Current Openings

August 15, 2023



Administrative Officer – Seattle, Washington


Position No.                                        23-02

Announced:                                         August 15, 2023

Preferred Application Deadline:         September 15, 2023; open until filled


The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington is hiring an Administrative Officer, a high-level position that reports to the Federal Defender. The Administrative Officer manages the administration and operations in support of two law offices, 60+ staff and interns, and our mission of providing diligent, zealous, and respectful criminal defense representation.


The Administrative Officer is a one-of-a-kind position. We are looking for a leader who can act independently, manage finite resources effectively, and understand the relationship between Federal Public Defender offices and the U.S. Court system. The Administrative Officer supervises at least three staff members with administrative, financial, or information technology responsibilities. The starting salary range is $129,451 to $152,268 (Grade 14, Step 1 to Grade 15, Step 1) based on the Judicial Salary Plan effective January 2, 2023. Salary matching may be available up to the current maximum of $183,500 (Grade 15, Step 10).


Responsibilities: The Administrative Officer acts as the principal advisor to the Federal Defender on all aspects of office administration and management, and ensures compliance with national and local policies by acquiring knowledge of current requirements and staying informed of changes to the Guide to Judiciary Policy, the Defender Services Operations Manual, applicable state and federal statutes, GSA rules and regulations, and directives from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Defender Services Office, GSA, and other agencies as needed.


              General administration, management, and supervision:

  • Directly assists with day-to-day operations, process improvement, policy development, and short- and long-term strategic planning.
  • Supervises and directs administrative, financial, human resources, and IT functions.
  • Works to recognize issues and improve office management, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • Develops and maintains internal controls to ensure adequate separation of duties exists for financial, procurement, property management, and human resource functions.


              Budget and financial management:

  • Manages financial operations, develops spending plans, and oversees accounting functions, including the disbursement of appropriate funds.
  • Formulates the annual budget, develops caseload projections, analyzes staffing needs and resource allocation, and prepares hiring plans.
  • Prepares monthly variance reports, status of funds reports, and workload reports for review and approval by the Federal Defender.


 Human resources and personnel management:

  • Advises on staffing, position classification and compensation, employee performance and evaluation, dispute resolution, benefits administration, and personnel policies.
  • Develops strategies to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
  • Collaborates on a comprehensive onboarding program for all new employees and interns, and facilitates offboarding and exit interviews.
  • Conducts performance evaluations for administrative staff.


              Procurement of government goods and services:

  • Determines the need for, and directs procurement of, supplies, equipment, furnishings, and professional services in compliance with judiciary procurement policy.
  • Trains and supervises employees responsible for various procurement duties.


              Property management:

  • Collaborates with case management, custodial, disposal, and procurement administrators to manage records storage systems and accountable property inventories.
  • Prepares for a Seattle office remodel and space refresh project in 2024.


The Administrative Officer provides mentorship, ensures employees are adequately trained to perform their assigned duties, and manages leave and attendance. The position requires frequent travel between the Seattle and Tacoma offices and occasional out-of-district travel for attendance at administrative, case management, and/or financial conferences.


Qualifications: The Federal Defender seeks an Administrative Officer who is a trusted and reliable individual with a heart for public service, uses good judgment, and appreciates the importance of diversity and teamwork. The Administrative Officer must be able to work individually and collaboratively and perform their responsibilities with a strong sense of ethics and integrity. They understand and value well-run administration; budget and financial management; human resources; information technology, space, and facilities management; and procurement, property, and records management.


The successful Administrative Officer is a self-starter and innovative thinker who identifies issues and works to resolve them. If they don’t know the answer to a question, they pursue self-education and seek assistance until they do. They are organized and able to handle multiple tasks. They are dedicated to serving clients by supporting the office as a whole. They are respectful to their colleagues and show appreciation for their roles. Above all, they maintain high standards for treating clients and colleagues with empathy and understanding.


Requirements: The successful candidate should have at least three years’ general experience and three years’ specialized experience in public administration, office management, or a related field. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, or meet the requirements of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Offers are contingent upon applicants being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of hire date. As a condition of employment, candidates must be fingerprinted and complete a background check. A prior criminal conviction is not necessarily disqualifying. Partial telework is available for this position. Full-time telework is not.


Salary and Benefits: This position has a starting salary range of $129,451 to $152,268 (Grade 14, Step 1 to Grade 15, Step 1) based on the Judicial Salary Plan effective January 2, 2023. The full performance salary range extends to $183,500 (Grade 15, Step 10). Salary will be based on professional experience and the number of positions supervised. Benefits include health, long-term care, and life insurance, plus 11 paid federal holidays, 13 days of paid sick leave, and 13 days of paid vacation leave annually. (The rate of vacation accrual increases with years of service.) The position is eligible for the Federal Employees Retirement System and the Thrift Savings Plan, which matches up to 5% of employee contributions. Salary is paid biweekly and only by direct deposit.


Office Information: The Western Washington Federal Public Defender office was established in 1975. We provide legal counsel for low-income individuals who face federal criminal prosecutions in our district, which covers the area west of the Cascade Mountains from Oregon to the Canadian border. Our attorneys represent clients at all stages of proceedings including pre-charge, at trial, on appeal, and post-conviction. Our staff of 54 employees includes administrators, attorneys, case managers, investigators, paralegals, and social workers. We also have an active Criminal Justice Act (CJA) program that provides support and training to private attorneys appointed to represent low-income clients.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Our office values diversity, is committed to equity and inclusion, and aspires to create a culture of mutual respect, collaboration, openness, and humility that honors the people we represent. We believe representation is better when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. We seek a supervisor who shares this belief and commitment. We embrace the unique contributions our employees can bring to the office because of their backgrounds, social identities, and lived experiences.


How to Apply: Qualified persons are encouraged to apply. Please submit a letter of interest, detailed résumé, and two work references (including names, addresses, and phone numbers) to:

Colin Fieman
Federal Public Defender

Attn. Human Resources


Please submit application materials as a combined PDF via email to wawpersonnel@fd.org and reference “Administrative Officer” in the subject line. The position is open until filled. Priority is given to applications received by September 15, 2023.