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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Public/Legislative Affairs Specialist
Department:  Judicial Branch
Agency:  U. S. Sentencing Commission
Job Announcement Number:  #13-06

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$51,630.00 to $97,333.00 / Per Year
Thursday, May 16, 2013 to Thursday, June 06, 2013
Full Time - Excepted Service Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington DC Metro Area, DC United States
United States Citizens


The United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the Judicial branch of the Federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts' sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent federal agency in the Judicial Branch of government consisting of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies. Additional information about the Commission can be accessed via the Commission's website at


  • U.S. Citizenship Required
  • Individuals must undergo a fingerprint background check.
  • Employees are required to serve a one year probationary period.


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The Commission's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) is seeking a motivated and creative individual to join the OLPA team. The incumbent reports to the Director of OLPA and is expected to perform duties related to both public and legislative affairs, with a focus on public affairs and website management. The incumbent must demonstrate skills in website design and web content preparation; be able to develop, write, and edit content; manage priorities, adapt to changing priorities, and handle time-sensitive assignments; communicate effectively; develop successful working relationships with individuals at all organizational levels; oversee, coordinate, and complete projects; and communicate the organization's message, philosophy, and position on various issues. The Public Affairs Specialist:


(1) Assists in the formulation of the Commission's public messaging, strategic communications, and internal and external web communications strategies;


(2) Demonstrates the ability to communicate with clear, accurate speech and writing, including analyzing and summarizing articles, legislative material, and other sources;


(3) Coordinates day-to-day web activities and performs web functions associated with (the Commission's online presence), including identifying communications needs, implementing creative solutions to meet needs, developing and writing materials for posting on the web, preparing, converting and optimizing documents for web posting, implementing site enhancements, and developing strategies to maximize usability and functionality of the website;


(4) Develops new web and multimedia content, maintains existing web content, and expands the Commission's presence in social media;


(5) Serves as the team expert on new web trends, policies, and technologies, particularly as these technologies relate to Commission communications;


(6) Assists in supporting media outreach and public affairs efforts including event planning and responding to requests for information;


(7) Assists in activities related to the federal legislative process including monitoring relevant legislation and attending congressional events;


(8) Develops and maintains media and legislative contacts databases; and


(9) Completes additional administrative duties as assigned by the Director of OPLA.


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The Office of Legislative and Public Affairs is a fast-paced environment. The successful candidate will be expected to be flexible and efficient. Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience or an educational background in new media studies, communication studies, journalism, public affairs, marketing, political science and government, or other related fields. The successful applicant should possess skillful knowledge and/or experience in as many of the following areas as possible: Web and new media development and strategy, writing for web or media, public affairs, the federal legislative process, criminal justice issues, and video/audio production (including podcasts).


Applicants must have one year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position, or experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of this position. To qualify for appointment at the GS-12, applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11.


Examples of specialized experience include but are not limited to experience in media operations, public affairs, government affairs, or public relations. Drafting articles, fact sheets, news releases, and maintaining official websites and social media accounts are also representative examples of specialized experience. Salary is set commensurate with educational background and work experience.



In order to be considered for this position, applicants must address the following competencies in a cover letter or brief separate written narrative statement: (A) education and experience related to the mandatory qualification requirements, and (B) demonstrated experience in the following areas:


(1) Ability to communicate in writing and orally.


(2) Ability to work in and familiarity with web and new media formats and content development.


(3) Knowledge of public relations and communications matters and ability to administratively assist in the planning of communication efforts.


(4) Ability to research, compile, and analyze information.


(5) Knowledge of the federal legislative processes and criminal justice issues.


The U.S. Sentencing Commission evaluates applicants through a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.


The Office of Human Resources: (1) Reviews the applicant’s application to ensure the proper materials are submitted, (2) Ensures that the application addresses all of the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) as stated in the vacancy announcement; and, (3) Determines whether the applicant meets the qualification requirements for the particular position and notifies the applicant about the status of his or her application.


Applicants who meet the mandatory qualification requirements will be considered and their application materials will be forwarded to the screening panel for review. Applicants who do not meet the mandatory qualification requirements for the position are automatically disqualified from consideration. In addition, some applicants may be asked to complete a writing test or may be tested using various assessment tools not listed on the vacancy announcement to verify an applicant’s experience, knowledge, and training directly related to the job in order to identify the best qualified applicants for consideration and selection.


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The Commission participates in the following federal benefits: The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program; the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program, federal retirement, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and the federal leave program. In addition, the Commission participates in the Judiciary’s Flexible Spending Program for dependent care, health care, and commuter reimbursement, the Judiciary’s Long Term Care Program, or government-wide Long Term Care Insurance Program, unemployment, and workers’ compensation benefits.


The Commission offers a monthly transit subsidy to employees who use mass transit to commute to and from work, subject to the availability of funds. The Commission offers alternative work schedules (AWS), which is a fixed work schedule that enables full-time employees to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays. The Commission offers regular telework to employees in positions deemed eligible by the staff director and who meet the requirements of an approved telework arrangement in which an employee performs official duties at home or at an approved telework center in Reston, Virginia for the purposes of the Commission’s Telework Policy.


The Commission also offers training opportunities to employees through the Judiciary and Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) Online University (JOU Online University), which offers academic credit and professional credit programs through web-based learning. This online training tool assists employees of the Commission with taking online courses in a flexible way, by offering training courses in the areas of: staff training and development; credit toward undergraduate degree programs; continuing education and non-credit certificate programs; executive education; contract training; credit credentials courses for continuing professional education and credit for individuals who hold credentials and achieve certifications associated with several globally-recognized sponsored organizations.




This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service. All new Commission employees, those converted from a temporary appointment to a permanent appointment, and all rehired former Commission employees are required to serve a one year probationary period. The probationary period begins on the effective date of the employee's appointment, conversion, or rehire. Employment is contingent upon a favorable FBI criminal background check, and requires electronic fingerprinting. Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or eligible to work in the United States as mandated by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Employees are required to participate in electronic fund transfer, mandated by the Federal Compensation Act.


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To apply for this position, you must complete the occupational questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below. Your complete application must be submitted by 11:50 PM (EST) on Thursday, June 06, 2013 to receive consideration.

To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log into your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.

Click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application package.

It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation are submitted prior to the closing date.

To verify that your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the More Information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.

To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.



All applicants are required to submit the following supporting document type(s):
   ·Cover Letter

Applicants may also submit the following supporting document type(s),which may not be required for all applicants:
   ·Other Veterans Document

Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:

You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.

NOTE: If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.

If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s):

  1. To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page and provide the required information. The Vacancy ID is 893957.
  2. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.


If you cannot complete the application package online, you may fax all of your materials. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:50 PM (EST) on Thursday, June 06, 2013 to receive consideration. Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.


To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print the 1203FX form,, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire items.
  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.


Nicole Webb
Phone: (202)502-4537
Agency Information:
United States Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
Suite 2-500
Washington, DC


Once the online questionnaire and required documents are received you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. After a review of your complete application is made, qualified applications will be forwarded to the selecting committee for consideration. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted.

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