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Job Title:
Staff Assistant, IS-0301, Grade 9; $59,498 - $77,346 annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   This position is open to all qualified U.S. Citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.

Note: First consideration made be made 14 days after the opening date.


This is the position of Staff Assistant, Central Engineering Department (CE), the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). The purpose of the position is to provide general administrative expertise to the Manager of Central Engineering (MCE) and Department Administrator (DA) in areas related to the overall operation of the department.  


Prepares proposals for, and subsequently administers the awards of, both externally and internally funded projects for CE Principal Investigators. Serves as Authorizing Officer.

• Provides general administrative support to the MCE, DA, Machine Shop staff and other department staff as requested. Supports the MCE, DA and senior engineering staff in special projects, and performs related administrative duties as required.

• Devises and maintains a quickly and easily accessible property database for the department’s IT resources and also for resources in the labs at the CDP location. Produces reports on same, tracks current location and condition. Serves as the point of contact in annual audit activities.

• Creates resource loaded Microsoft Project engineering program management schedules, which are incorporated into the master labor assignment schedule. Incorporates frequent revisions into same. Generates reporting as requested.

• Maintains cognizance of SAO and CE administrative policies and procedures, and serves as an information source to department staff on administrative issues. Evaluates, recommends, and implements improvements to administrative procedures.

• Generates requisitions and travel authorizations. Determines and applies appropriate fund numbers. Tracks requisitions and expedites orders, as required. Maintains cognizance of, appropriately applies and administers all applicable policies, procedures, and documentation requirements and serves as an information source to CE staff.

• Maintains the department’s website. Seeks out input from appropriate engineering discipline/contact, obtains permission and posts data.

• Coordinates contracting of temporary personnel agencies.

• Performs other duties as required.


Experience: One year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level in the normal progression for this occupation that has equipped the candidate with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position.  The experience may include activities such as creating and maintaining complex databases, managing a contract or grant and resourcing scheduling for a program effort. 
Education: 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.

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.

Application Procedures:  We are only accepting online applications for this position. To apply please visit USAJOBS

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

Learn more about SAO Human Resources

Visit the SAO website