Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Government Information Specialist
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Food Safety and Inspection Service
Job Announcement Number:  W-ECIMS-2013-0003

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, May 08, 2013 to Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Full Time - Permanent
2 vacancies in the following location:
Washington, DCView Map
All US Citizens. The vacancy is also being advertised via Merit Promotion procedures under announcement W-ECIMS-2013-0002. Candidates who wish to be considered under both announcements MUST apply to both vacancy announcements.  Applicants are advised to allow enough time to follow all of the directions and requirements within announcement.


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 processed egg products moving in interstate commerce or exported to other countries is safe, 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 Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education(OPACE). This office assumes the lead role in developing and managing processes in order to ensure that appropriate, timely, and consistent action is taken with respect to key policy and regulatory issues, executive level correspondence and inquiries, public disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts and employee communication. As of July 19, 2009 this position (non-bargaining unit) is covered by the Public Health Human Resource System (PHHRS) Demonstration Project. The AP-04 Pay Band is equivalent to the GS-12/13 grade levels. Why PHHRS? How does it benefit employees? This position may be eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements.


  • Applicant Must Be A US Citizen
  • Suitable for Federal Employment (Background Investigation).
  • Relevant Specialized Experience (captured within Resume and Assessment).
  • Resume, On-Line Assessment and Supporting Documents as required for you.
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid.


Back to top

In general, this position requires oral and written communication on a variety of complex topics in regards to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act. Specific Duties related to the AP-0306-4 Pay Band are: 

FOIA Duties:

Review requests for records and responsive records to determine sufficiency of search. Apply redactions and submit justification. Submit redacted records to Quality Control for independent analysis and review to determine accuracy of statutory exemptions. Prepare justification for initial whole or partial denial of release of records and justify determination. Review appeals; request additional records search and review any records located; prepare letter of appellate determination; notify appellants of mediation rights under the Open Government Act of 2007 and right to judicial review in U.S. District Court. Serve as the FOIA Liaison with OGC and FSIS’s sister agencies on legal interpretation and adequacy of justification public, and between the Requesters’, including media, and Submitters’ legal counsel. Provide training sessions and updates to other Specialists on legal issues concerning FOIA developments and negotiations with Requesters’ and Submitters’ legal counsel. Safeguard and balance the public’s (Requester’s) right of access to public records with commercial entity’s (Submitter’s) right to maintain trade secrecy, proprietary, confidential or financial information, and the private individuals’ or enforcement personnel’s personal information in the records. Negotiate the redaction (or disclosure) of commercial information with Submitters’ legal counsel, and provide legal justification for disclosure of records or reasons for nondisclosure to Requester.

PA Duties:

Review requests under the PA and responsive records located and process as above. Develop, implement, update and maintain privacy policies and procedures under PA and FIPP. Review and advise on boundaries on the use and release of personal data. Preserve and enhance privacy protections, yet promote transparency of FSIS’s operations by requiring compliance with privacy laws and by providing policy and oversight for the protection of personal information contained in records and system; provide guidance on Federal privacy policy and processes related to implementing the functions of FSIS. Represent FSIS issues related to the PA and FIPP and other Federal privacy statutes and regulations. Work with USDA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to assess privacy risks associated with

programs, operations, and technology. Ensure compliance with FSIS’s privacy program requirements, information management research tools, systems, and/or processes.

Performs other duties as assigned. The work is mostly sedentary; however, some walking, bending, lifting is required to perform some tasks.


Back to top

To qualify at the AP-4 Pay Band, you must possess the required knowledge, skills, abilities, or other characteristics as well as at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the difficulty, complexity, and responsibility to the AP-3 Pay Band/GS-11 level (or equivalent grade/pay band in another pay system) in the Federal Service. Experience for this position can be gained in either the public or private sector. The AP-4 Pay Band is the full-performance level for this position. Examples of specialized experience at the AP-4 Pay Band must include the advanced understanding of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA); this includes the ability to apply this advanced understanding and provide advice with accurate oral and written communication to a variety of individuals and/or audiences as well as providing briefings on complex and challenging information on a variety of topics related to FOIA. This may be validated by showing experience reviewing, analyzing, processing, and advising (especially on denial of information) on FOIA. Specialized experience should also include reviewing, analyzing, processing, and providing advice on complex FOIA and PA requests and appeals; experience preparing written documents such as policy, explanation of denial to release information, background information, position papers, decisions, briefings, and/or information memos. Substantial experience using FOIAXpress or other comparable redaction software, and have the ability and/or experience to serve as the functional point of contact on the system and handle IT related issues with the vendor. Previous experience and responsibility for drafting the FOIA annual report(s), serving as the point of contact for the report(s), and experience briefing senior level management on final report(s). In addition to the above, specialized experience may include examples of demonstrated experience that shows you have independently researched, analyzed, determined, and denied people information that may not be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act or other information pertaining to disclosures, security, privacy, and protection of information and applying your understanding of the laws, regulations, procedures, and policies within a public or private sector work environment. NOTE: If your position involves the performance of more than one type of work, it is essential that approximate percentages of time be identified in your application for those specific duties you feel describe experience which will qualify you for this position as required by the specialized experience described above. Failure to provide approximate percentages could impact your qualifications determination for this position. All qualification requirements must be met within 30 days after the closing of this announcement. Please view OPM's Qualifications Standards Handbook. Administrative and Management Positions-0306 Series.

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, Decision Making, Information Management, Problem Solving, Reasoning, and Technical Competence. An automated ranking system, based on the on-line application process, is used. Before a certificate can be issued to the selecting official, the resume is reviewed carefully by Human Resources to assure that (a) minimum qualification requirements are met, (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions, (c) the 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 and 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.


Back to top

We are a qualifying employer of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. For more information on the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, please visit:  The Federal Government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees. 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. To find out more click here: Benefit Information


FSIS Utilizes E-verify to verify identity and Employment Eligibility.What is E-Verify? Why is it required? If you have a 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. This is a Public Trust position. What does this mean? Is there a Probationary Period if I am selected for this position? . Yes, the person selected for this position is subject to a probationary period if not all ready appropriately served, and may be required to sign a probationary period agreement. U.S. Department of Agriculture NON-Discrimination Statement . Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement . More Information on Reasonable Accommodation Employees new to the federal government or the agency will be required to complete a 'Declaration of Federal Employment (OF-306)' . Selective Service: Males born after 12/31/1959, must register with the Selective Service. One or more similar positions may be filled using this vacancy announcement. Relocation expenses will not be paid. The law prohibits political recommendations for employment or other personnel actions (including promotion, reassignment, detail, etc.) in the competitive service. Federal agencies may not accept or consider such recommendations (either oral or written) from members of Congress, elected State and local government officials, political party officials, or others based on political affiliation.


Back to top

Please read the entire announcement carefully and take note of any education, qualification, rating factors, and job-related questions or specific duties that are listed. Are you new to the Government application process? Are you a Current or Former Federal Employee with questions? An applicant who is eligible to apply under a Special Hiring Authority? We want to make certain all of you have an opportunity to be considered so please review the following link in order to make sure you have submitted your application properly! USAJobs Info Center. Go to Create a resume in the USAJOBS site. Follow the online instructions. Extensive help is available online from the USAJOBS site. Our application system is integrated with USAJOBS. Applications need to include answers to all core questions (completed when registering online in USAJOBS and as part of the initial application process), answers to all vacancy-specific questions (completed for each job), and your online 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 the closing date. Your resume must include the number of hours that you worked per week, the start date (MM/YY) and end date (MM/YY) of the position(s) you held, job title, name of employer, and a description of the duties that you performed for all positions listed in your resume. This information is needed in order to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the position. Applicants who do not respond to the online vacancy questions and who do not submit supporting resumes will be rated ineligible. The next step of the application process is to upload or 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 online portion of the application process. Please carefully follow the instructions below to ensure your supporting documents are properly uploaded/faxed and received. All required documents must be received by midnight 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. For example, the Schedule A Certification document must only be submitted by individuals applying based on eligibility for appointment due to a disability. The SF-50 is a form current and former Federal employees submit to document their Federal employment status.

TO UPLOAD DOCUMENTS, FOLLOW THIS LINK: Upload Information. If you are unable to upload your documents, you may still fax your documents. 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.). 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. Click the [Print Cover Sheets] button. A window will pop-up containing the fax cover sheet(s) you selected. Print the cover sheet(s). NOTE: You must be connected to a printer in order to print the cover sheets. Additionally, you must allow pop-ups. 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. 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. 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.). 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. 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 Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.


Current federal employees may submit their SF-50, or copies of their performance appraisal.  To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP and ICTAP applicants must submit proof of eligibility as described below, meet all qualification and eligibility requirements, be rated well-qualified (receive a score of 85 or higher without points added for veterans’ preference) and be able to perform the duties of the position upon entry.  For those instances where the best qualified lists include applicants with scores less than 85, the well-qualified score becomes the lowest score on the best qualified list. Click here for more information.  If you claim eligibility for consideration via a variety of non-competitive special hiring authorities, supporting documentation must be provided before the closing date of this announcement. Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and were separated under honorable conditions may be eligible for veterans' preference. Veterans' preference does not apply to positions in the Senior Executive Service or to internal agency actions such as a reassignment or promotion. When claiming preference, veterans must provide a copy of their DD-214 (must be Member Copy 4), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other acceptable documentation. Applicants claiming 10 point preference will need to submit their VA Letter and Form SF-15, Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. If you have questions about the applicability of veterans' preference for a particular vacancy please contact the agency posting the announcement. To learn more about veterans' preference, special veteran appointing authorities, and other veteran related topics, please visit



Thomas Mack
Phone: 612-659-8552
Fax: 612-370-2376
TDD: 800-877-8339
Agency Information:
Butler Square West Suite 420C
100 North Sixth Street
Minneapolis, MN
Fax: 612-370-2376


An applicant should keep any e-mail confirmations received during this process. Applicants are expected to check the status of their application through this method. No other correspondence will be sent. During this process, WE WILL UPDATE YOUR STATUS FOR EACH VACANCY ON THE USAJobs web-site. It will be updated as soon as there is something to update/a change of status. Please be patient, status does not change immediately. To view your status, go to USAJobs and login to your account by clicking on "My Account" and in the drop down box click on "Application Status" (upper left-hand corner on web-site). If under the column "Application Status" you have a link to click for further information, then that means your status has become public. If there is nothing to click on, then the status has not been changed.

Back to top
EEO Policy Statement | Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement | Veterans Information | Legal and Regulatory Guidance