COUNTY PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Under general direction, develops, plans and implements a County-wide public
information and relations program to link organizational goals with
communication objectives and increase awareness of the County’s services,
successes, and accomplishments; proactively establishes and maintains
productive relations between the County and the general public, county
employees, communications and media representatives, community and civic
groups, public agencies, and private organizations, among others; acts as the official
in charge of communication between the County and the public; may be assigned
to supervise individuals or teams for projects or on an on-going basis; and
performs related duties as required.
This is a single position class and is in the County Administrative Office
and is responsible for all County-wide communications and community relations
activities. The incumbent of this position must be sensitive to the impact of
County programs on the community and able to work independently and creatively
to communicate program goals, strategic direction, and operational issues in an
effective and tactful manner.
This class is distinguished from the Administrative Analyst series in that
positions in this series focus on reviews and analysis of operating
departments’ programs and financial management.
- Serves as the County Public Information Officer and key
spokesperson; maintains relationships with the news media and coordinates
information flow and dissemination; manages news conferences; creates internal
and external communications and related materials such as newsletters and
annual reports; prepares, reviews, and edits new releases, scripts, articles, and social media content.
- Develops and implements a strategic public relations/marketing
plan to build trust with and to ensure shared communication and flow of
information with key stakeholders.
- Leads County crisis communication actions
- Advises the County Administrative Office, executive management,
and the Board of Supervisors on the formulation strategic development,
implementation, and evaluation of the County’s communications, community and
government relations, crisis management, and media relations programs,
projects, and activities.
- Oversees the County’s media relations program; serve as principal
spokesperson on countywide issues; reviews and produces news releases; directs
the creation of media opportunities and develop story ideas; maintains personal
contact with key media people; develops talking points and advises the County
Administrative Officer, executive management, and the Board of Supervisors on
media issues; coordinates with executive management and departmental public
information staff to ensure the County speaks with one voice.
- Acts as primary media contact in the Emergency Operations Center
during activations and drills; conducts disaster preparedness messaging;
assists with maintaining situational awareness and public messaging during
emergencies, including press releases, advisories, and scripts; establishes a
local/regional Joint Information System when necessary; acts as local contact
for Bay Area Regional Joint Information System; monitors and amplifies
messaging regarding emergency events managed by partner agencies.
- Maintains and creates content for the County’s social media
channels; responds to social medical user input and requests for information;
maintains the County’s social medical policy; advises departmental public
information staff on standards and best practices.
- Develops County policies and procedures for responding to and
addressing issues which arise related to governmental and interagency relations
and legislative issues.
- Oversees development of print and web communications; promotes
internal and external information sharing.
- Develops and recommends new communications methods and
enhancements to better achieve County goals, including fostering the
organization’s core values and marketing County services to citizens, community
groups and other external organizations.
- Develops and leads communications training for public information
officers and communications staff countywide.
- Participates and makes presentations to the Board of Supervisors
and a wide variety of committees, boards, and commissions.
- Monitors changes in laws, regulations, and technology that may
affect County or departmental operations; implement policy and procedural
changes as required.
- Responsible for release of information upon request under the
provisions of the California Records Act.
- Conducts a variety of special projects and organizational and
- Represents the County in the community and at professional
meetings, as required.
- Performs other related duties that may be reasonably expects as
part of this classification.
Thorough Knowledge of:
- Principles and practices of public information, media
relations, social media, and community outreach project and program
- Trending issues facing local government agencies in California.
- Methods and techniques for the development of press
releases, talking points, newsletters, presentations, business
correspondence, and information dissemination.
- English usage, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and
Working Knowledge of:
- Techniques for effectively representing the County in
contacts with governmental agencies, community groups, and various
business, professional, educational, regulatory, and legislative
- Applicable Federal, State, and local laws, regulatory
codes, ordinances, and procedures relevant to assigned are of
- Basic research and analysis methodology and techniques.
- Techniques for providing a high level of customer service
by effectively dealing with the public, vendors, contractors, and County
- Communicate orally and in writing in a clear, concise, and
effective manner before a variety of diverse groups.
- Communicate critical information effectively to the public in
high pressure circumstances.
- Maintain and uphold positive image and brand identity of County
government and officials.
- Handle Difficult and sensitive information with discretion and
- Work effectively on several projects simultaneously.
- Provide professional leadership and direction managing countywide
strategic communications, media relations, and marketing programs.
- Strategize, develop, and implement a comprehensive media and
public relations program.
- Develop and maintain effective working relationships with the
public, community groups, business leaders, government officials, members of
the media, and County staff.
- Conceptualize messages and effectively communicate in writing,
speech, and other methods of communication.
- Research, analyze, and evaluate new service delivery methods,
procedures, and techniques.
- Prepare clear and concise reports, correspondence, policies
procedures and other written materials.
- Interpret, apply, explain, and ensure compliance with Federal,
State and local policies procedures, laws, and regulations.
- Use tact, initiative, prudence, and independent judgement within
general policy, procedures, and legal guidelines.
- Use English effective to communicate in person, over the phone,
and in writing.
Training and Experience: Any combination of training and experience,
which would provide the required knowledge and abilities, is qualifying. A
typical way to obtain these knowledge and abilities would be:
Equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
in public relations, communications, journalism, business, public
administration or related field.
Four years of increasingly responsible experience in public affairs, media
relations, journalist, or related work experience in a public
Bargaining Unit: 08
EEOC Category: 02
Occupational Grouping: 85
Workers’ Comp Code: 0053