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									Response to NFFE Inquiry to the Field on GS-0401 FPM                                          Log 4

I wanted to respond to the email circulating on how the OPM decision affected me and my future career
with the agency:

Though not currently in the 0401 series, I will someday be required to meet the requirement for
advancement in fire management. Through course work at [redacted] and NWCG courses I had obtained
12 of the 24 required credit hours. After the OPM ruling I was knocked back to basically having 3 credit
hours that counted towards the 0401 series.

IFPM is a great idea and IQCS standards should apply. To a certain extent some educational
requirements make sense but not what is what in place now. I look at it this way....does it make more
sense for a fire management employee to attend a NWCG course such as S-490 Advanced Fire Behavior
or attend a college class to obtain a Firearms Instructor Certification? The first doesn't count towards the
401 series but the later gives you 2 credit hours that count towards the 401 series. What course is more
beneficial to the agency and employee? Which one makes more fiscal sense to attend? Does this make
sense? Does anything any more?

The hard cold fact is that the 0401 series is a catch all series. We (fire management) were never asked
what series would work well for us, nor were we asked what requirements should be placed in those
positions. Perhaps I missed that email or conference call. Does a biological scientist position make
sense or would it have been better served to enter us into the 0081 professional firefighter series and
develop new PDs within that series for wildland firefighters? My humble opinion is that the IFPM
development panel and agencies took the easy way out.

Getting the OPM decision overturned would be beneficial to all of us, but that isn't the real problem. The
real problem is that we (wildland firefighters both technicians and professionals) aren't working in a series
designed for us. If that isn't the case, then our law enforcement officers should be 0462 series forestry
technicians and our patrol captains 0401 series biological scientists.

We are losing sight of the original intent of IFPM....and only focusing on the educational requirements. I
would much rather have a 55 year old FMO with a high school education and years of experience making
fireline decisions then a 26 year old FMO with a bachelors degree and 3-4 years firefighting experience.
If anyone answers that question without picking the 55 year old place send them out to the fireline and let
them work for the person with less experience.

I know that this email may come across harsh and possibly rash, but people need to hear it.


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