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Staff Assistant

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Job Type
1 Oct 2021
* Duties




This is the position of Staff Assistant, Central Engineering Department (CE), the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). The purpose of the position is to provide general administrative expertise to the Manager of Central Engineering (MCE) and Department Administrator (DA) in areas related to the overall operation of the department.

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* Prepares proposals for, and subsequently administers the awards of, both externally and internally funded projects for CE Principal Investigators. Serves as Authorizing Officer.
* Provides general administrative support to the MCE, DA, Machine Shop staff and other department staff as requested. Supports the MCE, DA and senior engineering staff in special projects, and performs related administrative duties as required.
* Devises and maintains a quickly and easily accessible property database for the department's IT resources and also for resources in the labs at the CDP location. Produces reports on same, tracks current location and condition. Serves as the point of contact in annual audit activities.
* Creates resource loaded Microsoft Project engineering program management schedules, which are incorporated into the master labor assignment schedule. Incorporates frequent revisions into same. Generates reporting as requested.
* Maintains cognizance of SAO and CE administrative policies and procedures, and serves as an information source to department staff on administrative issues. Evaluates, recommends, and implements improvements to administrative procedures.
* Generates requisitions and travel authorizations. Determines and applies appropriate fund numbers. Tracks requisitions and expedites orders, as required. Maintains cognizance of, appropriately applies and administers all applicable policies, procedures, and documentation requirements and serves as an information source to CE staff.
* Maintains the department's website. Seeks out input from appropriate engineering discipline/contact, obtains permission and posts data.
* Coordinates contracting of temporary personnel agencies.
* Performs other duties as required.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


* Job family (Series)

0301 Miscellaneous Administration And Program

Similar jobs

* Engineering Managers
* Managers, Engineering

* Requirements



Conditions of Employment

* 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.

Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at


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 creating and maintaining complex databases, managing a contract or grant and resourcing scheduling for a program effort.


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.


Combination of Experience and Education: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications.

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.

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