HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 19-13
Opening date: January 29, 2019
Closing date: February 12, 2019

TITLE: Staff Assistant, IS-0301, Grade 9; $55,909 to $72,683 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Indefinite Trust Appointment. This is not a Federal position
DIVISION: - High Energy Astrophyics Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States.


This is the position of Staff Assistant in the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The employee supports divisional contracts and grants and other internal projects. The employee reports to the Division Administrator and provides financial and administrative support to the HEAD Division.


1. Responsible for budget management and financial reporting for assigned hardware projects. Prepare annual budgets for assigned HEAD projects. Budgets to be monitored monthly. Duties include tracking of expenses, creating variance reports and revising project budgets as necessary. Respond to queries from project management and sponsoring organizations for financial data; research questions and provide responses. Provide inputs for or prepare programmatic and financial reports, such as Cost to Completes. Review Central Engineering assignments monthly and provide updated plans to the CE administrator as needed. Independently creates estimates, budgets and analysis reporting based on requirements established by the Division administrator and Project management. Communication to HEAD Project Management regarding the status of project budgets and actuals is of paramount importance. Priority should be given to making sure project budgets are on track.

2. Prepare 533 monthly and quarterly reports as required. Coordinate with major subcontractors to ensure accuracy and timely submission of their 533s, and incorporate their inputs into SAO's 533 submission. Coordinate flow of 533s through HEAD project management, SAO Financial Management department and SAO Contracts Department.

3. In a timely manner initiate Division requisitions. Assign correct WBS task numbers and object classes, monitor and track expenditures for Project budget activity, and report on status, progress, and receipt of all expenditures. Update Requisition Log with purchase order information, verify costs, effectively deal with outside vendors and SAO Procurement office in problem resolution or refer more complex issues (such as those involving subcontracts) to supervisor for further direction or resolution. Prepare and disseminate a purchase order status report as required by HEAD Project Management. Initiate Purchase Order change orders and renewals as required to sustain project continuity

4. Generate travel authorizations for personnel. Prepare foreign travel requests, close out travel authorizations and deobligate funds for cancelled trips. All travel authorizations should be prepared to adhere to the SI Federal Handbook Regulations. Track travel activity against project budgets proposal (actual vs. planned). Monitor and analyze open travel expense reports to determine what actions are required to close accounts, and create an action plan with follow-through to closure

5. Support HEAD Program Management in the preparation and submission of PI proposals and other cost estimates by researching and compiling financial data from previous reports and historical documents in areas such as labor, engineering, supplies and services, equipment, travel, and other services. As directed, act as proposal coordinator, coordinating proposal assembly, review and submission. Support the supervisor in project planning, scheduling, and analyzing project resource requirements.

6. Other duties as assigned.


Basic Requirements:


One year of full-time experience equivalent to the grade 7 level that is close or similar to the work of this position. The experience includes activities such as proposal preparation, budgeting, forecasting,and financial planning, analysis and reporting.



Master's or equivalent graduate degree

OR Two full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's or equivalent degree related to the position may be substituted to meet the experience requirements.


Combination of Experience and Education: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications; for example, a half year of experience and a half year of education in the field may be qualifying. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and/or proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the "Required Documents" section of this announcement.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, please visit: USAJOBS

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

Visit our SAO website.


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