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OverQualified  
#1 Posted : Monday, November 06, 2017 3:05:53 PM(UTC)
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I'm a 30% or more disabled veteran, and thus eligible for VRA. I was about 2/3 of the way through my CPT time when I decided to get out. Have a successful 2 year company command on my resume.

After the stress of being a leader in the Army and also because I was entertaining thoughts of eventually starting my own business, I ended up taking a GS-5 position with the idea of taking it easy while I explored other interests.

After a while my viewpoint has changed and I'd like to start applying for positions more in line with my experience and skills. That shouldn't be an issue as I am eligible for VRA. However, it is an issue because it seems that virtually no one in the HR departments of agencies around here understand that I don't have a TIG requirement under VRA. I just got a rejection letter from a job posting on USAJobs saying that I do not meet TIG requirements. Another guy that works in my office who is also a veteran says he's been stuck in his GS-7 job because our HR department insists to him that he has to meet TIG. He tried to explain VRA to them, but they just act obtuse like they don't know what he's talking about.

My question is, how do I get some support on this? Is there a centralized point of contact for this issue that I can notify of this problem so that they set these people straight?
FS0201  
#2 Posted : Monday, November 06, 2017 10:12:52 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
I'm a 30% or more disabled veteran, and thus eligible for VRA. I was about 2/3 of the way through my CPT time when I decided to get out. Have a successful 2 year company command on my resume.

After the stress of being a leader in the Army and also because I was entertaining thoughts of eventually starting my own business, I ended up taking a GS-5 position with the idea of taking it easy while I explored other interests.

After a while my viewpoint has changed and I'd like to start applying for positions more in line with my experience and skills. That shouldn't be an issue as I am eligible for VRA. However, it is an issue because it seems that virtually no one in the HR departments of agencies around here understand that I don't have a TIG requirement under VRA. I just got a rejection letter from a job posting on USAJobs saying that I do not meet TIG requirements. Another guy that works in my office who is also a veteran says he's been stuck in his GS-7 job because our HR department insists to him that he has to meet TIG. He tried to explain VRA to them, but they just act obtuse like they don't know what he's talking about.

My question is, how do I get some support on this? Is there a centralized point of contact for this issue that I can notify of this problem so that they set these people straight?


Reply to the rejection email, explaining that TIG is not required for VRA.

I had two VRA appointments where I didn’t have TIG. Easy to remedy.
The excuse of, "I read it on FederalSoup..." won't work. Please do your due diligence.
HR Bubba  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 07, 2017 4:20:41 AM(UTC)

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In this case, it is not a matter of whether time in grade counts or not for new VRA appointments (it does not), it is whether the agency allows it or not.

How about you try this approach. Rather than telling the HR person they are doing their job wrong; ask them to provide you with the regulation/policy that is used by your agency with regard to new VRA appointments. You should let them know that your concern is that the vetguide (published by OPM) says that while time in grade does apply to the promotion of a VRA, it does not apply to new VRA appointments.

Below is an excerpt directly from the guide: https://www.opm.gov/poli...-for-hr-professionals/#6

Terms and Conditions of Employment

A VRA appointee may be promoted, demoted, reassigned, or transferred in the same way as a career employee. As with other competitive service employees, the time in grade requirement applies to the promotion of VRAs. If a VRA-eligible employee is qualified for a higher grade, an agency may, at its discretion, give the employee a new VRA appointment at a higher grade up through GS-11 (or equivalent) without regard to time-in-grade.


As you can see in the last sentence of the paragraph, although an agency MAY give a new VRA appointment without regard to time in grade restrictions, it does not have to (e.g., ..an agency may, at it discretion).

To me, this subject falls under the "more than 1 way to skin a cat". If you applied for a higher graded position and were selected, the agency could process the action in a couple of ways 1) promotion or 2) new appointment. If they process it as a promotion, then time in grade would apply. If they process it as a new appointment, then time in grade does not apply.

Finally, if the job announcement does not list VRA in the area of consideration (Who may apply), then they do not have to consider you under this authority even though you are eligible for it. Essentially, if the hiring manager does not indicate that they want to see a list of non-competitive eligibles (e.g., VRA, Schedule A, etc.), then you won't be referred under this authority. Federal rules, gotta love'm!
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computerscott2 on 11/14/2017(UTC)
frankgonzalez  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 07, 2017 4:31:26 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: FS0201 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
I'm a 30% or more disabled veteran, and thus eligible for VRA. I was about 2/3 of the way through my CPT time when I decided to get out. Have a successful 2 year company command on my resume.

After the stress of being a leader in the Army and also because I was entertaining thoughts of eventually starting my own business, I ended up taking a GS-5 position with the idea of taking it easy while I explored other interests.

After a while my viewpoint has changed and I'd like to start applying for positions more in line with my experience and skills. That shouldn't be an issue as I am eligible for VRA. However, it is an issue because it seems that virtually no one in the HR departments of agencies around here understand that I don't have a TIG requirement under VRA. I just got a rejection letter from a job posting on USAJobs saying that I do not meet TIG requirements. Another guy that works in my office who is also a veteran says he's been stuck in his GS-7 job because our HR department insists to him that he has to meet TIG. He tried to explain VRA to them, but they just act obtuse like they don't know what he's talking about.

My question is, how do I get some support on this? Is there a centralized point of contact for this issue that I can notify of this problem so that they set these people straight?


Reply to the rejection email, explaining that TIG is not required for VRA.

I had two VRA appointments where I didn’t have TIG. Easy to remedy.
1st being a 30%+ disabled vet is a hiring authority in and of itself.

And while you say you have a 2 year company command on your resume...What does that actually mean? I've known some whose success was really nothing to do with themselves as the unit SNCOs ran the show like a spinning top and the person in the leadership role was simply that...the person sitting in the office who went to a few meetings a week. In other cases, the person was brought in to fix the unit and they can own the success they created as a result.

FS0201 advice is something to take. HR can often not know the rules for each hiring authority...especially if it is a junior person.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
GWPDA  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, November 08, 2017 6:25:14 AM(UTC)
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Boy, is Frank right about HR sometimes just not knowing. I'm just off the phone with the AF/HR which sent me a 'not eligible' letter on the basis that I'd not attached my SF50. That's a pretty easy one to check, and sure enough there it was - and HR now has the opportunity to correct its mistake, quickly. The trick always is to respond as swiftly as possible, with if possible, the information HR needs to correct itself. I often think that negotiating things like this may well be part of the testing procedure.
OverQualified  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, November 08, 2017 7:44:44 AM(UTC)
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Personally, I reject entirely the argument that it is incumbent upon me to educate the HR person on his own job, and additionally to do so in a manner that spares his ego. There is federal law dictating how disabled veterans should be processed in the federal job application process, and they are in violation of that law.

My question was more about where I can report the violation so that it doesn't continue to happen to other veterans.

I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it is simple ignorance, although I have already encountered the attitude that somehow disabled veterans are trying to get over or work the system by utilizing hiring authorities available to them. I have no doubt that in some cases their claim to ignorance is nothing more than an excuse to stonewall you.

TheRealOrange  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, November 08, 2017 8:40:48 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
Personally, I reject entirely the argument that it is incumbent upon me to educate the HR person on his own job, and additionally to do so in a manner that spares his ego. There is federal law dictating how disabled veterans should be processed in the federal job application process, and they are in violation of that law.

My question was more about where I can report the violation so that it doesn't continue to happen to other veterans.

If you're going to report a violation, just make sure it actually is a violation. If VRA is the appointment authority, it appears from what HR Bubba posted that an agency is within it rights (discretion) to apply the time in grade requirements on a new appointment even though it is not required. On the Marine Corps website, I found the exact same guidance:

A VRA appointee may be promoted, demoted, reassigned, or transferred in the same way as a career employee. As with other competitive service employees, the time in grade requirement applies to the promotion of VRAs. If a VRA eligible employee is qualified for a higher grade, an agency may, at its discretion, give the employee a new VRA appointment at a higher grade up through GS-11 (or equivalent) without regard to time-in-grade.

Emphasis added.

As far as reporting the issue, perhaps determining who heads the HR department at the agency and reporting the issue to her/him would be a good first step. Best of luck.

http://www.hqmc.marines....pointing_Authorities.pdf

Edited by user Wednesday, November 08, 2017 8:41:51 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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cyberfx1024 on 11/8/2017(UTC)
frankgonzalez  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, November 08, 2017 9:28:51 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
Personally, I reject entirely the argument that it is incumbent upon me to educate the HR person on his own job, and additionally to do so in a manner that spares his ego. There is federal law dictating how disabled veterans should be processed in the federal job application process, and they are in violation of that law.

My question was more about where I can report the violation so that it doesn't continue to happen to other veterans.

I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it is simple ignorance, although I have already encountered the attitude that somehow disabled veterans are trying to get over or work the system by utilizing hiring authorities available to them. I have no doubt that in some cases their claim to ignorance is nothing more than an excuse to stonewall you.

And with this attitude, your civilian career will be a miserable one. HR are the gatekeepers. The person dealing with this hiring action may be a GS-7 who has never dealt with VRA. Or it could be you have no clue what their agency policy is with regard to VRA and TIG, and can make yourself look foolish and disgruntled in front of those who hold the keys to entry.

You say you were a Captain...so I presume you read Sun Tzu? Going to battle with limited information is to be avoided whenever possible.

And VRA has NOTHING to do with disabled veterans. Even NON-disabled Vets get to use VRA. It is an appointing authority, NOT a job guarantee. VEOA is another way to apply, and isn't limited to GS-11 like VRA is.

There is an appointing authority for 30% disabled vets...again, it isn't required to be used, it is simply another tool for the agency to speed up hiring.

I say this, not as an anti-vet civilian, but as a 80% rated disabled vet/military retiree with 22+ years of service. You may have been used to people snapping to when you spoke while in the military...but that doesn't work on the civilian side of the job force. And I found, even when I was in uniform, I got more effective results by being nice than taking the position you have in this post. Yes, they probably should know how VRA works...but until they need it, it isn't an issue. And, they may know how it works, and you are missing some key information that they may hold. Being nice can get you that info. Be a jerk...that may result in the attitude of go ahead and file a grievance/complaint...they have attorneys standing by and they can show they followed the book, you look foolish in the end, and get yourself labeled a whiner.

Me? I'd rather be nice until I know I need to shift into crusty old NCO mode. The more you know...

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
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cyberfx1024 on 11/8/2017(UTC), computerscott2 on 11/14/2017(UTC)
HR Bubba  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, November 08, 2017 11:48:29 AM(UTC)

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Ummmm, Frank took many of the words right out of my mouth....70% & 24 years!!!
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frankgonzalez on 11/8/2017(UTC)
frankgonzalez  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, November 08, 2017 12:23:32 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HR Bubba Go to Quoted Post
Ummmm, Frank took many of the words right out of my mouth....70% & 24 years!!!
Well...great minds and all that...

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
OverQualified  
#11 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:24:45 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
Personally, I reject entirely the argument that it is incumbent upon me to educate the HR person on his own job, and additionally to do so in a manner that spares his ego. There is federal law dictating how disabled veterans should be processed in the federal job application process, and they are in violation of that law.

My question was more about where I can report the violation so that it doesn't continue to happen to other veterans.

I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it is simple ignorance, although I have already encountered the attitude that somehow disabled veterans are trying to get over or work the system by utilizing hiring authorities available to them. I have no doubt that in some cases their claim to ignorance is nothing more than an excuse to stonewall you.

And with this attitude, your civilian career will be a miserable one. HR are the gatekeepers. The person dealing with this hiring action may be a GS-7 who has never dealt with VRA. Or it could be you have no clue what their agency policy is with regard to VRA and TIG, and can make yourself look foolish and disgruntled in front of those who hold the keys to entry.

You say you were a Captain...so I presume you read Sun Tzu? Going to battle with limited information is to be avoided whenever possible.

And VRA has NOTHING to do with disabled veterans. Even NON-disabled Vets get to use VRA. It is an appointing authority, NOT a job guarantee. VEOA is another way to apply, and isn't limited to GS-11 like VRA is.

There is an appointing authority for 30% disabled vets...again, it isn't required to be used, it is simply another tool for the agency to speed up hiring.

I say this, not as an anti-vet civilian, but as a 80% rated disabled vet/military retiree with 22+ years of service. You may have been used to people snapping to when you spoke while in the military...but that doesn't work on the civilian side of the job force. And I found, even when I was in uniform, I got more effective results by being nice than taking the position you have in this post. Yes, they probably should know how VRA works...but until they need it, it isn't an issue. And, they may know how it works, and you are missing some key information that they may hold. Being nice can get you that info. Be a jerk...that may result in the attitude of go ahead and file a grievance/complaint...they have attorneys standing by and they can show they followed the book, you look foolish in the end, and get yourself labeled a whiner.

Me? I'd rather be nice until I know I need to shift into crusty old NCO mode. The more you know...




Frank, I understand your point of view. The majority of people share it. But it's this kind of permissive attitude that allows inefficiency, incompetence, and even corruption to entrench itself. "Yeah, they're in the wrong, but they have the power" is not the right answer here.

Do you happen to know the answer to the question I asked? Who do I need to contact to address this problem?
frankgonzalez  
#12 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:06:39 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
Personally, I reject entirely the argument that it is incumbent upon me to educate the HR person on his own job, and additionally to do so in a manner that spares his ego. There is federal law dictating how disabled veterans should be processed in the federal job application process, and they are in violation of that law.

My question was more about where I can report the violation so that it doesn't continue to happen to other veterans.

I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it is simple ignorance, although I have already encountered the attitude that somehow disabled veterans are trying to get over or work the system by utilizing hiring authorities available to them. I have no doubt that in some cases their claim to ignorance is nothing more than an excuse to stonewall you.

And with this attitude, your civilian career will be a miserable one. HR are the gatekeepers. The person dealing with this hiring action may be a GS-7 who has never dealt with VRA. Or it could be you have no clue what their agency policy is with regard to VRA and TIG, and can make yourself look foolish and disgruntled in front of those who hold the keys to entry.

You say you were a Captain...so I presume you read Sun Tzu? Going to battle with limited information is to be avoided whenever possible.

And VRA has NOTHING to do with disabled veterans. Even NON-disabled Vets get to use VRA. It is an appointing authority, NOT a job guarantee. VEOA is another way to apply, and isn't limited to GS-11 like VRA is.

There is an appointing authority for 30% disabled vets...again, it isn't required to be used, it is simply another tool for the agency to speed up hiring.

I say this, not as an anti-vet civilian, but as a 80% rated disabled vet/military retiree with 22+ years of service. You may have been used to people snapping to when you spoke while in the military...but that doesn't work on the civilian side of the job force. And I found, even when I was in uniform, I got more effective results by being nice than taking the position you have in this post. Yes, they probably should know how VRA works...but until they need it, it isn't an issue. And, they may know how it works, and you are missing some key information that they may hold. Being nice can get you that info. Be a jerk...that may result in the attitude of go ahead and file a grievance/complaint...they have attorneys standing by and they can show they followed the book, you look foolish in the end, and get yourself labeled a whiner.

Me? I'd rather be nice until I know I need to shift into crusty old NCO mode. The more you know...




Frank, I understand your point of view. The majority of people share it. But it's this kind of permissive attitude that allows inefficiency, incompetence, and even corruption to entrench itself. "Yeah, they're in the wrong, but they have the power" is not the right answer here.

Do you happen to know the answer to the question I asked? Who do I need to contact to address this problem?
No...you failed to actually read what I stated. I said to first seek to find out what the agency rules were in a polite fashion. YOU appear to want to go in guns blazing. As an NCO, I saw plenty of CGOs try to do that and discover their careers were suddenly failing as their NCOs did only what they were legally required to do...nothing more, nothing less. I even paraphrased Sun Tzu hoping you would get the hint.

Only once you have all the info gathered can you truly know if a problem exists. YOU don't know they are in the wrong. VRA doesn't require TIG, however, the act does not forbid agencies using that criteria as a selection factor. YOU want to start with the presumption of wrongdoing and/or incompetence and seek to punish someone. The problem with this path is...there may not be any wrongdoing or incompetence, and ALL you have done is burn a bridge with those who could help you find the path to your goal.

Now...once you have all the information needed to determine what actually occurred, and it shows that there indeed was an issue, then I typically move up the chain to find someone with the power to correct the issue. Again, being polite, professional results in getting that access. And I don't phrase it in a way that makes it seem I want people punished. I phrase it as a training or information problem...allows everyone to save face, and increase the likelihood of them being cooperative in the future.

Do not get me wrong...I worked at USCG HQ for several years, and had access to the senior officials (from the Commandant on down), and only a couple of times was I forced, by similar behaviour as you have demonstrated here, to take it to the flag level to address. But even then, I addressed it with the admiral as a concern/issue that will impact them, while offering solutions to the concern/issues (aka MAJOR PROBLEM THAT WILL GET YOUR BOSS' ATTENTION IF NOT CORRECT AND POTENTIALLY RESULT IN SOMEONE BEING RELIEVED FOR CAUSE!!! PERHAPS EVEN YOU!). I never had to speak the words in parentheses because you don't get to the senior grades generally without understanding what is not being specifically said.

Your comments and responses here suggest your time in uniform was primarily as a REMF when in a leadership role. Your jump first reaction would get people killed in the field. Yes, sometimes we have to make decisions on limited info, but when there is time and the ability to get more intel, you do that first...then roll out. This is not so time sensitive that asking politely the agency's policy on VRA and getting the references they are using is prohibitive.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
OverQualified  
#13 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:26:03 AM(UTC)
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Simple question: is there a central watch dog that addresses veterans issues in the federal government? That's all I'm asking.
TheRealOrange  
#14 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:44:07 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post
Simple question: is there a central watch dog that addresses veterans issues in the federal government? That's all I'm asking.

I don't think so. Perhaps you can contact the Veteran Program Employment Office at the agency involved. Here is a link to a listing: https://www.fedshirevets...encyDirectory/index.aspx . If the agency is not listed, perhaps you can contact the folks at Feds Hire Vets (OPM's government-wide Veterans Employment website): https://www.fedshirevets.gov/contactus/index.aspx .

Phone

202-606-7304
Leave us a message and we will respond to your call as quickly as possible.


Regular USPS Mail

Veterans Employment Program Office

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street NW,
Washington, DC 20415, U.S.A.

Best of luck.
OverQualified  
#15 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:48:35 AM(UTC)
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Thank you very much. I'll look into those. Appreciate all the replies.
cyberfx1024  
#16 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:51:14 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OverQualified Go to Quoted Post

Frank, I understand your point of view. The majority of people share it. But it's this kind of permissive attitude that allows inefficiency, incompetence, and even corruption to entrench itself. "Yeah, they're in the wrong, but they have the power" is not the right answer here.

Do you happen to know the answer to the question I asked? Who do I need to contact to address this problem?


We understand and completely agree with you on this but quite frankly as an outsider you will have absolutely NO PULL in trying to rectify this behavior at all at those HR offices. This is the civilian side HR and not the Military so the more you belittle or interrogate people the more it pisses them off, and one day your application might just be forgotten or not passed on to the Hiring Manager.

We told you the answer in the beginning is that you need to contact the poc on the announcement with the evidence you have of being eligible for that position. But you also have to leave out your federal service employment in order to become eligible for anything higher than a GS-7.

Whenever I have had a problem with HR concerning an announcement I notify them right away with the proper documentation and it was rectified.

Edited by user Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:52:45 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

frankgonzalez  
#17 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 9:09:00 AM(UTC)
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I see in the future another case that I get to read about in Cyberfeds where a disgruntled O-3 veteran seemed to think they had no reason to seek more info before going off on the HR of an agency because they didn't get selected (and likely another Vet was selected any way), thinking their 30% disability entitled them to a job...but the turns out they lose and continue fighting a battle to a point no-one wants them in their office (due to being "that guy").

Obviously didn't learn the valuable lesson most in the military learn early on....listen to those who came before you and gather up their experience as they share their mistakes and results so you won't have to make the same ones (honestly...there are so many to make, try to do something new when you make a mistake!). But then again...explains the "I was an O-3 who decided to get out..." aspect. The path to O-4 has some competition; the path to O-3 simply requires you not screw up royally. Heck, depending on the actually assignments, you could literally do nothing all day and be successful if your NCO corps is on their game.
You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
Beam Reach  
#18 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 9:11:32 AM(UTC)
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... or contact your congressman or woman,
or the Washington Post.
or CNN,
or maybe it was the Russians...
HR Bubba  
#19 Posted : Thursday, November 09, 2017 10:07:21 AM(UTC)

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Still trying to help and possibly saving you some time, so I'll ask this question: Did the job announcement that you applied to list VRA in the "who may apply" section?

While you can certainly file complaints/grievances with whoever you want, I would imagine your time in the military taught you to get your "ducks in a row" first; if I think you have a legitimate complaint I will assist you, but if your just complaining without doing some research I'll let you know that too. Does it make a difference if you complain? I'm sure the answer will vary, but let me give you a recent example (yesterday). I received a Congressional inquiry that was based on veterans status (similar to your situation). Disposing of it was one of the easiest things I did all day; clearly the veteran did not get his/her ducks in a row and it only took me about 2 minutes to respond to both of the allegations...swing and a miss for the veteran. Will I hold it against this veteran when/if he/she applies to other recruitments that I am handling? Absolutely not! HOWEVER, I had to notify the hiring manager that they could not proceed with the start date for their selectee until the hold was removed from the action. Their response - I don't want to see that a__hat's name on any more of my lists. Now, I can't remove someone from a list just because the manager wants me to, but do you really think this veteran stands a chance with this hiring manager in the future?
computerscott2  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:30:25 AM(UTC)
computerscott2

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I concur with what HRBubba, Frank and others have said. If you can prove HR wrong then do it in a polite manner so that you can educate them and get them to help you. I have used that tact and been able to get agencies to change their wrong HR information. I once had an agency create their own policy that said "If you have not been with the agency a year you cannot apply to other jobs within the agency." I was in a ladder positon to a GS-12 when a position opened up that had a ladder to a GS-14, I applied and was denied due to their policy. I also applied to my same position but in a better location for me and was also denied due to their rule. I pointed out to them that their "rule/policy" was in violation of the Merit Promotion system. They reconsidered and changed it to add " Unless the newer position has a higher promotion potential than your current position." They were well within their right to limit internal movement within the agency within that first year (as they had a grueling background check process and it took almost a year to get people on board), but when they applied it to ALL positions without the thought of how it would impact someone's promotion potential it went against the Merit Promotion principles. So I was still denied the same position but better location but was referred to the higher ladder position. My point in all of this?

I could have just told them they were wrong without providing the justification I did and in a manner they did not like, but guess who also processes all the pay promotions? And who would want to answer my other HR questions to my satisfaction if I were a jerk? It turns out I needed their help and advice on several occasions during my tenure there and they were willing to help me because I was nice. I have been at other places where I went to see the Selecting Official (SO) after a non-selection and I did it without union representation and without filing grievances and being upset. I did it in a nice, non-accusatory manner and guess who ended up getting selected down the road? Me. Not the 5 other jerks who went into their office with guns a-blazing. I also cause one SO to change his entire hiring process due to my polite interaction with him and in the course of our conversation he realized he had a flaw in his system for hiring. This came back to benefit me in my third time around with the agency as this SO remembered me and told the other panel members the story of our polite interaction. I got the high paying job.

Also take into consideration this with regard to VRA appointments, I once had a vet hired on a VRA GS-5 KPP 11 right before I got there. He was hurt that he was hired as a GS-5(which he accepted) rather than a GS-11 which he thought he deserved because he had been a Gunnery Sgt (in another field!) in the USMC. He barely qualified as a GS-5 in this new field but because the pay didn't match up with his USMC pay he felt jilted and was pushing for me to promote him early in disregard to TIG. I spoke to HR and they said what the others said above, the only way to do it would be to give him a new VRA appointment, BUT, that any new appointment would have to clear the "stopper" list (displaced federal employees) and could trigger a RIF if a person was found qualified on the stopper list as we would have to take that person and then find another position to put this vet in. So he could have ended up in a different field stuck at the GS-5 level just because he wanted to disregard TIG based off of previous pay. HR also said that since this guy did not have a lot of experience in this field, they would have a very hard time agreeing to promote him early. Once I presented him with the options he decided not to pursue it any further.

So if you have the experience to qualify at the higher levels, AND you have clearly documented it in your resume enough for an HR person to agree to that higher level, then by all means fight it in a nice manner with clear, defined examples of how you meet the TIG and how the VRA allows to disregard TIG when considering an applicant for a new position. If you are basing it on your pay/rank, make sure it is in the same field. Just because you were a Gunnery Sgt as a police officer does not mean you equal a GS-11 IT specialist.
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