window will pop up containing the fax cover sheet(s) you selected. Print the coversheet (s). NOTE: You must be connected to a printer in order to print the coversheets. Additionally, you must allow pop-ups. 4. Once you have reviewed the list of documents and printed any required fax cover sheets click on [Done]. You will be moved forward in the application process. 5. Before faxing your document(s), take care to ensure the document is legible and all information is complete and signed, if necessary. Fax only documents which are clear and legible. Original documents with light or faded print and/or dark or patterned backgrounds will not be legible upon receipt. Illegible faxed documents cannot be used for qualification or verification purposes. 6. Place the corresponding cover sheet on top of the document and fax the cover sheet and document together to the fax number specified on the cover sheet. NOTE: If you are faxing documents from more than one category of supporting documentation, you must submit them with the appropriate cover sheet. EACH DOCUMENT TYPE MUST BE FAXED SEPARATELY under its corresponding cover sheet. DO NOT FAX ALL DOCUMENTS TYPES UNDER ONE COVER SHEET. (i.e., Transcripts are one type of document; fax all pages of your transcript and other education-related documents under the transcript cover sheet; the SF- 50 is another document type, if you are faxing more than one SF-50, fax them all under the SF-50 cover sheet.) 7. Be sure to save these cover sheets in the event you need to re- fax your supporting documents. Each fax transmission includes a unique identification number and bar code, which ensures your document, is processed correctly. 8. You will receive an e-mail confirming the fax has been successfully received by Human Resources. You should retain your e- mail confirmation and confirmation of your fax transmittal report as proof of submission. Your application will be considered incomplete and YOU WILL BE FOUND INELIGIBLE if you fail to submit the required documentation as specified under the required documents section by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.


Thomas Mack
Phone: 612-659-8552
Fax: 612-370-2377
TDD: 800-877-8339
Agency Information:
Butler Square West, Suite 420C
100 North 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN
Fax: 612-370-2377


Once your complete application is received we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking. The most highly qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interview. We expect to make a selection within 45 days of the closing date of this announcement. PLEASE READ: During this process, WE WILL UPDATE YOUR status FOR EACH VACANCY ON THE USAJOBS WEB-SITE. To view your status, login to My USAJOBS (Tab on USAJOBS Web-Site). Please do not contact for status.

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