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Mayor's Executive Officer U - Communications Director/PIO


San Jose, CA, USA

The Public Information Officer 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 PIO serves on the Mayor’s senior leadership team, developing and executing communications strategies for initiatives, programs, and the annual budget messages. The PIO 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 PIO oversees a team that currently includes staff responsible for media relations, social media and graphic design. The PIO has responsibilities for writing speeches, press releases, web content, social media posts, Op-Eds and columns, and serves as the editor for all office communications.
The ideal candidate will have the background, experience, and knowledge to demonstrate:

  • Effective use of the principles, practices, methods, and techniques of public/community relations, media relations, social media, and program management in a diverse community.
  • A strong commitment to public service.
  • Significant experience in high-profile press and media relations, including effective communications with the press on complex topics.
  • The capacity to function in a dynamic and fast paced environment, including crisis communications.
  • Extensive interaction with elected and appointed officials including business executives, regulatory agencies, community groups, employees, and the general public.
  • The ability to formulate and accomplish strategic communication goals.
  • The ability to present sensitive and/or complex issues, both orally and in writing, to large diverse groups in a persuasive fashion.
  • The ability to make sound decisions and communicate effectively with the press with little advance notice.
  • A track record of outstanding accomplishments and superior performance, including excellent judgment and decision making, planning and organizational abilities.
  • Ability to communicate and work effectively with a diverse set of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to serve effectively as a member of a management team, including mentoring and supervising staff.


Minimum Qualifications Education: This position requires Bachelor’s degree, preferably a Master’s degree, from an accredited college or university, with an emphasis in communications, English, journalism, public relations, public administration, marketing, or a related field providing education in writing, and public policy.
  Experience: This position requires at least seven (7) years of professional experience working in the field of public/media relations in a political office, government entity, major corporation, or nonprofit. Multi-lingual skills are highly desirable.
  Employment Eligibility: Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country.  Please be informed that the City of San José will not prepare or file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor.   
Compensation for this position will be based on a candidate’s unique combination of skills, training and experience. 
Candidates must be willing to work frequent evenings and weekends, and as exempt management employees, are not eligible for overtime compensation. Employees in this classification are not members of the classified civil service and are appointed "at will."  Each appointment is for a specified period of time to be determined by the appointing Mayor and does not extend past the end of the elected official's or appointing authority's term.  This unclassified position requires a disclosure of outside investments, real property interest, income, and business positions.  
Desired Skills 

A competitive candidate will possess the following attributes:

  • Excellent writing skills. Candidates must be able to write press releases, web content, opinion pieces, resolutions, talking points, letters, emails, requests, memoranda, and other materials for Committees and the City Council agenda that are clear, concise, effective, professional, and grammatically and factually accurate.
  • Excellent communication and exceptional customer service skills, including the ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences with empathy and professionalism.
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships, to work in an open and approachable manner with elected and appointed officials, the media, the public and staff at all levels;
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously, often under tight deadlines and in a changing, complex environment;
  • Strong organizational skills;
  • Ability to research, analyze, and present background information on a wide variety of assigned projects, programs and topics, relative to issues pending before the City Council.
  • Ability to work nights and weekends as required.
  • Bilingual language fluency in Spanish or Vietnamese (written and oral skills) is desirable.

Core 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, preferably in a political or local government setting.
  Communication Skills - communicates and listens effectively and responds in a timely, useful, positive and respectful manner; written reports and correspondence are accurate, complete, current; well-organized, legible, concise, neat, and in proper grammatical form.
  Computer Skills - experience with common business computer applications including but not limited to: MS Outlook, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Access, and MS Excel.
  Customer Service - approaches problem-solving by focusing on customers first; demonstrates the ability to anticipate customers' needs and deliver services effectively and efficiently in a timely, accurate, respectful, and friendly manner.
  Flexibility - makes effective decisions, working in partnership with supervisors, team members, and colleagues in the City and Council offices; achieves desired results in the midst of changing deadlines, project requirements, or project needs.
  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 or training opportunities to enhance job performance.
  Multi-Tasking - can handle multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously; has handled a wide variety of assignments in past and/or current position(s).
  Political Skills - approaches tasks by considering and thinking through how actions will impact stakeholders and others in the organization.
  Problem Solving - approaches a situation or 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.
  Reliability - completes quality work assignments in a timely and efficient manner; fulfills responsibilities and maintains confidentiality.
  Team Work & Interpersonal Skills - demonstrates a positive attitude and flexibility along with the ability to develop effective relationships with co-workers and supervisors by helping others accomplish tasks and using collaboration and conflict resolution skills.


The selection process will consist of an evaluation of the applicant's training and experience. Only the candidates whose backgrounds best match the position will be invited to the interview process, which may include practical/writing exercises.


To be considered for this position, you must fill out the online application available on the City of San José website and submit the following:

  1. Cover Letter & Resume
  2. Three (3) writing samples that best demonstrate your level of proficiency

Responses to the following job-specific questions

  1. Please describe your background and how it relates to the position of Communications Director/PIO.
  2. Please descript your experience working in a fast-paced and complex political environment, particularly any experience working with elected officials or executives in an advisory capacity.
  3. Describe your experience planning, implementing and evaluating a public outreach campaign. What campaign tactics you used, your budgetary responsibilities, and what program/project evaluation was done, if any.
  4. Describe your experience in news media relations: Describe news releases you wrote, contact with reporters, coordinating events and garnering media coverage.
  5. Describe your experience with community outreach programs involving presentations, special events and gaining support from the community, specifically experience working in a multicultural environment, and in working with diverse media and constituencies.


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