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Assistant Director (Planning & Development Services)

Skagit County

Skagit County

Mt Vernon, WA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Assistant Director is responsible for managing the Department in the absence of or as directed by the Director. Directs the daily operations of the Planning & Development Services Department and is accountable for the efficient and effective performance and accomplishment of work programs of the Department, including specifically the divisions of Long-Range Planning, Current Planning, and Natural Resources Management. The Assistant Director will bring strong management skills and a forward-thinking approach to cultivate a work culture that supports staff and quality service.   Develops relationships with staff, other departments and community partners that encourages collaboration, strong relationships, and effective use of resources.  Works with other agencies and groups to accomplish the work, mission, goals and vision of the Department and County.  The Assistant Director represents Skagit County by maintaining a professional approach and demeanor in all activities. 

- Salary upon hire is  $52.52 to $56.26 per hour (step 1 through 3) depending upon qualifications.

 - Progressive increases are based upon years of service with Skagit County, up to step 10 (top step is $69.89/hr.). The Assistant Director (PDS) is Range 33 of the Non-rep salary schedule. 


Essential Functions

Performs tasks related to effective operational administration of the Department such as policy implementation, human resource management, financial management, efficient use of resources, legal compliance and timely execution of duties and roles performed by the Department.  Works with all divisions and employees to ensure efficient workflow, communication, and coordination of efforts to ensure timely and quality work completion.


Promotes, establishes, and maintains ongoing relationships for the department and the County, working with municipalities, community partners, businesses, and public sector – including County departments to ensure a comprehensive, inclusive service model for the department.


Assists the Director with developing the strategic direction necessary for the department, and with meeting the objectives of the Board of County Commissioners to provide effective, timely and efficient Planning and Development Services.  Researches, collects, and evaluates data to identify patterns, trends, and impact on department operations.


Assist the Director in ensuring processes and procedures are documented for all functions of the department and to review and improve processes and systems to ensure efficiencies.  Complete system analysis and derive excellent, cost-effective solutions. 


Hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates assigned department staff. Provides professional mentorship, coaching and performance management of employees, along with disciplinary activities as appropriate. Assigns, supervises, and evaluates work consistent with assigned job classification.  Conducts and/or reviews performance evaluations to guide the development of employees and provide a record of performance.   Interprets and applies personnel policies; reviews, revises, and authorizes consistent employment actions. Initiates, documents, and implements disciplinary actions. Establishes performance standards.  Makes administrative decisions.


Fosters and leads a collaborative, caring work environment that empowers staff to thrive and work to their fullest potential.  Leads and mentors the leadership team and staff to work with compassion, honesty and integrity.  Responsible for building and strengthening the leadership skills of all staff to develop strong community-based partnerships.  Motivates team to achieve organizational goals, delegates and holds staff accountable.


Assists the Director with developing policy recommendations and reports related to issues affecting county-wide planning and development programs, operations, and services in which the department is involved.   Assesses and assures policy compliance and assures equitable interpretation and application of regulations.   Assures appropriate policies, procedures and tasks are created and updated.  Ensures enforcement of ordinances, state and federal rules and regulations, policies, and procedures.  Ensures enforcement of codes, ordinances, state and federal rules and regulations, policies, and procedures.


Assists in preparation of Department budget.  Monitors and maintains expenditures within budget guidelines.  Recommends and implements cost effective measures and uses resources effectively to increase productivity.  Negotiates and manages contracts for services and local government agreements between the Department and outside entities.  Assures grant and contract compliance. Negotiates contracts for services between the Department and outside entities or consultants.  Seeks grants or outside funding where feasible.  Ensures grant and contract compliance.


Supports the Director as appropriate and assumes the duties of the Director in his/her absence.


Provides assessment of programs and projects and makes recommendations regarding funding, organization, and staffing. 


Provides high level of customer service and represents the County as a spokesperson at various public meetings and events.


Responds to or supervises the resolution of the most sensitive or complex inquiries, complaints, emergencies, or requests for information from other departments and the public.  


Attends professional conferences, seminars and other meetings as required.




This position directly supervises and manages all personnel within the Long-Range Planning, Current Planning, and Natural Resources Management teams.


This position ensures operational cohesion among all the divisions in the Planning and Development Services Department.


Oversee and resolve personnel issues that arise within the department.



Mentors staff and advises them on personal and professional development as it relates to job performance in the Department.


Assists the Director in providing advice to and coordinating with elected and appointed officials and the public on Departmental matters, analyzing and reporting impact of proposed plans and developments on County’s capacities and abilities to provide services.


Works closely with other departments, Federal, state, regional and local agencies and community resources to coordinate project development and Departmental activities.


May be tasked with performing related duties.  Related duties are duties that may not be specifically listed in the position description but are within the general occupational series and responsibility level typically associated with the employee’s classification of work.  
Minimum Qualifications

B.A. or B.S. degree or higher in planning, natural resources, engineering, public administration, business, or a related field, AND four years of progressively responsible related experience INCLUDING two years of management/supervisory experience showing a demonstrated ability to manage and work with subordinates, OR an equivalent combination of education, training and experience that provides the required skills, knowledge, and abilities.  


Master's degree in Urban Planning, Architecture, Public or Business Administration, or a closely related field is preferred.


Prior experience in growth management, planning, and/or in the administration of land use and building codes preferred. (Proven experience in successfully managing “service delivery” systems similar to regulatory agency permit processes).   Recognition given for private or public service in the regulatory venue.


Proficient in use of computers, permit software. GIS mapping software, and associated programs and equipment preferred.


Requires knowledge of:

  • Organizational and community dynamics and principles and practices of leadership, management, and supervision.
  • Principles and practices of planning and development is preferred.
  • Applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures related to areas of assignment.
  • Fiscal management including budget preparation, grant administration, service and intergovernmental contract negotiation and administration, expenditure control, and recordkeeping.
  • Computer operation and a variety of office software including Windows, Microsoft Office, SharePoint, permit tracking software (such as Tyler Energov), and related software systems (GIS, financial/cashiering).
  • Complex systems project management including planning, scheduling, monitoring, and problem solving.



Requires the ability to:

  • Deliver results, build accountability for staff at all levels, and create a positive working environment characterized by teamwork and innovation.
  • Demonstrate a strong and confident presence with effective listening skills.
  • Be accessible and understand the importance of maintaining close and consistent communication with staff.
  • Work as a cooperative team member who has experience working with partners and stakeholders.
  • Provide leadership and maintain a high level of personal and professional integrity and honesty.
  • Ensure that absolute confidentiality is maintained as required and sensitive information is handled appropriately.
  • Strategically plan, prioritize, train, direct, coach, coordinate, organize, and evaluate staffing and services.  Administer and change plans, policies and work programs.
  • Use tact, discretion, respect, persuasion, diplomacy, and courtesy to gain the cooperation of others and establish and maintain effective teams and a professional relationship and rapport with public officials, representatives of other entities, department heads, co-workers, employees, and the public.
  • Apply sound judgment and problem-solving techniques to evaluate operations; to make reasoned, timely and consistent decisions, including matters of major policy and complex and administrative or technical problems; and to facilitate the effective resolution of problems, grievances, and complaints.
  • Listen attentively and communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with individuals and groups in clear, concise language appropriate for the purpose and parties addressed, including preparing and making public presentations.  Directs preparation of comprehensive written reports, materials, and correspondence.
  • Work with HR to resolve personnel issues that may arise and have experience with progressive discipline and accountability processes.
  • Effectively promote the commitment of the County to provide outstanding customer service.
  • Develop and/or maintain a positive workplace culture and climate that encourages cooperation, collaboration, transparency, and efficient operations.
  • Provide leadership and maintain a high level of personal and professional integrity, proficiency, honesty, ethics, and serves the public’s interest.
  • Diagnose and resolve systems analysis problems, evaluate alternatives, and make sound independent decisions. Manage complex computer interfaces and systems.
  • Effectively delegate responsibility and authority and respond to and reconcile competing interests.
  • Read, understand, interpret, analyze, and provide direction to ensure appropriate application of and compliance with policies, procedures, legal requirements, and regulations.
  • Promote staff and team development and high performance by assuring regular, effective and consistent feedback and evaluation.
  • Estimate and analyze costs and effectiveness of programs.  Monitor and interpret fiscal and statistical information.  
  • Develop ways to identify, improve, and promote efficient systems and processes.
  • Maintain current knowledge for assigned areas and adapt to new technologies, keeping technical skills up-to-date and using technology to increase productivity.



Licenses and/or Certifications:

AICP certification preferred.


Must have a driving record that meets County standards and possess a valid driver’s license at time of hire and through employment.

Supplemental Information


Work is primarily performed in an office environment. Travel to various meetings is required. Occasional field visits. May attend meetings or perform duties outside of normal office hours.  Must be able to move throughout the facilities and operate a motor vehicle.   May occasionally be required to travel by boat, airplane or helicopter and may stand for long periods of time outside in all types of weather.  May occasionally be required to work near noisy machinery.  Must be able to use appropriate safety equipment and follow established safety policies, practices and procedures.



Those present in a normal office environment.  


Possibility of exposure to a variety of environmental and chemical allergens standard to the area of work assignment.


Potential exposure to unfriendly and stressful situations from the public.  


Skagit County, as an equal employment opportunity employer, encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply. 


It is the policy of Skagit County to follow all federal and state laws to ensure non-discrimination in its employment practices.  The statements contained herein reflect general details as necessary to describe the essential functions of this position, the level of knowledge and skill typically required, and the scope of responsibility, but should not be considered an all-inclusive listing of work requirements. Individuals may perform other duties as assigned, including work in other functional areas to cover absences or relief, to equalize peak work periods, or otherwise to balance the workload. Changes to the position description may be made at the discretion of the employer.