CLASSIFICATION NO. 044
COMMUNITY RELATIONS SPECIALIST
Under direction, to assist County departments in developing effective communications strategies and programs to enhance citizen involvement, communicate effectively with the Board of County Commissioners on department issues and opportunities, and coordinate citizen involvement services with the County Public and Governmental Affairs (PGA) Department; and to do other work as required.
The Public Affairs Division of the Public and Government Affairs Department is responsible for effective two-way communication between county government and citizens. The Division also coordinates media outreach and relations, public involvement outreach and engagement, serves as liaison to and/or administers the recruitment for various citizen/community committees, organizations, boards and commissions and provides county employees with specific information on events, accomplishments and contributions.
The Community Relations Specialist must keep abreast of short and long range programs and activities to identify sensitive or controversial issues that may be of interest to the general public, County Commission, or PGA. Once identified, incumbents assist department management in formulating effective communications plans for review with PGA and County Commissioners. Incumbents also keep departments compliant with countywide public information, media relations, and public outreach policy and develop department processes and procedures for effectively and consistently communicating department’s programs and mission to citizens and groups.
The Community Relations Specialist differs from the Community Affairs Specialist which provides assistance, guidance and oversight to hamlet and village boards, community planning organizations (CPOs) and citizen involvement committees on their establishment, operations and activities. It also differs from the Publications/Communications Specialist which focuses on producing public information and communications.
Duties may include but are not limited to the following:
- Serves as the liaison with the Board of County Commissioners and the Public and Government Affairs (PGA) Department to keep them abreast of department current issues and opportunities; participates with the management team in developing effective communications strategies; trains and coaches staff in effective communications methods; assists County departments in developing and maintaining department policy and organizes staff involvement with outside organizations to insure that external communications are effective and consistent with County policy.
- Participates in the development of strategic plans, operational policy, planning efforts, and special projects to develop and coordinate an effective communications strategy for County departments; conducts surveys and polls with the public and groups to discover information needs or reactions to programs, policies, and procedures; in concert with County departments, develops and administers public outreach efforts to encourage citizen involvement and education in department issues.
- Develops employee involvement initiatives which encourages department employees to actively participate with citizens and groups that may have an interest in department affairs; creates a positive public information environment which encourages citizens to become properly informed on what County departments do and what services are provided.
- In concert with County departments, reviews and approves internal and external publications explaining or promoting agency programs and policies; reviews and approves audiovisual materials used in public presentations; coordinates the purchase of consultant and reproductive services; writes news releases and special feature articles; prepares speeches, and executive summaries for review with PGA.
- Ensures that department service plans and emergency services such as road and bridge closures, rerouting of traffic patterns and construction inconveniences are clearly communicated to the public with as much advance notice as possible.
- Assists department personnel with public meeting planning; coordinates use of appropriate facilities; assists staff with agendas and meeting materials and may serve as meeting facilitator.
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Thorough knowledge of: Principles and practices of public administration, including public policy decision making processes; principles and techniques of public relations; functions of County organizations and departments; legislative processes; audience market analysis sufficient to identify user needs and interests; media practices and procedures; training concepts; English composition and language; public and extemporaneous speaking; multimedia and print media production and presentation.
Skill to: Anticipate issues of strategic importance and effectively communicate the department’s interests with the BCC and PGA; clearly and persuasively speak extemporaneously on sensitive and controversial issues; compose statements, news releases, and position statements; train staff to effectively communicate and respond to public citizen queries and interface with other government agencies; build and maintain an effective department public information and citizen relations program; establish and maintain effective working relationships; keep abreast of all department projects, issues, and opportunities.
Driving may be necessary for County business. For position(s) with occasional/incidental driving, incumbents must possess a valid driver's license. Accommodation requests for an acceptable alternative method of transportation will be reviewed on an individual basis in compliance with State and Federal legislation. For position(s) with regular driving, incumbent(s) must also possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.
MINIMUM RECRUITING STANDARDS
Any satisfactory combination of experience and training that demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and skills.