HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job Posting 17-64
Opening date: September 1, 2017
Closing date: September 15, 2017

TITLE:Supervisory Human Resources Specialist GS-201, Grade14; $111,695.00 - $145,205.00 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Federal Temporary Not to Exceed 14 Months
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: Current and former Federal employees with permanent status or reinstatement eligibility within the local commuting area. Individuals who are eligible for a special appointing authority may also apply; such as applicants with a disability, former Peace Corps volunteers, certain military spouses, veterans seeking a VRA/VEOA appointment, or veterans who have been separated from armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous active service.

This is the position of Supervisory Human Resources Specialist, Human Resources Department of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The purpose of the position is to provide advisory and consultative services to the SAO community throughout the diverse spectrum of human resources functions, and to serve as Acting Director, Human Resources Department in the absence of the Director. The incumbent plans, organizes and independently carries out a wide variety of responsibilities in areas such as recruitment and placement, position management and classification, management-employee relations, human resources information systems, performance management, human capital management, benefits administration, visa processing, and other special programs.


1. As Acting Director, Human Resources, the incumbent is delegated, through Director SAO and Director, HR, full authority and responsibility for planning, organizing, administering and evaluating a total program of human resource management encompassing both the Federal and Smithsonian Trust Fund systems for all SAO locations (Cambridge, MA; Hilo, HI; Amado, AZ).

2. Monitors and evaluates HR programs to ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules, or government- wide regulations and are compatible with SAO’s mission and strategic goals.

3. Applying an expert knowledge of recruitment and placement principles and concepts, recruits and places Federal and Trust Fund employees in all grade and provides guidance and assistance to managers/supervisors on recruitment and placement programs. Responsible for a variety of recruiting efforts through a number of outlets, to increase recruitment sources for special programs, and seek out the most effective media outlets. Participates in pre- and post-RIF planning and actions for Trust and Federal employees.

4. Provides expert position management and classification support to assigned organizations. Develops and evaluates position descriptions for all position actions, including a significant amount of highly complex positions. Completes classification and position management surveys as needed, to implement reorganizations, apply new standards or complete other position or organization changes.

5. Provides expert advice and assistance to managers/supervisors on handling performance problems, adverse actions, referrals to Employee Assistance Programs, promotions, merit increases, quality and within-grade increases, cash awards, full utilization of present personnel, writing performance appraisal plans, etc. Responds to difficult situations in correcting work deficiencies, poor performance, and leave abuse. Informs managers/supervisors of regulatory and other requirements in effecting dispute resolutions, disciplinary actions, removals, suspensions, and grievances and assists in the development of required correspondence/documents. Provides advice regarding the administration of formal rating plans, as well as assistance in resolving complaints concerning performance ratings. Takes part in meetings between managers/supervisors and subordinates to assist in the resolution of problems.

6. Keeps abreast of new developments and regulatory guidance from SI, OPM, and other sources in all areas of Human Resources management. Provides expert advice on policy, directives, and guidelines on a full range of matters relevant to assigned functions.

7. Petitions for visas (both immigrant and non-immigrant) for aliens whom SAO wishes to hire on either a temporary or permanent basis. This includes H-l, J-1, O-1, TN-1, and permanent resident petitions, as well as all derivatives. Must maintain an excellent working relationship with SI's Office of International Affairs, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, Department of Labor, Department of State, and the United States Information Agency (USIA). Responsible for annual renewal of visas for foreign national employees/visitors already on board.

8. Serves as a personnel expert on various Management, EEO, HRIS, or other special committees as required. Prepares a variety of reports as requested by the Director of Human Resources, members of top SI/SAO management, other SAO managers or supervisors, or on own initiative. As required, conducts various studies and evaluation activities of program areas. Prepares and presents results, and recommends corrective actions based on findings. Follows up, to assure completion of required actions.

9. Performs supervisory functions with respect to assigned staff. Assigns work to subordinates based on individual capabilities of staff members. Conducts formal and informal performance appraisals with direct reports. Provides advice, counsel, and instruction to employees on technical and administrative matters. Is responsible for the spectrum of personnel actions for staff which included selection and recommendation for promotion, reassignment, training and development, etc. Hears and whenever possible resolves grievances or other problems in the group referring to the Director those of a major or SAO-wide nature. Effects disciplinary measures when necessary


To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement.


One (1) year of Specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 level in the Federal service. Specialized experience equips the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position and that is typically in or related to the work of the position such as Mastery of and skill in applying a wide range of advance HR principles, concepts and practices; Ability to perform a key role in rendering expert advice and in policy interpretation; mastery of, and skill in applying Federal position classification rules and regulations; skills in applying Federal staffing regulation and procedures and recruiting techniques; sill in applying both government and private sector employee relations laws, regulations; comprehensive knowledge of immigration law.

For qualification standards please check

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


Section Photo