Classification appeal decision under section 5112 of title

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U.S. Office of Personnel Management Division for Human Capital Leadership & Merit System Accountability

Classification Appeals Program

Atlanta Field Services Group 75 Spring Street, SW., Suite 1018

Atlanta, GA 30303-3109

Classification Appeal Decision Under section 5112 of title 5, United States Code

Appellant: [appellant]

Agency classification:

Supervisory Financial Management Analyst GS-501-13

Organization:

[organization] Division [organization] Department [organization] U. S. Department of the Navy [location]

OPM decision: GS-501-12 title at agency discretion

OPM decision number: C-501-12-03

/s/ Virginia L Magnuson___________ Virginia L. Magnuson Classification Appeals Officer

October 3, 2003__________________ Date

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As provided in section 511.612 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, this decision constitutes a certificate that is mandatory and binding on all administrative, certifying, payroll, disbursing, and accounting officials of the government. The agency is responsible for reviewing its classification decisions for identical, similar, or related positions to ensure consistency with this decision. There is no right of further appeal. This decision is subject to discretionary review only under conditions and time limits specified in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards, appendix 4, section G (address provided in appendix 4, section H).

Since this decision lowers the grade of the appealed position, it is to be effective no later than the beginning of the sixth pay period after the date of this decision, as permitted by 5 CFR 511.702. The servicing personnel office must submit a compliance report containing the corrected position description and a Standard Form 50 showing the personnel action taken. The report must be submitted within 30 days from the effective date of the personnel action.

The personnel office must also determine if the appellant is entitled to grade or pay retention, or both, under 5 United States Code 5363 and 5 CFR 536. If the appellant is entitled to grade retention, the two year retention period begins on the date this decision is implemented.

Decision sent to:

[appellant] [address] [location]

Personnel Director Human Resources Division U.S. Department of the Navy [address] [location]

Director Human Resources Service Center, [location] U.S. Department of the Navy [organization] [address] [location]

Mr. Allan Cohen Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR) Nebraska Avenue, Complex 321 Somer Court, NW., Suite 40101 Washington, DC 20393-5451

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Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR) U.S. Department of the Navy Nebraska Avenue, Complex 321 Somer Court, NW., Suite 40101 Washington, DC 20393-5451

Introduction

On April 4, 2003, the Atlanta Field Services Group, formally the Atlanta Oversight Division, of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) accepted a classification appeal from [appellant] who is employed as a Supervisory Financial Management Analyst, GS-501-13. She works in the [organization] Division, [organization] Department, [organization], Department of the Navy, [location]. The appellant requests that her position be reclassified to Financial Management Officer, GS-501-14. She believes that her agency did not fully credit the command status, responsibility for employees supervised, and deputy aspects of her position. We received the complete appeal administrative report from the agency on May 19, 2003. The appeal has been accepted and processed under section 5112(b) of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.).

General issues

The appellant makes various statements about her agency's review and evaluation of her position. She also compares her position with GS-14 positions in other commands. In adjudicating this appeal, our only concern is to make our own independent decision on the proper classification of his position. By law, we must make that decision solely by comparing her current duties and responsibilities to OPM standards and guidelines (5 U.S.C. 5106, 5107, and 5112). Therefore, we have considered the appellant's statements only insofar as they are relevant to making that comparison.

Like OPM, the appellant's agency must classify positions based on comparison to OPM PCS's and guidelines. Section 511.612 of title 5 of the CFR, requires that agencies review their own classification decisions for identical, similar, or related positions to ensure consistency with OPM certificates. Thus, the agency has the primary responsibility for ensuring that its positions are classified consistently with OPM appeal decisions. If the appellant believes that her position is classified inconsistently with others, she may pursue this matter by writing to her agency headquarters human resources office. In so doing, she should specify the precise organizational location, series, title, grade, duties, and responsibilities of the positions in question. The agency should explain to her the differences between her position and the others, or grade those positions in accordance with this appeal decision.

In reaching our classification decision, we have carefully reviewed all information furnished by the appellant and the agency, including information obtained from on-site and telephone interviews with the appellant, her supervisor, and second level supervisor, the command's Assistant Chief of Staff for Supply and Financial Systems.

Position information

The appellant is assigned to position description number [#]. She and her supervisor certified the accuracy of the position description.

Our fact finding revealed that the appellant's official position description overstates the duties and responsibilities assigned to the appellant, particularly in the nature of the guidelines used and

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the judgment required to apply them, complexity of the work performed, the scope and effect of the program and the personal contacts. These areas of the position description typically pertain to positions found at higher organizational levels within an agency. For example, the position description indicates that the appellant is responsible for interpreting and assessing the impact of new and revised congressional legislation and resolving issues where laws and regulations are highly interpretive and precedents are non-existent, obscure, or conflicting. These are matters for which responsibility lies with the policy staff at Commander-in Chief, [organization] and higher echelons within the appellant's agency. Another example includes identification of infrequent contacts as routine and unstructured. The appellant's contacts are primarily with personnel within the agency in a structured setting.

A position description is the official record of the major duties and responsibilities assigned to a position by an official with the authority to assign work. A position is the duties and responsibilities that make up the work performed by an employee. Position classification appeal regulations permit OPM to investigate or audit a position and decide an appeal on the basis of the actual duties and responsibilities currently assigned by management and performed by the employee. An OPM appeal decision classifies a real operating position and not simply the position description. Therefore, this decision is based on the work currently assigned to and performed by the appellant and sets aside any previous agency decision.

The appellant's position description states that the position is the division deputy and supervises division employees. The General Schedule Supervisory Guide (GSSG) defines a "deputy" position as one that serves as an alter ego to a manager of high rank or level and either fully shares with the manager the direction of all phases of the organization's program or is assigned continuing responsibility for managing a major part of the manager's program when the total authority for the organization is equally divided between the manager and the deputy.

The "deputy" concept used in the GSSG is intended to cover a limited number of positions that fit one of two very specific situations. The first, an alter ego, situation requires that the deputy share in the direction of all phases of the work and be authorized to make management decisions affecting the organization without prior clearance by the chief. The second situation describes an organizational arrangement where the chief and the deputy have responsibility for management of an equal (or nearly equal) portion of the total organization. The use of the deputy principle in classifying deputy positions should not be automatic. It is anticipated that a chief position which has a deputy is in charge of a staff of substantial size and often has multiple subordinate units. Chief positions such as this require deputies who act in their stead because of the decisions which must be made, employees who must be supervised, and the volume of work which is produced.

Our fact finding revealed that the appellant's position does not meet the criteria for application of the deputy principle. The appellant's supervisor is the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff/Force Financial Management Officer (a Navy Commander). The supervisor's assigned duties include assisting the Assistant Chief of Staff for Supply and Financial Management in his assigned management of the entire department and serving as the Financial Management Officer. Assistance to the Assistant Chief of Staff takes 35 to 50 percent of the supervisor's time and includes activities related to submarine supply operations and the 20 employees performing those

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functions. The rest of the supervisor's time is spent in managing the [organization] Division. The appellant does not share responsibilities with the supervisor for the supply activities. Neither does she share fully, as an alter ego, in the all the authorities and responsibilities of the [organization] Division. The appellant directs the day to day division operations and directly supervises the staff. In effect, the functions of the division have been separated into two parts with the supervisor managing the division and the appellant directing operations and supervising. The time the appellant spends, 10 to 20 percent of the time, performing duties in the supervisor's absence cannot be credited since duties performed in the absence of others are not considered in determining the grade level of a position.

In considering the second situation for a deputy, sharing of responsibility for an organization, the appellant occupies a position in the direct supervisory line from the chief to the subordinate finance staff, but the supervisor's authorities extend over the whole department and its employees. This authority is not divided equally since the [organization] Division represents only one-third of the Department's organization. The appellant, therefore, does not have responsibility for managing an equal, or nearly equal, portion of the entire organization. While the appellant's position may be identified as a deputy for organizational purposes, the limited authority of the appellant and the small size and structure of the organization also preclude consideration of the appellant's position as deputy for application of the deputy classification principle.

The small size and structure of the division does not support the need for a deputy. The appellant is responsible for division operations and supervises the small division staff consisting of 10 employees: one Supervisory Budget Analyst, GS-560-12, three Budget Analysts, GS-56011, one Budget Analyst, GS-560-9, one Supply Technician,GS-2005-7, one Financial Clerk, GS-501-4, a Lieutenant (GS-11 equivalent), a Chief Petty Officer (GS-7 equivalent), and a Petty Officer First Class (GS-5 equivalent). She also has oversight over one contract worker performing work equivalent to the GS-5 level. This group is divided into two small units with two subordinate positions exercising supervisory responsibilities over them.

The record, which includes subordinate position descriptions certified as current and accurate, does not support the conclusion that the military and civilian chiefs supervise for 25 percent or more of their time as required for GSSG credit as supervisors. The Supervisory Budget Analyst position description states that the incumbent spends 25 percent of the time supervising three Budget Analysts, GS-560-11. The position descriptions for the Budget Analyst positions show that the incumbents independently perform their day-to-day duties and this independence is crucial in supporting the grade of the positions. Therefore, it is not reasonable to conclude that the time estimate for supervisory duties over this group is accurate.

The second leadership position, the Lieutenant who serves as the Assistant Financial Management Officer, is credited with spending 25 percent of the time supervising two military positions and a Supply Technician, GS-2005-7, and overseeing the contractor's work. One of the subordinate military positions (the Chief Petty Officer) functions as a Staff Supply Officer performing at the GS-7 level, a very independent level for supply technician work. His duties are indicative of independent operation: serves as the staff focal point for service contracts, acts

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