U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service 223 FW 3,  Position Management

FWM#:      166 (new)
Date:          December 23, 1994
Series:        Personnel
Part 223:    Employment
Originating Office: Division of Personnel Management 
3.1 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to issue guidelines on policies and procedures for the development, implementation, and administration of effective position management programs within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).

3.2 Scope. The guidelines in this chapter apply to all positions in the Service. The provisions are directed to all employees having responsibilities for position management and/or for planning, recommending, evaluating, or approving organization and position structures.

3.3 Authority. This chapter implements and supplements the policies and instructions prescribed in 370 Departmental Manual (DM) 312, Position Management.

3.4 Policy. It is the policy of the Service that positions are carefully planned, structured, and staffed to achieve the most effective use of human resources at the lowest practical cost to accomplish assigned missions; that managers and supervisors assume and carry out an active and positive role in the operation of the position management program; and that there will be continual coordination among managers, personnel and human resources staffs, management analysts, and budget staffs in order to assure efficient planning of resource utilization.

3.5 Objectives. The position management guidelines set forth in this chapter are designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

A. Sound and economical organization and position structures that serve mission needs, clarify reporting relationships, reduce functional overlap and minimize supervisory layers;

B. Control of unwarranted average grade escalation;

C. Reduction in the overall operating costs as can be reflected through reductions in position and fiscal resources for given programs with particular emphasis on reducing overhead;

D. Increased employee productivity through the most effective utilization of human resources and skills;

E. Compatibility with and support for the Service's Upward Mobility Program, Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP), Affirmative Action Plans, and Equal Employment Opportunity Program; and

F. Participation by line and staff managers in the analysis of organization and position structures.

3.6 Responsibilities.

A. The Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is responsible for the maintenance of a sound and effective position management program throughout the Service in accordance with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations and guidelines and Departmental policies and procedures.

B. The Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration (APBA) is responsible for the development, implementation, and control of an effective position management program throughout the Service. This includes ensuring that position management is addressed in the Service's budget, planning, personnel, and evaluation processes.

C. Regional Directors are responsible for maintaining an effective position management program within their Region in accordance with Service and Departmental policies and procedures.

D. The Chief, Division of Personnel Management (DPM), is responsible for developing Servicewide policy and procedures regarding position management and for preparing and forwarding required reports to the Office of Personnel.

E. Regional Personnel Officers, Regions 1-7, and Chief, Branch of Headquarters Operations, are responsible for monitoring and advising on the conduct of the Service's position management program in accordance with published Service, Departmental, and OPM policies and procedures within their area of responsibility.

F. Managers and supervisors are responsible for establishing and managing subordinate positions within a sound position structure that is efficient and cost effective and utilizes human resources in the best interest of the Service.

3.7 Definitions.

A. Position. The duties and responsibilities that make up the work assigned to an employee.

B. Position Description. The official record documenting the major duties, responsibilities, and supervisory relationships assigned to a position by a supervisory or management official.

C. Position Management. The process of structuring work to accomplish the organization's mission. It involves the determination of the need for positions; the determination of the skills and knowledges required to perform the work; the formation, grouping, and assignment of duties and responsibilities among positions; and the alignment of the positions into organizational structures.

D. Position Numbering System. The official recording system that documents all current and newly established positions. Position numbers are used primarily to identify positions for record control and reporting purposes. Position numbers are maintained in the servicing personnel office in sequential order. (See 225 FW 1, Position Classification, for specific information on the Service's position numbering system).

E. Position Titles. The official classification titles for individual positions covered by the General Schedule are addressed in Position Classification Standards issued by the OPM.

3.8 Planning a Position. Positions should be planned systematically so that the duties and responsibilities of the position are stated logically and consistently and should fit with other positions into an orderly, productive, and efficient organization.

3.9 Position Management Program.

A. Position management is greatly dependent on the skill and judgment of managers and supervisors. Position management involves the structuring of positions, functions, and work groups in a manner that will best achieve the organizational goals of efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness within approved resource levels. The core of any position management program is the performance by managers and supervisors of their inherent position management responsibilities, utilizing the supplementary skills and expertise provided by personnel and management staffs. The Service's position management program is designed to assist management officials in the achievement of these goals by identifying and recommending changes to eliminate unnecessary organizational fragmentation; excessive layering; excessive use of deputies and assistants; improper design of jobs; and inappropriate span of control. In addition, to support a successful position management program, individual positions must be properly classified in accordance with published standards and guides and established classification principles and policies.

B. Position authorization and control procedures should be established to assure that existing and proposed work, organization, and staffing arrangements meet the requirements of good position management.

(1) Authorizations and controls must operate within the numbers of positions, ceiling controls, and financial allowances authorized in the budget by the Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary, and Service Work Activity Guidance.

(2) Organizational changes as well as proposed new organizations must be approved in accordance with existing Service policy as prescribed in 020 FW 1, Policy, Planning, and Responsibilities; 020 FW 2, Organizational Standards and Codes; and 020 FW 3, Organization Changes, by an appropriate higher level authority in the Service when there are major modifications to existing organizations or groups of positions or there are organizational or position changes that will result in adverse actions to groups of employees.

C. The position management program will be developed as an integrated part of the Service's administrative management planning process with regard to work methods, equipment, facilities, procedures, techniques, skills, and knowledges, as well as the following considerations:

(1) A minimum number of positions with as low a proportional ratio as possible of supervisory, managerial, and staff support positions to nonsupervisory operating positions, consistent with the need for effective execution of assigned programs and functions. This includes the avoidance of deputy, assistant, and comparable top level positions that increase management and supervisory overhead costs and have a questionable impact on productivity. Additional supervisory or staff positions required for developing an inexperienced work force, performing a new mission, or implementing new laws, regulations, and procedures should be earmarked for review during evaluations to determine continuing need;

(2) A reasonable balance between professional and technical/support positions: specifically, a balance closely related to the frequency of professional and technical/support tasks in the organization's normal work cycle;

(3) A reasonable proportion of trainees and lower-graded employees to estimated attrition in full performance level and higher-graded employees, taking into account predictable requirements, past records of resignations and transfers, expansion needs if pertinent, availability of trained replacements in the labor market, and training time required;

(4) A clear delineation of work assignments and job-to-job relationships that avoids excessive supervision/layering, and review, excessive staff advice and assistance, and overlaps, conflicts, and ambiguities in work assignments;

(5) Adequate opportunity for development and progression up a well-defined career ladder for those employees who show significant capability and potential for more responsible positions requiring planned experience at lower levels;

(6) A clear understanding and definition of the kinds and levels of skills and knowledges required for successful performance of position duties. In staffing positions, it is important to avoid the recruitment of over-qualified as well as under-qualified employees; and

(7) A sound use of grade levels, resulting in a well-balanced position structure. In a well-balanced position structure, the grades of positions are fully supported by essential work to be accomplished, and employees are fully utilized at the level of their positions.

3.10 Control of Vacancies and Recruitment.

A. Before any vacant position is filled, a review should be made by the line managers with advisory assistance from the personnel staff to determine whether the grade of the position is or continues to be fully supportable and whether the duties of the position can be eliminated or assigned to other positions. In the case of full-time permanent vacancies, the hiring official should be aware of the provisions of part-time employment and consider the feasibility of converting a vacant position into one or more part-time position(s).

B. Recruitment should be accomplished to the fullest extent possible at the entry level to encourage efforts to maintain a culturally diverse workforce. Commitments to such programs as Upward Mobility necessitate that, where possible, vacancies that occur above entry level grades be restructured so that replacements can be hired at grade levels below those of the previous incumbents.

3.11 Establishment of New Positions.

A. Before a position is established or upgraded, the organizational work pattern and existing structure should be thoroughly reviewed by the line manager to verify the necessity for assigning responsibilities as high as the grade being proposed and to ensure that any proposed duties do not conflict with or duplicate responsibilities already assigned.

B. The grade structure of the organizational components involved should be reviewed to ensure that the proposed grade does not set an indefensible precedent, and that it fits logically within the existing structure.

3.12 Organizational Planning. An important element in a position management program is the development and maintenance of an organization structure designed to promote the effective accomplishment of program objectives. The factors that should be considered by the Service in the development of its organization changes are specified in 370 DM 101, Organization Management, and 020 FW, Organization Management.

3.13 Position Management Analysis and Reporting.

A. Periodic position management review and analysis are necessary to provide essential data that may be requested by the Office of Management and Budget, OPM, and Congress. Each servicing personnel office in coordination with management should be prepared to provide summaries such as the following: the review of statistical trend data on the proportion of managerial and supervisory to nonsupervisory positions, administrative to professional positions to technical/support positions; an examination of the number of positions authorized; and the number of positions occupied by GS grade, the average GS grade, the percentage of employees in each GS grade, turnovers, promotions, and other activities related to staff utilization.

B. Each Regional Office will develop its Annual Position Management Analysis by December 1 of each year. The Annual Position Management Analysis report will contain: an assessment of the Department's Position Management Program data as provided by the Service; a narrative summary of progress in achieving position management goals that may have been established by the Service; a description of recommendations for remedial actions to be implemented by management to resolve apparent position management problems; and recommendations for specific position management improvement goals to be achieved by management in the fiscal year. The information should be as complete and comprehensive as possible, and should address major position management program elements.

C. Regional offices must conduct regular internal program reviews for the organizations serviced. Reviews may be limited to organizations, occupational groupings, or any other technique that will provide a systematic approach and adequate coverage. There are no current OPM requirements for periodic or cyclic reviews of positions for accuracy or proper classification. Although no longer required by the OPM, the Department continues to require that periodic maintenance reviews be incorporated with ongoing efforts to reduce average grade levels as part of the Annual Position Management Analysis. (See 225 FW 1, Position Classification, for specific information on regular maintenance reviews).

D. The Service requires that position descriptions be reviewed on a 4-year cycle to ensure that they are accurate, current, and follow established format. Vacant positions should be reviewed before being refilled to determine if the position description is still accurate. This may be accomplished by the personnelist and the supervisor documenting in block 23 of the Position Description Optional Form-8 provided the duties have not changed since the original classification. (See 225 FW 1, Position Classification, for specific information on documenting position descriptions).

3.14 Files and Records.

A. Official position management files should be maintained in the servicing personnel office. Position management files will include follow-up or remedial action required for position management reviews or similar classification reviews conducted by the OPM, Department, and/or DPM.

B. Servicing personnel offices are required to maintain position management files for any abolished or canceled position descriptions as described in 225 FW 1, Position Classification. Canceled position descriptions and evaluation statements should be maintained for a period of 2 years after cancellation date. 


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