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Internal Revenue Service

As a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and as one of the world's most efficient tax administrators, the IRS role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share. (Source: www.irs.gov)

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Sout29  
#1 Posted : Sunday, January 06, 2019 8:56:33 PM(UTC)
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Have any of you seasoned ROs witnessed some absolutely head scratching decisions come out of the scoring for BQ status for promotions and other job applications?

I am close to 10 yrs exp. exceeds fully successful rating with an improved CJE score this last rating period in Dec, have multiple seizures, suits, alter ego, etc, a couple of cases worked with the FTA but no cases yet accepted by CI, and have been approached to become a local SME on some enhanced casework. I also have a Bachelors of Accountancy degree. I’m the only RO in the group to have one.

Problem is.. I cannot BQ for other positions, cannot get any detail work, and have been passed over multiple times for promotion.

I got my 11, along with some others in the POD, from those promotions that were handed out a few months prior to when 11 was made journey level. Which basically means it was just a temporary morale booster to the more experienced ROs that were still GS 9 because there were few prior promotions given in the groups.

There were two 12s that came open in the group a couple years ago.. I applied but didn’t get. I had more enhanced casework than the two that received the promotions.... combined. I had actually assisted one of them on preparing a real property seizure a couple of months prior to the promotions. One of the ones chosen has no enhanced casework they have done on their own. At all. Still doesn’t. In 10 years. They volunteer to act as GM and has had mgmt detail work.. but I Have not pursued that as management has not been a goal.

Since then I have had another seizure, a successful alter ego levy, and a suit to foreclose. All of which had very little that had to be adjusted in advisory. The alter ego was actually commended by the advisory group manager for detail and accuracy.

So fast forward to December 2018. Positions open up in advisory. I have a CLP for advisory work, again... multiple successful enhanced casework examples, exceeds fully successful CJE, have been called to testify as a govt witness in two cases (both was settled before trial), and was just commended on my last suit by my GM.

I apply. Don’t BQ. Who BQs? The RO with zero enhanced casework. How does that even happen for a job in advisory?? I spoke to another RO in another group and he asked if I had applied for the same job. Told him I did. He had too. He didn’t BQ either. He has more experience than me in enhanced casework and is a well known SME.

Feedback from the GM is that I’m doing great and to keep it up. No sitdowns where any problems are discussed or brought to my attention. The discussion of “more developmental cases” has come up.. but I’m currently working 10 grade 12 cases, several other cases that are very high dollar (one in excess of 1.5 mill), other cases that have archive history from grade 12 ROs, and one case that has been worked by a grade 13 in the past that has been returned for the same issues and dollar amt. At 70 cases, that is already a bit to juggle. Plus it’s the 11s that are actually doing the enhanced casework as we do more than the 12s do.

I basically have come to a tipping point, morale is in the toilet, and I’m beginning to find it difficult to find motivation. I am now just looking for a way out of the field. I would absolutely take a lateral move to just about anything because I feel like if I get a fair shot, I can advance much faster somewhere else than in the field. I show up an hour early every Tuesday to scan the job boards and internal board for service wide opportunities. I have also been highly considering private sector jobs. I have been unofficially offered a job in a firm about 100 miles away that I would have accepted but I cannot just pack up and move due to not currently being mobile for a myriad of reasons.

I think management has noticed I’m beginning to unplug a little bit because I have been sending back all solicitations for volunteers for OJI, SMEs, etc back as negative. I just don’t see the point. Windows to leadership is out and I let it be known that there is no need to participate if I’m not eligible to move into mgmt at grade 11 anyway. I have had the occasional cubicle drop by with a thumbs up on a closure that I used to not get. But I’m not a worker that needs motivation. I never have. I have always had a very good work ethic and my motivation comes from my successes. And my space has always been open for everyone that needs to come by and ask about anything I have had experience in. I have never had any conflict with management and still communicate with past managers from time to time.

Anyone else in the same position? Have you researched why you didn’t get consideration? I could not get an answer on my score on the advisory application prior to the shutdown, but I’m going to inquire when we return. Something I may be missing that’s killing my score?
USMC03  
#2 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2019 5:20:14 AM(UTC)
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Talk to scottyd27 he is sharp
Marie93  
#3 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2019 7:56:53 AM(UTC)
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I think it has to do with your annual performance ratings. If you have below 4.5 it might be kinda hard to get on the BQ list.

If you are not making the BQ list they cant reach you to select you. Make sure you are listing all the things that you do when you write your narrative. When they do the ranking, you might get a few extra points. People with higher appraisals might get knocked down a bit if their narrative doesn’t appear to support their rating.

In addition volunteer for everything they ask you to do, those are the people who move up the fastest. Don’t let the fact that you are a grade 11 stop you. Having those assignments under your belt will help with getting a 12.

I have been retired for a few years, but I don’t think things changed that much.

Also talk to your manager. Let them know that you are disappointed in not making the BQ and that you want to advance and need advice. Start being really friendly with management.
Sout29  
#4 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2019 9:28:37 AM(UTC)
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I would really hope they just don’t look for 4.5 and anyone under is 1st cut. The disappointing thing about that would be I’m within 5 hundredths of that. Also, that score is highly subjective. No matter how unbiased a manager tries to be, there can be some bias. Also, not all managers grade the same. And you also have some employees who gripe and moan about their scores and go to the union about it. So to avoid the hassle, they may be graded higher next evaluation.
I say this because I have seen it

Also, I would think actual experience counts for something. One one hand you promote someone who may look for an easy way out of every case and has never done the work, and on the other hand you have someone who has experience and knows the work. If you can’t check any boxes on enhanced casework ... how does that qualify you over someone who can?

In an interview I could discuss what I have done for 30 minutes or more and the other would be trying to explain that in 10 years of casework, they have never taken any actions above lien/levy/OIC/CNC when others in the office have multiple times.

But even if 4.5 was the hard cutoff, I know the other RO who didn’t BQ has it. And the experience.

As far as the narrative.. I actually ran out of room. I had to condense other experience that left room for the more relevant. I had it proofread also.

I absolutely cannot volunteer for everything. I usually already help other ROs in the office to the tune of at least 30minutes total or more a lot of days. I have been acting for the GM some as they need actors for all or part of the day usually 3 days a week average. I do have to say no on some Or I couldn’t get my own stuff done. What I do now winds up requiring me to work through lunch most days when you combine everything. We also do not have a secretary, so we have to do that ourselves. I even run the mail many days because I can do the meter.

Management knows I’m disappointed and that is where the “more developmental work” came into play. Again, problem with that is somehow the grade 11s are doing more of that with 68 to 70 cases than the 12s at 42 to 44. I have also always been friendly with mgmt. I have had nothing but positive to neutral encounters. I have never filed a grievance or went over managements head on anything. I even correspond with past ones that have moved on from time to time. And I also don’t challenge my reviews as they have been fair. I dunno.. maybe I should start.
Marie93  
#5 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2019 11:59:04 AM(UTC)
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I don’t think contesting your reviews would help. It might depend on the area, but where I worked lots of people got all 5s, so it wasn’t easy to BQ if your rating was below 4.5. That wasn’t a hard rule, but it usually turned out that way. Ratings are very subjective and that is why I suggested being friendly.

By volunteering, I meant teaching or being a coach, official details.

I agree with you about a lateral move. Sometimes that is what it takes. The change might also help with your outlook and you would get the needed break. Do you have the ability to change PODs? When you apply are you putting in for lots of PODs?

My gut tells me that you will get it next time around. Based upon your work ethic, they know you deserve it.

How many times have you applied for things?

Edited by user Monday, January 07, 2019 12:04:38 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Sout29  
#6 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2019 2:29:49 PM(UTC)
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No one gets all 5s in the group. If you got straight 5s in my group you would be some kind of super RO. But in other groups, I hear that 5s are common. That is the subjective grading I was alluding too. That’s why I feel it’s unfair to make CJE an absolute disqualification if it is. I’ve gotten a transfer from another group, grade 12, that is supposedly high rated. The case was transferred due to postal tracer - 4156 search even though the RO had found real property with equity in their area per history.I wound up seizing the propery they had already found in their own area. The service basically paid me 300 miles round trip to reasearch, view, and determine equity in the property when it was previously in their backyard.. The case was approved for transfer by their GM. My GM would laugh at me if I had tried it. It would be easy to deduce that other RO gets graded a little easier.

As far as applications.. I have applied to IDRS analyst in the past. 3 grade promotions (getting the one that was 3 months prior to 11 becoming journey). Advisory. Multiple analyst positions. One position that investigated people applying for PTINS. And others I’m sure to be missing.

I am going to begin applying for other positions in other PODs and even the SC if it is a telework available job. I’d drive the 150 miles to the SC a couple times a pay period if I could telework the rest.

I’m not real mobile now due to aging parents on both sides of the family and having to stay close if they need something.
Marie93  
#7 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2019 4:29:11 PM(UTC)
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Sadly, ratings are very subjective and they play a huge part in promotions. I thinking you are doing all the right things, so unfortunately I can’t give you any advice on what you can do work wise.

You will not stay an 11 forever, unfortunately, just longer than what is fair. It sounds a bit cynical, but maybe your manager has had all their favorites promoted and now it is your turn.

Hang in there and good luck.


TheCollector1205  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 5:44:21 AM(UTC)
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Sout29- I signed up for this forum after seeing your post. It looks like we’re in very similar situations. I’m a RO in the North Atlantic Area that will hit 10 years on the job in June. I was promoted to a GS-11 about a year before all the 9’s were promoted. I have a lot of the advanced casework experience that you do (I have never done a suit but multiple seizures, alter ego, fraud referral, IRA levy, above grade cases, etc). There have not been many opportunities in the North Atlantic Area for grade 12 field RO’s and none in my POD (or the closest 2) since I was promoted. I applied to five different locations when they posted a bunch of grade 12 RO jobs a few months back. I BQ’ed for only two of the five but was not selected. The two I BQ’ed for were in the Central Area I believe (one in Ohio and one in Delaware). I did not BQ for the location that I wanted which would have been commutable for me and was the same territory that I am in now. My rating is a 4.8 and I know another RO who applied for the same job whose rating is either a 4.6 or 4.8. I also had recently completed a 120 day AGM detail that had some issues that some seasoned managers have never dealt with. I am not aware of the qualifications of the person who got the grade 12 I was looking for but he impresses me as a good RO. I wasn’t overly upset that I wasn’t selected but I felt insulted that I didn’t even BQ with the strength of my resume and rating. If I had BQ’ed I think I would have had a shot because I had a positive relationship with the selecting manager (TM) from my AGM detail. The TM didn’t even know I had applied because my application package never made it to their desk.

I think your biggest obstacle to BQing is your rating. I feel that if it is below a 4.5 you’re not going to BQ for most jobs you put in for. As you’ve said the rating system is subjective and different managers have different standards for grading. I know in my area there are a lot of people with high 4’s and 5’s that aren’t great RO’s. If you have a good relationship with your manager and he/she thinks you’re doing a good job then I would suggest explaining the situation. They know you’re a good RO but you can’t qualify for other jobs because of your rating. Ask your manager what you can do specifically to improve in whatever attributes aren’t rated “exceeds” and then hold your manager to whatever they say. Point out cases where you “exceed” on financial analysis, inventory management, or whatever the particular attributes are. In addition to promotions you deserve to be getting annual awards. Its one of the few good things we can still get that makes our situation a little more bearable. I think in my area you need at least a 4.6 but I’m not positive.

I would also consider volunteering for whatever you can….I understand that we don’t have time to do everything so pick a few things. I don’t have much interest in management but I volunteer for acting assignments and take part in a management readiness program (ULead). I figure that if promotions are scarce then they will promote those that show they want to go into management rather than those who don’t have those aspirations. However the person who got promoted over me in the last round of promotions doesn’t do any of that so maybe my theory is wrong.

I also applied for the Advisory position. I have not heard anything and my USAJobs just says that my application was received. To my knowledge they have not hired or done a BQ list for the locations I applied for yet but I will ask around when we get back. I was a little disheartened after reading your post because now I’m nervous they have already done their BQ selections and I didn’t make it. I had higher hopes of getting this job than I did for the grade 12 field RO job.
Morale is very bad in general in my office and very bad among other good RO’s that are in our same situation. I don’t have the accounting degree so I can’t qualify for any jobs in Exam. Honestly I like the RO job especially when I have a manager who leaves me alone and let me do my job (most managers have left me alone because I do a good job). I would much rather be a field RO than Advisor but I need to get the 12 somehow. My goal would then be to return to the field eventually.

I wish you good luck with your career. You’re not the only one in this boat. I think there’s a good amount of us out there. I don’t know what else to do besides try my best to stay positive and continue to put in effort. This is becoming easier said than done. The pats on the back aren’t cutting it anymore.
thanks 2 users thanked TheCollector1205 for this useful post.
Marie93 on 1/15/2019(UTC), iotajules on 1/24/2019(UTC)
Sout29  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8:21:00 PM(UTC)
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It sounds like we were hired during the same mass hire in June of 09.

I have often thought about moving to exam, however, they haven’t had any positions open up nearby either. There has been a few retirements and attrition, but no replacements. It does also seem like they have a manager who is pretty overbearing. I have heard it has been hard for them sometimes to get leave approved. I didn’t think that would ever be a problem when your work does not affect anyone else directly. At least our manager is very reasonable and approachable. If I had their manager, I would have been gone.

I have basically given myself a timeframe of 6 months... close to the exact 10 year anniversary entry date... to find something else in the agency. Either lateral or 12. If nothing, I’m off to the private sector. They can have it. I’m going to communicate to my GM that I want another position and would be thankful for a heads up on anything that may be coming down. Also, at least outside government, you can be recognized on the work you do and not what boxes you check that has nothing to do with the job. I have taken the time we have had off to talk with some folks and I have generated some interest. The firms seemed intrigued with having an IRS RO on staff and an advantage that would give them in attracting more of the clients who need resolution work.

As far as the advisory position, they sent out the BQ notification emails in the announcement I applied for in mid December. Funny thing also.... they hired fewer than they announced. Either that or the “congratulations to the winner” email I was sent had fewer on it than was hired.

Sout29  
#10 Posted : Monday, January 21, 2019 6:14:45 AM(UTC)
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I wanna thank you above and through PM for your replies.

Through a friend I was notified of an opening in a large, local medical center. I inquired about it and applied about a week ago just to see what it was all about. I have spoken with them and will accept their offer.

I want to extend my hope for all of you to get back to some normalcy soon in the Fed Gov and it lasts for a long time. Best wishes to you all.
thanks 2 users thanked Sout29 for this useful post.
Marie93 on 1/21/2019(UTC), iotajules on 1/24/2019(UTC)
Marie93  
#11 Posted : Monday, January 21, 2019 8:30:40 AM(UTC)
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Good Luck! I know you will do great! They will love your work ethic!
scottyd27  
#12 Posted : Thursday, February 07, 2019 9:07:59 AM(UTC)
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Come on man. While not offical policy you know they hire who they like.

If you’re not in the on crowd or they don’t like you you’re not getting promotion.

My friend got his 12 by applying to other offices. When they realized that he was going to leave they magically offered him a 12.
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