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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Chief Counsel for New York
Department:  Department Of Homeland Security
Agency:  DHS Headquarters
Job Announcement Number:  CHCO-12-032-DHS-774034

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$119,554.00 to $179,700.00 / Per Year
Thursday, October 25, 2012 to Monday, November 26, 2012
Full Time - Senior Executive Service (SES)
1 vacancy in the following location:
New York, NY United StatesView Map
United States Citizens


In today's interconnected world our country's security challenges are constantly evolving.  To meet these challenges, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fosters a culture that values and promotes diversity, teamwork, flexibility, and innovation.  For an overview of the diverse responsibilities DHS carries out within the Government, we welcome you to visit our website at

The incumbent will serve as the Chief Counsel for the New York Field Office of the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   OPLA is a part of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   The General Counsel for DHS, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the Department's chief legal advisor and principal legal advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security and has final authority and responsibility for legal policy determinations within the Department and its components.  

OPLA is the legal arm of ICE, the largest investigative agency of DHS, and provides expert mission-critical legal services, counsel, and training to support ICE initiatives and programs vital to protecting U.S. national security.   OPLA is the principal legal representative for DHS/ICE in a variety of courts and forums.   OPLA provides expert legal advice and guidance to ICE's officers and agents in Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and provides crucial litigation support and advice to the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, as well as the Department of Justice's Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL), on matters pending in federal court related to the operations of ICE.  This broad array of legal services and counsel provided by OPLA involves highly complex, controversial, and high-visibility immigration and customs enforcement issues that require for their solution original and creative legal endeavors in order to obtain a reasonable balance between the critical goals of protecting national security and of preserving individual liberties.


  • U.S. Citizenship Required
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a TOP SECRET/SCI security clearance
  • If selected, Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure (SF-278) is required
  • If selected, a one-year SES probationary period may be required
  • A Juris Doctorate (J.D.) is required


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The incumbent in this position serves as the Chief Counsel for the New York City Field Office of the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   OPLA is a part of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).    The General Counsel for DHS, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the Department's chief legal advisor and principal legal advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security and, as such, has final authority and responsibility for legal policy determinations within the Department and its components.


The Chief Counsel for NY provides leadership and expert direction, overall management, and authoritative counsel to staff with regard to ICE legal programs and initiatives crucial to the operations of OPLA's Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC) in New York City and surrounding areas.   The Chief Counsel is the principal legal consultant and advisor to the Special Agent in Charge (SAC), the Field Office Director (FOD), and the members of their staffs in all legal matters that arise within their respective jurisdictions in the New York area.   The New York OCC is the second largest of OPLA's 26 OCCs: The Chief Counsel supervises three separate legal offices, including Federal Plaza, the Varick Street Service Processing Center, and Castle Point.   The incumbent supervises and manages approximately 80 attorneys and 30 support staff, including 17 attorneys at the GS-15 level, while simultaneously responding to the needs of the Assistant Secretary, the Assistant Secretary's staff, the Principal Legal Advisor, other ICE operating components, as well as other components of DHS.


The Chief Counsel for NY is responsible for the overall strategic planning, development, implementation, and administration of all ICE legal programs and initiatives in the New York City OCC.


Oversees the provision of crucial litigation support and counsel to the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) on matters pending in federal court related to the operations of DHS and, particularly, ICE.


Provides program direction, management, and authoritative counsel to a legal staff engaged in representing DHS/ICE before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the U.S. Department of Justice and before the federal courts.


Provides expert counsel to staff in the conduct of legal research and the preparation of legally accurate and persuasive memoranda of law advocating DHS/ICE positions for submission to EOIR, federal courts, and/or other tribunals, and the preparation of advisory memoranda for other counsel, United States Attorneys' Offices, OIL, and ICE officers and agents.


Directs the provision of a full range of legal advice and services and ensuring that DHS and ICE matters and activities are consistent with the law and are technically and administratively sound, efficient, and economical in nature.   Establishes, leads, and manages comprehensive strategic and long-range planning processes to foster the effective management of DHS and ICE resources to achieve stated goals, enhance program support, and improve customer service standards, and assesses new DHS and ICE policy issuances for conformance and impact on program requirements and principles.


The incumbent provides authoritative counsel to ICE's officers and agents regarding highly sensitive, controversial, and potentially volatile legal matters that often raise significant humanitarian and public relations concerns.


Supervises the litigation of "special interest" cases such as those involving terrorism, national security, espionage, human rights violators, and persecutors, which have increased dramatically since September 11, 2001.


Interprets new DHS/ICE-related legislation, regulations, and policies to determine the intent and impact upon resources and program management goals and initiatives in order to ensure that the New York OCC is prepared and positioned to implement such as required.   Ensures that these policies, procedures, and regulations are consistent with the intent of the law and are administratively sound, efficient, and economical in operation.   Participates in the management and administration of a multi-million dollar budget allocated for the support of legal functions for all OPLA OCC operations.   Manages and administers the financial resources allocated to the New York OCC, requiring the application of sound business acumen and practices to ensure that such resources are utilized in a manner that promotes the efficiency and effectiveness of the incumbent's operations.   The Chief Counsel for NY also functions as liaison with EOIR.  


The Chief Counsel for NY must be a graduate of an accredited law school and an active member of the bar in good standing of any state or of the District of Columbia.


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Applicants must provide detailed evidence of possession of each of the Technical and Executive Core Qualifications listed below in a supplemental statement to assist reviewing officials in determining the best qualified candidates to be referred to the selecting official.  Qualification and experience determinations will be based only on the information you submit.  FAILURE TO MEET OR ADDRESS ANY ONE OF THE MANDATORY TECHNICAL OR EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATION STANDARDS WILL ELIMINATE A CANDIDATE FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION.

Please provide a narrative, not to exceed three (3) pages each Technical Qualifications (TQ) below and no more than (2) pages for each Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ).

(If you are a current Career SES, graduate of an OPM approved Candidate Development Program (CDP) or Career-SES reinstatement eligible and your ECQs have been certified by OPM/QRB, you do not have to submit your ECQs, but please indicate this in your resume).


A sample ECQ narrative can be viewed on this link:


You will be evaluated on the following Executive Core Qualifications:

ECQ 1 - LEADING CHANGE. This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.
Leadership Competencies:

  1. Creativity and Innovation
    Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes.
  2. External Awareness
    Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national, and international policies and trends that affect the organization and shape stakeholders' views; is aware of the organization's impact on the external environment.
  3. Flexibility
    Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles.
  4. Resilience
    Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.
  5. Strategic Thinking
    Formulates objectives and priorities, and implements plans consistent with the long-term interests of the organization in a global environment. Capitalizes on opportunities and manages risks.
  6. Vision
    Takes a long-term view and builds a shared vision with others; acts as a catalyst for organizational change. Influences others to translate vision into action.

ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE. This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.
Leadership Competencies:

  1. Conflict Management
    Encourages creative tension and differences of opinions. Anticipates and takes steps to prevent counter-productive confrontations. Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner.
  2. Leveraging Diversity
    Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.
  3. Developing Others
    Develops the ability of others to perform and contribute to the organization by providing ongoing feedback and by providing opportunities to learn through formal and informal methods.
  4. Team Building
    Inspires and fosters team commitment, spirit, pride, and trust. Facilitates cooperation and motivates team members to accomplish group goals.

This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.
Leadership Competencies:

  1. Accountability
    Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
  2. Customer Service
    Anticipates and meets the needs of both internal and external customers. Delivers high-quality products and services; is committed to continuous improvement.
  3. Decisiveness
    Makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data are limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.
  4. Entrepreneurship
    Positions the organization for future success by identifying new opportunities; builds the organization by developing or improving products or services. Takes calculated risks to accomplish organizational objectives.
  5. Problem Solving
    Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes recommendations.
  6. Technical Credibility
    Understands and appropriately applies principles, procedures, requirements, regulations, and policies related to specialized expertise.

ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN. This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.
Leadership Competencies:

  1. Financial Management
    Understands the organization's financial processes. Prepares, justifies, and administers the program budget. Oversees procurement and contracting to achieve desired results. Monitors expenditures and uses cost-benefit thinking to set priorities.
  2. Human Capital Management
    Builds and manages workforce based on organizational goals, budget considerations, and staffing needs. Ensures that employees are appropriately recruited, selected, appraised, and rewarded; takes action to address performance problems. Manages a multi-sector workforce and a variety of work situations.
  3. Technology Management
    Keeps up-to-date on technological developments. Makes effective use of technology to achieve results. Ensures access to and security of technology systems.

This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.
Leadership Competencies:

  1. Partnering
    Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.
  2. Political Savvy
    Identifies the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization. Perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.
  3. Influencing/Negotiating
    Persuades others; builds consensus through give and take; gains cooperation from others to obtain information and accomplish goals.

Fundamental Competencies
These competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications.

  1. Interpersonal Skills
    Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
  2. Oral Communication
    Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively; clarifies information as needed.
  3. Integrity/Honesty
    Behaves in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Shows consistency in words and actions. Models high standards of ethics.
  4. Written Communication
    Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.
  5. Continual Learning
    Assesses and recognizes own strengths and weaknesses; pursues self-development.
  6. Public Service Motivation
    Shows a commitment to serve the public. Ensures that actions meet public needs; aligns organizational objectives and practices with public interests.

Additional information on the Executive Core Qualifications is available at?
Technical Qualification(s) - Mandatory

TQ 1:   Experience in providing legal advice to the private sector or to government entities concerning some or all of the following issues:   litigating the removal of aliens from the United States; conducting legal research regarding complex issues; providing advice regarding custody determinations; defending habeas corpus petitions; providing legal advice regarding ongoing investigations of national security cases; supporting Federal court litigation; interpreting new legislation, regulations, and policies; and a familiarity with a wide range of immigration and customs enforcement issues.   Experience in developing litigation strategies on issues for administrative and federal court, as well as, drafting and reviewing legislation, regulations, legal memoranda and policy documents.


TQ 2:   Demonstrated management abilities involving both legal and logistical matters in an agency, law firm, or other organization.   Ability to work with legal and policy professionals to evaluate and develop agency objectives, authorities and programs and have excellent legal writing skills that demonstrate clear and concise analysis.


EDUCATION: Juris Doctorate (J.D.) is required for this position.


Ability to obtain and maintain a Top Secret/SCI security clearance is required for this position.



You will be evaluated on the quality and extent of your total accomplishments, experience, and education.  Your resume will be evaluated by an SES rating and ranking panel, and highly qualified candidates may undergo an interview and a reference check.  The DHS Executive Resources Board (ERB) will review results and make recommendations on final selections to the appointing authority.  Unless you have already been certified by a Qualifications Review Board (QRB) in the past, your ECQs must be certified by a QRB before appointment can occur. 


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Working for The Department of Homeland Security 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 click here


Veteran's Pereference does not apply to the SES.

Relocation Expenses may be paid.

Probationary Period: If selected, you will serve a one-year probationary period unless you previously completed the probationary period in the SES.


1. If you are a male applicant who was born after 12/31/59 and are required to register under the Military Selective Service Act, the Defense Authorization Act of 1986 requires that you be registered or you are not eligible for appointment in this agency.

DHS is an equal employment employer: Selection for 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. 

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


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To begin the application process, click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account. Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process. 

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

1. Your Resume

2. ECQ narrative statements

3. TQ narrative statements

4. A complete Online Questionnaire

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Monday, November 26, 2012.

Note: To check the status of your application or return to a previous or incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account, select Application Status, and click on the more information link under the application status for this position. 

To fax supporting documents you are unable to upload, complete this cover page using the following Vacancy ID  774034.  Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

If you cannot apply online:

1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire ,
2. Print this 1203FX form to provide your response to the occupational questionnaire, and
3. Fax the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.


  1. A resume
  2. ECQ narrative statements
  3. TQ narrative statements
  4. completed online occupational questionnaire.


Michelle Monroe
Phone: (202)357-8431
Agency Information:
Department of Homeland Security Headquarters
Washington, DC


Once the online questionnaire is received you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. After a review of your complete application is made you will be notified of your rating and or referral to the hiring official.  If further evaluation or interviews are required you will be contacted.  

Instructions for answering the questions in the Occupational Questionnaire:

If you are applying to this announcement by completing the OPM 1203-FX form instead of using the Online Application method, please use the following step-by-step instructions as a guide to filling out the required questionnaire. You will need to print the vacancy announcement and refer to it as you answer the questions. You may omit any optional information; however, you must provide responses to all required questions. Be sure to double check your application before submission.
View Occupational Questionnaire

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