Communications Director

Agency City of San José


About the City

The City of San José plays a vital economic and cultural role as the center of Silicon Valley. With an incredibly diverse community of one million people who have family and business ties around the world, San José is also at the crossroads of innovation and tradition that is the home of global technology companies and high quality neighborhoods. Located at the southern end of beautiful San Francisco Bay, San José is within easy reach of California’s beaches and mountains, and enjoys an abundance of good weather. The City of San José provides the full range of municipal services from an airport to a zoo, and is regarded as a leader for municipal innovation.

Mayor Sam Liccardo assumed office on January 1, 2015, with a platform of restoring public safety, spending smarter, expanding economic opportunity for all of San José’s residents, and investing in the future. His philosophy is “it’s your city, and it should work for you.”

The San José City Council consists of ten Councilmembers elected by district and a Mayor elected at-large, each for four-year terms. The Mayor is the political leader of the City, and the Mayor and Council are responsible for representing the residents of San José, providing accountability, reviewing public policy and programs, and adopting those policies that best meet the needs of the residents, visitors, and businesses in San José.

One of the City’s leadership’s goals is to preserve, enhance, and continue building a safe, attractive, vibrant, and sustainable San José through partnership with and exceptional service to its diverse communities and customers.

About the Opportunity

The City of San José is seeking an experienced and savvy senior communicator with strong strategic and tactical abilities for the Communications Director in the Mayor’s office.

This position offers a skilled individual the exciting opportunity to join a progressive team in the lead position in the Public Information Office, help implement bold initiatives, and work to make San José, the Capital of Silicon Valley and the nation’s tenth-largest city, thrive.

The Communications Director is an at-will position that reports to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and interfaces directly with the Mayor to provide communications and messaging on a broad range of public policy matters.

The Communications Director serves on the Mayor’s senior leadership team, developing and executing communications strategies for initiatives, programs, and the annual budget messages.

The Communications Director serves as the Mayor’s Press Secretary and will be the principal contact in the office for interfacing with the press. The position will also be responsible for coordinating with the City’s Public Information and Communications staff regarding media inquiries, communications, coordinating events on behalf of the Mayor’s office, and representing the Mayor’s office to City staff.

The position also oversees a team currently including graphic design/web and communications staff and has responsibilities for writing speeches, press releases, web content, social media posts, Op-Eds and columns, and serves as the office editor.

About the Position

The specific duties of the Communications Director include the following:

  • Develop and systematically update an overall integrated communications strategy to support the policies of the Mayor and City Council, the City’s strategic goals, and the City’s marketing and branding initiatives.
  • Plan and manage the Public Information Office activities for the City and the Mayor, including community relations and media relations.
  • Create and implement comprehensive programs for dissemination of information to ensure that the City’s key messages reach the public; monitor regional sources, assess value and impact of information, and develop strategies and action plans.
  • Develop and coordinate official media strategies for City departments and elected officials; place stories in media outlets, and participate in interviews with the media; coordinate media requests and press releases; manage effective relationships with regional media sources.
  • Develop and present proactive, innovative ideas to promote City issues.
  • Conduct and coordinate assigned projects, research studies and special events.
  • Compose communications on a wide variety of subjects requiring knowledge of City procedures and policies; create, edit and prepare correspondence, speeches, media articles, press releases, web content, technical documents, information packets, special reports and other communications.
  • Represent public information functions to local civic and service organizations, and ancillary boards and agencies; ensure effective communication of local and regional issues.
  • Promote, organize and stimulate good relationships with neighborhood and community groups and other local agencies; interpret and explain the Mayor’s initiatives and City programs and policies.
  • Plan, develop and manage multimedia communications projects.
  • Plan, develop and manage the Mayor’s online presence.
  • Manage the daily activities of communications/ public information staff in the Mayor’s Office, as well as in other departments; plan, prioritize and assign tasks and projects; monitor work, develop staff, and evaluate performance; meet regularly with staff to discuss and resolve workload and technical issues; develop goals and priorities.
  • Serve as Spokesperson to provide public information and promote public awareness of City policies, programs, and events.
  • Ensure the absolute confidentiality of work-related issues, personnel records and City information, as appropriate.

Position Competencies  

The ideal candidate will possess the following competencies, as demonstrated in past and current employment history. Desirable competencies for this position include:

  • Job Expertise – Demonstrates knowledge of and experience with applicable professional/ technical principles and practices, Citywide and departmental procedures/policies and federal and state rules and regulations.
  • Communication Skills – Communicates and listens effectively and responds in a timely, effective, positive and respectful manner. Written reports and correspondence are accurate, complete, current, well-organized, legible, concise, neat, and in proper grammatical form. The successful candidate is a strong writer and editor with strong oral presentation and good networking skills.
  • Management – Evaluates priorities to ensure the ‘true’ top priorities are handled satisfactorily; sets clear goals for the employees and the work unit.
  • Analytical and Strategic Thinking – Approaches a situation or problem by defining the problem or issue; identifies a set of features, parameters, or considerations to take into account, collects and analyzes data, uses logic and intuition to arrive at conclusions and recommendations.
  • Collaboration – Develops networks and builds alliances; engages in cross-functional activities.
  • Leadership – Demonstrates self-confidence. Remains visible and approachable and interacts with others on a regular basis. Demonstrates high ethical standards. Acts in a way that is consistent with verbal and written communication.
  • Initiative – Is self-directed, resourceful, and creative in meeting job objectives; anticipates problems, is proactive, and avoids difficulties by planning ahead; displays willingness to assume extra responsibility or workload and accept challenges; pursues continuing educational opportunities to enhance job performance.
  • Creative and Resourceful Problem Solver – Approaches a situation/problem by defining the problem or issue; determines the significance of problem(s); collects information; uses logic and intuition to arrive at decisions or solutions to problems that achieve the desired outcome.
  • Project Management – Ensures support for projects and implements agency strategic goals and objectives. Plans and organizes schedules, milestones, resources, and stakeholder involvement to achieve successful results.

Education & Experience Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree, preferably a Master’s degree, with an emphasis in communications, English, journalism, public relations, public administration, marketing, or a related field providing education in writing, and public policy.
  • Seven years of professional experience working in the field of public/media relations and communications in a political office, government entity, major corporation, nonprofit, or political campaign; multilingual skills are highly desirable.


The salary range is $105,000 to $132,941 annually.


  • Retirement:  Competitive retirement system with full reciprocity with the CalPERS. In addition, the City offers an optional 457 plan.
  • Vacation & Sick Leave:   Vacation is accrued initially at the rate of 3 weeks, with the rate increasing up to 5 weeks after 15 years of service. Executive leave of 40 hours is granted annually with the ability to earn up to 40 extra hours annually based on performance. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of 8 hours per month.
  • Holidays: 14 paid holidays annually.
  • Health Benefits: The City contributes 85% of the premium for the lowest cost plan.
  • Dental Insurance: The City contributes 100% of the premium of the lowest-priced plan.
  • Life Insurance: The City provides a term life policy equal to two times the annual salary.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts: The City participates in Dependent Care Assistance and Medical Reimbursement programs.
  • Additional Benefits: Long-term disability, AD&D, and vision care plans are optional.

Important Application Information

To apply for this outstanding opportunity, please visit the Koff & Associates website at to view the job posting, brochure and supplemental questions.  Please mail or email your cover letter, resume and answers to supplemental questions by March 20, 2015 to:

Koff & Associates
Attention: Georg Krammer
2835h Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

Following the closing March 20, 2015, applicant materials will be screened in relation to the criteria outlined in this brochure.  The most qualified candidates will be invited to screening interviews with Koff & Associates. The City of San José will make the final decision regarding a candidate’s eligibility. Successful candidates not currently employed in regular status by the City of San José must pass a pre-employment background check to be considered for employment. Candidates will be advised of the status of the recruitment following selection of the successful candidate.


The City of San José is an equal opportunity employer encouraging workforce diversity.

Koff & Associates