Chief Communications Officer

Village of Oak Park, IL


Class specifications are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties performed by employees in the class. Specifications are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the job.


The Chief Communications Officer provides organizational leadership and direction as the principal advisor to all Village departments for the development, maintenance and implementation of the overall Village public communications plan, strategies, programs, events, policies, and practices concerning news media relations; graphic design and style standards for consistent and effective brand management; digital, social, audio/visual, print, and broadcast media production and management; crisis and emergency communications; promotional activities and campaigns; press conferences and briefings; ceremonial and special events; ongoing public relations strategy; opinion research; and the application of modern communications technology and performance metrics for continuous improvement of the efficiency and quality of Village communications programming.

The incumbent is the lead public information officer and spokesperson for the Village who works both independently and as a team member to keep Village residents and the general public informed of Village programs, services, accomplishments, and other pertinent information. As an Executive Leadership Team member, the incumbent facilitates interdepartmental collaboration and coordination of all communications work programs and other communications initiatives as assigned by the Village Manager, to ensure communication products meet appropriateness, quality, and consistency and result in an informed community and transparency in Village government operations. The position also provides communications support to the Village President and Board of Trustees and Village advisory boards and commissions and committees. The communications work program is implemented through a team of professional staff reporting to the Chief Communications Officer and in collaboration with assigned staff from Village departments. Confidentiality is a requirement for this position.


Receives general direction from the Village Manager.

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES - Essential and other important duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Essential duties and responsibilities:

1. Under the general direction of the Village Manager, establishes the vision, directs, and manages the staff, programs, service activities and budget for the Office of Communications.

2. Develops and coordinates implementation of the Village’s Strategic Communications Plan and related policies and procedures.

3. Manages the dissemination of prompt and accurate public information during routine and emergency situations.

4. Consults with Village departments to develop and implement communication strategies proactively and in response to emerging issues.

5. Leads all aspects of media relations, dealing with print and broadcast media locally, regionally, and nationally, responding to media inquiries directly and preparing spokespersons, including department representatives and Village officials to appropriately convey the Village’s message in a variety of situations to a variety of audiences.
6. Analyzes and anticipates media coverage maintaining current awareness of issues affecting the Village and consults with senior management routinely as needed concerning such issues.

7. Coordinates press conferences and briefings, groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, special public meetings, and events, writing of talking points and speeches, creation of slide presentations, and speaks on behalf of Village leaders and officials as directed by the Village Manager.

8. Develops, updates, and coordinates implementation of the Village crisis communications plan using it as a guide to lead and direct all aspects of emergency management communications in coordination with Village departments and relevant external agencies.

9. Directs the coordination of an interdepartmental communications team to steer implementation of the Village communications plan, programs, and service activities.

10. Oversees Village government access cable channel and audio-video production; photography; website design, functionality, and content generation and management; and all aspects of Village-wide social and digital media production.

11. Leads development and management of Village graphic design standards and support services and creates, updates, and coordinates implementation of the Village graphic style manual to establish and maintain a consistent Brand image for the Village.

12. Oversees the production of Village electronic and print newsletters and articles and Village Manager weekly communications to the Village Board of Trustees and employees.

13. Initiates, coordinates, and maintains effective working relationships with media representatives; prepares press releases, media advisories, and alerts; and other media briefing materials.

14. Coordinates with Village departments to maintain a public events calendar on the Village website.

15. Coordinates public information activities with other departments; gathers information from departments; assist departments in developing brochures, flyers, and posters; and responds to questions and assist with troubleshooting issues regarding media and public relations.

16. Oversees and edits all Village publications or public correspondence for grammar and style; and ensures that all publications are aligned with Village goals, objectives, and communication standards.

17. Administers survey and opinion research initiatives as directed by the Village Manager and utilizes current civic engagement technologies to proactively gather community feedback, insights on community sentiments, and inform Village communication/engagement strategies.

18. Establishes and monitors performance metrics and utilizes current technology to assess the performance of communications activities.

19. Consults with Village departments on promotional strategies to proactively engage residents in various initiatives and share information to project a positive representation of Village quality of life assets and accomplishments locally, regionally, and nationally via planned promotional campaigns, strategic media pitches for earned and direct media placements, engagement of social media influencers, and other appropriate methods.

Other important duties and responsibilities

1. Prepare various reports on activities and operations.

2. Assist and advise on a variety of special projects.

3. Perform related duties and responsibilities as required.


Knowledge of:

Operational characteristics and activities of a public information program.

Principles and methods of graphic design principles as applied to organizational brand-image management.

Principles and practices of public and media relations.

Current applications of communication related information technology including social, digital, and audio-visual, and graphic design media, software, tools, techniques, and methods.

Journalistic writing and reporting techniques.

English language usage and grammar.

Methods and techniques of editing and proofreading.

Municipal government operations.

Principles and practices of survey and opinion research methods.

Application of digital, social, and audio-visual media technologies to public relations and civic engagement.

Ability to:

Identify and respond to community public information needs.

Create and maintain a positive public perception of the Village.

Develop, write, edit, and coordinate the production of Village publications and other materials in an effective and appropriate manner.

Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.

Analyze complex, politically sensitive situations and develop creative solutions.

Conduct research and prepare clear and concise reports of all findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on a thorough analysis and interpretation of data for presentation to others.

Compose news articles, op-eds, speeches and talking points, and radio and television scripts.

Work independently and as a member of a team.

Manage multiple priorities, tasks, and appointments within specified timeframes with minimum supervision.

Communicate effectively and concisely, both orally and in writing.

Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work including Village and other government officials, community groups, the general public, and media representatives.

Work flexible hours.

Perform a broad range of supervisory responsibilities over others.

Oversee and manage budget for the Office of Communications.

Maintain effective audio-visual discrimination and perception needed for:
─ Making observations
─ Communicating with others
─ Reading and writing
─ Operating assigned equipment.

Maintain mental capacity which allows the capability of:
─ Making sound decisions
─ Demonstrating intellectual capabilities.

Maintain mental capacity which allows for effective interaction and communication with others.

Experience and Training Guidelines

Expe¬ri¬ence: Five (5) years of professional experience in coordinating and monitoring public communications and familiarity with formulating and implementing comprehensive public communications plans. A minimum of one (1) year of supervisory experience is required.

Training: Possession of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in journalism, public relations, communications, public administration, or a related field. A Master’s degree is preferred or five years equivalent combination of education, experience, and training that demonstrates broad knowledge of the principles and practices of media relations; considerable understanding of municipal operations and modern communication technology; a demonstrated history of innovative work in public relations.

Vaccination against COVID-19 strongly preferred.


Work in an office environment; sustained posture in a seated position for prolonged periods of time; continuous exposure to computer screens.

How to Apply

Application Deadline
NSTRUCTIONS TO APPLICANTS: Applicants can visit our website at

Job Details

Job Function
Other, Department Head/Director
Position Type
Full Time

Village of Oak Park


123 Madison St
Oak Park, IL 60302-4205
United States

Form of Government