So, the Federal Railroad Administration is out to hire a Senior Project Manager for the California High-Speed Rail Corridor. What does that mean?
It means a number of things. But, let's get right to the heart of the issue. This is a political move; they are calling in public relations reinforcements as the clock ticks toward the November elections next year. While this job obviously is not defined in public relations terms, it is nationally well known that the California High-Speed Rail Project is in deep doo-doo.
The Obama Administration cannot lose California's HSR project. Three state (Republican) Governors have already rejected the high-speed rail seed money from Washington. That was a slap in Obama's face. The White House cannot tolerate one more such insult, especially from the largest and most Democratic state in the Union.
The Department of Transportation has been putting all its eggs in the one Amtrak basket when it comes to passenger rail. That's all there is. And it isn't good. Amtrak drains billions each year and has a terrible reputation.
So, what's the good news that this Administration can take to the polls next November? High-Speed Rail, of course. "Winning the Future." Catching up with Europe, Japan and China. Becoming Numero Uno again.
This appointment is Senior Executive Service Level (SES) and for three years. It's a DOT "troop surge." It's not just another Civil Service position to protect the federal government's interests while the battle between the people of California and its governor, and HSR project increase in visibility and intensity.
In the federal bureaucracy, this is a big deal. (You can ask a former GS-14 about this; namely me.) The recent lawsuit and the LAO Report doubtlessly contributed to the urgency of this posting.
The last thing this Administration needs is ridicule from the Republicans because a "visionary" vanity program has been rejected by the people. "Boondoggle." "Train to Nowhere." Secretary Ray LaHood has the challenging assignment of saving the California rail project going into the election. It's as simple as that.
I would not be surprised if a few million additional federal dollars showed up on our door for Christmas, and another few next spring. It will keep the support-fires for HSR smoldering without going out during the election cycle.
Subject: SES Vacancy Announcement - FRA - Senior Project Manager for California High Speed Rail Corridor
This is to notify you of an executive leadership vacancy in the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Office of Railroad Policy and Development.
We want to attract a diverse pool of candidates from within and outside the government who can bring strong executive skills to the position of:
Senior Project Manager for California High-Speed Rail Corridor, ES-0343
This is a Limited Term SES Appointment NTE 3 years with a duty station in Sacramento, CA.
The Senior Project Manager for California High-Speed Rail Corridor will provide project management guidance, oversight, training and technical assistance in support of grantees and other rail stakeholders that are responsible for the development and construction of California’s High Speed Train System; one of the largest public works projects undertaken in the United States.
The ideal candidate will have strong leadership competencies, experience in the development and execution of mega rail transportation projects with solid knowledge of innovative financing, particularly with public/private partnerships. Further, the candidate will have strong communication skills to effectively present and articulate project goals, metrics and outcomes between local, state and Federal governments, as well as within the rail and intercity ground transportation communities.
If you know someone who has outstanding leadership qualities and may be interested in this critical position, please encourage them to apply for this vacancy. The vacancy announcement can be found on Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS web link at:
As the Senior Project Manager for California High-Speed Rail Corridor, you will:
Provide project management guidance, oversight, training and technical assistance in support of grantees and other rail stakeholders that are responsible for the development and construction of California's High Speed Train System; one of the largest public works projects undertaken in the United States. The System is an 800-mile high-speed rail between the Bay Area, the Central Valley, Sacramento, and Southern California that will be grade-separated from road vehicle traffic and operated almost exclusively on separate, dedicated tracks with operating speeds of up to 220 mph in rural areas and 90-125 mph in urban areas.
You will lead FRA's coordination and oversight of the project management life-cycle ensuring efficient systems planning and development, satisfaction of environmental requirements, development of comprehensive financial and operating plans, best practices in project delivery - including scope, schedule and budget compliance - and effective integration among projects. You will provide executive supervision and guidance over the performance of duties and responsibilities of FRA staff and will serve as the principal advisor to the Administrator and other senior-level officials on issues related to mega project management and oversight of the California High Speed Rail Corridor.
Thank you for your assistance.
Federal Railroad Administration