0953 Director of Citywide Planning

Recruitment #PEX-0953-075450


*4/17/2017:  Announcement amended to extend filing deadline

Appointment Type
Permanent-Exempt (PEX) Appointment. This position is excluded by the Charter from the competitive Civil Service examination process and shall serve at the discretion of the Appointing Officer.

San Francisco is renowned as a cultural and economic engine nested within one of the most productive regional economies in the nation. With its 860,000 residents on 47 square miles, it is the second densest US city. The nine-county Bay Area is expected to grow by 1.5 million people to nearly 9 million people by 2040, and of that, the city is expected to grow by approximately 200,000 new residents and 200,000 new jobs. 

The City of San Francisco has a legacy of innovative and forward-thinking urban planning.  This legacy is partially due to the community’s insistence on planning and great design:  San Franciscans have an unusually strong interest and expertise in planning, land use and development, and have high expectations of the Department.

The San Francisco Planning Department is the agency responsible for managing the growth and physical  changes of the city.  The Department develops long range planning policies and plans, conducts environmental and development review, administers and enforces the Planning Code and implements adopted neighborhood plans.  The Department is currently budgeted at 240 employees, the largest staff in its history.

This is an opportunity to work in a dynamic, inter-disciplinary, and innovative department and share in our vision to make San Francisco the worlds’ most livable urban place – environmentally, economically, socially and culturally. We work in a collaborative, team-oriented environment with opportunities to work on a wide variety of projects and topic areas, both individually and on project teams. In performing our work, we work closely with staff of other City and regional agencies, the development community, and the general public. Community outreach and engagement is a big part of our work, and we hold frequent public forums to solicit input in our work, and collaborate with the public.

Position Description
The San Francisco Planning Department currently has an opening for the Director of Citywide Planning which is the long range planning and urban design function of the department. The Division develops policy, maintains and oversees compliance with the City’s General Plan, prepares and implements community plans, acts as the urban design resource for the city, and gathers and analyzes data in support of land-use policy. The Division works on a wide range of topics, including housing, transportation, urban design, land use, community development, resiliency, and sustainability.

This position oversees a current staff of 50 and a budget of $5.9 million, and serves as one of eight senior managers in the Planning Department.  The other seven senior managers include the Director of Administration, the Director of Current Planning, the Environmental Review Officer, the Zoning Administrator, the Director of Commission Affairs, the Senior Policy Advisor, and the Senior Advisor for Special Projects.  All report directly to the Director of Planning. The position also contributes to the overall management of the Department through overseeing various interdivisional project teams.

Under policy direction of the Planning Director, the Director of Citywide Planning is in charge of developing Planning policy, and of developing, maintaining and amending the General Plan of the City and County of San Francisco in its entirety. 

The position is principally responsible for advising the Planning Director in providing guidance on key land use issues, amending and interpreting the General Plan, developing implementation programs, developing legislation, supporting community development, and conducting studies and reports as necessary to consistently implement the goals, objectives, policies and principles of the General Plan.

The Director of Citywide Planning is also responsible for overseeing area plans, urban design projects, and other initiatives as needed.  This responsibility includes the development of related code amendments and policies through adoption by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

The senior managers and administrative staff of the division report directly to the Director of Citywide Planning, who provides executive direction for highly specialized professional planning functions; provides direction to senior managers responsible for program areas; and manages organizational changes.  Other staff of the Division report to the Director of Citywide Planning in matters related to the consistent interpretation and application of the General Plan, matters related to the preparation and adoption of area and action plans, matters related to the general management and administration of the Department as needed, and other matters as assigned from time to time, including teams of staff working on cross-divisional project assignments.

The position develops and oversees the organizational structure, the annual work program, and the budget and staffing of the Citywide Planning Division and assists in and coordinates with the Chief Administrative Officer in the preparation of the Department’s work program and budget.

As a principal deputy, the Director of Citywide Planning represents the Department and the Director at all times and officiates on the Director’s behalf as needed.  The Director of Citywide Planning represents the Department and the Director at meetings with the public, elected officials, other agencies and departments of the City and County, and other Planning Department stakeholders.

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate for the Director of Citywide Planning will be an excellent planner and an excellent manager – both are of the highest importance.

The position requires strong leadership, excellent personnel management skills, and the ability to effectively develop and provide for implementation of significant Planning policy for the City and County of San Francisco.  In addition, the position requires the ability to effectively manage the functional areas described, as well as to provide policy guidance and relevant advice to staff, to the Planning Director, and to Department stakeholders.  Knowledge of state-of-the-art planning practice is critical, as is knowledge of the current impacts and issues facing growth and development in large cities. Experience in the creation, administration, and monitoring of budgets is important.  The ability to effectively monitor staff and functional area performance and to provide program priority is also necessary, as is familiarity with scoping and analyzing management reports and taking appropriate action upon review.  The ability to communicate clearly both in writing and orally is important.  In addition, a high level knowledge of the functional subject matter is required.

The Director of Citywide Planning will be a skilled professional able to develop and promote planning policy to preserve and enhance San Francisco's quality of life and embrace our Citywide 5 year work program in making San Francisco the worlds’ most livable urban place.

Compensation and Benefits
The normal annual salary range is $141,310 - $180,336.  Appointment above the maximum of the normal range may be considered based on documented and substantiated recruitment and retention issues or exceptional skills. A special approval process is necessary for appointment above the normal salary range. 

In addition to a competitive salary, the City and County of San Francisco offers flexible benefit plans with pre-tax elections which include: medical and dental insurance; retirement plan; deferred compensation plan; Social Security; long-term disability plan; life insurance; management training program; eleven (11) paid holidays annually; five (5) floating holidays; depending on years of service, ten (10), fifteen (15), or twenty (20) vacation days annually; and may earn up to 100 hours paid administrative leave annually.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum Qualifications

  1. Possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with a specialty in urban planning, architecture, public administration or a related field AND
  2. Nine (9) years or more of progressively responsible experience in the area of urban planning, including minimum of (5) years management experience, managing a staff engaged in city planning, public administration, or a related field and two (2) years of experience developing and overseeing long-range plans and related planning policies; interpreting a General Plan and overseeing General Plan updates; preparing Neighborhood plans and drafting related amendments to the Planning and Administrative Codes; developing implementation programs, procedures and instruments, including legislation, codes, rules and regulations, and studies and reports necessary to consistently implement the goals, objectives, policies and principles of the General Plan; preparing functional plans and area plans for various topics and geographic areas; or similar long-range planning activities

Substitution:  An advanced degree in urban planning, architecture, public administration or a related field may be substituted on a year-for-year basis up to two (2) years of the required nine (9) years of experience as described above.  The five (5) years of management experience and two (2) years of experience developing and overseeing long-range plans and related planning policies are required.

Desirable Qualifications

The stated desirable qualifications may be used to identify job finalists at the end of the selection process when candidates are referred for hiring.

  • Extensive experience managing staff and prioritizing among competing needs.
  • A strong team player and team builder with a collaborative leadership style, who understands the importance of empowering, recruiting, mentoring, and retaining skilled staff.
  • Track record of visionary planning and recognition for creative concepts and successful projects.
  • Considerable experience in coordinating with other agencies, elected officials, and public stakeholders.
  • Sound and demonstrated technical background pertaining to comprehensive planning and urban design, and especially land use considerations in San Francisco or in similar large cities.

Verification: All applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point in the application, examination and/or departmental selection process. If education verification is required, information on how to verify education requirements, including verifying foreign education credits or degree equivalency, can be found at http://sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=456. Failure to provide the required verification when requested may result in rejection of application and/or removal from eligibility for referral and appointment in this class.  Verification may be waived if impossible to obtain. The applicant must submit a signed statement explaining why verification cannot be obtained. Waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

NOTE:  Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification from this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

Applicants must meet the minimum qualification requirement by the filing date.

How To Apply

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit www.jobaps.com/sf to register an account (if you have not already done so) and begin the application process.

  • Select the desired job announcement
  • Select “Apply” and read and acknowledge the information
  • Select either “I am a New User” if you have not previously registered, or “I have Registered Previously”
  • Follow instructions on the screen

Computers are available for the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date.  Also, applicants must ensure that email from CCSF is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter.  To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses (@sfgov.org, @sfdpw.org, @sfport.com, @flysfo.com, @sfwater.org, @sfdph.org, @asianart.org, @sfmta.com, @sfpl.org, @dcyf.org, @first5sf.org).

Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file.  Applicants should retain this confirmation email for their records.  Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.

All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline.  Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

Applications completed improperly may be cause for ineligibility, disqualification or may lead to lower scores.

If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact the exam analyst, Michael Eng, by telephone at 415-575-9143, or by email at Michael.Eng@sfgov.org.

Resumes may be attached to the application; however, resumes will not be accepted in lieu of a completed City and County of San Francisco application.  

Selection Procedures

The selection process will include evaluation of applications in relation to minimum requirements. Depending on the number of applicants, the Department may establish and implement additional screening mechanisms to comparatively evaluate qualifications of candidates. If this becomes necessary, only those applicants whose qualifications most closely meet the needs of the Department will be invited for an interview.

Conviction History

As a finalist for a job, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you are a finalist. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Candidates applying for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.
  • Candidates applying for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with the City.

If you are selected as a finalist, the hiring department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


Reasonable Accommodation Request
Applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum eligibility requirements for this job announcement can find information on requesting a reasonable ADA Accommodation at:


Terms of Announcement
pplicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations.  [Note: The correction of clerical errors in an announcement may be posted on the Department of Human Resources website at www.jobaps.com/sf]

General Information concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures
Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco can be obtained at http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20 or hard copy at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Copies of Application Documents
Applicants are encouraged to keep copies of all documents submitted. Submitted documents become a permanent part of the exam records and will not be returned. The hiring department may require applicants to submit the same documents and/or additional documents at a later date.

Right to Work
All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States. http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#identification   

Micki Callahan
Human Resources Director
Department of Human Resources

Issued:  March 27, 2017
Amended:  April 17, 2017 - to extend filing deadline

Announcement No.: PEX-0953-075450


All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, ranging from 7.5%-13.25% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact the personnel office of the hiring agency.

For more information about benefits, please click here.


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