Harris County seeks a strong leader and change agent with proven experience improving performance in a large local government to plan, direct and manage the activities, programs and services of the Community Services Department (CSD) as the department’s Executive Director.
Under the guidance and supervision of Harris County Commissioners Court, the Executive Director of Community Services will guide policy implementation through planning and delivery of a variety of community support services that primarily seek to serve the county’s low- and moderate-income residents (recent Census data indicate that 16.5 percent of Harris County residents live in poverty), historically underserved populations, vulnerable communities and people in crisis. The successful incumbent is expected to enhance the County’s focus and success regarding equity and resiliency in delivering community-focused services to diverse populations.
As currently organized, CSD services encompass two general business lines – direct services (e.g, transit and social services) and capital investment (e.g., deployment of federal community development funds). The Department’s Executive Director is responsible for fiscal management, program planning and evaluation across CSD’s seven divisions: human resources, general services, financial services, community development, social services, transit services and disaster recovery. Additionally, CSD has a prominent role with County participation in the U.S. Census, and is in the process of developing an immigrant legal services program. CSD has more than 300 staff and anticipates total FY 2020-21 resources of $420.1 million, most of which is from external sources; only $12.4 million of the department’s anticipated current fiscal year funding is from the County’s general fund.
Almost 90 percent of CSD’s current-year resources are U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) disaster recovery funds. The department plays a central role in Harris County’s recovery from hurricanes and other disasters, including working with state and federal agencies and local partners to administer Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) housing funds through delivery to homeowners and housing developers. The importance of this role is heightened by the incidence of multiple flooding disasters over the past seven years, highlighted by Hurricane Harvey’s devastating floods in 2017. The department’s disaster recovery staff in 2016 totaled five; that number grew to more than 70 positions in three years.
CSD is also responsible for managing the County’s annual allotment of CDBG/HOME funds for a service area that includes unincorporated areas of the county along with 12 smaller non-entitlement cities that do not receive resources directly from HUD. This creates the potential for Harris County to be a national leader in housing-related services such as development of new affordable homes and other housing-related services. CSD’s new director will be expected to contribute to this through key initiatives including an ongoing County-led housing policy working group that includes the City of Houston, community organizations an advocates, as well as a joint housing plan being developed in partnership with the City of Houston.
CSD also utlizes CDBG funds for capital investment in public facilities and infrastructure. Additionally, the department provides programming for youth, senior citizens, veterans and the homeless population; limited transportation services to county residents; and emergency utility and rent assistance. Additionally, the department maintains a Housing and Community Resource Center offering information on fair housing, homebuying assistance, emergency shelter and similar support services. Through the Harris County Bereavement Program, CSD ensures that deceased individuals without financial means have access to a dignified funeral service and burial.
The Executive Director will be expected to lead and support the execution of key strategic priorities for the Commissioners Court; this may involve activities including initiation of strategic planning, development of performance metrics, and departmental reorganization/restructuring. The Executive Director must be able to rely on his or her management experience and judgment in leading CSD’s development and improvement, while also having the capacity to exercise a wide degree of latitude and creativity in identifying, planning for, and accomplishing agency goals. This position will require frequent interaction with the public; community and civic organizations; appointed and elected officials at the local, state and federal levels; and other County departments, local governments and key stakeholders and partners in the public, private and non-profit spheres.
OVERVIEW OF HARRIS COUNTY
Harris County is the third-largest county in the country. Its population of more than 4.5 million rivals that of the entire state of Colorado. Harris County is governed by Harris County Commissioners Court. The Court is composed of a County Judge and four Commissioners. Commissioners Court conducts the general business of the County and oversees financial matters. The County Judge is the County’s chief executive and a voting member of Commissioners Court. According to state statute, the County Judge also is the County’s Director of Emergency Management.
The Harris County Judge and Commissioners oversee a $4.3 billion budget that helps fund key County services and institutions. As the main governing body of Harris County, Commissioners Court plays a critical role that is part administrative, part legislative, and part judicial. Its many responsibilities include adopting a budget; setting tax rates; calling for bond elections; building and maintaining county infrastructure such as roads and bridges; and overseeing county courthouses, jails, libraries, parks, and the Harris County Flood Control District. Harris County currently has more than 75 departments with over 15,000 employees.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• Working closely with Commissioners Court, the CSD management team and other key stakeholders, set the agenda for development, effective and equitable resourcing and delivery of current and new CSD initiatives with regard to housing, community development, transit and other social services
• Provide County leadership with comprehensive and high-level strategies that create sustainable resources to improve quality of life and enhance resiliency of Harris County residents, businesses and workers
• Manage the achievement of goals and priorities of Commissioners Court and CSD by establishing appropriate service and staffing levels, assessing and monitoring staff workload and support systems, and continually identifying opportunities for improvement while directing the implementation of needed changes
• Monitor implementation and outcomes of CSD programs and services and report on their efficiency and effectiveness to Commissioners Court and key stakeholders, utilizing objective performance measures with a particular focus on measures that illustrate progress toward enhanced community resilience and greater equity in service delivery
• Act as CSD liaison for Commissioners Court; various precinct commissioners and their staff; other local, state and federal agencies; interest groups; advisory boards; and professional organizations
• Attend Commissioners Court meetings and serve as subject matter expert for Commissioners Court on issues or concerns related to CSD services and programs
• Design and implement accessible and equitable community outreach and engagement to ensure meaningful public awareness and feedback regarding development and delivery of CSD services and programs, including transparent and accessible provision of important information regarding CSD programs and initiatives
• Develop short- and long-term plans and strategies for resourcing of CSD programs and initiatives, including opportunities to leverage and maximize existing resources with external funding
• Work with relevant County departments, third-party vendors and other key stakeholders to ensure the seamless operation of CSD services and programming
• Make independent judgments that have significant impact on employees and/or the organization, managing a large multi-division team of professional, technical, field, and administrative employees
• Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in business administration, social services, public administration, public policy or a closely related field AND
• At least ten years of professional work experience directly related to CSD’s work and services, including at least five years of management experience OR
• Equivalent combination of education and experience indicating an ability to perform at a high level in the role
• Experience in at least one of the following areas:
○ Successful design, planning and management of significant disaster recovery initiatives serving diverse populations across a large geographic area;
○ Successful development of affordable homes; and/or
○ Demonstrated success in securing and managing federal HOME, CDBG and CDBG-DR funds and other third-party grant funding
• Experience in budget preparation and analysis and best practices in program planning, design and operation for large organizations
• Significant experience in successfully developing and implementing policies and procedures, managing multiple projects, supervising and evaluating staff, and presenting technical information in a manner that is clear and easy to understand
• Proven ability to work with relevant experts to understand and influence local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations regarding community development, affordable housing development, community transit and other services provided or overseen by CSD
• Ability to represent the County and CSD in a professional and effective manner by establishing and maintaining productive working relationships with County officials, employees, community organizations and the public
• Mastery and expertise in the organization, functions, policies, and administrative procedures of county government
• Significant experience organizing and effectively presenting oral and written reports, findings, and recommendations to a wide range of stakeholders
• Strong leadership characteristics and communication skills, and the ability to apply them effectively to organizational development and improvement
• Knowledge of federal, state and local laws, rules, policies and procedures pertaining to the funding and administration of social services, community development, disaster recovery and transportation programs, especially those utilizing CDBG and CDBG-DR funding
• Knowledge of modern concepts, principles, practices and techniques of service delivery in social services, transit services, disaster recovery and community development
• Ability to communicate effectively and accurately in written and oral form and to build productive relationships and deal tactfully with all levels of department personnel, governmental officials, the local business community and the public
• Excellent analytical skills in applying guidelines, policies and precedents, and in adapting standard methods to fit facts and conditions
• Excellent organizational and managerial skills, including the ability to effectively prioritize and manage multiple tasks/initiatives
• Ability to work quickly, flexibly, and accurately to meet deadlines independently with long periods of relative autonomy, and sometimes under pressure and public scrutiny
• Graduate degree in business administration, public administration, social services, law, public policy or a related field relevant to CSD’s services and activities
• Experience working with government agencies and their governing bodies
• Experience working with community groups, professional associations, and advocacy organizations, especially regarding housing and community development issues and other social services
• Strong verbal bilingual (English-Spanish) abilities
HOW TO APPLY
• Email resume and cover letter to email@example.com
• Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis
• Job posting is scheduled to close on July 10th
• PFM Group Consulting has been retained by Harris County to coordinate and facilitate the recruitment process for this position
Commensurate with experience and qualifications and based on competitive salary requirements and previous director’s salary.
Note: Due to a high volume of applications, positions may close prior to advertised closing date.
Harris County is an Equal Opportunity Employer
If you need special services or accommodations, please call (713) 274-5445 or email
Harris County has an Employment-at-Will Policy.
Employment is contingent on passing a criminal background check.
Upon receiving a conditional Offer of Employment, all applicants are screened for the presence of illegal drugs.