I have a colleague that strongly believes that the composition of the current 1102 workload does not justify the size of the current 1102 workforce. His argument goes something like this–once upon a time 1102s did contracting, 1105s did purchasing, and 1106s performed clerical functions in support of 1102s and 1105s. Since the 1990s, there has been a concerted effort to reduce the number of 1105s and 1106s in the Federal workforce. However, the workload for these folks has not gone away–it’s actually increased. As a result, the 1102 workforce began taking on the 1105/1106 workload, so now we have college graduates doing purchasing and clerical work. This has been the experience for many of my students.
If we take a look at the official classification standards of 1102s, 1105s, and 1106s, we begin to see that the argument has merit. Consider how the 1105 series is officially defined (see OPM Position Classification Standard TS-122, March 1993):
This series includes positions that involve supervising or performing work to acquire supplies, services, and construction by purchase, rental, or lease through (a) delivery orders and/or (b) small purchase procedures. The work requires knowledge of policies and procedures for delivery orders and small purchases. This work also requires knowledge of commercial supply sources and common business practices related to sales, prices, discounts, units of measurement, deliveries, stocks, and shipments.
Now consider the definition of 1106 series (see OPM Position Classification Standard TS-119, September 1992):
This series includes positions that involve performing or supervising clerical and technical work that supports the procurement of supplies, services, and/or construction. Procurement clerks and technicians prepare, control, and review procurement documents and reports; verify or abstract information contained in documents and reports; contact vendors to get status of orders and expedite delivery; maintain various procurement files; resolve a variety of shipment, payment, or other discrepancies; or perform other similar work in support of procurement programs and operations. The work requires a practical knowledge of procurement procedures, operations, regulations, and programs.
Lastly, the definition of the 1102 series states (see OPM Position Classification Standard TS-71, September 1983):
This series includes positions that manage, supervise, perform, or develop policies and procedures for professional work involving the procurement of supplies, services, construction, or research and development using formal advertising or negotiation procedures; the evaluation of contract price proposals; and the administration or termination and close out of contracts. The work requires knowledge of the legislation, regulations, and methods used in contracting; and knowledge of business and industry practices, sources of supply, cost factors, and requirements characteristics.
Given these definitions (which I acknowledge are somewhat dated), what percentage of the current 1102 workload is really 1105 or 1106 work? If it is a high percentage, wouldn’t it make more sense to hire more 1105s and 1106s to free up 1102s so they can do 1102 work? Or, should we continue to hire more college graduates as 1102s and assign them unchallenging work?