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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Assistant Chief Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement
Department:  Department Of Transportation
Agency:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Job Announcement Number:  NHTSA.SES-2014-0005

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
Thursday, February 20, 2014 to Friday, April 04, 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 March 3rd, March 13th, and March 20th.


About the Agency

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an exciting and progressive organization. We are seeking individuals who are committed to superior service and who can help us continue our work to reduce highway injuries and fatalities. We have excellent benefits including 401k and family friendly leave policies. Visit our website at

As the Assistant Chief Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement you will:

Serve as the Assistant Chief Counsel with total responsibility for assisting the Chief Counsel in the planning, direction, and control of legal work in the area of litigation and administrative enforcement. Provides national leadership and senior level advice and management in the disposition of a wide variety of complex legal and policy questions. Incumbent is the senior attorney responsible for the conduct of legal research, drafting of opinions, preparation of the legal brief or motions in any matter in which the agency is contemplating enforcement or other activity under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, including the Title V of that Act (the Energy Act), and the Highway Safety Act or in any action in which the agency is a defendant, and for the technical and administrative supervision of attorneys assigned to this functional area. Incumbent also is the senior attorney responsible for the drafting of regulations and interpretations involving the agency’s enforcement program. In addition, incumbent is the lead attorney responsible for defense of the agency in a broad range of personnel litigation, including actions before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board and Arbitrators hearing disputes brought by a union or employees under a collective bargaining agreement.

Please note: This announcement has been extended until April 4, 2014.



  • You must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Submit application and resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date
  • Provide all required documents by closing date


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The Assistant Chief Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement:

Acts in a supervisory and coordinating capacity over the litigation and enforcement division of the Office of the Chief Counsel. Makes assignments of special legal problems, acts in advisory capacity on legal approaches involving unusual issues, confers and coordinates on differences of opinion between attorneys, coordinates work on problems that need action by more than one division, reviews and clears items of work requiring referral to the Chief Counsel.

Because of the extreme sensitivity of safety enforcement, resulting from the difficulty of the legal questions involved and the societal impact of the results of enforcement, incumbent pays particular attention to this area.

Reviews and advises on legal aspects of policy questions involving enforcement which require decision or clearance of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator or Deputy Administrator, such as: Proposed speeches and congressional testimony, drafts of and reports on legislative proposals, proposed regulations, policy and procedure directives, congressional investigations. Directs or participates in preparing revisions resulting from such reviews. Prepares or exercises general supervision over preparation of necessary action or matters requiring personal attention of the Chief Counsel. Resolves to final conclusion and disposes of numerous legal questions which are determined not to warrant time of the Chief Counsel.

Advises the Chief Counsel on legal and policy precedents which may have bearing on top level questions requiring the Chief Counsel's personal decision.

Attends congressional hearings. On occasion, represents the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at meetings with congressional and other Federal and State government officials. Attends meetings of various organizations concerned in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration matters, and delivers papers, as called for.

Speaks and acts for the Chief Counsel in sensitive legal matters which require delicate handling with members of Congress, congressional committees, and other Federal and State officials. In particular:

       1. Incumbent acts as authoritative legal counsel to the Administrator and the agency on questions of law and administrative policy in the area of litigation and administrative enforcement. Personally performs the most complex and difficult legal work in these areas and provides legal advice concerning cases and problems characterized by extreme or special sensitivity, urgency, novelty, or difficulty, where the opinions or results of the incumbent's work may be tested by outstanding members of the private bar.

                a. Standards Enforcement- Reviews cases of alleged noncompliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Fuel Economy Standards, and other regulations issued by the agency to determine whether to recommend prosecution. Considers the weight of the evidence, the importance of the case, the necessity of uniform application of the law throughout the land, the cost of litigation, and other considerations which bear on the advisability of instituting suit. Acts as the principal attorney in charge of administrative proceedings against the defendant, including conduct of negotiations.

                b. Defects Investigation - Reviews cases in which it is alleged that vehicles or series of vehicles or equipment have a safety-related defect. Overall function is as above except that incumbent has responsibility for recommending whether the manufacturer of the vehicles would be required to notify owners and to recall the vehicles.

                c. Recall implementation - Reviews cases in which it is alleged that the manufacturer of a series of vehicles has not properly implemented a recall. Overall function is as above except that incumbent has responsibility for recommending whether to hold an administrative hearing and, if a hearing is held, the terms of an order.

                d. Civil penalty actions - Develops and reviews cases in which it appears that the manufacturer of vehicles or other person has not met its regulatory obligations, particularly the obligation to notify the agency of a noncompliance or safety-related defect and thus to initiate a recall. Overall function includes issuance of administrative discovery, assessment of the facts, and negotiation of a civil penalty.


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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.

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 knowledge and experience in administrative proceedings and/or litigation to the enforcement of Federal statutes or regulations and their application to public sector problems.

2. Demonstrated work experience in providing legal and policy advice on complex legal issues.

3. Demonstrated experience managing complex litigation and enforcement matters, including the ability to manage effectively an organization of highly skilled and experienced trial attorneys. 

EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQs): Below are descriptions of the ECQs that must be clearly described in your resume.
Please Note: Current career SES members, former career SES members with reinstatement eligibility, and SES Candidate Development graduates who have been certified by OPM do NOT need to address the ECQs. 
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 OPM's Guide to SES Qualifications for specific examples and guidance on writing effective ECQ narrative statements.

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.
  • Drug Test: This position is subject to a pre-employment drug test and random drug testing during employment.
  • Security Clearance: This position requires the ability to obtain and retain a Secret clearance.


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.


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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


The following documents must be provided by the closing date:

RESUME - You must submit a resume which cannot 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 5 ECQs.

SF-50 - Current & former federal employees should submit an SF-50 which shows your current (or most recent grade.) • Current Career Senior Executives and individuals with SES reinstatement eligibility must submit a copy of an SF-50 which shows career SES status.

CANDIDATE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM CERTIFICATE - individuals who have successfully completed an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved SES Candidate Development Program, submit a copy of your OPM certificate.

PROOF OF MEMBERSHIP in good standing of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico bar.


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 March 3rd, March 13th, and March 20th. 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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