Sequestration

General Discussion for SMART Scholarship Recipients

Sequestration

Postby USACE_ » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:01 pm

Has anyone heard what would happen to participants (still paying back their time) if sequestration occurs and affects our organizations?

Thanks!
USACE_
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:40 pm

So you're currently in Phase II? And you're worried about what SMART will think if you get furloughed or otherwise re-assigned?


I doubt they will care much unless you lose your job. If you are laid off, I'm guessing they will give you a pass. If you otherwise leave of your own volition, I'm guessing they would request payback and you'd have to work with some high-level SMART admin to get waived, provided you had a good reason (they asked you to depart their org, etc).


SMART is around in order to get highly qualified STEM into the DoD. Once you're in the DoD, SMART couldn't give two craps about what you do, so long as you stay there until the completion of Phase 2. They really try and leave you alone after Phase 1. They don't really care if you get furloughed, so long as you continue working.
Guest
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:00 pm

When big cuts are made the federal employees are the last to go.
Guest
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby guest4 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:07 pm

I would love to get released. Anyone else with me?
guest4
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby CMMMM » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:42 pm

I'm with you, but I'm not optimistic that the program is that reasonable. In my group, we don't have funding for travel or purchases of anything besides McMaster-Carr <$100-type orders...So the DoD pays everyone to show up and surf the internets. Depressing, really...Accepting the SMART scholarship was mos def the worst move of my career.
CMMMM
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Kaelinth » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:02 am

I'm currently in my final semester of Phase I and am quite worried about being brought into my SF upon graduation. Has anyone heard anything about the current crop of Phase I graduates and their chances of getting hired? My SF can only give me so much information, which is not much. Basically, their hands are tied by the hiring freeze but they are looking into exemptions for SMART scholars. Anyone hear anything else?

I am also currently in the process of working with one of my Senate representatives in order to find out if anything else can be done.
Kaelinth
 
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Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:15 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby guestivusMaximus » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:31 am

SMART students are hired under special "hiring authority". The law that created SMART grants legal hiring authority to facilities to hire SMART students, regardless of sequestrations, pay freezes, no hire policies, etc. However the quickest way to make a negative name for oneself is to go to a local representative whom has little insight into OPM PPP's
guestivusMaximus
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Kaelinth » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:46 am

OK, so nix the contact, I can do that. I haven't progressed far anyway.

How do I make it clear to my SF that they have the authority to hire me? Right now, they are telling me they can't do anything.
Kaelinth
 
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Re: Sequestration

Postby guestivusMaximus » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:15 am

Okay not a huge surprise that your facility is confused, it's probably mine. Your facility may also need an MOU from SPO. I know the virtual HR rep that facilitates SMART hiring for the Army, and would be willing to pass along her email. Contact info for the other services unfortunately I do no know.

Just copy and paste in an email.

FIRST ACTION
5-A.Code: "170"
5-B.Nature of Action: "Excepted Appointment"
5-C.Code: "ZLM"
5-D.Legal Authority: "SMART Hiring Authority (10 USC 2192a), 10-28-09
guestivusMaximus
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:57 am

Just to add on to what guestivusMaximus said, here is a link to the federal document regarding the SMART scholarship.
Thanks, guestivusMaximus for pointing us to where the SMART scholarship is detailed.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/USCODE ... etail.html
Guest
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:22 pm

guestivusMaximus wrote:Okay not a huge surprise that your facility is confused, it's probably mine. Your facility may also need an MOU from SPO. I know the virtual HR rep that facilitates SMART hiring for the Army, and would be willing to pass along her email. Contact info for the other services unfortunately I do no know.

Just copy and paste in an email.

FIRST ACTION
5-A.Code: "170"
5-B.Nature of Action: "Excepted Appointment"
5-C.Code: "ZLM"
5-D.Legal Authority: "SMART Hiring Authority (10 USC 2192a), 10-28-09


Will this work if your base commander or command HQ doesn't WANT to hire you? I mean, yes, congress have given them authority to give you an excepted service position.

But what if they don't want any more people on their payrolls?

AFAIK, the SMART Program has no way of forcing them to create an excepted service position for you, and that's causing the SMART Program many headaches. All it takes is a full colonel or a 1-star to say "I don't want to furlough any more than I have to..." and suddenly that HR rep won't really care that he has the authority (and duty) to hire you.
Guest
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Kaelinth » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:50 pm

I am also Army, and I think I know who you are speaking about. If it is, then my HR rep at my SF has already been in contact with her. I can see if the SPO can provide anything in addition and I'll pass the rest on to my HR person.

I'm still new to a lot of this, so trying to get all of the jargon under control. Thanks for your insight! Hopefully I'll get all of this worked out. And to be fair, I do have some time, my degree isn't actually conferred until mid-May.
Kaelinth
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:15 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby Kaelinth » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:02 pm

guestivusMaximus wrote:Okay not a huge surprise that your facility is confused, it's probably mine. Your facility may also need an MOU from SPO. I know the virtual HR rep that facilitates SMART hiring for the Army, and would be willing to pass along her email. Contact info for the other services unfortunately I do no know.

Just copy and paste in an email.

FIRST ACTION
5-A.Code: "170"
5-B.Nature of Action: "Excepted Appointment"
5-C.Code: "ZLM"
5-D.Legal Authority: "SMART Hiring Authority (10 USC 2192a), 10-28-09


Can you PM me?
Kaelinth
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:15 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby recipient99 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:15 am

CMMMM wrote:I'm with you, but I'm not optimistic that the program is that reasonable. ... the DoD pays everyone to show up and surf the internets. Depressing, really...Accepting the SMART scholarship was mos def the worst move of my career.

Guest wrote:SMART couldn't give two craps about what you do.

guest4 wrote:I would love to get released. Anyone else with me?


I agree. These posts are gems that really encompass well the spirit of the SMART Program.

It saddens me to look over at the "General Questions and the Application" forum and see all the young talent getting enthusiastic about jumping on board.
recipient99
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:27 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby fish_ » Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:12 pm

@recipient99

you would have to take a poll to really know if that is the spirit of the SMART program participants.
fish_
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby recipient99 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:27 pm

@fish_

My statement shouldn't be taken as a claim that I think I know that this is how the majority of the participants feel about the program. I understand that it may or may not be the case that this is how the majority of the participants feel.

I don't know that I would agree that a poll would answer this question, anyhow. At any rate, I digress.
recipient99
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:27 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby nettns » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:16 pm

So I've been trying to obtain a copy of my SF's MOU (the one that we have on site expired 2010) or some other document that outlines what that SF's responsible are to participants. I know what my responsibilities because I have my service agreement on hand.

What I'm trying to establish is: Does the SF agree with SMART to provide us with full-time employment? Would furlough put us below OPM's "full-time" status? Its described as 2080 paid hours per year. And ultimately, what would that mean for the service contract? Would SF be out of compliance with an agreement that they had signed?

It feels like I'm basically being brushed off by the new cohort admins.
nettns
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:10 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby recipient99 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:44 pm

I know what my responsibilities because I have my service agreement on hand.


They have been changing the agreement every year. According to the emails they have been sending out, all cohorts are obligated to abide by the changes. I have no idea how it could possibly be legal to force someone to follow changes to a contract after he signs it. Regardless of whether it is legal or not, this gives you an idea of how the SMART Program treats the recipients.

Does the SF agree with SMART to provide us with full-time employment?


Judging by their past treatment of me, if there is any possible way to read the contract (even if this way is unfair to the participant) that allows them to say that they aren't required to provide full-time employment, then they will interpret it that way.

As "Guest" in a previous post in this thread put it:

So you're currently in Phase II? And you're worried about what SMART will think if you get furloughed or otherwise re-assigned?

I doubt they will care much unless you lose your job. ...

Once you're in the DoD, SMART couldn't give two craps about what you do, so long as you stay there until the completion of Phase 2. ... They don't really care if you get furloughed, so long as you continue working.


This pretty much expresses how I predict the SMART Program will respond to any questions regarding the participants' requirements during the furlough.
Last edited by recipient99 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
recipient99
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:27 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby concerned_SMART » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:31 am

nettns wrote:So I've been trying to obtain a copy of my SF's MOU (the one that we have on site expired 2010) or some other document that outlines what that SF's responsible are to participants. I know what my responsibilities because I have my service agreement on hand.

What I'm trying to establish is: Does the SF agree with SMART to provide us with full-time employment? Would furlough put us below OPM's "full-time" status? Its described as 2080 paid hours per year. And ultimately, what would that mean for the service contract? Would SF be out of compliance with an agreement that they had signed?

It feels like I'm basically being brushed off by the new cohort admins.


It's a very good question. Anytime I have spoken with a CA about it, they say that I need to work it out with my SF. When I ask my SF about it, they tell me that it shouldn't be that big of a deal that I might be furloughed for 8 weeks out of my 1 year commitment.

It's incredibly frustrating to not be able to receive a sound answer from anyone about anything.
concerned_SMART
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:33 am

Re: Sequestration

Postby Phase II » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:02 pm

I came on board to my SF recently for phase II. Sequestration will take place next month, resulting in ~80% of originalpay. If your agency is having a hiring freeze, I would suggest you apply for jobs in industry. If the SF comes back within two years after you graduate, oh well, you will have to quit your industry job and accept the job offer or pay back the money. In terms of not getting furloughed for being a SMART scholar, I am not a lawyer, but very much doubt that anyone can get out of this unless they are emergency personnel or in a combat zone. To be honest though, the DoD is being as fair as they can be by furloughing everyone. Would you really want to be the new guy who gets full pay while the veterans get a20% cut? This would bread animosity towards you. My two cents...
Phase II
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby 2012_UMD » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:53 am

As a recent recipient, I was half expecting an email this week detailing the changes to the award due to sequestration, or at least a, "Your March payment has been indefinitely delayed." Luckily, nothing. If we get the April payment on time and in full, I think those of us still in Phase I will be in the clear.
2012_UMD
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby empty » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:33 pm

2012_UMD wrote:As a recent recipient, I was half expecting an email this week detailing the changes to the award due to sequestration, or at least a, "Your March payment has been indefinitely delayed." Luckily, nothing. If we get the April payment on time and in full, I think those of us still in Phase I will be in the clear.



I agree. I've been thinking, if the the program receives a 13% cut (which is across all departments in DoD), it should be able to finish off those "graduating" from phase 1 and, as long as no new SMART participants are entered into the program, maintain those already in phase 1.

I understand that a 13% cut to each department does not mean that our program itself will only be cut by 13%. I agree, if I get the first (April) ISP, I expect that our program will be alright for those continuing in phase 1.
empty
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Aug2013 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:10 pm

recipient99 wrote:
CMMMM wrote:I'm with you, but I'm not optimistic that the program is that reasonable. ... the DoD pays everyone to show up and surf the internets. Depressing, really...Accepting the SMART scholarship was mos def the worst move of my career.

Guest wrote:SMART couldn't give two craps about what you do.

guest4 wrote:I would love to get released. Anyone else with me?


I agree. These posts are gems that really encompass well the spirit of the SMART Program.

It saddens me to look over at the "General Questions and the Application" forum and see all the young talent getting enthusiastic about jumping on board.


I would like to add words of encouragement to all the yound talent by providing my personal experience as I am encouraging my son who accepted SMART scholarship. I am an immigrant and have good 25 years+ DoD electronics engineer career. I spoke very little English when I jointed DoD civilian workforce, but I was very good with numbers. In my early years, I did not have good jobs nor bosses, but many mature co-worker helped to understand that I can make thing better. I also had job that not required more than couple hours of work. I learned to speak up in non-complaining manner and took initiative to find work or propose value added work or move on. I worked as hardware designer, software developer, researcher, database modeling, technical contracting officer, system engineer, program manager, Information assurance architect, etc. I also realized that it was not about instant job satisfaction when work provided some small or large contribution to protect our soldier in harm way and keep our nation safe, and it is very good reason for me to go to work everyday. I was hope to retire as GS-13, and I am a GS-15 engineer.
Do what best for you, but please don't let one or two lousy jobs discourage you. You can take it as an opportunity to learn and improve system, process, project or organization or learn transferable skills such as communication, program planning, etc. DoD (government) needs smart people to acquire the needed state of the art capabilities to protect the nation and transfer them into commercial usage. It is fun to develop and test a particular technology, but it also fun to learn about many technologies, researches and concepts then to mature and apply them to create a full system or capability. With DoD funding, industry capability and academic knowledge, smart people like you can do so much for the nation safety, economy and health.
Guest_Aug2013
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby smart_hopeful » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:26 pm

fish_ wrote:@recipient99

you would have to take a poll to really know if that is the spirit of the SMART program participants.


I don't think I'll really be able to assess whether or not SMART was the right choice until I get hired by my SF full time (knock on wood), but so far I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the program. There's been glitches, delays, and the usual bureaucratic hiccups, but those are mostly just inconveniences. On the plus side, SMART has given me:

1. A substantial grad school salary increase.
2. An extremely interesting SF whose work makes good use of my degree.
3. A security clearance and work experience for the resume, if I decide I want to move on post-commitment.
4. A (sort-of) promise of a stable job in a terrible economy. (Again, knock on wood.)

Now 2-4 are heavily dependent on SF, I'm sure. But I have to say, so far I'd say it's been a very positive experience.
smart_hopeful
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Oct2013 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:20 pm

An extremely interesting SF whose work makes good use of my degree.


The other three points don't matter much if one gets stuck in a job he hates for over three years that doesn't utilize his educational background. This was the case for me. The SF pitched the job to me as if I'd be working on cutting-edge development, so there was no feasible way I could've known how bad it would be until I got there.

The increase in graduate salary didn't end up mattering much, either, because the pay at the SF was awful. I barely stayed sane during phase 2, but I managed to finish it and I am starting a new job soon. The pay at the new job, which is around the median for someone with my educational background and experience for the location in which I'll be, is almost 40% higher.

Now 2-4 are heavily dependent on SF...


Certainly, there are people who have gotten good work that they enjoy at their SF. For me personally looking back, if I had known that there was greater than a 5% chance of ending up in the nightmare that my SF turned out to be, I would've never accepted it. That the work was, for the most part, irrelevant to my educational background was not the worst part. Some of the people with whom I was stuck working - including the people above me - were unbelievably unprofessional. I am not exaggerating when I say that when I worked at McDonald's in high school, the employees there were in some ways more professional than the engineers with whom I worked in the government.

I sincerely hope that everyone else has a better experience at his SF than I've had. Let this be a warning, though, that there is the realistic chance that it will be a nightmare.
Guest_Oct2013
 

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