Department of Veterans Affairs - Des Moines, IA

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Vacancy ID: 940429

OUR MISSION: To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise

- “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” - by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans. How would you like to become a part of a team providing compassionate care to Veterans? The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs employees who possess the energy, compassion, and commitment to serve those who served our Country. Whatever the job title, every position in VA will give you a chance to make a meaningful and personal contribution to the lives of truly special and deserving people - our Veterans. VA professionals feel good about their careers and their ability to balance work and home life. VA offers generous paid time off and a variety of predictable and flexible scheduling opportunities. Working for VA is one of the most emotionally satisfying and professionally rewarding ways to dedicate the best within you to your Country's service.

If you are transitioning from the military or a Veteran already, we invite you to explore the benefits of continuing your career at the VA. The VA is committed to hiring Veterans. The VA is much more than just another employer. It is an honorable, open and welcoming community of those who care. Gratitude is our motivation and service is our mission.

The VA has adopted Core Values and Characteristics that apply universally across the Department. The five Core Values define “who we are,” our culture, and how we care for Veterans, their families and other beneficiaries. The Values are I ntegrity, C ommitment, A dvocacy, R espect and E xcellence (“ I CARE ”).

America's Veterans need you! To find out more, go to .
  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this job.
  • You will be subject to a background/suitability investigation.
  • Pre-employment physical required.

DUTIES: This position is located at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, Des Moines, IA. The Gardener performs professional gardening work concerned with the maintenance and improvement of the 43 acres of the Medical Center and is specifically involved with the culture of its existing and proposed trees, shrubs, lawns, flower beds and exterior plantings. Duties include but are not limited to:
  • Determine the proper fertilization of lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers;
  • Inspect trees for diseases, insect problems and general tree health and then prescribe and perform necessary treatment;
  • Maintain current records on work performed such as fertilizer, and pesticide usage schedules, material applied, application rate, etc.;
  • Prepare purchase orders for material, equipment and supplies;
  • Maintain stock levels of all parts and supplies needed;
  • Operate and maintain various types of mechanical gardening equipment (seeders, tillers, sprayers, trimmers, mowers, pruners, foggers, etc.);
  • Support other areas of the Grounds Section during periods of extreme weather, labor shortages, or heavy workloads;
  • Performing other duties as assigned.
WORK SCHEDULE: 8:00am - 4:30pm, Monday through Friday


QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Applicants will be rated in accordance with the OPM Qualification Standard Handbook X-118C ( ). For this position, the job element method is used to match what you, the applicant, can do against what the work calls for. Your knowledge, skills and abilities will be compared to the knowledge, skills and abilities (called job elements) needed for success. Your qualifications will first be evaluated against the prescribed screen out element (WG-2 and higher only; screen-outs are not applicable to WG-1). Applicants who appear to meet the screen out element are considered for further rating; those who do not are rated ineligible and are eliminated from consideration. The potential eligibles are rated against the remainder of the job elements. While a specific length of training and experience is not required, your responses to the questionnaire must be supported by detailed descriptions of your experience on your resume.

You will be rated on the following Job Elements as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:

1. Ability to do the work of the position without more than normal supervision (screen out).

2. Knowledge of landscape design, installation and maintenance of irrigation systems.

3. Use and maintenance of the tools and equipment needed to complete the duties of the position.

4. Ability to interpret instructions, specifications and schematics, prints, etc.

Physical effort and work conditions : Work will be performed over 43 acres and requires frequent walking and the use of a truck/Kubota for transportation of equipment and materials. Frequent bending, stooping and standing are required due to the nature of the work. The gardener will climb ladders to prune, plant material. He/she will be required to lift heavy objects such as fertilizer, salt, plant material and maneuver loaded wheelbarrows. The majority of work is done outdoors. The gardener will be subject to discomfort from long periods of heat and humidity, cold, wind, rain and snow, and will perform responsibilities with minimum interruption under these conditions. He/she will be exposed to chemical sprays and dusts. He/she will be provided protective clothing and equipment such as cold weather gear, rain gear, gloves, respirator, safety shoes and boots. During periods of extreme weather, such as heavy rain or severe cold, the employee may be given assignments to assist other members of the section in moving materials and equipment, shop maintenance and other tasks which may be outside the range of gardening. The employee shall assist in snow and ice removal using hand tools and other equipment in addition to chemicals of various types without injury to plant material.

IN DESCRIBING YOUR KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE WILL NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. If your resume does not support your questionnaire answers, we will not allow credit for your responses.

Veteran's Preference :

When applying for Federal jobs, eligible veterans should claim preference on the Occupational Questionnaire in the section provided and provide a legible copy of DD-214(s) showing all dates of service as well as character of service (honorable, general, etc.). Additionally, veterans with service-connected disability of 10% or more must also submit a copy of their official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or from a branch of the Armed Forces, certifying their service-connected disability and/or their receipt of compensation for service-connected disability. If the military member is within 120 days of separation and does not yet have a DD214, the member may instead submit any written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.

Veterans with service-connected disability of less than 10%, non service-connected disability, and Purple Heart recipients, as-well-as those claiming derived preference for a spouse, widow or widower, or natural mother, should refer to and submit a completed " SF15, "Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference ," (go to ) and required documentation with your application materials. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit .

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Applicants will be ranked based on three quality groups, as follows:
  • Best Qualified - applicants possessing knowledge, skills and abilities that substantially exceed the minimum qualifications of the position and who are highly proficient in all requirements of the job and can perform effectively in the position;
  • Well Qualified - applicants possessing knowledge, skills and abilities that exceed the minimum qualification of the position and who are proficient in most of the requirements of the job;
  • Qualified - applicants possessing knowledge, skills and abilities that meet the minimum qualifications of the position.
After the vacancy announcement closes, reviewed applications are evaluated against the questionnaire responses and placed in the appropriate quality group. Qualified veterans will be afforded preference by being placed at the top of the appropriate quality group. Qualifying veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be placed at the top of the best-qualified group. The best-qualified group is the first to be referred to the hiring facility for further consideration and possible interview. The remaining groups may be referred based on the number of applicants available.

BENEFITS: VA offers a comprehensive benefits package. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered: .

The Federal Government has special appointing authorities for persons with qualifying disabilities, such as Schedule A. Specific information can be found at . IMPORTANT: If you would like to receive consideration as a Schedule A applicant, you must contact the Human Resources office at the facility where this position is located at (515)699-5999.

OTHER INFORMATION: Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.

The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation (a copy of the agency notice, your most recent performance rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location) and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at .

VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employees credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

You may be required to serve a probationary period.

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The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is...