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IFPM and FS FPM. February 2008 update. Implementation Process Steps. Complexity Analysis Position Identification Determination of Qualifications Notification of Qualification Status Determination of Competencies Assess Of Employee Development Needs Initiate Individual Development Plans

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February 2008


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Implementation Process Steps

  • Complexity Analysis

  • Position Identification

  • Determination of Qualifications

  • Notification of Qualification Status

  • Determination of Competencies

  • Assess Of Employee Development Needs

  • Initiate Individual Development Plans

  • Monitor Employee

  • Evaluation for Conversion

  • Removal from current position

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Specialized Experience

NWCG Incident Mgmt Qualifications

Additional Required Training

Core Competencies

Red = the parts that may not apply

to all positions

Covered positions may have 5 parts to complete

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Education = GS-401 Series

IFPM: applies to Forest level GS-11+

FS FPM: no additional positions

Specialized Training:

IFPM: Applies to Forest Fire Chiefs, Center Managers and Hotshot Superintendents

NWCG Qualifications and Previous Experience:

IFPM and FS FPM applies to all covered positions

IFPM: Forest Fire Chiefs must have had C&G experience

For Region 5 Positions

R5 ifpm covered positions l.jpg

Field level: GS-462

Hotshot Superintendents;

Helitack Superintendents;

Engine Captains;

Senior FF

Forest level: GS-462

Assistant Center Manager;

IA Dispatchers

Forest level: GS-401


GS-11 Fuels/Fire Planner;

GS-11 Prevention;

ECC Manager

Regional level: GS-462

Redding Hotshot Superintendent

Regional level: GS-401


R5 IFPM Covered Positions

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R5 FS FPM Covered Positions

  • Forest Deputy Chief

  • Division Chiefs

  • Battalion Chiefs – suppression, prevention and fuels

  • Prevention – (GS-5, 6 or 7)

  • Hotshot Captains and Squad Bosses

  • Helitack Captains and Squad Bosses

  • Type 2 Crew Supervisors and Squad Bosses

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Region 5 positions not covered by either program

  • Smokejumpers

  • AFEO, GS-6

  • Most of the aviation positions

  • GACCs

  • Most of Regional Office FAM personnel

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Initiated: October 1, 2004

Completion date: October 1, 2009


Initiates: October 1, 2008

Completion date: October 1, 2013

After Completion Date:

requirements are a “condition of hire”.

Incumbents meet all requirements and

Incumbents in position for 3+ year meet all position core competencies

Implementation schedules

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Past Regional Forester Implementation Decision Points

Some implementation decisions are made at the

“Unit” level:

  • March 11, 2005, the WO defined the “Forest” as lowest “Unit” level

  • After consultation with the WO, our Regional Forester determined the “Unit” in R5 to be the region

    • Primarily for consistency

    • Avoid additional litigation, grievances and ULPs

    • This past decision will be discussed at April 2008 RLT

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RF Implementation Decision Points, continued

Formed the R5 IFPM Working Group

Goal: Streamline Process


  • Maximize use of existing processes

  • Coordinate due dates

  • Develop support items to make the task easier to accomplish and lessen impacts on Forests

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RF Implementation Decision Points, continued

All R5 Forests justify being in the Fire Program

Management Standards

Complexity Ratings were performed by

regional committee for R5: all Forests are

HIGH complexity

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GACCs do not have

direct responsibility for

initial attack and

therefore are excluded

from IFPM

Identification of

affected positions

Through use of R5 Fire Vacancy Database

Identification of

position descriptions

Used R5 standard position descriptions

RF Implementation Decision Points, continued

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RF Implementation Decision Points, continued

R5 decided to not include any GS-401 positions

at the district level

Decision based upon:

  • Budget capability

    • average cost: $12,000 to $25,000/year per person for two years to achieve educational credits

  • Sheer number of positions

    • Affects an additional 157 positions

  • Possibility of affecting Division Chief grade

    • Total 90 positions

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RF Implementation Decision Points, continued

  • Initial Incumbent Declarations

    • Hard copy for GS-11s+

      • Most did not qualify due to education or lack of additional training

    • Automated for GS-5 thru 9 via IQCS

      • Majority qualified

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Challenges identified and solved

Focused on creating a candidate pool for the


  • Developed a training certification program through Humboldt State University

    • Dr. Neil Sughari, RO-FAM is liaison

  • Working with various colleges and universities to have courses on college transcripts

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OPM Regulation February 15, 2005

Affects who can be placed into a GS-401 Series.

  • All education credits must be on a college transcripts

    • Invalidated use of NWCG courses unless on a transcript

  • Credits must “lead toward a major”

    • Most likely translation – Upper Division

  • OPM will accept Technical Fire Management Certificate of completion

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OPM Regulation February 15, 2005, continued

  • This regulation affected more than just those in IFPM

    • USDA Graduate School

    • Any incumbent in a GS-401 positions

      • Regardless if included in IFPM or not

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Per OPM, for a GS-401 position placement prior to February 15, 2005

  • If the incumbent used NWCG courses(not on a transcript) to qualify for the GS-401 series can remain in their job/series;

  • However, they may not qualify for future GS-401 positions until they acquire adequate replacement credits.

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Per OPM, for a GS-401 position placement after to February 15, 2005

If an individual used NWCG courses was to

qualify for the GS-0401 series

…per OPM…

  • the incumbent was erroneously placed into their position, and

  • the agency has an 18 month grace period to get them “accredited” credits as part of the “Get Well Plan” that HCM is developing.

    • Obtaining this concession from OPM took a lot of effort and USDA assistance

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OPM wanted to ensure that 15, 2005

all Incumbents in existing GS-401 positions meet education requirements based on a review of college transcripts

This review was whether the incumbent is in an IFPM covered position or not

Included more than Fire positions

Prompted WO letter December 2007 asking current GS-401 to provide documentation on how they were qualified for their current position

Other OPM actions that appears to be adding to the confusion

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What constitutes the education credits? 15, 2005

Bottom-line: it’s a national issue and it’s not


  • OPM and WO interpretations vary widely

  • USFS is working on a better, more flexible definition

  • Agency has postpone review the results of the December 2007 letter request until the interpretations on what is viable for “education credits leading towards a major” are solidified

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What we do know: 15, 2005

24 educational credits are required;

Credits must be on college transcripts

When applying for a professional series positions, applicants should always include all college transcripts

What we are working


Are all 24 credits upper division? Most likely

What does the term “leading toward a major” mean? Largest area of debate

Most of our vacant professional series positions certificates are on hold until we know

What constitutes the education credits, continued

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What happens now? 15, 2005

Regional Forester will host a discussion of

IFPM and FS FPM with the April 2008 RLT

  • The intent to bring everyone up to speed and buy-in on regional application

  • Review and gain buy-in on past decisions

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What happens now, continued 15, 2005

Assuming the Region remains the Unit,

Regional IFPM Working Group may join

forces with the R5 LOT to develop regional

strategies to enable all incumbents to:

  • Meet GS-401 standards

  • Ensure that NWCG qualifications are met

  • Provide additional required training

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What happens now, continued 15, 2005

Once the interpretations are concreted into


  • Incumbent Declarations for all incumbents in a GS-401and 460 will have to be resubmitted and reviewed.

  • In a some cases, augmentation of the previously submitted Declaration may be sufficient

  • This encompasses about 70 positions regionally

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Problem Areas 15, 2005

Incumbent Declarations: Per OPM, these need to

be signed by a “professional mentor”.

This means…

  • Forest Fire Chiefs in:

    • GS-460 positions

    • GS-401 positions (after review how/when placed in position)

  • Line Officers are in an administrative series and cannot sign

  • Who signs Forest Fire Chiefs’ Declaration will have to be determined

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Individual Develop Plans 15, 2005

  • For all incumbents who do not meet position NWCG qualifications, an IDP is to be developed

  • Examples are available on the IFPM website

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Individual Develop Plans, continued 15, 2005

IFPM group of positions in R5 that must have and

Lack currency for their qualifications are the

Forest Fuels Specialists and Fire Planners.

  • Most of R5’s GS-11, Fire Planners, are in Fuels Specialist position descriptions and therefore covered under IFPM

  • Per the last IQCS database run, these groups have the largest need to gain qualifications as a RXB2, TFLD and ICT3

    • Working with the Regional Training to serve as clearinghouse for opportunities

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Core Competencies 15, 2005

Position competencies build on one another

from the GS-5 upward.

  • As people move from GS-5 up through the grade levels, this documentation is key

    The IFPM website does have “checklists” for each

    position that a Forest Fire Chief can use to

    determine if an incumbent meets

  • The FRQC process to review incumbents and document via letter is quicker and more effective

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Documentation in IQCS_IFPM Module 15, 2005

The following items are recorded in IQCS to document

Completion of the IFPM requirements:

  • Education,

  • NWCG qualifications,

  • Additional training and

  • Completion of core competencies

    Only IFPM covered positions should have information in

    this portion of the program

  • An IQCS_FS_FPM module is expected to be used in the field this fall

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    The original IFPM “due date” for completion is October 1,


    The OPM deadline for all incumbents in GS-401 positions

    to meet educational standards is June 2009.

    The agency will attempt to make it all work.

    The agency may look at “opting out” of the GS-401 depending on the costs and/or political ramifications

    If R5 remains the Unit, a regional strategy that enrolls all incumbents can be used as the “agency response to ensure compliance”.

    What happens if we run out of time?