Chief Administrative Law Judge

Washington, D.C
Aug 23, 2019
Aug 24, 2019
Executive, Chief
Full Time


The position is located in the Office of Administrative Law Judges in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. The Chief Administrative Law Judge reports to the Chairman who is, by statute, responsible for the administrative operations of the agency.

Learn more about this agency


The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (FMSHRC) is an independent adjudicatory agency that provides administrative trial and appellate review of legal disputes arising under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act). FMSHRC is entirely independent and is not a component of the Department of Labor or Mine Safety and Health Administration. The incumbent serves as an Chief Administrative Law Judge in FMSHRC's Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), leading that office in resolution of Mine Act legal disputes at the trial level. Learn more about this agency

The Chief Judge is responsible for providing the overall administrative and case management leadership necessary to assure the thorough and timely processing of all formal proceedings before FMSHRC. The Chief Judge performs the full range of administrative functions, including the formulation of budgetary and personnel resource needs, execution of applicable personnel policies and practices, and management of the case assignment, case monitoring, and hearing processes. Specific responsibilities of the Chief Judge include:
  • Maintaining (1) a calendar of cases set for hearing proceedings, (2) a management information and control system to monitor status of those cases, and (3) periodic statistical reports on the status of those cases.
  • Assigning cases in rotation, to the extent practicable, to individual Administrative Law Judges.
  • Assuring that hearings conducted in accordance with procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, specialized agency rules of practice, and OALJ's Rules of Practice and Procedure.
  • Monitoring the status of pending cases and establishing reasonable standards of quality, output, and general performance to assure the timely and expeditious processing of those cases.
  • Developing workload projections and budgetary and personnel resource needs both on an ad hoc basis, as conditions require, and in connection with agency-wide budgetary submissions.
  • Participating with management in budgetary and program planning activities as well as in the decision-making process with respect to operational, procedural and management matters.
  • Conducting recruitment activities, interviewing and selecting professional, clerical, and technical staff, and participating in the evaluation and recommendation for selection of Administrative Law Judges, as appropriate.
  • Providing administrative direction to Administrative Law Judges and supervision to the other staff, evaluating staff performance, reviewing performance evaluations prepared by subordinate supervisors, and administering the performance management system.
  • Serving as a source of technical information for the other judges.
  • Assuring the application of appropriate administrative regulations and procedures governing responsibilities in such areas as staffing, classification, training, disciplinary actions, employee relations, equal employment opportunity, time and attendance, travel, procurement, etc.
  • Maintaining liaison with officials and program managers program offices, other government offices, and professional associations, particularly bar associations, and with representatives of the regulation community to promote better understanding of and improvement in the hearing process.
  • Performing special studies and such other administrative duties as may be assigned which are not inconsistent with the responsibilities of a judge under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.

In addition, the Chief Judge is expected to carry out the full range of duties as an Administrative Law Judge, including presiding at hearings in some of the most sensitive, difficult, and controversial proceedings that come before the office.

Travel Required

25% or less - Subject to frequent travel throughout the US and its territories.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Please refer to "Conditions of Employment."
  • Click "Print Preview" to review the entire announcement before applying.
  • Must be U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals.

Evaluation Method: All applicants will be evaluated on the Mandatory Qualifications requirements and the Desirable Qualifications for this position. Qualifications and suitability will be determined from review of the applications and interview (if held).


  • Applicant must currently hold, and must have held for the past year, a Federal Administrative Law Judge Position, at the AL-3 level or above. Equivalent federal experience may be substituted.
  • Licensure and authorization to practice law under the laws of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territorial court established under the laws of the United States. An "active" bar status and/or membership in "good standing" for at least 10 years total in at least one jurisdiction in which the applicant is admitted. Judicial status is acceptable in lieu of "active" status in States that prohibit sitting judges from maintaining "active" status to practice law. Being in "good standing" is acceptable in lieu of "active" status in jurisdictions where the licensing authority considers "good standing" as having a current license to practice law.
  • Applicant must have at least ten years of experience as a licensed attorney litigating or adjudicating formal hearings, trials, and/or appeals, involving civil, criminal, or administrative law at the Federal, State, or local level, or equivalent experience.

  • Experience in managing people;
  • Experience providing professional guidance;
  • Experiencing exercising executive leadership, and;
  • Experience in the oversight of legal or adjudicatory offices.

  • The Statement of Interest, which is one of the required documents for this vacancy announcement, should be formatted so that each mandatory and desirable qualification is individually addressed. You must use your work experience to provide support for each qualification. A narrative for any individual qualification should be no more than one (1) page long, using a 12 point font with 1" margins. Your statement for each qualification should stand alone and not refer to any other qualification.

    All Mandatory Requirements and Qualifications must be met by the closing date of this announcement.


    Education Requirements: Juris doctorate

    The education generally must be from an accredited (or pre-accredited) college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Additional information

    - We may select from this announcement or any other source to fill one or more vacancies.
    - This is a non-bargaining unit position.
    - We offer opportunities for flexible work schedules.
    - If an internal candidate is selected, such candidate will remain in the competitive service, but if an external candidate is selected, the candidate is considered Excepted.
    - The incumbent may be prohibited from having any interest in a mine or mining company affected by their duties. The incumbent will be required to file a confidential financial disclosure report with the Office of Government Ethics.

    - A one year probationary period may be required.
    - A one year supervisory probationary period may be required.
    - Must successfully complete a background investigation.
    - Public Trust - Background Investigation will be required
    - Complete a Declaration for Federal Employment to determine your suitability for Federal employment, at the time requested by the agency.
    - If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so.
    - Have your salary sent to a financial institution of your choice by Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer.
    - Go through a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process that requires two forms of identification from the Form I-9 . Federal law requires verification of the identity and employment eligibility of all new hires in the U.S.
    - Submit to a drug test prior to your appointment and random drug testing while you occupy the position.
    - Obtain and use a Government-issued charge card for business-related travel.
    - Undergo an Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Consideration of Veterans' Status: While there is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to administrative law judge positions in the excepted service, FMSHRC considers veterans' preference eligibility as a factor in ALJ hiring.

    Reasonable Accommodation Policy: Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
    • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
    • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
    • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

    You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the mandatory and desirable qualifications listed above. Applications will be directed to the FMSHRC Office of the Executive Director (OED) to be screened for whether an applicant has submitted all required documentation and meets the minimal qualifications for the position. OED will deliver qualified applications to a review panel designated by the FMSHRC Chairman. The interview panel will review and evaluate the qualified applications. The panel will then interview the top candidates for the open positions and forward its recommended candidates to the Commission. The Commission shall make the final decision and appointment.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Not Required

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    A complete application includes 1. A résumé and 2. Submission of any required documents. Please note that if you do not provide all required information, as specified in this announcement, you may not be considered for this position (or may not receive the special consideration for which you may be eligible).

    All applicants are required to submit a résumé
    either by creating one in USAJOBS or uploading one of their own choosing. (Cover letters are optional.) To receive full credit for relevant experience, please list the month/date/year and number of hours worked for experience listed on your résumé. We suggest that you preview the online questions, as you may need to customize your résumé to ensure that it supports your responses to these questions. Please view résumé tips .

    VETERANS' PREFERENCE DOCUMENTATION: If you are claiming veterans preference, please see applicant guide for required documentation . In order to be considered for veterans preference, you must submit all required documentation as outlined in the applicant guide.

    EDUCATION DOCUMENTATION: For positions with an education requirement, or if you are qualifying for this position by substituting education or training for experience, submit a copy of your transcripts or equivalent. An official transcript will be required if you are selected.

    A college or university degree generally must be from an accredited (or pre-accredited) college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools which meet these criteria, please refer to Department of Education Accreditation page . If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency. Refer to the OPM instructions .

    The following documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the vacancy closing date.
  • Statement of Interest -- should contain a statement of why you are interested in the position and how your skills and experience qualify you to perform the duties of the Chief Administrative Law Judge in the Office of Administrative Law Judges, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

  • This Statement of Interest should address mandatory and desirable qualifications. A narrative for any individual qualification should be no more than one (1) page long, using a 12 point font with 1" margins. Your statement for each qualification should stand alone and not refer to any other qualification.
  • Resume - Please provide sufficient details in your resume to enable us to determine if you meet the requirement for qualifying experience (as stated in the Qualifications section). Providing insufficient details in your resume may result in a lower or ineligible rating.

  • Important: a) Providing the month and year of the starting and ending dates of employment will enable us to determine the length of your experience; if you do not provide the month or the year of the starting and ending dates of employment your starting date will be assumed to have been the last month of that year and your ending date will be assumed to be the first month of the year.
  • Completion of Assessment/Occupational Questionnaire, if applicable.
  • Two significant decisions, or equivalent significant legal products, authored by the Applicant.
  • A listing of published writings, social media or web postings, or videos made by the applicant.
  • Two references.
  • Most recent SF-50.
  • Veterans Documents (if applicable): This appointment is to an ALJ position in the excepted service, not the competitive service. There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference in excepted service ALJ appointments; however, FMSHRC will considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in excepted service ALJ hiring. In order to receive positive consideration, you must indicate your eligibility, in response to the appropriate item on the vacancy questionnaire. Additionally, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD214 showing the type of discharge and dates of active duty and, if applicable, a VA letter certifying the present existence of the service-connected disability which indicates the percentage of your disability. (For active duty service members expecting to be honorably discharged or released within 120 days, click Active Duty). Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's consideration.

  • If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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