Deputy Director of Planning and Building

Rodney Rutherford

City of Kirkland (WA, USA) is seeking a Deputy Director of Planning and Building. Kirkland is a growing first-ring suburb, just across Lake Washington from Seattle...but most importantly, you'll get to work with some amazing Planning Commissioners. ;-)


[Below is a copy/paste of the main details from that page...]

Under the direction of the Director of Planning and Building, provides leadership and manages, supervises, and administers the activities of the Planning and Building department. Assists the Director in the day-to-day operations of the Department, including personnel, budget, administration and work program tasks. Oversees the activities of the Department in the Director’s absence. Oversees and manages the long-range planning division, which is responsible for preparing and maintaining plans that help guide development of Kirkland’s built environment.

Carries out the directions of the Director to ensure that the Department’s programs are implemented consistent with the City’s goals and policies. This is accomplished through the direct supervision of project managers in the long-range planning division and the general supervision of departmental staff.


  • Provides leadership and oversight of the long-range planning division, including the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan, and land use regulations in compliance with the State Growth Management Act, other State statutes, and regional and County policies.
  • Spearheads implementation of the 3-year City Council-approved Planning Work Program.
  • Provides recommendations and advice primarily to City Council, the Planning Commission, and other Boards and Commissions, consistent with City policies and regulations and professional planning practice.
  • Assists the Director in the development of policies and procedures designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of department operations. Partners with department management to ensure implementation of new policies and procedures.
  • Keeps abreast of major City initiatives and changes in policy, informs Director and department management of impacts to the department.
  • Assists the Director in developing short- and long-term strategic plans concerning organizational structure, goals and objectives, and priorities. Manages the implementation of departmental goals consistent with City policies and procedures and City Council goals.
  • Recommends staffing, service levels, budgeting and resource requirements. Assists the Director in preparing and administering the Department’s budget. Approves expenditures, contracts, and budgetary adjustments as appropriate.
  • Hires, retains, trains, motivates and leads departmental staff and various contract employees. Assigns tasks and distributes workload. Provides direction and support to staff in the performance of their tasks and reviews their work products for quality. Partners with the Human Resources Department for employee discipline matters as needed.
  • Conducts annual performance evaluations, recommending goals and areas for personal and professional improvement for direct reports. Provides guidance for professional training and development of staff to ensure innovation and state-of-the-art planning knowledge.
  • Provides policy and technical guidance to staff, other City departments, the public and appointed and elected officials on the City’s planning policies, regulations, and programs for land use, growth, and development. Researches, evaluates alternatives, and prepares reports for complex or politically sensitive land use issues. Coordinates Department activities and tasks with other City departments to assure a consistent approach toward common projects of citywide interest. Coordinates with City Attorney on legal issues regarding planning and permit applications.
  • Serves as City representative in intergovernmental activities or negotiations with other agencies and municipalities, and regional, state and federal agencies.
  • Manages interdepartmental and intergovernmental projects and programs involving land use plans, housing, natural resources and sustainability, transportation, economic development, and capital improvements.
  • Evaluates and determines consultant requirements, negotiates and administers professional and consulting services contracts and work programs; oversees consultant work and authorizes tasks and expenditures.
  • Establishes procedures for the distribution of public information and opportunities for public participation in the Department’s planning activities. Presents programs and projects to community groups and at public meetings. Provides public information to outside groups requesting information regarding the City’s and the Department’s activities.
  • Serves as Acting Director in the Director’s absence.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Passion for fostering a sustainable, equitable, and just community, and comprehensive knowledge of the associated skills and team-building.  
  • Ability to exercise considerable discretion and independent judgment in choosing approaches, methods, and resources to solve problems and achieve results.
  • Ability to analyze complex and controversial planning issues and development applications and provide recommendations and advice to the public, and appointed and elected officials.
  • Ability to carry out a vision of the City’s future and to contribute to the development of a
  • constituency for good land use planning and local government.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of land use, environmental and transportation planning, sustainability, urban design, economic development, and development regulation, planning concepts, techniques, and practices.
  • Advanced skills in negotiating complex issues with small or large groups to resolve conflicts, gain consensus and reach compromise.
  • Ability to exercise professional judgment and make timely decisions in a complex political environment.
  • Advanced interpersonal and communication skills (both written and verbal) to maintain effective working relationships with internal and external contacts, report writing, and presentations.
  • Ability to attract, retain, lead and motivate a diverse, competent and professional staff.
  • Knowledge of union contract provision as they pertain to Department staff.
  • Ability to be flexible to changing priorities.



Minimum Qualifications 
Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, architecture, urban design, public administration or related field, plus seven (7) years of professional planning experience with at least three (3) years in a supervisory or management role. Master’s degree in Planning or closely related field is desired. Knowledge of, or experience with building code administration desired. Intermediate level PC proficiency, including word processing, spreadsheet, database, and permit tracking software. Valid Washington State driver’s license or ability to obtain upon hire.




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