Smithsonian Institution Staff Assistant in Amado, Arizona

Smithsonian Institution
1 vacancy in the following location:
  • Amado, AZ
Work Schedule is Full Time. - Career/Career-Conditional.

Opened Tuesday 10/4/2016 (17 day(s) ago)

** Closes Friday 10/21/2016 (0 day(s) away)

Job Overview

About the Agency

This is the position of Staff Assistant, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO), Optical and Infrared Astronomy Division (OIR), Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). The FLWO, located at Mt. Hopkins in Amado AZ, is a geographically isolated, technically specialized, and highly interactive scientific research environment in continuous 24 hour operation. As the largest field operation of SAO, FLWO is home to a number of optical and gamma ray telescopes including the MMT, VERITAS, the 1.5 and 1.2-meter reflectors, PAIRITEL, HAT, MEarth ,Minerva; their related scientific instruments; and a complex infrastructure that includes dormitories, telescope buildings, offices and laboratories, maintenance and repair facilities, and a public Visitor Center. FLWO hosts a large number of U.S. and international scientific visitors working at the telescope sites, as well as the general public. Its operation also requires close cooperation with staff of the University of Arizona, which operates the MMT jointly with SAO.

  1. Provides financial administration to FLWO as follows:
  • Monitors obligations and expenditures of all FLWO operating funds including the federal allocation, private grants, revenue-generating funds, and SI maintenance/repair funds. Reconciles with SAO monthly ERP system financial reports and works with SAO FMD staff to correct errors when found.
  • Develops FLWO’s portion of the annual Federal budget submission.
  • Manages local checking account and reports monthly expenditures to SAO FMD. Administer the petty cash fund used for local purchases and submits all vouchers for reimbursement.
  • Periodically reconciles maintenance/repair fund discrepancies with the SI Project Manager in SI/OFEO and/or SAO FM staff.
  • Generates and distributes periodic internal financial statements on all funds.
  • Supports scientists and the VERITAS Program Manager with contract and grant submissions as requested, including collection of budgetary information and assembly of the final product.
  • Periodically surveys Project Heads to determine their projected needs for supplies and materials such as liquid nitrogen used by all telescopes, fuel for vehicles and backup generators, number of leased vehicles, equipment, etc. for both budget management and to generate or modify term or blanket purchase orders.
  • Consistent with delegated purchasing authority, procures a wide variety of technical materials and services including maintenance and automotive supplies, electronic and optical equipment components, computer systems and accessories, and maintenance and repair services. This includes the following: ensuring adherence to Federal Acquisition Regulations; making decisions on price reasonableness; negotiating delivery dates and expediting orders; receiving items and verifying shipments; vouchering invoices and tracking payments; obtaining Material Safety Data Sheets on all new chemicals from manufacturers; and maintaining a current, centralized, MSDS reference book.
  1. Coordinates FLWO property management. This includes managing the inventory of property and ensuring that all tagging requirements are met; maintaining an automated system to track property inventory; conducting periodic inventory reviews; processing excess FLWO property for disposal; serving as liaison to other agency officials and the public for the distribution of property being excessed by FLWO; working with science, technical, and operations staff to identify Observatory needs that could be met with Federal excess property in ways that would be cost effective for FLWO and MMTO; screening available property, placing holds, processing required documentation; and arranging for transfer and shipping to FLWO.

  2. Provides overall administrative support to FLWO in areas including human resources, travel, the safety program, operation of the FLWO Visitor’s Center, motor pool fleet maintenance, and construction contract administration. Serves as COTR for the base and mountain facilities’ cleaning contract; supervises the administrative support assistant; obtains, prepares, and submits required documentation for contracts managed through SI/OCON; and serves as an information source on all administrative policies and practices

Travel Required
  • Not Required
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • May require a Pre- and post-appointment background
  • May be required to serve a one-year probationary period.
  • Direct Deposit/Elect Funds Transfer required for salary payment.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.

Experience: One year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level in the normal progression for this occupation that has equipped the candidate with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. The experience may include activities such as Federal procurement, property management, financial administration, and general administrative support to a complex facility. OR Education: master's or equivalent graduate degree or two full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's or equivalent degree related to the position may be substituted to meet the experience requirements. OR Combination of Experience and Education: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications; for example, a half year of experience and a half year of education in the field may be qualifying.

Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and/or proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the "Required Documents" section of this announcement.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date.

Security Clearance

Q - Nonsensitive

Additional Information
What To Expect Next

After you apply, you will receive an automated acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. The staffing process to identify highly qualified candidates may take up to four weeks or more to complete. After the announcement closes and application reviews are done, you may be contacted by the hiring office if further evaluation or interviews are required. All applicants will receive written notification on the final outcome of the position.


Review our benefits

Other Information

The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.

A recruitment bonus may be paid.

The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity.

Salary Range: $49,037.00 to $63,743.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: GS-0301-09/09

Promotion Potential: 09

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals Note: Federal employees with permanent status or individuals eligible for special appointing authorities may apply to Job Announcement 16-58

Control Number: 452455600

Job Announcement Number: 16-59