DEPARTMENTAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Under general direction, plans, manages and coordinates community and media relations activities for a large complex County Department or the County Administrative Office; develops policies, standards, and guidelines for collection, review, and presentation of information to be communicated to the public and media; and performs other related work as required.
Positions in this class are located in County Departments where there is a high level of public interest in the services, operations, mission and objectives of the Department and its Divisions. Positions will, in consultation with Department leadership and the County Public Information Officer, determine the public communications strategy of the Department and coordinate with Department staff to execute that strategy. Objectives include, but are not limited to, increasing public awareness, understanding and utilization of existing and new Departmental services and objectives.
This classification is distinguished from the County Public Information Officer in that the latter directs the overall communications and public information activities for the entire County.
- Develop public communication strategy for assigned Department;
- Plan, develop, direct, and coordinate comprehensive communications outreach, including social media, press and earned media, websites, public outreach, and other communications mediums;
- Coordinate the accurate conveyance of information to the public through press relations, interviews and appearances for Departmental leadership and staff, and serve as the spokesperson for the Department where necessary;
- Facilitate the development and implementation of community outreach and engagement techniques to better connect with the community and identify community needs and interests;
- Develop, coordinate, and implement a variety of information, educational, and outreach communication activities to community members, groups, and other agencies;
- Work with Department executive team and managers in the formulation, development, implementation, and evaluation of communication programs and engagement activities;
- Provide input to Department executive team and managers during development of Department programs and policies that include public engagement, services or involvement;
- Support internal staff communications as necessary;
- Develop policies and procedures for assigned Department related to public and media relations, communications, and publications;
- Oversee development and content of print and web communications, including social media for assigned Department; write content that is consistent with County branding strategies; promote internal and external information sharing;
- Provide input to Department on communicating key objectives and initiatives to the public and strategies for increasing public awareness of key objectives and initiatives;
- Establish measures to gauge the effectiveness of public information and community engagement efforts;
- Under direction of Department leadership, recommend staff representation for community meetings, or serve as Department representative where necessary;
- Work closely with Department executive team and managers in responding to difficult and sensitive public inquiries and complaints;
- Establish and maintain working relationships with the media, public, private agencies and organizations;
- Perform special assignments and projects and other related duties as required;
- Support County communications efforts during emergencies or as otherwise necessary, including reporting to the Emergency Operations Center and assisting the Public Information Officer Team, under direction of the County Public Information Officer.
Knowledge:Thorough knowledge to:
- Principles and practices of public information, media relations, and community outreach and engagement project and program development;
- Methods and techniques for the development of press releases, talking points, newsletters, presentations, business correspondence and information distribution; research and reporting methods, techniques, and procedures;
- Core social media communications platforms, as well as best social media communications practices, methods, and customs;
- English usage, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation.
- Modern office practices, methods, and computer equipment and applications related to assignment;
- Techniques for providing a high level of customer service by effectively dealing with the public, agencies, and County staff;
- Principles and practices of skilled written and oral communication;
- Basic research and analysis methodology and techniques.
- Communicate strategically and effectively through engaging and concise language;
- Prepare and present organized and accurate oral reports, statements, and presentations;
- Effectively serve as the Department’s spokesperson and represent the Department professionally;
- Communicate technical information in a manner that is appropriate for the intended audience;
- Work effectively in time-sensitive situations and meet deadlines; coordinate multiple projects and complex tasks simultaneously;
- Operate modern office equipment including computer equipment and specialized software application programs;
- Collect, evaluate and interpret varied information and data, either in statistical, narrative or verbal form;
- Establish, maintain, and foster positive and effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
Any combination of education and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the 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.
Two years of increasingly responsible experience in public affairs, community engagement, media relations, journalism or a related field. Emergency Management and response experience is highly desirable.
Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License or the employee must be able to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority.
Other Special Requirements:
Availability to respond to emergencies as needed on a 24-hour basis, which may include evenings, weekends and/or holidays.
PREVIOUS CLASS TITLES: None
Benefit Status: 11
EEOC Job Category: 02
Occupational Grouping: 85
Workers' Comp Code: 0053