Chief Sustainability Officer

  • Portland OR
  • Portland, OR, USA
  • Jun 04, 2018
Full time Climate Change/ Resiliency Communication - Public Outreach Energy Efficiency Green Building - Sustainable Development Renewable Energy Sustainability Waste Management - Recycling

Job Description

The Position

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) seeks candidates for a Chief Sustainability Officer position. The Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) is responsible for the bureau's award-winning Sustainability, Climate and Energy, and Solid Waste and Recycling programs. In addition, the position is responsible for developing and implementing programs, policies and projects to ensure the goals of the Climate Action Plan are realized. Portland is known nationally and internationally for its robust and successful sustainability and climate action programs and policies. This position reports to the bureau director and works closely with members of City Council and other international, national and local leaders. The CSO makes independent decisions on a daily basis with minimal supervisory direction on issues such as policy language and interpretation, data analysis, public communication, partner engagement, project delivery and workload management. The position uses professional and political judgment to give direction to program managers on program and policy development. The (CSO) also routinely speaks on behalf of the bureau in policy-making discussions related to climate change, energy, and solid waste management, as well as in Citywide meetings of bureau directors and senior managers. In the same spirit, the position determines which external partner and funding opportunities are worth pursuing.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide city-wide leadership and supervise program managers to guide development and implementation of plans, policies, programs and projects related to:
    • Climate change (reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate preparation) 
    • Solid waste management and collection (waste reduction, recycling, composting, garbage)
    • Green building and infrastructure o Ecodistricts
    • Energy efficiency o Renewable energy
    • Sustainable food systems
    • Sustainability outreach, including business assistance and residential engagement
    • Equity and sustainability connections.
  • Supervise and mentor managers implementing BPS work in these areas.
  • Prioritize activities and related budgets.
  • Identify and secure resources (within BPS budget and externally).
  • Anticipate, evaluate and develop solutions associated with potential plans, actions or policies.
  • Communicate opportunities and challenges to bureau director, Mayor and City Hall staff.
  • Develop policy and strategic direction for City sustainability policy and programs
  • Work with managers to create work plans, allocate resources, and prioritize initiatives in response to changing internal priorities or external opportunities.
  • Work with partner organizations to develop city, state and national policy on sustainability issues, especially on climate change.
  • Evaluate emerging opportunities to build partnerships to accelerate sustainability programs, including new technologies, approaches, funding options and partners.
  • Represent BPS and the City to external partners including public forums, presentations, workshops and general events
  • Participate in the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, ICLEI, and additional professional networks related to sustainability and climate change.
  • Participate on other local, regional and national advisory groups, as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with BPS planning managers to integrate sustainability priorities into other BPS and citywide plans and initiatives.
  • Monitor major planning projects to identify needs and opportunities to align City planning, transportation, housing, environmental and sustainability policies.
  • Meet with planning and other City bureau managers and Metro department managers to establish mechanisms for staff collaboration.
  • Review and provide comment on major land use, transportation, housing, economic development and environmental planning efforts.

About the City of Portland
Lauded as one of the best places to live in America, Portland is a city with a vibrant downtown, diverse neighborhoods, natural beauty, good schools and friendly people.  Home to about 560,000 residents within 145 square miles, Portland maintains deep ties to the Pacific Northwest's natural beauty. Portland is listed among the top 25 arts destinations in the United States, named one of the best cycling cities in North America, and one of America's best walking towns.  Portland maintains deep ties to the Pacific Northwest's natural beauty.  Mount Hood, the Cascade Mountain Range and the renowned Oregon Coast are all just over an hour away. There are 37,000 acres of parks and green spaces within the metropolitan area including the largest urban wilderness in the U.S.: the 5,000-acre Forest Park located within the city limits. Average temperatures range between 34° in winter to 80° in summer and Portland receives 37" of rain annually, less than Seattle, Houston, Baltimore, Boston and Atlanta.

Why work at the City of Portland?
The City of Portland is committed to offering medical, dental, vision, basic life, and long-term disability coverage that provides quality care, support and value to eligible employees and their family members. Additional benefits such as flexible spending accounts, supplemental life insurance and employee assistance program coverage is available to ensure employees have the appropriate tools to safeguard themselves and their family.

To Qualify

The following minimum qualifications are required for the position:

  1. Knowledge of policies, technical principles, practices, programs, regulations and current trends related to green building, energy efficiency, climate change, sustainable food, renewable energy resources, air quality, and urban and environmental planning.
  2. Ability to plan, assign, direct and supervise the work (includes budget and human resource needs) of supervisory, professional and technical staff. 
  3. Experience communicating complex technical matters to non-technical individuals, including policy makers, both verbally and in writing.
  4. Experience acquiring funding and building partnerships with private companies and foundations to support research, policy and program initiatives.
  5. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships, and exercise tact and diplomacy with a diverse workforce and community and with all levels of City staff and elected officials.

Ideal Candidate Profile 
A competitive candidate for the position of Chief Sustainability Officer will possess the required knowledge, skills and abilities listed above and the competencies identified below:

  • Leadership – Proven skill and experience in: building a customer-focused service organization in a multi-disciplined, complex, evolving and fast-paced urban government; facilitating, negotiating and building consensus among diverse customers and stakeholders with competing and differing business needs; building cohesive teams and motivating staff toward high quality achievement and fulfillment of strategic plans; instilling mutual trust and confidence and creating a culture that fosters a high standard of ethics.
  • Deep Knowledge – Extensive knowledge of climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and sustainability issues, including technical skills in at least one or more of these areas. The candidate may have gotten this knowledge on the job or through undergraduate or advanced degrees in environmental science, natural resource management, planning or public administration.
  • Program Management – Excellent management skills indicative of someone who has had several years of management and supervisory experience, including developing workplans and budgets and managing mid-size work groups (20-40 people).
  • Strategic Planner – Proven ability to develop and implement a strategic plan, which is linked to broader organizational objectives, and which supports the development of a responsive, innovative and efficient organization.
  • Communication – Excellent verbal and oral communication skills, including the ability to develop and implement an effective communication strategy addressing the needs of diverse stakeholders – Council, bureau directors, internal and external customers and the public.
  • Diversity and inclusion – A demonstrated track record in building and working with diverse teams and maintaining a professional, respectful and inclusive work environment.
  • Professional Relationships –  Ability to establish and maintain highly effective working relationships with the Chief, City Commissioners, bureau directors, managers, elected and appointed officials of other governmental agencies, employees, business and community leaders, the media, residents and others encountered in the course of work. Possess the skills to work collaboratively within the City and other agencies to enhance service delivery. This will require the successful candidate to be dynamic, open to new ideas and to be a strategic thinker.

Closing date and time: 6/25/2018 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time

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Government- Local/Regional


$8,770.00 - $12,247.00 Monthly