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Communications Director Recruitment

Communications Director Recruitment 

We are excited to announce the recruitment for our next Communications Director! Details on the position, the recruitment process, and working for the City can be found on this web page.


Application Deadline and How to Apply

This position will be open until filled.


Apply Online Now


Recruitment Schedule

Date Process
November 14, 2022
Application period opens
Open until filled


For questions or additional information on this position, please contact Jessica Madrigal, Human Resources Analyst, at Jmadrigal@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5344.



City of Tacoma and the Communications Office

The City of Tacoma operates under a Council-Manager form of government. City Council Members are comprised of a Mayor and eight Council Members elected to serve four-year terms. As the policy making body of the City, the City Council serves as the link between the residents of Tacoma and their municipal government.


The City Manager ensures that the City’s programs and operations meet with needs of Tacoma residents and is the connection between the City Council and City departments to ensure effective implementation of City Policies.


The Communications Office resides within the City Manager’s Office and is responsible for the following operational areas:

  • Internal and External Communications Strategy
  • Public Relations
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Media Relations
  • TV Tacoma
  • Language Access

The Priorities

Strengthening the City of Tacoma’s internal and external communications is a key priority for the City Manager. Earlier this year, the City engaged the services of a communications consultant to conduct an audit of our current communications structure and provide recommendations. In addition to working with the City Manager to evaluate and implement the recommendations relating to reorganization of the office, the following priorities for this position were informed by the recommendations provided by the consultant:

  • Develop and implement a plan to prioritize proactive communication
  • Organize work and develop strategic direction and work plan for the communications office
  • Create and adopt standard operating procedures and processes for communication-related work, especially for communications in emergent situations
  • Lead the upgrade and design of the City’s website and develop a social media plan


Roles and Essential Functions of the Communications Director

As a key member of the City of Tacoma’s Executive Team, the Communications Director is the chief architect and advisor on the City’s proactive and strategic internal and external communications functions. The individual in this role will lead an outstanding team of professionals who work in the areas of media relations, public relations, language access, marketing, the TV Tacoma television station, social media, graphic design, multi-media design, and photography.


Essential Functions for this Position 


Citywide Communications and Public Relations

  • Develop and direct proactive and comprehensive internal and external communication strategies that support the efforts of the City Manager, Mayor, City Council, and Departments
  • Serve as lead communications and public relations advisor to the City Manager, Mayor, City Council, and City leaders
  • Collaborate and coordinate with communications staff across the city to ensure consistent messaging and branding
  • Drive the development and production of content including print and online copy, videos, still photography, multimedia and graphic design pieces, marketing materials and educational collateral to ensure accuracy, relevance, consistency, and effectiveness
  • Provide strategic direction to the City’s Public Information Officer to ensure proactive and timely engagements with members of the news media and preparation of  authorized spokespersons and key subject matter experts as needed to effectively engage with members of the news media. Serve as the Public Information Officer’s back-up when needed.
  • Provide strategic direction in development of and revisions to the City’s website and social media presence
  • Oversee the successful operation of TV Tacoma
  • Ensure the implementation of plans and processes for providing language access and communications support to City departments and the public in its interactions with the City
  • Lead communication efforts in emerging and crisis situations by coordinating among relevant departments (including the Tacoma Police Department), preparing statements and spokespeople, and delegating key tasks across staff.

Community Engagement and Partnerships

  • Collaborate with the Chief Strategy Officer and departments to develop and implement community engagement strategies and tools that enhance community connection in alignment with City goals and priorities. Ensure strategies and tools are measured for effectiveness and reported on regularly.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with the public, the media, community including residents and businesses, community leaders, and partner agencies

Communications Office Leadership

  • Develop and monitor short and long-range business plans, goals, and performance measures for the Communications Office
  • Manage the Communications Office budget, oversee the effective and efficient use of resources, and prepare and present budget proposals
  • Oversee the hiring, supervision, and development of staff. Ensure appropriate actions are taken with regard to employee performance, training, and assignments.

Other Duties as Assigned

  • Serve as an active and engaged member of the City Manager’s executive team; attend and actively participate in Director’s Forum and other leadership meetings
  • Sponsor interdepartmental and Citywide projects


Education and Experience

We are seeking candidates to serve as our next Communications Director who possess a relevant combination of education, demonstrated experience, and skills in some or all of the following areas*:

  • Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, public relations or closely related field and five or more years of experience in media relations, communications planning, and management
  • Ability to write and speak in one or more languages other than English
  • Experience in managing a communication function in a sophisticated government or business environment
  • Accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America or other professional communications group

*Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet all of the qualifications listed. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one from a less traditional background. If you have transferable experience, please tell us about it.

The Ideal Candidate

We are looking for an experienced leader with demonstrated experience managing a team of professionals in the communications, marketing, and/or community engagement fields. Ideally, the successful candidate will:

  • Have experience working across teams and departments to deliver coordinated communication strategies and campaigns
  • Show a demonstrated ability to synthesize complex subject matter into impactful communication plans and tactics
  • Have experience navigating and communicating within a public sector environment
  • Be available outside of normal working hours to manage crisis communications when needed

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is currently $121,846 - $156,208 annually*. The City offers a comprehensive total rewards package with one of the best pension packages in the market. For complete details, please explore the City of Tacoma Benefits Guide and Tacoma Employee’s Retirement System website.


*The City is currently in the final stages of a classification and compensation study for its non-represented positions, including this one. The study includes a market analysis, which we anticipate will increase the salary range upon implementation in January 2023 (pending adoption by the City Council).

About Tacoma

The City of Tacoma is nestled along the shore of Commencement Bay in Washington State and offers many community parks, miles of beautiful waterfront, hiking and biking trails, golf courses, museums, and a world-class zoo and aquarium. Tacoma also serves as a getaway to some of the most magnificent natural wonders in the world, such as Puget Sound, Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic Peninsula.

Working for the government is a rewarding opportunity to work with people who are passionate about making a real, tangible difference. You'll be surrounded by innovative leaders working on a variety of issues during this formative time in Tacoma's development.  By working with us, you can play a part in shaping the future of the city.


For more information about the Tacoma area, visit www.traveltacoma.com.


The City of Tacoma is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its workforce. Applicants are considered for positions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital or veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, and local laws.