Sunday, October 26, 2014

USDA: DIrector, Information Services Division

Job Title:Director, Information Services Division
Department:Department Of Agriculture
Agency:Economic Research Service
Job Announcement Number:AG-18-2014-0099


$120,749.00 to $181,500.00 / Per Year


Monday, October 6, 2014 to Monday, October 27, 2014




Full-Time - Permanent


1 vacancy - Washington DC, DC View Map


All groups of qualified individuals


Top Secret




The Economic Research Service (ERS) conducts broad programs of economic and other social science research and analysis relating to agriculture, food, natural resources and rural America for use by public and private decision makers.  ERS' clients are the executive and legislative branches; environmental, consumer and public interest groups, including farm and industry groups; and the general public.
The Senior Executive Service (SES) is comprised of the men and women charged with leading the continuing transformation of government. These leaders possess well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective of government and a public service commitment which is grounded in the Constitution.
This position is in the SES, Career Reserved. Positions in the SES are not graded.  USDA structures its SES positions into pay bands.  This is a pay band Tier 2 position and the salary range is $167,001 to $174,225.  Exceptions to the salary cap may be considered in certain circomstances. SES employees are also eligible for bonuses and awards based on performance. Veteran's preference is not applicable to the SES. Selectee is subject to a one-year probationary period, unless currently serving under an SES appointment. Visit for additional information and benefits for SES employees.
If you would like to work for a premier agency that is focused on enhancing the quality of life for the American people by supporting production of agriculture: ensuring a safe, affordable, nutritious, and accessible food supply; caring for agricultural, forest, and range lands; supporting sound development of rural communities; providing economic opportunities for farm and rural residents; expanding global markets for agricultural and forest products and services; and working to reduce hunger in America and throughout the world, USDA is the place for you. To learn more about our agency, our exciting mission, vision, and guiding principles, please visit


  • Occasional Travel
  • To Attend Meetings


  • Yes
  • In accordance with Federal Travel Regulations


  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Designated or Random Drug Testing required.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Public Financial Disclosure Required (SF-278)
  • A 1-year probationary period is required.
  • Top Secret Security Clearance is Required


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A. Together with the Administrator of the Economic Research Service (ERS), formulates and establishes long-range and current policies and priorities to carry out the Division's function and activities. Reviews and evaluates operations of the Division to appraise effectiveness of policies and programs, determines deficiencies and takes or recommends appropriate actions. Serves as the chief custodian of Agency information resources. The incumbent manages and directs a program in the following areas:
  1. Services to other Divisions. Provides maximum possible service using information technology (IT) to data and research programs of ERS. Provides objectives work priorities, and plans to organization groups in the Division and coordinates these into an optimum program of data administration, research support, information dissemination and communication for social science research. Works closely with other organizational units of ERS to plan and conduct studies and operations, and develop systems and methodology. Provides technical advice and assistance to other organizational units of ERS on matters concerned with functions and responsibilities of the Division.
  2. Agency Operations. Develops and manages data structures to facilitate research and analysis and, through public access, to promote wider knowledge of agricultural and rural economic conditions and trends.
  3. Long-range planning. Participates with the Administrator, Associate Administrator, and other Division Directors in the identification of long-range IT management issues, priority ranking of these needs, and the translation of these priorities into an annual and medium-term program. Documents the required budget initiatives or redirection of resources related to information management needs and acquisitions to effect the ERS program.
  4. IT reports. Prepares and updates annually the Agency’s 5-year IT Plan, and is responsible for its implementation. Reviews, evaluates, updates and documents those components of the USDA 5-year IT plan for which ERS is responsible. Prepares reports on automation of ERS programs, projects, and activities as required by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), General Services Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget.
  5. Information management standards. Develops and maintains Agency-wide standards for information management systems and telecommunications. Works with other Division Directors in ERS, computer and information technology suppliers, and the USDA’s OCIO to improve the quality and usefulness of IT procurement and acquisition and their subsequent use. Is responsible for ensuring that information management systems developed in ERS are coordinated and provide the tools needed to accomplish the Agency’s program objectives.
  6. Security Administration. Directs the administration of IT security and develops procedures to assure that Agency systems and procedures are appropriately protected to avoid unauthorized access or use of Agency information.
  7. Develops and maintains effective relationships with the OCIO, Office of Communications and other Department and Federal agencies on matters that fall within functions and responsibilities of the Division. Obtains and furnishes technical information about fields of computer science, information management, and telecommunications.
  8. As Division Director, assumes immediate responsibility for preparing, justifying and executing its budget, and for its internal organization and staffing structure within established ceiling and budget limitations.


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As a basic requirement for entry into the SES, applicants must provide evidence of progressively responsible leadership experience that is indicative of senior executive level managerial capability and directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under Mandatory Technical Qualifications and Executive Core Qualifications. Typically, experience of this nature will have been gained at or above the GS-15 grade level in the Federal service, or its equivalent with state or local government, the private sector, or non- governmental organizations. Your resume needs to emphasize your level of responsibilities, the scope and complexity of programs managed, and your program accomplishments, including the results of your actions.

Failure to meet the basic qualification requirement and all Mandatory Technical and Executive Core Qualification factors automatically disqualifies an applicant.


  1. EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQ): All applicants must submit written statements. Your narrative response must not exceed two (2) pages per ECQ.
The ECQs were designed to assess executive experience and potential not technical expertise. They measure whether an individual has the broad executive skills needed to succeed in a variety of SES positions. All applicants must submit written statements describing accomplishments that would satisfy the ECQs.
There are 5 ECQs: ECQ 1 LEADING CHANGE, ECQ 2 LEADING PEOPLE (In addition to this ECQ, you must also describe your accomplishments in EEO and/ or Civil Rights), ECQ 3 RESULTS DRIVEN, ECQ 4 BUSINESS ACUMEN, ECQ 5 BUILDING COALITIONS. You must address each ECQ separately. You are required to respond to all ECQs. If you fail to do so, you will be rated as ineligible.
Each accomplishment should be clear, concise, and emphasize your level of responsibilities, the scope and complexity of programs managed, and results of your actions. Please limit your written statements to two pages per ECQ with no more than 2 examples per ECQ.
Additional information on the ECQs is available at
Fundamental Competencies: These competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications; Interpersonal Skills, Oral Communication, Continual Learning, Written Communication, Integrity/Honesty, Public Service Motivation. The Fundamental Competencies are crosscutting; they should be addressed over the course of your ECQ narrative. It is not necessary for you to address the Fundamental Competencies directly as long as the narrative, in its totality, shows mastery of these competencies on the whole.
B. MANDATORY TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (TQ): All applicants must submit written statements. Your narrative response must not exceed two (2) pages per TQ. You must address each TQ separately. You are required to respond to all TQs. If you fail to do so, you will be rated as ineligible.
  1. Describe your executive level experience in ensuring that information technology resources are planned for, acquired and managed in a manner that achieves strategic objectives of a large organization while conforming to policies of a legislative or other governing body.
  2. Describe your executive level experience in managing a diverse staff which supports a multifaceted information technology environment including the implementation of general business support systems and program specific system development and operation.

To view the application form, visit:


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Some of the benefits for which you are entitled to but not limited to are: Federal Holidays; Annual & Sick Leave; Federal Employee Retirement System; Thrift Savings Plan; Federal Employees Health Benefits; Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program; Federal Employees Group Life Insurance; Flexible Spending Accounts; Federal Long Term Care Insurance; For more information on these and many other benefits, go to:


Consideration for competitive selection for this position is open to all persons within the area of consideration who meet the basic qualifications. Race, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religion, marital or family status, disability, and other non-merit factors will not be considered.
1. This position is covered under the post-employment restriction of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-521). This law also requires the selectee to file an Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure Report (Standard Form 278), within 30 days of appointment.
2. Applications sent in U.S. Government postage-paid envelope and submitted through Federal Agency courier services will not be considered.
3. The 1993 Hatch Act Reform Amendments prohibit oral and written political recommendations for Federal jobs.
4. Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System before they can be employed by an executive agency of the Federal government. This requirement does not apply to Agency employees appointed before November 8, 1985.
5. All application forms are subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act and become the property of USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
Reasonable Accommodation: This agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency at 202-720-4766. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.


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Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin.
You must complete the application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement. Assistance is available during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship hard-copy application packages with supporting documents must be received no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.
You can apply for this position via on-line submission. Your online application must include the following documents:
1. Resume
2. Responses to the Mandatory Technical Qualifications and Executive Core Qualifications.
3. Supporting Documentation (See required documents for more information)
Candidates who do not submit complete application packages as indicated will not be considered.
Please be sure to remove all PII (e.g. SSN & DOB) from all documents.
Spell out Acronyms the first time used.
Applicants who cannot apply on-line, please mail or fax applications to the Agency Contact listed in the vacancy announcement.
Critical Submission Requirements and Reminders
1. Application and supporting documentation will not be accepted via e-mail.
2. Please be sure to click both (FINISHED) buttons when completing your on-line application.
3. Our online application system is 100% compatible with Internet Explorer (IE) version 5.0 and above.


A complete application package will require the submission of:
1. Resume, which must include all of the information listed below.
Vacancy announcement number
Full name, mailing and email addresses, day and evening telephone numbers
Country of citizenship
Information about your paid and nonpaid work experience related to this position including; job title, duties and accomplishments , employers name and address, supervisor name and phone number, duration of employment, and salary and hrs per week
Educational information, including the name, city and state of colleges or universities attended, major as well as the type of degree received
Information about honors, awards, and special accomplishments
2. Responses to the Executive Core Qualifications
Submit a Supplemental Applicant Statement which addresses EACH of the ECQs separately. Please include your name and the vacancy announcement number on each page of the supplemental applicant statement. The purpose of this statement is to provide you, as an applicant, the opportunity to elaborate on your experience, training, and specifically, significant achievements which relates to the ECQs being used to identify the best qualified candidates for this vacancy. DO NOT simply repeat entries from other parts of your application package.
Please provide complete responses to the executive core qualifications. When addressing the five ECQs the total length of your statement must not exceed 10 pages (no more than 2 pages per ECQ) using 1 inch margins and a 12 point font.
An ECQ statement may include one or two examples of relevant experience. The number of examples is not as important as assuring that your experience matches the ECQ criteria, but please try to limit examples to a maximum of two to ensure a clear and concise narrative that flows.
Please provide your examples using the C-C-A-R Model (Challenge/Context/Action/Results), as described below:
a. Challenge: Describe a specific problem or goal.
b. Context: Describe the individuals and groups you worked with, and/or the environment in which you worked to tackle a particular challenge (e.g., clients, co-workers, members of Congress, shrinking budget, low morale.)
c. Action: Discuss the specific actions you took to address a challenge
d. Results: Give specific examples of the results of your actions. These accomplishments demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your leadership skills.
Examples of the CCAR model the preferred method of writing your ECQs can be found at:
3. Responses to the Mandatory Technical Qualifications
Submit a Supplemental Narrative Statement which addresses EACH of the Mandatory Technical Qualifications individually. Your narrative responses must not exceed two (2) pages using 1 inch margins and a 12 point font per Technical Qualification.
4. Supporting Documentation
If you are a current or former federal employee, you must submit a copy of your last Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) showing your position, title, series, grade and eligibility.
If you are a Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program graduate, submit proof of the Office of Personnel Managements certification and a narrative statement addressing only the mandatory technical qualifications.
If you are a current or former SES member, submit documentation of SES status and a narrative statement addressing only the mandatory technical qualifications. For documentation, you must submit a copy of your Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) showing your position, title, series, grade, and tenure.
Candidates who do not submit complete application packages as indicated will not be considered.
Applicants who cannot apply on-line, please mail or fax applications to the Agency Contact listed in the vacancy announcement.


Rhonda M. Pratt
Phone: 301-504-4424
Fax: 301-504-4883
Agency Information:
5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 2-2138C
Beltsville, MD,
Fax: 301-504-4883


Applicants who meet the mandatory requirements in items A (Executive Core Qualifications), and B (Mandatory Technical Qualifications) above will be considered qualified for this position. Rating and ranking to determine the best qualified will be conducted by a panel of experts and will be based upon consideration of the degree to which applicants meet the mandatory requirements as described in the announcement. Interviews and qualifications inquiries may be required.
The Executive Core Qualifications of the selectee are subject to prior approval by the Office of Personnel Management Qualifications Review Board (QRB). Unless you have already been certified by an OPM QRB in the past, your ECQs must be certified by an OPM QRB before appointment can occur. When reviewing Executive Core Qualifications Statements, the QRB is looking for experience as well as specific challenges, actions, and results.