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PREPARATION OF THE FY 2003 BUDGET:
DESCRIPTION OF TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT WITH OMB

General Information
Budget Appendix Team Assignments
Budget Concepts Branch Assignments
Budget Systems Branch Assignments
Schedule of Events
Work Environment
Selection Process
How to Apply

General Information

You will be working for the Budget Review and Concepts Division (BRCD) or the Budget Analysis and Systems Division (BASD) of the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, as a non-reimbursable detailee for the "budget season." Budget season is a period of approximately six to eight weeks during which the data and textual materials comprising the President's annual budget are compiled and produced. The assignment is expected to run from roughly mid-December through mid-February.

BRCD is composed of two branches: the Budget Review Branch and the Budget Concepts Branch. For budget season, the two branches combine portions of their staffs and adopt a team approach for preparing the technical materials that comprise the Detailed Budget Estimates section of the Budget Appendix. The Budget Review Branch also prepares charts and graphs that are used in various policy-level presentations and also appear in the Budget, the main budget volume that presents the Administration's policy proposals for the budget in narrative form.

As a temporary staff member in BRCD or BASD, you may be assigned to work on an Appendix preparation team or on other assignments related to the preparation of the President's budget that are managed by the Budget Concepts Branch and the Budget Systems Branch.

Budget Appendix Team Assignments

A team approach is adopted for preparing the Budget Appendix. Each team will have team leaders drawn from the Budget Review Branch and the Budget Concepts Branch. In addition to team leaders, teams generally will be composed of other permanent staff members and two to three temporary staff members.

As a member of an Appendix preparation team, you will be assigned a section of the Budget Appendix that will be your responsibility. For example, a typical assignment for a temporary staff member might be an Appendix chapter presenting the budget for a major cabinet agency and portions of the "Other Independent Agencies" chapter presenting the budgets for several small agencies.

The assignment involves resolving technical and conceptual problems in the agency budget submissions, monitoring the development of the computer database that supports the budget, and ensuring the error-free printing of assigned sections of the Budget Appendix. Early in the assignment, you will be introduced to the OMB program examiners responsible for your assigned sections and will be expected to work closely with them throughout the assignment.

Permanent staff in BRCD and BASD will offer help in specific areas. For example, certain people will specialize in control of Federal credit data while others will provide guidance on budget concepts or presentation issues. In addition, the team leaders will offer guidance, advice, and moral support at all times. Once you have been selected, you will be treated as a permanent employee in every way.

The work follows two parallel tracks. You will be responsible for the preparation of the materials presented in your assigned Appendix chapters. Concurrently, you will be responsible for the technical accuracy and conceptual integrity of the detailed database that supports the budget.

Budget Concepts Branch Assignments

Several individuals will be utilized in the Budget Concepts Branch for data analysis, report production, and legislative analysis. Specific assignments may include responsibility for preparation of a report to be used in congressional hearings on the budget, preparation of a special analysis, coordination of legislative proposals related to general provisions, or database monitoring. A typical day often includes analyzing computer reports and contacting other OMB staff to resolve technical and conceptual problems or inconsistencies in materials being reviewed. The assignments in the Budget Concepts Branch may last for approximately two weeks longer than those of Appendix preparation team members.

Budget Systems Branch Assignments

The assignment in the Budget Systems Branch will be to assist with the systems development efforts in developing a pilot for the automation of the Budget Appendix text process and other computer systems development projects throughout budget season. This process is currently a manual effort conducted at the same time as the automated collection of non-textual budget data. Tasks may include agency on-site requirements-gathering for the agency Budget Appendix text process, developing business rules for workflow processes, creating entity relationship diagrams, designing document templates and stylesheets and working with the collaborative features of MS Word. The position requires someone with an aptitude for computer software usage who enjoys researching and experimenting with new software packages and working with the user community to identify their requirements.

Assignments with the Budget Systems Branch will provide insight into the technical side of budgeting as well as exposure to cutting-edge information technology. These assignments may last for approximately two weeks longer than those of Appendix preparation team members. More than one position may be available. If you are specifically interested in an assignment in the Budget Systems Branch, please indicate so on your application.

Schedule of Events

Upon your arrival at OMB, you will receive orientation and training sessions on the scope of the assignment, contents and uses of the budget, and the basic elements of the budget preparation process. These sessions are typically held during the mornings of the first week, with the afternoons reserved for reading, practice sessions with the computer, and individual team or branch meetings.

Work Environment

Staff will be located in close physical proximity. This can mean a high level of noise and visual distraction that you must be prepared to deal with. Telephones ring, and people are constantly in and out of the room. The assignment can tax patience and good humor. In addition to intelligence, dedication, and talent, we seek those individuals with very good "people" skills and the personal maturity and flexibility necessary to deal effectively with a hectic work environment.

Annual leave will generally not be available to you for the duration of the assignment because of the demands of the work. The amount of overtime varies, depending on the timeliness of budget decisions, the quality of the work done by the agencies and the program examiners, and requirements of the production schedule. Your own agency's policies and rules will govern your accounting for any overtime pay or compensatory time that may result from the assignment.

Despite all of this, the assignment can be a lot of fun. The long hours, close proximity, and shared stress create close friendships and a "team spirit" that is invaluable. The sense of personal satisfaction when the assignment is completed cannot be emphasized enough. Professionally, the assignment provides an opportunity to participate in a fascinating policy-making process, learn something about the budget process and the underlying budget concepts, make valuable professional contacts, and learn a great deal about the computerized network linking OMB and the agencies, as well as the automated photocomposition process used to print the budget documents.

Selection Process

The selection process has become increasingly competitive over the last several years. Approximately 10 to 12 temporary employees will be selected for work on the Budget Appendix, while additional candidates will be selected to work on assignments in the Budget Concepts Branch and Budget Systems Branch. While helpful, previous budget experience is not required. We encourage applicants from all areas of government. For example, in the past we have selected as temporary employees State government employees, administrative officers, and program and management analysts. This assignment can also serve as an excellent rotational assignment for those participating in the Presidential Management Intern program, the Women's Executive Leadership program, the Executive Potential Program, or other internship programs.

We plan to conduct interviews during October and should be able to notify you of our selections by mid-November so that you will have several weeks to plan for the assignment.

How to Apply

To apply for the assignment, please mail or fax a resume and/or an SF 171 (or "Optional Application for Federal Employment -- OF 612"), along with a letter of approval from your supervisor to Joe Montoni, Budget Review Branch, by Friday, September 28th. The fax number is (202) 395-4768. The mailing address is: 725 17th Street, N.W., Room 6204, NEOB, Washington, D.C. 20503. If you have any additional questions, you may contact Joe Montoni at (202) 395-7408 or Teresa Tancre at (202) 395-4836.


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