#16-05 Publishing and Public Affairs Specialist
U. S. Sentencing Commission

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent federal agency in the Judicial Branch of government consisting of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies. Additional information about the Commission can be accessed via the Commission’s website at http://www.ussc.gov.


  • Not Required


  • No


  • U.S. Citizenship required
  • All employees must serve a one year probationary period


  1. Assist the Director of OLPA, and OLPA staff in the development and implementation of the Commission’s public affairs and outreach program;
  2. Respond to requests for information, publications, and other material from the media, public, attorneys, the criminal justice community, and government agencies.  Assist in maintaining public contact databases;
  3. Copy edit assigned agency public material for clarity, grammar, and style.  Design and coordinate production of Commission publications assigned by the Director of OLPA;
  4. Write, edit and contribute to a variety of Commission materials, including newsletters, e-mail blasts, and some digital content;
  5. Handle logistics associated with the printing and distribution of specific Commission publications, including press inspections and quality control of printed material;
  6. Assist in coordinating logistics for public hearings.  Secure reservations for audiovisual needs, arrange for a court reporter, and provide site manager with details and requirements for the hearing room set-up;
  7. Coordinate with the Senior Public Affairs Specialist on designing, editing, and producing some Commission publications as well as compiling and distributing press clips and items of interest throughout the Commission;
  8. Assist in maintaining official set of Commission public comment, hearing transcripts, and meeting minutes;
  9. Other duties as assigned.

The Commission’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) is seeking a motivated and creative individual to join the OLPA team and assist the Director of OLPA in performing the public affairs duties of the office. The incumbent reports to the Director of OLPA.

Duties include but are not limited to:


In order to be considered for this position, applicants must address the following KSAs in a cover letter or brief separate written narrative statement:  (1) education and experience related to the mandatory qualification requirements, and (2) demonstrated experience in the following areas:

  1. Ability to communicate in writing and orally.
  2. Ability to work in and familiarity with desktop publishing software.
  3. Ability to design and copy-edit publications.
  4. Ability to work effectively with others in a team environment.
  5. Knowledge of the federal criminal justice system.
  6. Knowledge of public relations and communications matters and ability to develop and to execute strategic communications plans.
  7. Ability to research, compile, and analyze information.
  8. Ability to handle multiple assignments, focus on details, and produce precise work products in a timely manner to ensure deadlines are met.
  9. Ability to handle public inquiries and communicate effectively with the press and stakeholders.


The Commission evaluates applicants through a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.

The Office of Human Resources:

Reviews the applicant’s application to ensure the proper materials are submitted.
Ensures that the application addresses all of the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) as stated in the vacancy announcement.
Determines whether the applicant meets the qualification requirements for the particular position and notifies the applicant about the status of his or her application.

OLPA is a fast-paced environment.  The successful candidate will be expected to be flexible and efficient but creative and detail-oriented. The successful applicant should possess skillful knowledge and/or experience in as many of the following areas as possible:  Microsoft Office applications, desktop publishing (Adobe InDesign and Creative Suite applications a plus), copyediting/proofreader’s marks, the federal legislative process, and criminal justice policy. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college.

Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience or an educational background in publishing, communication studies, journalism, public affairs, marketing, political science and government, or other related fields.

Preference will also be given to applicants with an advanced degree in Communications from an accredited college or university.


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