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United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

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Chief U.S. Probation Officer

Job ID: 53793
Job Views: 545
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois | View Profile
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Job Description:



The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is seeking a qualified individual for the position of Chief U.S. Probation Officer. The Chief U.S. Probation Officer is responsible for the administration and management of the federal probation office in the district. The Northern District of Illinois probation office has over one hundred officers and support staff in the Chicago headquarters, as well as in a divisional office in Rockford and a branch office in Lisle, Illinois. The office includes supervision of approximately 2,500 offenders, and the preparation of over 700 pre-sentence reports for the Court. This is a high-level management position that is under the administrative direction of the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court and general direction of the Clerk of Court.



The Chief U.S. Probation Officer performs duties required by the Court, including the following:

  • Organizes the probation office to ensure expeditious handling of investigative work for the courts, institutions, and parole authorities to include effective case supervision of probationers, parolees, and persons on supervised release.
  • Reviews, analyzes, and interprets statutory, Judicial Conference, and Parole Commission requirements for the administration of probation and parole services; promulgates policies, procedures, and guidelines necessary to meet these requirements.
  • Maintains administrative liaison with the court of jurisdiction to include promulgating policies, procedures, and guidelines to meet the unique needs of the court, along with standards to ensure an appropriate level of service delivery. Establishes and maintains cooperative relationships with other local court executives to ensure appropriate level of service delivery to the court.
  • Recommends candidates for appointment as Probation Officers to the Court, and appoints all non-officer personnel; provides specific recommendations to the court in all other personnel matters including promotions, salary increases, disciplinary actions, and dismissals within the probation office; ensures that all personnel are carefully selected and adequately trained; and makes certain the work of all subordinates is systematically evaluated.
  • Manages a staff of the office including all clerical, professional, supervisory, and administrative personnel.
  • Directs the Probation Office financial service functions including management of the annual budget and oversight of purchasing, contracting, and accounting functions in compliance with the U.S. Government and Judicial Branch regulations and controls.
  • Maintains regular contact with contract providers to ensure compliance with contractual agreements. Holds regularly scheduled meetings to assess offender and defendant process.
  • Makes estimates of personnel, space allocation, operating allowances, and other district needs; approves requisitions; certifies vouchers for payment; and maintains appropriate fiscal controls in all matters pertaining to travel expenses and purchases of services, equipment, and supplies.
  • Responsible for the oversight of the solicitation and implementation of contractual services for substance abuse and mental health treatment of clients.
  • Establishes and administers continuing in-service training programs to ensure high-quality service delivery through consistent staff development.
  • Maintains a system of communication, enabling awareness of pertinent information at all levels; delegates decision-making responsibility at appropriate levels; provides qualitative and quantitative measures of work performance; and assures accountability with minimal interference to service delivery.
  • Maintains liaison with the Chief Judge of the District Court and other District Judges; makes specific recommendations regarding court-related criminal justice issues with particular emphasis on matters relating to sound sentencing practices.
  • Establishes and maintains cooperative relationships with other probation and pretrial services offices to assure all requests for assistance from other districts are met promptly and effectively.
  • Establishes and maintains cooperative relationships with all components of the criminal justice system to include federal, state, and local law enforcement, correctional, and social service agencies.
  • Promotes and maintains conditions that encourage staff loyalty, enthusiasm, and morale.
  • Works with the Court’s Public Information Officer to develop and maintain a public relations program that explains probation, parole, and other correctional services to the community.
  • Responsible for understanding the space and facilities and security components of the Federal Judiciary and providing direct oversight of the office’s space and lease agreements.
  • Participate in leadership opportunities outside the Northern District of Illinois to support national efforts to improve the administration of justice.
  • Utilize evidence-based principles to consistently evaluate and improve organizational performance.
  • Monitors community events and issues with special attention on alleviating hazardous office and field incidents.
  • Performs related duties as required by the court.



To qualify for the position of Chief Probation Officer, a person must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and possess three years of progressively responsible specialized experience earned after the bachelor’s degree has been issued. A minimum of three years of specialized experience is mandatory and does not permit any substitutions.

To qualify for a position of Chief U.S. Probation Officer above JSP-15, a person must, in addition to three years of progressively responsible specialized experience, possess three years of substantial management experience earned after the bachelor’s degree has been issued. Preference will be given to applicants with an advanced degree.


Specialized experience is defined as progressively responsible experience in the investigation, supervision, counseling and guidance of offenders in community correction or probation programs, preferably at the federal level. Three years of successful experience as a supervisor or a manager may be substituted for the requirement of a year at the next lower level of specialized experience. Experience in police officer, FBI agent, customs agent, marshal or similar positions does not meet the requirements of specialized experience, unless it is criminal investigative experience. Specialized experience must be earned after the bachelor’s degree has been granted.


There is no “maximum entry age” for this position; however, in order to be included under federal law enforcement officer retirement provisions, an individual would have to meet “maximum entry age” provisions as follows: First time appointees to positions covered under law enforcement officer retirement provisions must not have reached their 37th birthday at the time of appointment. For an applicant with previous law enforcement officer (LEO) experience under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and who have either a subsequent break in service or intervening service in a non-law enforcement officer position, the maximum entry age is increased by adding the number of years of previous law enforcement experience to 37. For example, a candidate with five years of creditable previous law enforcement experience, the maximum entry age would be 42. To qualify for coverage under the law enforcement provision of the federal retirement system, there are mandatory retirement requirements that apply.


An advanced degree is preferred. Substantial knowledge of and experience in the operations and management of federal probation and pretrial services. Knowledge of federal judiciary strategic direction, policies, and procedures. Knowledge of the U.S. Sentencing guidelines, applicable statutes and case law, and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Knowledge of evidence-based practices and re-entry initiatives, which clearly link to current and future operations and activities. Experience and tenure in leading teams, managing budgets and financial plans, leading large multifaceted projects, evaluating work processes and organizational impact, re-engineering or creating new organizational models, and planning and implementing organizational change.

Ability to effectively interact with Judges, the legal community, and other law enforcement, corrections, and service providing agencies. Displays executive leadership, vision, and innovation. Skill in operational leadership, strong analytical skills, and excellent oral and written communication skills. Ability to learn and adapt to change while leading an organization, to get the results under challenging conditions and inspires others to perform at a high level. Exhibits a presence that builds confidence in others. Possesses the ability to think through problems from a fresh point of view and is comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, and explaining his or her ideas and thoughts with others. Highly organized and possesses tact, good judgement, poise, initiative, and maintains a professional demeanor.


Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents seeking U.S. citizenship. Noncitizens must execute an affidavit indicating their intent to apply for citizenship when they become eligible to do so. Judiciary employees serve under excepted appointments and are considered “at-will” and may be terminated with or without cause or notice by the Court with the exception of U.S. Probation Officers who are “for cause.”

This is a high-sensitive position, which will require the final candidate to undergo a full government background investigation, including criminal history, FBI Fingerprinting, and drug testing. All officer staff are subject to periodic re-investigations and drug testing, as well as annual financial disclosure reports. Employment is provisional and contingent upon a successful background check.

Prior to appointment, the selectee considered for this position may undergo a medical examination and drug screening. Upon successful completion of the medical examination and drug screening, the selectee may then be appointed provisionally, pending a favorable suitability determination by the court. In addition, as a condition of employment, incumbent will be subject to ongoing random drug screening, updated background investigations every five years and, as deemed necessary by management for reasonable cause, may be subject to subsequent fitness-for-duty evaluations. The medical requirements for law enforcement officers and officer assistant positions are available for viewing on the United States Courts website.

The United States Probation Office requires employees to adhere to a code of conduct that is available upon request.



Qualified applicants are invited to submit: 1.) A cover letter of two pages or less that outlines your management philosophy and addresses the knowledge, skills and experience you possess to perform the duties of the Chief U.S. Probation Officer, 2.) A detailed resume including education, previous employment, and salary history, and 3.) A list with contact information of three professional and three personal references. If you are selected for an interview, references may be contacted prior to the interview. The Court reserves the right to contact additional references or references other than those provided by the applicant. The Court will appoint the new Chief U.S. Probation Officer on January 1, 2019. The successful candidate may be required to be on board as a designee on November 26, 2018 in order to allow for an orderly transition.

All applications and associated documentation must be submitted no later than August 31, 2018 through the Court’s online application website; any documentation received outside of the online application system will not be reviewed.  All applications must be submitted through the U.S. District Court’s application website at: Chief Probation Officer Application

The applicants deemed most qualified will be invited to participate in a personal interview at their own expense. The Court will not be responsible for expenses associated with traveling for interviews. Relocation expenses may be authorized under certain conditions. Candidates who are not selected for an interview will be notified of such at the conclusion of the recruitment process.

The Court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this job announcement, or to withdraw the announcement, without prior written or other notice.

The position is subject to the mandatory electronic fund transfer (EFT) participation for payment of net pay (i.e. Direct Deposit).


The Northern District of Illinois is home to the five largest cities in Illinois: Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, and Naperville. Also known as “The Windy City,” Chicago is the third most populous city in the U.S. with over 2.7 million inhabitants and nearly 10 million people living in the Chicago metropolitan area. With Lake Michigan as its eastern border, Chicago covers more than 237 square miles.

Chicago is home to numerous museums and cultural institutions including Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium. A center of art and culture, Chicago has over 200 theaters, nearly 200 art galleries, and more than 7,300 restaurants.

Known for its magnificent skyline, Chicago is home to buildings designed by some of the world’s most renowned architects including Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe, who designed the Dirksen Courthouse.

Major Chicago universities include University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University, University of Illinois Chicago, DePaul University and Illinois Institute of Technology. Professional Chicago sports teams include the Bulls (NBA), Sky (WNBA), Bears (NFL), Cubs (MLB), White Sox (MLB), Fire (MLS), Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and Red Stars (NWSL). Chicago is a major world finance center. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are within blocks of the Courthouse. The Northern District of Illinois is home to three international airports including O’Hare International Airport, among the busiest airports in the world.

The United States Courts is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



Employees of the United States Probation Office are not subject to the regulation of the Civil Service Commission. They are, however, federal employees of the Judicial Branch and are entitled to most of the same benefits as other federal government employees.

  • Up to 13 days paid vacation per year for the first 3 years of employment, thereafter, 20 to 26 days per year, dependent upon the length of federal service. When computing leave accrual and retirement benefits, time in service with other federal agencies, as well as time for prior military service is taken into consideration.
  • Mandatory participation in the federal retirement system and social security program.
  • Optional participation in the federal health insurance program of your choice.
  • Optional participation in the flexible spending program for health and childcare.
  • Optional participation in the commuter reimbursement program.
  • Optional participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k)).
  • Access to an Infant Care and Toddler Care Center (near the building), and a Fitness Center (onsite).
  • A Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available to certain full-time employees with qualifying student loans.
  • A minimum of 10 paid holidays per year.

Amount of Pay:


Frequency of Pay:

per year

Total Years of Relevant Experience:



Leadership/Managerial Supervisory









Application Deadline: