LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR






Some IT workers still left out

After reading the Of the People column, 'With GS-2210, OPM does the right thing for techies,' I felt the need to provide feedback to the statements made by Ira Hobbs [GCN, July 30, Page 42].

I want to let your readers know that despite his statement that 'the new classification series is another step toward making the federal government the employer of choice for the skilled IT employees it needs,' there are many federal information technology workers still left out in the cold.

I am one of more than 100 systems administrators in the Social Security Administration's Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) that have not benefited from either the new series or the special IT pay rates.

People in my position officially requested a review for reclassification or upgrade early last year. Since then, we have heard from other IT workers in other agencies that are also being left out in the cold regarding correct up-to-date classification and pay grade.

A brief synopsis: In February 2000, approximately 120 hearing office systems administrators (HOSAs) submitted a formal request to the central OHA office, asking that our positions be re-examined with the view toward being upgraded and reclassified. Currently, we are in the GS-335 Computer Clerk and Assistant Series. This job series was created in 1980 to accommodate data transcribers and key punch operators.

Much has changed since 1980 in the IT field. It is our contention that we should have never been placed in this job series to begin with.

If you review the GS-2210 Information Technology Management series description, you'd find that the duties listed are those that HOSAs do every day.

How in good faith can any agency say that such a position as OHA's systems administrators cannot be included in this new job series? Approximately 90 percent of the current HOSA position description is also included in the new GS-2210 job description.

Yet in an October letter, SSA's deputy commissioner for human resources, Paul Barnes, decided that the HOSA position did not fulfill the requirements for an upgrade.

Barnes should review the current position description of HOSA under the antiquated GS-335 series and compare our duties with those of the new GS-2210 series.

Barnes seems to believe that the HOSA job is synonymous with that of the SSA site LAN coordinator position.

This is simply not true. SSA's LAN coordinator processes are mostly mainframe-related and more conducive to central support. The processes of the hearing office systems administrator job are mostly PC-related and require on-site support, as well as much more in-depth knowledge in a wide range of computer technologies.

PATRICIA LEWIS

Hearing office systems administrator, Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration

Fargo, N.D.

DON'T MISS

For many years, the government's rallying cry to improve systems was tied to the phrase 'service to the citizen.'

In the last couple of years, that phrase has been replaced by the call for electronic government.

Today, most agencies have e-government initiatives on their systems agendas.
If your agency could do one thing on the systems front to improve service to the public, what would it be?

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