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Deputy Chief Counsel

Washington, D.C
Closing date
Oct 8, 2023

The Deputy Chief Counsel, for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), is responsible for assisting in the direction of all legal work of the FRA. The Deputy Chief Counsel works with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) General Counsel to develop the Department's legal position in administrative proceedings and court lawsuits involving FRA and the railroad industry, and proceedings before the Surface Transportation Board involving the rail road industry.
  • Addresses legal issues associated with the establishment and execution of FRA policy, programs, and procedures.
  • Develops FRA legislation which includes initiating, developing, coordinating, and expediting necessary legislation to accomplish the policy objectives of the administration for submission by the Secretary of Transportation to the Office of Management and Budget and to the Congress.
  • Prepares reports setting forth the administration position or the views of the FRA on legislative proposals originating outside of FRA, as well as, preparing statements and testimony for presentation at Congressional Committee hearings by the Administrator and other administration officials; and providing the Administrator and other administration officials with substantive legal advice and assistance on the legislative aspects of the policy, plans, and programs of the Administration.
  • Provides legal advice and support on the development of FRA safety regulations, orders, interpretations, and the enforcement or railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders, including emergency orders and disqualification orders for safety violations that demonstrate an individual's unfitness for safety-sensitive service. Directs the FRA program for assessing, compromising, and collecting civil penalties for violations of railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders.
  • As required, represents FRA in formal and informal legal proceedings before courts, and legislative and administrative tribunals on railroad issues. Has frequent contacts with members of Congress, the public, and officials of other Federal agencies, States, and the rail industry in carrying out the legal functions of the FRA.
  • Provides legal advice and support on the development and execution of FRA's financial assistance programs, including developing regulations and grant documents, cooperative agreements, solicitations for funding applications, interpretations. environmental documents. and other legal documents necessary to carry out these programs.
  • Provides advice and assistance to top level officials in FRA with respect to legal problems in their respective areas, including the representation on the Amtrak Board of Directors and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation Board of Directors.
  • Coordinates the work of the career attorneys in the Office of the Chief Counsel and oversees the day-to-day functions of the Office.


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Submit application and resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date.
  • Provide all required documents by closing date.

  • PROBATIONARY PERIOD: Complete a one-year SES probationary period (unless already completed).


As a basic requirement for entry into the Senior Executive Service (SES), you must clearly articulate and describe within your five (5) page resume evidence of progressively responsible supervisory, managerial, or professional experience which involved management of a program or organization of significant scope and complexity. Your resume must provide information regarding your professional experience and accomplishments that demonstrate your ability to perform the duties of this position and meet the mandatory Technical Qualification(s) and Managerial Executive Core Qualifications listed below.

TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (TQs): Below are the descriptions of the mandatory technical qualifications for this position. Your five (5) page resume must provide information regarding your professional experience and accomplishments that demonstrate you meet these technical qualifications.

TQ 1. Demonstrated experience serving as a senior-level legal expert on enforcement, regulatory, or legislative activities, including the ability to represent and defend positions pertaining to statutes and regulations to a variety of stakeholders, negotiation, litigation, briefings, public presentations, or other settings.

TQ 2. Demonstrated senior-level experience in providing advice on novel or complex legal issues to executive level decision-makers and other stakeholders, on interpreting and applying fact, law, and policy. Decision-makers and stakeholders include such groups as members of Congress or representatives of their staff; high-level officials within Federal agencies, state, city, and county officials; Attorney General and State Legislature; management and labor officials; and various technical and professional organizations and other associations; and the public.

EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQs): Below are descriptions of the mandatory ECQs that are required for all SES positions. Your five (5) page resume must provide information regarding your professional experience and accomplishments that demonstrate you meet the 5 ECQs.

ECQ 1 - LEADING CHANGE: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. Leadership Competencies: Creativity and Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision
ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts. Leadership Competencies: Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building
ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. Leadership Competencies: Accountability, Customer, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility
ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. Leadership Competencies: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management
ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals. Leadership Competencies: Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating

FUNDAMENTAL COMPETENCIES: The following competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications: Interpersonal Skills, Oral Communication, Written Communication, Integrity/Honesty, Continual Learning, and Public Service Motivation.

Additional information about the SES and Executive Core Qualifications can be found on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) SES Website .

You are strongly encouraged to review OPMs Guide to SES Qualifications for specific examples and guidance on writing effective ECQ narrative statements and executive resumes.

Additional information

Retirement/Pension Plan - You will be covered by a defined benefit, contributory Federal retirement system that provides benefits for both normal retirement (with as few as 5 years of civilian service) and for circumstances that might occur earlier, such involuntary retirement because of disability.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) - You may participate in a retirement savings investment plan that offers before-tax savings and tax-deferred investment earnings. For more details, please visit the TSP website

Employee Assistance - Employees and their immediate families can take advantage of free confidential counseling with health professionals as part of the Federal Employees Assistance Program.

Transit Benefits - We subsidize up to $255 of mass transit commuting costs each month.

Information related to performance, suitability, and security will be verified. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be fired after you begin work; or you may be subject to fine imprisonment, or other disciplinary action.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a Bargaining union position.

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