Public Affairs Specialist (Open to both U.S. Citizens and Federal Employees)

Washington, D.C
Dec 01, 2021
Dec 09, 2021
Full Time

The Public Affairs Specialist:
  • Develops policies and information strategies and makes recommendations regarding the dissemination of information to enhance public understanding of FRA's programs and policies.
  • Provides guidance, direction and leadership on public affairs programs, processes and procedures that support the Office's internal and external mission responsibilities.
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with representatives of various news media outlets and other stakeholder groups, such as senior DOT leadership, leaders in the rail industry, national and international leaders of trade organizations and senior local and state government officials in disseminating information or answering inquiries about the FRA's operations or activities and defending FRA's position.
  • Manages a team of federal and contractor communication specialists. Establishes performance standards; monitors employee performance; provides leadership, advice and counsel on work and administrative matters, hears and resolves complaints.

The ideal candidate is an experienced communications professional and effective public relations practitioner. The incumbent has well documented public affairs experience working for a governmental agency, elected official, corporation, trade or industry association, non-profit, or public relations firm with proven results. The individual is a motivated self-starter who uses sound judgment and functions as part of small but nimble team and is able to multi-task and work under tight deadlines, as well as a skilled writer who can distill and explain complex information for general audiences.


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S.Citizen and eligible for consideration.
  • You must meet specialized experience to qualify.
  • Required documents must be submitted by the closing date.
  • Submit application and resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date.

  • SELECTIVE SERVICE: Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered for the Selective Service.
  • GOVERNMENT TRAVEL CARD: This position involves travel. A government contractor-issued travel card will be issued and must be retained for official business only.
  • PROBATIONARY PERIOD: You must complete a one-year probationary period (unless already completed).
  • TIME-IN-GRADE: Federal applicants must have served 52 weeks at the next lower grade in the competitive or excepted service in the executive branch to satisfy time-in-grade restrictions contained in 5 CFR 300, Subpart F.
  • DEU REQUIREMENTS: Applicants selected under delegated examining procedures may be required to successfully complete a one-year probationary period (unless already completed).
  • ETHICS/CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT: All employees are subject to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, set out in Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 2635, including restrictions on owning financial interests that may conflict with performance of their duties. Some employees, like those involved in contracting or regulating non-Federal entities, are subject to Executive Branch Financial Disclosure requirements set out in Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 263. Please note that you may be required to file an annual financial disclosure.


To meet the minimum qualifications for this position, you must meet the specialized experience requirements.

To qualify for the Grade 14, you must have at least one year of experience equal or equivalent to the GS-13, it must include:
  • Experience in drafting, editing, vetting, and disseminating formal public announcements and other written communications on matters of local, regional or national importance.
  • Experience in partnering and collaborating successfully with an organization's leaders, subject matter experts, and others on technical or complex public policy issues.
  • Experience in planning, coordinating, and implementing public information or educational awareness campaigns, as well as public events such as press conferences.
  • Experience serving as a designated and authorized media spokesperson for an organization on complex and potentially sensitive or controversial matters of public interest.
  • Experience in making credible and actionable recommendations to managers and leadership on both routine communication matters as well as emergent events and situations.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES (KSAs): Your qualifications will be evaluated on the basis of your level of knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies in the following areas:
  • Communications and Media Knowledge of the communications and the dissemination of information and ideas to inform and entertain using written, oral, and visual means via news and social media.
  • Customer Service Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve problems, or satisfy their expectations; has knowledge of available products, services and best practices; and is committed to providing relevant, accurate and timely information products and services.
  • External Awareness Identifies and understands economic, political, and social trends that affect the organization and its mission.
  • Problem Solving Identifies problems; determines relevance of information and data; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate options and alternatives, and to make recommendations about the same.
  • Strategic Thinking Formulates effective strategies consistent with the business and operational needs of the organization in a global economy. Examines policy issues and
    strategic planning with a long-term perspective. Determines objectives and sets priorities; anticipates potential obstacles or opportunities.

  • For all types of consideration, experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    For additional information about applying to Federal positions, please click on the following link:

    Applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

    Additional information

    This is nota Bargaining unit position.

    COVID VACCINATION: As required by Executive Order 14043 , Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. If selected, you will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment or onboarding with the agency, if after November 22. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request of the agency a legally required exception from this requirement.

    This announcement may be used to fill additional positions if similar vacancies occur within 90 days of the issue date of the referral certificate.

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