Job Details

Director, City of San José's Office of Communications
City of San Jose, CA
Job Description

This is an exceptional opportunity for a sharp, savvy, and seasoned communicator to use everything in their communications toolkit to creatively, strategically, and effectively lead the City’s communications teams to successfully reach the City’s diverse audiences and achieve its goals.

Known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” the City of San José plays a vital economic and cultural role anchoring the world’s leading region of innovation. Encompassing 178 square miles at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay, San José is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world, including major tech headquarters like Cisco, Adobe, Samsung, PayPal, and eBay as well as start-ups and advanced manufacturing.

San José’s quality of life is unsurpassed. Surrounded by the Diablo and Santa Cruz mountain ranges and enjoying an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, residents have easy access to the beaches along the California coast including Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Carmel; Yosemite and Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada; local and Napa Valley wine country, and the rich cultural and recreational life of the entire Bay region.

San José has received accolades for its vibrant neighborhoods, healthy lifestyle, and diverse attractions from national media including Business Week and Money magazines. The downtown area is home to high-rise residential projects, theaters, museums, and diverse entertainment attractions such as live music, live theater, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs. Inquiring minds are served by the Tech Interactive museum, the San José Museum of Art, and many local galleries and venues. Nineteen public school districts and over 300 private and parochial schools provide residents with a range of educational choices. Universities in and near the city include San José State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, and three University of California campuses.

In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040. The Plan proactively directs significant anticipated growth in new homes and workplaces into transit-accessible, infill growth areas and supports evolution toward a more urban landscape and lifestyle. The San José area is powered by one of the most highly educated and productive populations in America. More than 40% of the workforce has a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 25% nationally, while 40% of San José residents are foreign born, and 50% speak a language other than English at home.

San José is proud of its rich cultural diversity and global connections, and the essential role the City plays in connecting residents and businesses to the nation and the world.

The City of San José is a full-service Charter City and currently operates under a hybrid Council-Manager form of government. The City Council consists of 10 Council Members elected by district and a Mayor elected at-large. The City Manager, who reports to the Council, and the executive team provide strategic leadership that supports the policy-making role of the Mayor and the City Council and motivates and challenges the organization to deliver high quality services that meet the community’s needs. The City actively engages with the community through Council-appointed boards, commissions, and project-specific engagement opportunities.

In addition to providing a full range of municipal services including police and fire, San José operates an international airport, municipal water system, a regional wastewater treatment facility, over 200 neighborhood and regional parks, an accredited zoo, and a library system with 24 branches. The City also oversees convention, cultural, and hospitality facilities that include the San José McEnery Convention Center, Center for the Performing Arts, California Theater, Mexican Heritage Plaza, and the SAP Center at San José – home of the NHL’s San José Sharks.

The City Manager’s Office has overall responsibility for the day-to-day oversight and management of 14 City departments. City operations are supported by approximately 6,600 full time equivalent positions and a total budget of over $4 billion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The Director of Communications is a member of the City Manager’s Executive Leadership Team, leads the Communications Office in the City Manager’s Office, and guides the communications of the City’s departments, and supports the Mayor’s Public Information Office (PIO). San José is dedicated to maintaining the highest fiscal integrity and earning high credit ratings to ensure the consistent delivery of quality services to the community. Extensive information regarding San José can be found on the City’s website at

You will be responsible for the strategic leadership and professional support for Citywide communications programs and campaigns; coordinating with the Mayor’s PIO on external communications; developing and carrying out comprehensive communications strategies and resources; and, counseling, coaching, and provide leadership to the coordination of the decentralized communications of City departments and services that range from an airport to a zoo.

You will identify and promote the City’s achievements, innovations, and public policy and service goals across all appropriate channels. These include supporting the City Manager with news media of all types, speaking opportunities and thought leader programs, presentations, direct mail, advertising, special events, and the entire realm of communications technologies including web content, social media, and audio visual.

In the event of an emergency, you are also a key member of the Emergency Operations Center management team, serving as the Emergency Public Information Officer. This role is critical in ensuring that San José residents, and City employees, receive critical and accurate information quickly and in multiple languages to ensure their safety.

You will also ensure that the City continues its strong commitment to governmental transparency and responsiveness to news media and the community that is essential for building and maintaining the public trust through effective two-way communications.

You have a successful record of developing and managing comprehensive communications and marketing programs, ideally in large and complex organizations or in a local government setting. You have strong analytical skills and are comfortable with data, detail, policy, and research. You can demonstrate that you’re practical and resourceful in finding effective ways to tell the City’s story in the right way for the right audience at the right time.

Naturally, you are an outstanding communicator. That means you can write persuasively in multiple formats under deadline, edit with confidence, and ensure quality, accuracy, and clarity. You also have a strong commitment to language access and communicating in the many languages of our community.

You’re completely comfortable with preparing and executing communications strategies using all channels, platforms, and technology, including owned, paid, shared, and earned media. You have exceptional interpersonal, speaking, and training skills, and you can relate well to people of all types, levels, and backgrounds, which is especially important for the diverse communities of San José.

You have an unimpeachable commitment to integrity, and you’re comfortable speaking truth to power, listening to divergent opinions, and finding practical paths through resistance and opposition to reach solutions.

You’re able to take charge of complex projects and manage politically sensitive or controversial issues to successful conclusions; you’re knowledgeable and creative about emerging technology to achieve communications goals. You are curious and have a strong desire to learn, grow, and challenge the status quo with facts, reason, and passion.

And, you have a thirst for public service, a broad knowledge of public policy, a deep understanding and experience with news media, and a dedication to help improve the quality of life for the people of San José.

A Bachelor's Degree in public administration, business administration, or a discipline related to the business performed by the department, and six (6) years of professional administrative experience for a major corporate or governmental entity, and must have managed a public education and information program for an extensive period of time.

Bilingual and bi-cultural in Spanish or Vietnamese is preferable.

The current annual salary range for this position is $147,960.112 - $230,920.533. The salary is supplemented by an attractive benefits package that includes but is not limited to:

Retirement – Competitive defined benefit retirement plan with full reciprocity with CalPERS; defined contribution plan available as an option.

Health Insurance – The City contributes 85% towards the premium for the lowest-priced non-deductible plan. Several plan options are available.

Dental Insurance – The City contributes 100% of the premium of the lowest-priced plan for dental coverage.

Personal Time Off – Vacation is accrued initially at the rate of three weeks per year with amounts increasing up to five weeks after 15 years of service. Executive Leave of 40 hours is granted annually. Sick Leave is accrued at the rate of eight hours per month.

Holidays – The City observes 14 paid days annually.

Deferred Compensation – The City offers an optional 457 plan.

Flexible Spending Accounts – The City participates in Dependent Care Assistance and Medical Reimbursement Programs.

Life Insurance – The City provides a term life insurance policy equal to two times annual salary. Long-term disability and AD&D plans are optional.

Employee Assistance Program – The City provides a comprehensive range of services through the EAP.

Vehicle Allowance – The City provides a vehicle allowance of $350 per month.

The final filing date is 11:59pm PST on Sunday, November 8, 2020.

To be considered for this exceptional career opportunity, please submit an electronic version of your cover letter and resume to Anna Szabo, Senior Executive Analyst, via email at Resume should reflect years and months of employment, beginning/ending dates as well as size of staff and budgets you have managed. Please also submit thoughtful responses to the following questions:

1. Tell us about your proudest accomplishment in the area of public education.
2. What would you hope to accomplish in your first year at the City of San José?
3. Who are the most important stakeholders when developing inclusive messaging and campaigns in San José?
4. Describe your experience in developing and distributing emergency communications.

Resumes will be screened in relation to the criteria outlined in this brochure. Candidates deemed to have the most relevant qualifications will be invited to virtual panel interviews via Zoom. The final candidate(s) will then meet in person with the City Manager and members of his Senior Staff. An appointment will be made following comprehensive reference and background checks.

The City of San José is an equal opportunity employer.

Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. Please be informed that the City of San José will not sponsor, represent, or sign any documents related to visa application/transfers for H1-B or any other type of visa the requires an employee application.

Job Details
$147,960 - $230,920
Job Function:
Other, Department Head/Director
Position Type:
Full Time
City of San Jose
150 E San Fernando ST
San Jose, CA 95112-3580
United States
Population: 1,033,000
Form of Government: Council-Manager

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