Staff Director
Judicial Branch - Washington, DC

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The United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the Judicial branch of the Federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts' sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.

The United States Sentencing Commission consist s of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies. Additional information about the Commission can be accessed via the Commission's website at
  • U.S. citizenship required.
  • Individuals must undergo a fingerprint background check.
  • Employees are required to serve a one year probationary period.

DUTIES: DUTIES The Staff Director is the chief staff official of the Commission, reporting directly to the members of the Commission. The incumbent is responsible for carrying out the staff work of the Commission, under the general direction of the Chair and other Commissioners. The incumbent is vested with broad discretionary power and executive authority to act within general policies set by the Chair and the Commission.

In addition to the customary duties and responsibilities of a chief operating executive, the Staff Director of the Commission discharges the following specific functions:

1) Supervision of senior executive managers, monitoring and evaluating work plans, focusing on results and measuring attainment of outcome;

2) Directs the Commission's strategic planning and operation of key commission programs;

3) Consults closely with the Chair and other Commissioners on important policy matters, making specific recommendations on matters requiring Commission action;

4) In consultation with the Chair, prepares the Commission's annual budget and request for appropriations as well as provides management oversight of the Commission's annual budget; and,

5) As chief operating executive of the Commission, assists the Chair and/or other Commissioners with testimony before Congress on Commission appropriations and other matters, representing the agency at meetings involving high level government officials and/or academicians and/or representatives of private organizations.

In summary, the Staff Director is responsible for the overall daily management of the Commission, subject to policy direction by the Commissioners, the legislation creating the Commission, and other applicable federal law. The Staff Director oversees the work of staff in the following areas: Legal, research and data, sentencing guidelines training, legislative affairs, human resources, finance, library services, office services, public affairs, media relations, and information technology.


Progressively responsible administrative experience in public service or business which provides a thorough understanding of organizational, procedural and human aspects in managing an organization is preferred. Applicants may possess undergraduate, graduate, or post graduate credentials in business/public administration, law, criminal justice, and/or social science. Highly competitive applicants will have experience and/or education in all or most of the following areas:

1) The ability to lead people, particularly the ability to design and implement strategies which maximize employee potential and foster high ethical standards in meeting the organization's vision, mission and goals.

2) The ability to achieve results, particularly the ability to establish and maintain accountability, to make timely and effective decisions, and to produce results through strategic planning and the implementation and evaluation of programs and policies.

3) Demonstrated business acumen, particularly the ability to acquire and administer human, financial, material, and information resources in a manner which instills public trust and accomplishes the Commission's mission, and to use new technology to enhance decision-making.

4) The ability to lead change, particularly the ability to balance change and continuity, to continually strive to improve program performance within the goals of the Commission, and to create a work environment that encourages creative thinking and problem-solving.

5) The ability to build coalitions and communicate effectively, particularly the ability to explain, advocate, and express facts and ideas in a convincing manner, both orally and in writing, and negotiate with individuals and groups internally and externally, to develop an expansive professional network with other organizations, and to identify the internal and external politics that impact the work of the Commission.

6) Working knowledge of the federal criminal justice system and, preferably, the federal sentencing guidelines in particular.

7) Experience in conducting and/or applying empirical research in the formulation of policy, preferably in the criminal justice area.

Applicants must address the qualification requirements listed above in an attached cover letter or separate narrative.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED The Office of Human Resources receives all submitted applications. Human Resources staff will:

1) Review the applications to ensure the proper materials are submitted;

2) Ensure that the application addresses all of the qualification requirements as stated in the vacancy announcement; and,

3) Determine whether the applicant meets the qualification requirements for this position.

Applicants who meet the qualification requirements will be considered and their application materials will be forwarded to the Commissioners for review. Applicants who do not submit all of the required documents and/or meet the qualification requirements for this position are automatically disqualified from consideration.

The Commissioners will screen all complete applications received from qualified candidates. After reviewing the applications, the Commissioners will select candidates for in-person interviews. Selected candidates will interview with the Commissioners, who will be making the final hiring decision for this position. For the successful candidate, the Commission desires a start date on or about June 3, 2013.


The Commission participates in the following federal benefits: The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program; the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program, federal retirement, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and the federal leave program. In addition, the Commission participates in the Judiciary's Flexible Spending Program for dependent care, health care, and commuter reimbursement, the Judiciary's Long Term Care Program, or government-wide Long Term Care Insurance Program, unemployment, and workers' compensation benefits. The Commission also offers a monthly transit subsidy to employees who use mass transit to commute to and from work, subject to the availability of funds.


This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service. All new Commission employees, those converted from a temporary appointment to a permanent appointment, and all rehired former Commission employees are required to serve a one year probationary period. The probationary period begins on the effective date of the employee's appointment, conversion, or rehire. Employment is subject to an appropriate background investigation.