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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Deputy Chief Counsel
Department:  Department Of Transportation
Agency:  Federal Railroad Administration
Job Announcement Number:  FRA.SES-2014-0004

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$120,749.00 to $174,300.00 / Per Year
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 to Friday, February 07, 2014
Permanent - Career
1 vacancy - Washington DC, DC   View Map
Applications will be accepted from all groups of qualified U.S. citizens.
Please Note: We will perform interim reviews of all applications received by midnight on January 31, 2014.


About the Agency

The Federal Railroad Administration’s mission is to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future.

  • The Deputy Chief Counsel provides executive-level direction of all legal work of the FRA.

  • Develops regulations and enforces the laws, rules, regulations, and orders administered by FRA.

  • Drafts FRA’s legislative program and advises on legislative proposals of others.

  • Provides advice on Amtrak matters.

  • Provides guidance on a wide-range of programs (procurements and grants; research and development; fiscal law; financial assistance program (including grants and loans); environmental and historic preservation law; railroad bankruptcies; railroad labor law; equal employment opportunity and civil rights; ethics; tort claims; Freedom of Information Act; Buy America Program; Privacy Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; and personnel related matters).

  • Provides advice to FRA officials on all legal issues confronting the agency;

  • Represents the Office of Chief Counsel and FRA at speaking engagements, meetings, negotiations, hearings, and other public events.

  • Prepares and administers the Office of Chief Counsel budget.


  • No


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Submit your resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date.
  • Provide all required documents by closing date.
  • This position requires the candidate to obtain a Secret Clearance.
  • This position is subject to pre-employment and random drug testing.


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As the Deputy Chief Counsel you will provide guidance in addressing legal issues associated with the establishment and execution of policy, programs, and procedures of the FRA. The Deputy Chief Counsel:
Provides legal advice and support to:

  • FRA safety regulations, orders, interpretations, and enforcement of railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders including emergency orders and disqualification orders for safety violations that demonstrate an individual’s unfitness for safety-sensitive service. Directs the FRA program for assessing, compromising, and collecting civil penalties for violations of railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders.

  • The development and execution of FRA’s financial assistance programs, including the development of regulations, grants and loan documents, cooperative agreements, solicitations for funding applications, interpretations, environmental documents, and other legal documents.

  • Procurements and grants; research and development; fiscal law; financial assistance program (including grants and loans); environmental and historic preservation law; railroad bankruptcies; railroad labor law; equal employment opportunity and civil rights; ethics; tort claims; Freedom of Information Act; Buy America Program; Privacy Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; and personnel related matters.

  • Top level officials in FRA and inter-agency officials in respect to representation on the Amtrak Board of Directors, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation Board of Directors, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation Board of Directors; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Homeland Security or the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Develops the legislative program, which requires initiating, developing, coordinating, and expediting legislation to accomplish the policy objectives of the Administration for submission by the Secretary of Transportation to the Office of Management and Budget and to the Congress.
Prepares reports that set forth the Administration position or the views of the FRA on legislative proposals originating outside of FRA, which includes the preparation of statements and testimony for presentation at Congressional Committee hearings by the Administrator and other administration officials, and providing the Administrator (and other administration officials) with substantive advice and assistance on the legislative aspects of the policy, plans and programs of the Administration.
Represents FRA in formal and informal legal proceedings before courts, and legislative and administrative tribunals on railroad issues.
Maintains frequent contact with members of Congress, Department of Transportation officials, the public, and officials of other Federal agencies, States, and the rail industry.


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As a basic requirement for entry into the Senior Executive Service (SES), you must show in your resume evidence of progressively responsible leadership experience that is indicative of senior executive level management capability; and that is directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under the Technical Qualifications and Executive Core Qualifications listed below.
Current career SES members, former career SES members with reinstatement eligibility, or SES Candidate Development graduates that have already been certified by OPM should also show in your resume evidence of the qualification requirements. 

TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (TQs): Below are descriptions of the technical qualifications that must be clearly described in your resume. Your responses must explain how your experience supports each of the TQs.

  1. Demonstrated experience serving as a senior-level legal expert on enforcement, regulatory, or legislative activities, including the ability to represent and defend positions pertaining to statutes and regulations to a variety of stakeholders both inside and outside of government, in negotiation, litigation, briefings, public presentations, or other settings.

  2. Demonstrated senior-level experience in communicating advice on novel or complex legal issues to executive level decision-makers and other stakeholders, on interpreting and applying fact, law, and policy. Decision-makers and stakeholders include such groups as members of Congress or representatives of their staff; high-level officials within Federal agencies, state, city and county officials; Attorney General and State Legislature; railroad management and labor officials; various technical and professional organizations; and other associations interested in railroad safety; and the public in carrying out the agency’s legal responsibilities.

EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQs): Below are descriptions of the ECQs that must be clearly described in your resume.
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: Creativity and Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision
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: Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building
ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN: 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: Accountability, Customer, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility
ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. Leadership Competencies: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management
ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS: 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: Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating
FUNDAMENTAL COMPETENCIES: The following competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications: Interpersonal Skills, Oral Communication, Written Communication, Integrity/Honesty, Continual Learning, and Public Service Motivation. Additional information about the SES and Executive Core Qualifications can be found on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) SES Website.
You are strongly encouraged to review OPMs Guide to SES Qualifications for specific examples and guidance on addressing Executive Qualifications in a Resume.

  • All applicants must have successfully completed a full course of study in a school of law accredited by the American Bar Association leading to a professional law degree – LLB or JD.


  • All applicants must be an active member in good standing of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico bar.

 CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: If selected for this position, you will be required to:

  • Complete a one-year SES probationary period (unless already completed).

  • Complete a Public Financial Disclosure report, OGE-278. You will need to provide the information annually.

  • Federal Government Travel Card Requirement: The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 [pub.L.105-264] and the Federal Travel Regulations [41 CFR Part 3000 et seq.] require that all Federal employees obtain and use contractor-issued Federal travel charge cards for all payments or expenses related to official Government travel. To be considered for this position, all applicants who are current employees of either the Federal Railroad Administration or another Federal agency will be asked to certify that their Government travel card is in good standing (i.e. not suspended or cancelled) and that there exist no reasonable circumstances which would jeopardize that good standing. All applicants understand and agree that FRA's offer of employment or a position under this announcement is voidable at the sole discretion of FRA if: 1) if the applicant fails to provide the required certifications; or 2) if the certification is found to be untrue; or 3) if the applicant is unable to obtain a Federal Government travel card for whatever reason.


An SES reviewing panel will evaluate your application based on the quality and extent of your total accomplishments, experience, and education. Applicants determined to be highly qualified may undergo an interview and a reference check. 
If selected, you must be certified by an OPM Qualifications Review Board (QRB) before you can be appointed to the position, unless you are a current career SES member, former career SES member with reinstatement eligibility, or SES Candidate Development graduate and have already been certified by OPM.  
To preview questions please click here.


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Veterans preference does not apply to the Senior Executive Service.
The FRA has determined that seniority rights, leaves of absence, and reemployment rights with or from a railroad generally constitute an actual or an appearance of a conflict of interest. New employees may be required to divest themselves of such rights immediately upon hire if these rights are determined to constitute an actual or appearance of a conflict of interest. No waivers of this requirement will be granted.
FRA employees (or spouses or minor children of FRA employees) are specifically prohibited from holding railroad stock (including shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., which owns 100% of BNSF), whether held outright, in an IRA, or in a 401(k) or other plan. Employees may hold a mutual fund which invests in railroad stocks, so long as the mutual fund does not invest more than 30% of its assets in such prohibited investments. Employees having a prohibited financial interest must divest themselves of railroad stock within 90 days after their appointment to their positions. Neither the rule against holding railroad stock, nor the divestiture period, is in any way affected by the existence of re-employment rights which employees might have with railroad companies. Nor is there any monetary threshold for applicability of the rule against  ownership of railroad stock; all dollar amounts are prohibited.


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The application process used to recruit for this position is RESUME ONLY. Within your resume, you should address all the ECQ's and the technical qualifications.  Application packages must be received online no later than 11:59pm Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement.

  • To begin, click the Apply Online button on the job announcement posting.

  • Create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.

  • Upload your resume and supporting documents.

If you are having difficulty applying online, please contact the DOT Automated Staffing Office during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET) at (202) 366-1298. You may also email us at


Please submit the following documents by the closing date in order to be considered for this position:

  • Resume – The resume you submit should not exceed five (5) pages.  Any information submitted in excess of five (5) pages WILL NOT be considered.  The resume must provide evidence of how you possess the technical qualifications and the five Executive Core Qualification factors. 

  • SF-50 – If you are a current, retired, or former Federal employee, please submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action form.  Do not submit a SF-50 that is for an award. 

  • Candidate Development Program Certificate – If you are a graduate of an SES Candidate Development Program (CDP), certified by OPM, please submit a copy of your certification for non-competitive eligibility consideration.  You must meet all technical qualifications. 


Automated Staffing Office
Phone: 202-366-1298
Fax: 571-258-4052
Agency Information:
Submit Application and Documents Online
1200 New Jersey Ave SE / HAHR - 50
Washington, DC
Fax: 571-258-4052


If you have opted to receive account status updates via USAJobs, you will receive online confirmation that your application package has been received. All applicants will receive a notification email of the final outcome regarding the hiring decision.
Please Note: We will perform interim reviews of all applications received by midnight on January 31, 2013. All applications must be completed and submitted electronically no later than midnight ET of the closing date. Final reviews will be performed after the announcement closing, and timely notice of the status of your application will be emailed to you. You may check the status of your application for this position at any time by logging into your USAJOBS account and selecting Application Status.

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