By April Rowden
Air Force Manpower Agency Public Affairs Office
With only weeks remaining to classify Air Force civilian jobs into the General Schedule personnel system, Air Force classifiers are ensuring National Security Personnel System positions have a current GS title, series and grade before the NSPS conversion out date.
With the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act officials, repealed the NSPS, resulting in the mandatory transition of more than 44,000 Air Force federal employees to other personnel and pay systems.
Core documents are currently undergoing review and classification for those Air Force employees whose positions were created under NSPS. Core documents describe the major duties, responsibilities and supervisory relationship of a position.
“Classifiers are unbiased agents of the government, and are held to very strict standards established by the Office of Personnel Management when assigning GS ratings to a position,” said Col. Brian Norman, the Air Force Manpower Agency commander. “Our team renders a classification based solely upon the actual work performed and required in the position under review, not upon any person’s qualifications or their previous military grade.”
Classifying a position at the accurate grade for the assigned duties and responsibilities ensures balance of the organization, and is vital toward maintaining classification accuracy across the Air Force.
“All of us are charged with being good stewards of government resources and taxpayers’ dollars,” Colonel Norman said. “If a position is classified a GS-15 when it’s really a GS-14 or GS-13, we are doing an injustice to the other positions that are classified in accordance with OPM standards.”
AFMA classification specialists have a proven track record of making the right decisions and appropriately applying the OPM Classification Standards and Guidelines. Since centralized classification began in 1996, all appealed classification decisions have been upheld by OPM and the Department of Defense officials in favor of AFMA’s classifications.
“We properly classify positions based on standards given to us within the bounds legally established by the Office of Personnel Management,” Colonel Norman said. “To do otherwise would put our agency at risk of losing its classification authority.”
Employees whose positions were originally under GS will have the position classified based on the position description on file, also referred to as the “reach back PD.” Other positions may have an applicable Standard Core Personnel Document that may be used.
Many of these standard core documents are available for viewing on the Air Force Portal, keyword “SCPD library.”
“We understand that a few positions have dramatically evolved in workload and responsibility since the initial conversion to NSPS,” Colonel Norman said. “For those individuals, we will review the updated core documents as soon as possible.
An employee who feels the classification does not accurately reflect his position’s assigned duties and responsibilities may appeal the classification decision to the Department of Defense or OPM after the individual has transitioned into the GS personnel system.
By law, employees will not lose pay upon conversion. General guidelines will be followed when determining an employee’s pay.
If the employee’s current pay:
• Fits within the rate range of the appropriate grade to which the employee is assigned, the employee will be placed at a step that equals or exceeds his existing pay.
• Is below the rate range for the appropriate GS grade to which the employee is assigned, the employee will be placed on the first step of the GS grade upon conversion out.
• Is above the rate range for the appropriate GS grade to which the employee is assigned, the employee will be placed on pay retention to ensure he does not suffer any decrease in or loss of pay upon conversion.
In the meantime, Air Force classification teams are working efficiently and effectively to provide fair and accurate classification service.
“The Air Force demand for classification and staffing expertise is at an unprecedented level with NSPS-out, insourcing, rated-to-civilian conversions, Global Strike stand-up and other key initiatives ongoing simultaneously. I am very proud to say the Air Force team has performed with the utmost professionalism and care,” said Colonel Norman. “We’ll continue to work closely with all stakeholders through these challenges.”
Phase II is scheduled to begin July 18.
For more information on the NSPS transition, visit www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps/transition. For more on the classification process, visit http://www.opm.gov or AFPC’s personnel services website, keyword “Classification Standards.”
Air Force employees may call the 24-hour Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102.