Planning Job Descriptions

Planning Director / Executive Director /
Director / Owner / CEO / President

The employment level of Planning Director, Executive Director, Director, Owner, CEO, or President, is the top management level specializing in planning issues. Within a private sector planning firm or a nonprofit, the Executive Director directs all operations of the organization and reports to a Board of Directors. The Planning Director of a local, county or state government directs planning initiatives and typically reports to a Town/City Manager. Planning Directors are often given a significant degree of flexibility in accomplishing their tasks.

Typical Functions

  • Oversees the recruitment, employment, evaluation, and release of staff and contract personnel.
  • Supervises all organization staff, either directly or indirectly through senior staff
  • Develops organization-wide or department-wide goals, objectives, policies and procedures
  • Prepares division/department/organization operations budget
  • Ensures that the Board of Trustees is kept fully informed on the condition of the agency and about any trends, events, or emerging issues of significance to the agency's success
  • Report events and activities to senior management and elected and appointed officials
  • Represents the organization on regional/local boards
  • Implements General Plan or other planning projects
  • Reviews all departmental reports and presentations
  • Evaluates planning-related legislation and applicability to department projects
  • Evaluates proposals to local governments for organization's planning consulting services
  • Attends substantial number of evening and weekend meetings

Typical Knowledge

  • Considerable knowledge of the theory, principles and techniques of the planning profession and development process
  • Considerable knowledge of federal, state and local laws, ordinances and codes pertaining to a wide variety of planning topics
  • Considerable knowledge of principles of personnel management, including supervision, training and performance evaluation
  • Considerable knowledge of the methods and techniques of research and analysis
  • Considerable knowledge of the principles of budgeting and finance
  • Knowledge of real estate terminology, laws, practices, principles, and regulations
  • Knowledge of computer applications including Microsoft Office, Internet applications, and GIS

Typical Skills

  • Effective and persuasive leadership comfortable with all levels of staff, public and others
  • Proven management skills and ability to manage day-to-day operations
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including the editing, oversight or preparation of technical reports, and the presentation of information to government entities and various committees
  • Strong interpersonal and public relations skills to work effectively with various officials, staff, citizens and other customers
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to understand and manage high-profile, sensitive or controversial political situations
  • Strong problem-solving and negotiation skills
  • Ability to exercise sound and independent judgment within general policy guidelines

Minimum Qualifications

This position level requires a master's degree in urban planning, public administration or a related field and a minimum of 8 years of progressively responsible planning experience. Generally, four years of experience must be in a supervisory capacity. AICP Certification is required, or ability to obtain certification within one year. Preference may be given to applicants possessing qualifications above the minimum.