Director of Parks and Recreation

  • San Jose, California
  • Jun 20, 2018
Full Time Administration and Management Parks and Recreation
  • Salary: $176,953.39 - $227,069.95 Annually

Job Description

Under general direction, the Director leads, plans and administers the development and operations of the County's regional park system and recreation programs.

The current vacancy is due to the upcoming retirement of the current Director in July 2018. This Executive Leadership position reports to the Deputy County Executive with responsibility for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Founded in 1956, the County Parks and Recreation Department has grown from four to twenty-eight regional parks. The Department manages a network of over 50,000 acres of regional parks and trails along hillsides adjacent to the urban fringe and along the creeks that pass through the urban service area. The Department operates five camping parks (one outfitted with yurts), ten reservoirs for recreational boating and fishing, 350 miles of hiking, horseback riding, and biking trails, a motorcycle park, hang gliding in Ed Levin Park, a boat launch to the San Francisco Bay at Alviso Marina Park, and many other amenities of broad appeal within a regional park system that contains some of the County's finest natural resources.
The Department is organized into three divisions: Field Operations and Visitor Services Division is staffed by Park Rangers (sworn law enforcement officers who are also trained in fire suppression, emergency medical response, resource management, and visitor service), skilled maintenance personnel, and interpretive and outdoor recreation program staff. The Park Planning and Development Division is responsible for long range system planning, park master planning, capital project design, construction management, land acquisition and property management. The Administrative Services Division is responsible for central support services including finance and budget, human resources and training, information services, reservation and permits, and other administrative services.

The Department enjoys a stable funding source via the Park Charter Fund, a provision in the County Charter approved by voters six times over the past four decades that provides a set aside of property taxes to support the acquisition, development and operation of the County's regional park system. The FY19 budget is approx. $75 million. The Department is guided by a board adopted Strategic Plan and carries out its mission with the support of over 250 staff, hundreds of dedicated volunteers, and cooperative relationships with aligned agencies and organizations in the region.

  • Inspirational leader who develops and guides staff in making strategic decisions, promotes a collaborative team oriented culture committed to continuous learning and improvement.
  • Passion for public service and customer service.
  • Commitment to excellence for a premier regional park system.
  • Value public engagement and promotes diversity in a multi-cultural community that represents a tremendous variety of recreational interests.
  • Keen understanding of the mission to balance recreational use with natural resource protection.
  • Able to cultivate relationships with external partners at the local, regional, and state level.
  • Comfort in juggling many competing demands and priorities while maintaining a consistent vision and work plan.
  • Acuity in reading a the political environment and adjusting appropriately to maintain constructive and productive relations.
  • Demonstrated track record for all aspects of organizational development and management.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the regional parks, recreation, open space and trails business.
  • Familiarity with the responsibilities of natural resource stewardship and land conservation.
  • Superb oral and written communications skills.


This recruitment will remain open until position is filled . It may also be extended or closed as early as 10 days after issue date. Therefore, it is critical to submit your application as soon as possible.  

To apply for this exceptional opportunity, applicants must complete the online application and must provide a CV.

No paper applications will be accepted . Applicants who are viewing this job announcement outside of our Santa Clara County website should go to to apply. Computers are available at the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding Street, 8th Floor, East Wing, San Jose, CA 95110, during normal business hours, for applicants to apply online.

Questions regarding this recruitment may be directed to Patricia Carrillo, Executive Services at (408) 299-5897.


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Typical Tasks
Typical Management Responsibilities
  • Plans, organizes, directs, manages and evaluates the programs, staff and functions of the Department of Parks and Recreation;
  • Assesses and analyzes community needs for urban and rural regional parks;
  • Directs the provision of services which ensure the Department's ability to meet the financial responsibilities for sustaining and expanding the existing regional park system;
  • Coordinates with other jurisdictions, County agencies/departments and community groups;
  • Directs the development, preparation, and implementation of the departmental budget, including the review and analysis of division budget requests, development of justification for budget proposals, and the management of expenditures and revenues;
  • Ensures the delivery of quality, customer-focused services by a commitment to continuous work improvement and exemplary public service;
  • Directs the provision of services to ensure natural resource protection and preservation; habitat restoration and enhancement; environmental regulation compliance; natural resource management planning, inventory and monitoring; and public use and resource protection;
  • Represents the Department before the Parks and Recreation Commission, Board of Supervisors, and outside organizations; I
  • Partners with other agencies and volunteer groups to maximize effectiveness of Parks and Recreation programs;
  • May be assigned disaster service worker responsibilities; and
  • Performs other related duties as required.

Employment Standards
Considerable education, training and experience which would demonstrate the ability to perform the above tasks and possession of the following knowledge and abilities.

The required knowledge and abilities would typically be acquired through education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in Planning, Economics, Public or Business Administration or a related field, and a minimum of three (3) years recent experience with responsibility for the development, management and operation of parks and recreation facilities and programs.

Knowledge of:
  • Principles and practices of property acquisition, development, management and disposal;
  • Contract negotiation and budget administration;
  • Wildlife and fisheries management;
  • Habitat protection and restoration;
  • Federal, State, local ordinances and codes applicable to parks and recreation;
  • Practices and techniques of budget preparation, monitoring and control;
  • Principles and practices of organization, administration, personnel management, employee relations, supervision, training and organizational development.
Ability to:
  • Manage a comprehensive parks system;
  • Effectively organize, coordinate, direct and evaluate the staff and functions of a governmental parks and recreation department;
  • Identify budget administration problems and devise procedural changes to resolve same;
  • Interpret, apply and enforce applicable Federal, State and local ordinances and codes;
  • Train, organize, supervise and motivate departmental staff;
  • Prepare clear and comprehensive correspondence and reports;
  • Effectively represent the Department before the Board of Supervisors, County Executive, the public and other organizations;
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with all those contacted during the course of work;
  • Exercise good judgment in making timely and informed decisions
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.


Closing Date/Time: Continuous

Special Instructions

Please mention you found this employment opportunity on the job board.