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Department Director, Parks and Recreation Department- U1946 (Unclassified)

at City of San Diego

Posted: 7/26/2019
Job Reference #: 2508372
Keywords: operations

Job Description

Overall Job Objective


Please see instructions on how to apply in the Selection Process section of this bulletin as this position cannot be applied for online.

The City:

With more than 1.4 million people, the City of San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest in California. The City of San Diego's strong economy, diverse population, great educational institutions, unsurpassed quality of life, and world-renowned location makes it the ideal place to work, live, and play. With its great weather, miles of sandy beaches, and major attractions, San Diego has something to offer for everyone.
The City's Mission, as found in our Strategic Plan, is "To Effectively Serve and Support Our Communities." Our core values are Integrity, Service, People, and Excellence. The City's Vision is "A World-Class City for All."
As one of the region's largest employers, the City of San Diego has a combined Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget of approximately $4.3 billion and employs approximately 11,800 highly dedicated employees. Additional information about the City of San Diego can be obtained on the City's website:
The Department:
The Parks and Recreation Department serves City of San Diego's metropolitan area of over 1.3 million residents while the customer base is expanded with San Diego's millions of annual visitors. The City of San Diego operates one of the largest park systems in the nation with more than 400 parks in over 40,000 areas of parkland and open space. The department is currently comprised of six divisions:
• Administration Division
• Community Parks I Division
• Community Parks II Division
• Developed Regional Parks Division
• Golf Operations Division
• Open Space Division

The Position:
Under the general direction of the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Neighborhood Services, the Parks and Recreation Director will lead the Department of more than 900 full-time equivalent employees, with a budget of $158 million.  Parks and Recreation programming in San Diego is a 365-day annual operation. In other parts of the country, weather provides catch-up periods for the facilities and staff.  The opposite is true here with pressure to utilize all available facility time and to increase programming. 
The Director will address issues and opportunities which are common to major urban park and recreation departments as well as needs and situations which are unique to San Diego. 
Minimum Requirements:
Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, or a related field, and 10 years of management experience in a park and recreation setting would be a typical way to demonstrate these qualifications. Any combination of education and experience that demonstrates these qualifications may be qualifying.
       Highly Desirable:

  • Possession of a master's Degree in a related field.
  • A strong background in park and recreation management within a government agency is highly desirable. 
  • Senior level experience in managing service delivery operations in a medium or large city, county or state government agency may be substituted for park and recreation experience.
Key Areas of Responsibilities:
  • Manage day to day department operations via a strong management team;
  • Continuously evaluate operations and implement efficiencies as required;
  • Maintain close working relationships with community and industry stakeholders;
  • Represent the department at City Council and Council Committee meetings and various civic, community, professional, and business forums;
  • Provide focused leadership for enhanced customer service and customer satisfaction;
  • Manage diversity in the workplace and encourage high performing teams; and
  • Perform related duties as assigned.

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
  • Background and experience in park and recreation management, including balancing the competing interests of tourism, recreation, public and private development, and resource stewardship/protection;
  • Experience in developing and monitoring a budget of at least $30 million;
  • Substantial and progressive management experience that demonstrates the ability to direct a major operating department;
  • Demonstrated exceptional business and political acumen to work effectively with internal customers, external agencies and businesses, elected officials and the public;
  • Strong interpersonal leadership skills, with the ability to successfully interact with a variety of stakeholders, both inside and outside the City structure.
  • The ability to set clear expectations, monitoring performance and holding subordinates accountable while evaluating what the department overall is doing well, and where opportunities exist for improvement;
  • A strong sensitivity to the environment and the Department's role in providing natural parks and environmental programs;
  • An understanding of the difference between management and leadership, and skill in both areas;
  • Experience in dealing in a union environment;
  • A commitment to public service, fiscal responsibility and innovation in government;
  • A passion for parks and recreation and a recognition that the nature of the job and scope of activities require 24/7 commitment
  • Demonstrated experience in providing recreational experiences/opportunities that are requested by the public;
  • The ability to effectively direct and manage a wide range of programs, projects and tasks simultaneously, without losing sight of important issues and goals;
  • The ability to balance competing interests in a political environment;
  • A focus on customer service and satisfaction;
  • Initiative to work independently and the ability to accurately perceive and assess situations;
  • Comfort operating in a fluid, big city environment with multiple constituencies, where priorities can shift rapidly; 
  • A can-do, positive attitude and proven record of achieving goals and delivering projects on-time and within budget;
  • An inclusive and consensus building approach which respects citizen participation processes;
  • Proven ability to mentor and develop a diverse, high-performing team both internally and externally
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • A reputation for honesty, candor and unquestioned ethics;
  • Active and genuine commitment to managing diversity in the workplace;
  • Comfort with working with a diverse community who will at times have differing ideas/expectation and will recognize these differences as an important component of good decision making;
Management Compensation and Benefits:
The successful candidate will be eligible for participation in the City's Flexible Benefits Plan that offers several optional benefit plans or a taxable cash option; $50,000 in City-paid life insurance; paid annual leave accruing at 22 days per year for the 1st through the 15th year of service. For further information, please contact the Risk Management Department at (619) 236-6600.  Retirement benefits differ for this unclassified position depending on the candidate's eligible status (new hire, rehire, etc.). To learn more about employee benefits, please review the Benefits Summary for Unclassified Employees. Some benefits currently offered to employees may be modified in the future.
Pre-Employment Requirements: 
Employment offers are conditional pending the results of all screening processes that are applicable to this job, which may include but are not limited to the following: Proof of citizenship or legal right to work in the United States; completion of a pre-employment medical review/exam (which may include drug/alcohol testing); reference checks; and a fingerprint check. The fingerprints will be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice for a conviction record report. Certain positions may require additional screening processes which may include a polygraph examination and/or background investigation. All of these processes must be successfully completed before employment begins. A positive test for alcohol, illegal drugs, including marijuana, or inadequately explained prescription drugs, misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of pertinent facts in any step of the screening/selection process may be cause for disqualification and/or termination of employment. Nothing in this job posting constitutes an expressed or implied contract for employment with the City of San Diego.
Medical Evaluation: 
A City medical examination including drug/alcohol screening and documentation of medical history may be conducted following a conditional offer of employment or promotion. The individual must be able to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.  The City of San Diego is committed to a drug and alcohol-free work place.
Selection Process:
To be considered for this position, please submit your: 1) current resume; 2) a letter of interest highlighting your relevant work experience and qualifications for this position; and 3) a list of three professional references via email to
Following the closing date, resumes will be screened according to the qualifications outlined above and the most qualified candidates will be invited to an interview.
If you have any questions, please email the City's Human Resources Department at
The City of San Diego has an active Equal Opportunity/ADA Program for employment and vigorously supports diversity in the workplace.

Date Posted: July 16, 2019