Director, Government & Civic Relations (Limited)

27 Nov, 2019


Director, Government & Civic Relations (Limited)

Port of San Diego
San Diego, CA


The Port is looking for a collaborative problem-solver to head up our Government and Civic Relations Team.  We are looking for a candidate with track record of successful executive leadership and government relations experience (including state and/or federal), that encompasses strategic planning, financial management, personnel and performance management. We pride ourselves on accountability, integrity, and team work. You’ll be surrounded by people committed to making a difference. Now is the time to join our team.


Under direction of the Chief Policy Strategist, manages the government relations function, including supervision of staff, budget execution and preparing and leading the implementation of the District’s legislative strategies on local, state and federal levels in accordance with the Board’s adopted legislative priorities. Researches federal, state and local legislation and regulations and community activities; performs detailed analysis and provides input and recommendations on a wide range of legislative, intergovernmental and community affairs issues that could impact District operations and policies; represents the District at intergovernmental, community and legislative forums and community events; and performs related duties as assigned.


Director, Government Relations performs highly responsible, sensitive and complex analysis, representation and advocacy as a key senior staff in District legislative, community and intergovernmental affairs programs and activities. An incumbent must exercise sound independent judgment and seasoned political acumen in developing legislative, intergovernmental, community and public participation strategies, proposals and implementation plans.

Director, Government Relations is distinguished from other legislative positions in that an incumbent is responsible for proactively overseeing intergovernmental, community relations and legislative strategy, analysis and advocacy on matters of significant impact on District programs, operations, budget, staff and policies.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The following statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this classification.  They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.
1. Attends meetings and monitors the initiatives and actions of various agencies involved in regional planning, regulatory activities and economic development that impact the District; with other staff, develops positions and white papers on legislative and intergovernmental policy issues: represents District positions in regional forums and with other federal, state and local governmental officials and community representatives; prepares presentations and talking points for District board members and executives.
2. In consultation with other District departments, the Attorney’s Office and District consultants, reviews, tracks, analyzes and interprets proposed legislation on matters related to District programs, operations, policies, financing and other relevant issues; drafts staff reports and resolutions, legislative summaries, position papers, correspondence and testimony; proposes revisions to legislation consistent with District interests; recommends District positions on legislation and action to achieve desired legislative results.
3. Oversees and conducts analysis of federal, state and local legislation and intergovernmental policy matters with potential impact on District operations, development projects prepares analyses and proposes revisions consistent with the needs and interests of the District.
4. Attends and represents the District at hearings, meetings and other events during federal, state, and local legislative sessions; testifies before legislative committees; represents the District in formal and informal interactions with legislators, legislative staff, administration officials and legislative consultants; proposes and writes legislative amendments and resolutions in response to legislative developments, sometimes under urgent and sensitive deadlines.
5. Assesses political positions and formulates suggested strategies for discussion with executive team members; prepares talking points on legislative bills for use by legislators, legislative consultants, the media and the public and drafts an action plan to implement.
6. Coordinates and interacts with other agencies, elected and appointed officials and the community regarding laws, pending legislation, resolutions, agreements, policy initiatives and other matters of mutual interest; contributes to the overall effectiveness of District intergovernmental programs and activities; represents District interests in multiple forums.
7. Provides communications support to District executives and board members; organizes and prepares presentations; develops position statements; writes policy articles; assesses communication needs and relevant messages; develops communication strategies and plans.
8. Participates on professional and industry committees involved in legislative and intergovernmental affairs and public policy issues; attends meetings and conferences to stay abreast of proposed and anticipated legislative, community and stakeholder issues and intergovernmental affairs initiatives; plans and manages District events for elected officials and community leaders; participates and supports tours of Port facilities for elected officials and community leaders.


Knowledge of:
1. Local, State and/or Federal legislative process, its steps and influence points.
2. Advanced principles and methods of legislative analysis.
3. Grassroots and community coalition building skills
4. Public agency programs, policies and operations and related legislative, intergovernmental affairs, community relations and public affairs issues and challenges.
5. Federal, state and local laws, regulations and court decisions applicable to District or related programs, operations and policies.
6. State and local legal requirements and guidelines governing the conduct of public meetings.
7. Statistical/comparative analysis and research techniques.
8. Principles and practices of sound business communication; correct English usage, including spelling, grammar and punctuation.
9. Project planning and management methods and practices applicable to areas of assigned responsibility.
Ability to:
1. Analyze, interpret, explain and make recommendations on complex legislative, regulatory, community and intergovernmental public policy issues.
2. Apply writing style and presentation techniques appropriate for differing business, legislative and journalistic/public relations purposes.
3. Apply seasoned political acumen, reach sound independent conclusions and recommend appropriate courses of action within established policy guidelines to achieve District objectives.
4. Prepare clear, concise, accurate and complete analyses, reports, correspondence, records and other written materials.
5. Communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively, orally and in writing.
6. Testify authoritatively before public bodies and represent the District effectively with community groups and committees and with business, trade and professional organizations.
7. Exercise sound independent judgment and political acumen within general policy guidelines.
8. Exercise tact, diplomacy and discretion in dealing with highly sensitive, complex, confidential and controversial issues and situations.
9. Establish and maintain effective highly working relationships with District executives and managers, board members, federal, state and local elected and appointed officials, officials of other governmental agencies, professional and community organizations and committees, the media, the public and others encountered in the course of work.
10. Utilize applicable internet, technology, social media and publications to research legislation, regulations and public policy issues.
Education, Training and Experience:
Graduation from a four-year college or university with a major in public or business administration, political science, public policy or a closely related field; and four years of progressively responsible experience in legislative analysis, county relations or intergovernmental affairs; or an equivalent combination of training and experience.  An advanced degree from an accredited college is preferred.  Time served as a District Intern will count towards the years of experience.
Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:A current, valid California Class C driver license at time of appointment and maintained at all times thereafter in order to operate a vehicle on District business.

California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) pull notice system: An incumbent in this position will be enrolled in the California DMV Pull Notice Program. The pull notice program provides information on the incumbent’s driving record and driver license status on a periodic basis to the District. An employee assigned a District vehicle must acknowledge receipt and understanding of District Administrative Procedures covering the use of District vehicles.

This position may be subject to a pre-employment background check. The District will conduct a California Department of Justice/FBI fingerprint and criminal history check; felony convictions may be disqualifying. Misdemeanor convictions may be disqualifying depending on type, number, severity, and how recently they occurred. Criminal arrests and convictions during employment may result in termination or limitations in job duties if no reasonable accommodations can be made.

If assigned to perform work at any of the District’s maritime facilities the incumbent must be able to pass a background check in accordance with current Federal and State requirements.

Supplemental Information


This position meets one or more of the criteria for the unclassified service as outlined in San Diego Unified Port District Act Section 72.5(b), and as such is exempted from the classified service.


Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this class with reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis and depends, in part, on the specific requirements for the job, the limitations related to disability and the ability of the hiring department to accommodate the limitation.

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Job posted: 2019-11-27