Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement

Agency City of San José



The City


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, 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 Museum of Innovation, 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.  Forty percent 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.


City Government


The City of San José is a full-service Charter City and operates under a 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 his 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.  Department heads, including the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, are appointed by the City Manager with confirmation by the City Council. The City actively engages with members of the community through Council-appointed boards and commissions.


In addition to providing a full range of municipal services, San José operates a municipal water system, a regional wastewater treatment facility, some 200 neighborhood and regional parks, three municipal golf courses, and an award-winning 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, Dolce Hayes Mansion and Conference Center, and the SAP Center San José – home of the National Hockey League’s San José Sharks.


City operations are supported by 6,200 positions and a total budget of $3.5 billion for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. 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.


The Department


The Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (PBCE) recommends and implements policies which guide the physical and economic development of the City of San José toward the achievement of community goals. The Department promotes the City’s viability and quality through enforcement of land use, construction, health, safety, and environmental regulations. The Department’s annual operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18 is approximately $57 million. The Department has a staff of approximately 300 employees and includes four divisions:


The Planning Division administers current development projects, processes development applications in conformance with City policies and objectives, and conducts long-range planning. A Deputy Director/Planning Official manages this division.  The City is considering adding a second Deputy Director position in 2018 to manage long-range planning.


The Building Division conducts plan review and field inspection of construction projects to ensure conformance with health and safety requirements. The Division operates the City’s Permit Center. The Chief Building Official manages this Division.


The Code Enforcement Division utilizes education and enforcement tools to facilitate compliance with Municipal Codes designed to maintain a healthy, safe, and clean environment, carry out land use policy, and preserve the quality of life standards that residents and businesses enjoy. The Code Enforcement Officer manages this Division.


The Administrative Division manages the Department’s budgetary and technology systems enabling the Divisions to provide their respective services. The Deputy Director manages this Division.


For purposes of the planning and entitlement process, key elements of the Planning and Building Divisions operate on the interdepartmental “Development Services Team” with Public Works Development Review and the Fire Marshall, and are collocated together in City Hall.  Leadership of the inter-departmental Development Services Team lies with the PBCE Department Director.


Top Priorities


As a member of the City’s Executive Management Team, the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement reports directly to the City Manager. The top areas of responsibility will be:


  • Lead implementation of the City’s Envision 2040 General Plan by working cooperatively with other department heads, the City Manager’s Office, elected officials, the development community, and community members. Ensure that City land use policies are upheld, while balancing community objectives and market conditions. Oversee and serve as accountable lead for Development Services, working closely with Public Works and Fire.
  • Lead a successful change effort to streamline processes and enhance customer experience.
  • Ensure successful completion of multi-year deployment of new integrated permitting system (AMANDA).
  • Strengthen inter-Departmental cohesion, communication, accountability, and a shared sense of mission and strategy.


Other Key Responsibilities

  • Be an advocate for the workforce; work with the City Administration to improve employee hiring, retention, and development.
  • Be an active, contributing member of City Manager’s executive leadership team.
  • Actively mediate and coordinate policy issues with other departments through the Community and Economic Development “City Service Area”, including Transportation, Housing, Economic Development, Parks, and Environmental Services.
  • Serve as lead presenter at the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Development Services.

Education, Experience & Certifications


  • A bachelor’s degree in public administration, urban planning, business administration, engineering or related field is required.
  • Ten (10) years of experience working on similar issues in a large city, including at least five (5) years of exemplary leadership experience. Significant planning experience with urban-form development is preferred.  A proven track record of organizational change and continuous improvement is also desired.
  • It is preferred that the selected candidate live within a reasonable commuting distance from San José City Hall.
  • Requires a valid California Operators license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Ideal Candidate


The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement will, with direction from the City Manager, manage and direct the Department to achieve community goals related to quality of life, environment, economic vitality, and safety.


The City of San José seeks a Director of PBCE who…


  • Has experience and resolve to provide clear vision and ongoing direction for the Department and for Development Services.
  • Is a fantastic articulator of and believer in the City’s vision, and an effective and credible communicator within the City organization, with Mayor/Council, and with the public.
  • Brings strong understanding and value of the role of the private sector, and passion about enabling development.
  • Understands, appreciates, and supports the range of services provided by the three divisions in the Department.
  • Is skilled at listening to and engaging constructively with the communities and stakeholders they serve.
  • Is experienced, skilled, and passionate about transforming, building, and enabling organizations to deliver a better customer experience including improved timeliness and responsiveness, and brings a track record of effectively engaging employees in process improvement efforts.
  • Is disciplined in using key performance indicators to set goals and track progress, learn, and improve. Values technology and data-driven decision making.
  • Is politically astute and capable of mediating professional staff concerns and political concerns, and comfortable with significant, regular interaction with the Mayor and Councilmembers.
  • While building confidence and trust in the Department, can nourish and foster relationships with the Mayor, City Council, the senior staff team, other City departments, and with the community, developers, other agencies, and key stakeholders.
  • Understands that the Director’s most public and political role will be addressing land use, development, and planning policy issues. Planning experience is important in guiding/supporting staff recommendations and engaging publicly.
  • Can set the tone and culture in the Department, build a high-functioning, motivated workforce, attract and retain excellent employees, and mentor and develop staff. Experience in labor relations.
  • Can manage resources actively and creatively, including budget, to maximize effectiveness.
  • Has experience with large development projects, including mixed-use, infill, transit-oriented, and urban form.
  • Is culturally competent and responsive at engaging a diverse workforce and communities.


Compensation and Benefits

The salary range is $153,137.55-$239,350.37 annually, depending on qualifications. The City offers an excellent benefits package, which is located at on the job announcement page for this position.


Important Application Information

To apply for this outstanding opportunity, please visit  Please have your cover letter and resume ready to upload.  Deadline to apply is January 22, 2018.


Successful completion of a thorough background investigation prior to employment is required.  The City of San José is an equal opportunity employer encouraging workforce diversity. 


The information contained herein does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract, and these provisions are subject to change.


Koff & Associates