Chief, Qualifications Standards Branch
Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20415
Dear Mr. Perloff:
Your colleagues on the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) Personnel Working Group thank you for your advice last summer on improving the 1410 series. Your summation of OPM's concerns regarding current qualification standards and suggestions for improved recruitment through use of precise KSAs are helpful to our efforts.
As you suggested, we are preparing model KSAs for use in filling vacancies associated with systems, acquisitions, cataloging, public services, and specialized librarian positions, and for administrative, supervisory, and managerial vacancies. When disseminated, we expect such KSAs to be applied by librarians as they work with personnel specialists to recruit staff for position vacancies. We have begun working on this project and appreciate your advice on such matters.
As you know, FLICC has advised Federal librarians that OPM no longer administers a test as a means of qualifying applicants as librarians. We share the concern that led to OPM's decision--that the test had not been an adequate tool for measuring an applicant's potential to perform as a professional. In general, we believe that testing is not an appropriate method for evaluating the eligibility of those who apply for librarian positions and commend OPM's decision not to draft an alternative test.
We also appreciate your observation that part C of the current GS-1410 qualification standards, dealing with alternative ways to qualify, is confusing and difficult to apply. Given our mutual sense that this factor is incomprehensible and that qualifications based on experience are adequately covered in part B, we request that OPM issue a revised qualification standard that contains parts A and B but omits part C. The revised qualification standards should also reflect the decision to end testing as an option to determine qualifications by omitting current references to the written test.
Improving the current qualification standards by omitting these confusing or outdated sections does not require preparation of substitute language and may be achieved with modest use of your staff's time.
OPM's revision of qualification standards and FLICC's dissemination of model KSAs should improve the 1410 series without affecting the status of librarians now working within the series. We believe that application of simplified and improved standards and the use of improved KSAs in vacancy announcements are sound initiatives that are mutually supportive and consistent with goals shared by OPM and federal librarians.
Please feel free to call me at (202)512-2010 ext. 30334 to discuss this request. We very much appreciate your time and efforts on behalf of librarians and would be pleased to meet with you at your convenience.
Thomas A. Downing
Chair, FLICC Personnel Working Group
cc: Susan Tarr, Executive Director, FLICC
Members, FLICC Personnel Working Group
Kathy Eighmey, FLICC, FNO
Anna Bohlin, FLICC, FPE