9/24/13: The Union was pleased to participate in today's announcement to OCIE staff of the new SK-14 examiner position. The creation of this new position has been something the Union has pushed for since 2011.
In 2011, the Union was notified by several employees of an issue within OCIE that impacted attorneys working as Compliance Examiners. Although these employees had a JD, the SEC was unwilling to reclassify them to an SK-14 Attorney Advisor position, despite their experience. At the time, the only sure path to an SK-14 position was to seek reclassification to a Grade 14 Staff Accountant position (0510), once an employee obtained the necessary accounting credits (24 semester hours). The Union reached out to OCIE management and discussed the possibility of creating alternative positions that would recognize the unique qualifications all employees bring to the program and allow them to reach the SK-14 level without reclassification.
While those discussions were continuing, earlier this year, the SEC’s Office of Human Resources (“OHR”), under the new management of Director Lacey Dingman, unilaterally determined that the SEC's long practice of converting employees to the SK-14 Staff Accountant position constituted an impermissible prohibited personnel practice. Therefore, despite the fact that this practice had originally been initiated by OHR in 2000, OHR’s new position created a crisis within OCIE, leaving the NEP with an immediate need to create a new career path to an SK-14 level.
The Union approached OCIE senior management to seek a solution. After several collaborative sessions with the Union, NEP management finalized the language in the new Position Description (PD) which we jointly announced today. Despite the Union's limited bargaining rights on classification issues, NEP management worked together with NTEU to allay some of our concerns with the proposed language. While we still are not completely comfortable with all of the terms in the new PD, we believe that implementation of this new Grade 14 position will greatly benefit existing Grade 13 OCIE Compliance Examiners.
The new SK-14 was designed to replace the old conversion Staff Accountant process and provide a mechanism to allow all NEP examiners an opportunity to get an SK-14 position. Under the old system employees were routinely converted once they completed the necessary accounting credits and otherwise met the time in grade requirements (52 weeks). We have been told by NEP management that the new position will be posted internally on an as-needed basis as determined by the needs of the program. However, since the program had a very high need for SK-14 staff accountants, given the number of conversions since the implementation of the program, we were told that the need for SK-14 examiners would be the same.
The Union will be tracking the implementation of this new benefit across the program to ensure that it is consistent with the spirit in which it was developed.