Administrative Services

The Office of Administration provides a comprehensive range of services in support of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center's mission and staff. The office manages Center hiring and personnel issues, grants, procurement and property, safety, facilities, small boats, and staff training.

Administration specialists help PIFSC announce and fill vacancies for federal positions in Center programs; manage the orderly entry of personnel to the Center's workforce, and their departure; ensure accurate and timely accounting of staff work time and attendance; and handle other personnel issues in cooperation with NOAA's Workforce Management Office. In 2009, the Center posted announcements of 19 recruitment actions resulting in 11 recruitments during the year; several other selections will be made in the first quarter of 2010.

Members of the Administration staff manage grants and cooperative agreements supporting research and related activities for protected species, coral reefs, fisheries, oceanography, aquaculture, and other areas of scientific research critical to the NOAA mission. In 2009, the Center submitted, processed and ensured obligation of all grants, totaling more than $11 million, ahead of schedule. The Center was an active partner in the Pacific Region Grants Cooperative group which sponsored grant management training, grant writing training, and the annual convention of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement in Honolulu.

Our procurement specialists help Center staff obtain services, supplies, and equipment they need to meet program requirements and achieve operational goals. We strive to process invoices quickly, so contractors and vendors are paid promptly, and to record transaction accounting data accurately. We monitor the Center's equipment inventory and ensure the accurate and timely accounting of all property. In 2009, the Center executed $6.4 M in procurement actions, a 28% increase over the previous year.

The Facilities Program is responsible for maintaining Center facilities and recording and reporting material deficiencies to NOAA Fisheries facility program managers. Administration staff actively monitor the condition of PIFSC facilities and coordinate with the Center's Safety Officer and Executive Officer to identify needed repairs or improvements, determine costs, and ensure proper completion of maintenance work orders. In 2009, we began or completed several key facilities improvement projects, including exterior painting of the main office building on Dole Street, installation of a new awning over the walkway at the Dole Street office building, replacement of doors at Dole Street, installation of an office trailer at Dole Street, acquisition of space at the Kapiolani Boulevard office building, and replacement of two office trailers at the Kewalo Research Facility.

The Safety and Environmental Compliance Program helps ensure that PIFSC research programs and activities are conducted in ways that minimize injuries to employees and adverse impacts on the environment, in keeping with federal rules and regulations. The program manages facility compliance inspections and safety training and promotes behavioral changes in Center staff to reduce injuries and adverse environmental impacts. In 2009, recommendations were provided to planners of the NOAA Pacific Regional Center to ensure that the design of the new NOAA campus on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, meets safety and environmental impact standards.

The Boating Safety Program is responsible for ensuring PIFSC compliance with NOAA policies related to boats and skiffs. The program maintains an up-to-date PIFSC vessel policy, conducts boat and water safety training for Center staff, and manages the PIFSC small boat fleet. The program coordinates with Center research divisions conducting boating operations and provides assistance and guidance to them on boating and safety issues. The Center continues to be a leader in the NOAA Small Boat training program, with the Center's Line Office Small Boat Officer (LOSBO) serving as west coast representative on the NOAA Small Boat Safety Board. The LOSBO also chairs a working group to determine NOAA Fisheries boat training needs and is drafting a 5-year plan to develop and implement an agency-wide boating training program. During 2009, the Boating Safety Program also conducted Surf Rescue Boat training, Advanced Coxswain training, and Motorboat Operator Certification Course training.

The PIFSC Office of Administration also coordinates and tracks training and professional development activities of Center managers and staff and provides guidance and training on equal employment opportunity matters. During 2009, the Office of Administration sponsored several activities to encourage diversity in the workplace, including participation by 20 staff members in the International Women's Conference and participation in college job fairs. PIFSC also conducted training sessions on contract administration, travel management, and personal safety awareness. The Center served as a focal point for coordination of shared training opportunities with other NOAA components.

Regular training keeps administrative staff abreast of new agency policies, procedures, and requirements.
Regular training keeps administrative staff abreast of new agency policies, procedures, and requirements.

Key Activities/Issues

  • PIFSC supports a large multiyear cooperative agreement with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research. The current agreement was scheduled to expire in June 2009. Accordingly, the Center devoted considerable effort to assessing progress and spending plans in anticipation of a close-out. However, the agreement has been extended to September 2011. A new cooperative agreement will be established in the coming year.
  • PIFSC continues to deal with the problems of maintaining aging facilities and providing adequate work space to accommodate a growing staff.
  • Forecasting a significant increase in the Center's budget and associated growth in acquisitions and grants, the Office of Administration created a new acquisitions and grants group and a new supervisory position to lead the group. The group is well positioned to meet the Center's expanded requirements.
  • Preparations continue for the movement of staff and equipment to the NOAA Pacific Regional Center's warehouse science support facility (Building 130), scheduled for early 2011.

Center's Small-boat Program Vital to Research in Nearshore Habitats

Center's Small-boat Program Vital to Research in Nearshore Habitats

The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center relies primarily on large NOAA ships, like the Oscar Elton Sette, for open ocean studies, monk seal research in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and coral reef research across the Pacific Islands Region. But recently expanded research on marine mammals, bottomfish, and other marine life in nearshore habitats, particularly short-range studies in the main Hawaiian Islands, has created a greater need for smaller, more agile vessels capable of working in coastal waters. Accordingly, the Center has recently instituted a program to manage use of small research vessels. The Center maintains several vessels in the 15-25 ft range and charters larger craft as needed.

Small-boat operations are overseen by Chad Yoshinaga in the Center's Administrative Services group. Chad developed comprehensive guidelines for small vessel deployment, safety, and reporting. He ensures that small-boat users are capable boat handlers and are fully trained in NOAA and PIFSC small-boat policies and safety practices. All small boats used, including chartered vessels, must meet strict NOAA requirements for safety. Chief scientists in charge of extended small-boat field operations are governed by Center-approved Mission Plans and must submit Mission Reports upon completion of their cruise. Chad created a Web page on the Center's Intranet to post small-boat guidelines, Mission Plans, and Mission Reports. He conducts regular trainings for Center staff likely to be engaged in small-boat operations.

The data collected from the small-boat platforms are essential for the analysis and assessment of insular marine ecosystems and habitats. During 2009, small boats were deployed in the main Hawaiian Islands to survey cetaceans, study monk seals, map the seabed, and observe bottomfish. Several small boats were used to assess marine debris and coral reef damage in the wake of a major tsunami that struck American Samoa in September 2009.

Last updated July 26 2011