Recruitment #1907-2615-001




The City of Tucson Planning and Development Services Department seeks a Principal Planner to play a key role in shaping the next phase of development in Tucson’s downtown and beyond.

This position will have oversight of special districts designed to promote transit-oriented, infill development and protect historic resources. Recent years have brought tremendous investment to Tucson’s downtown following the construction of a streetcar line and implementation of special districts to encourage urban development patterns. Thousands of units of housing, both market-rate and affordable, have been added to the area, as well as new services and jobs, making downtown and other areas adjacent to the streetcar more dynamic and inviting. The Principal Planner will be responsible for continuing to promote the revitalization of the greater downtown area while planning for new growth areas across the city. The Principal Planner is expected to help promote our customer-centric culture providing strategic, timely, quality planning and development services to an engaged community. We are seeking a motivated, highly qualified, adaptable and creative professional whose strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with the public will help advance our department efforts.

General Description

The Principal Planner, working in a collaborative environment, is expected to exhibit leadership, the ability to apply past experience, technical knowledge and professional judgement while serving and assisting in the management of the Special Districts team. Reporting to the Planning Administrator, the Principal Planner will supervise up to three permanent and contracted staff working on the review of complex, time sensitive development projects that require dedicated points of contact.

The successful candidate will

  • Manage and review applications for development projects in districts with specialized code and review processes. Serve as central point of contact and coordinate with applicants, internal reviewers and public review bodies to ensure thorough and timely project review. Evaluate projects according to adopted standards and policies as well as professional expertise and analysis.
  • Lead meetings and present in a variety of settings including internal coordination meetings, public boards and commissions, stakeholder meetings and community events. Communicate with elected officials, city staff and the public effectively and appropriately both in writing and orally.
  • Develop, maintain and utilize working knowledge of zoning code, design standards, and other regulations, particularly those applicable to special districts. Recommend amendments to codes and policies to better achieve development objectives.
  • Work collaboratively across departments and sectors to ensure that zoning and development regulations align with transportation investments, economic incentives and other policies as part of broad strategies to support citywide goals for economic growth, transit-oriented development, diverse housing options, historic preservation and vibrant public spaces.
  • Lead and manage special districts team – assign projects to staff, offer guidance, review work and provide feedback. Serve as a mentor and support professional development across the department. Manage various consultants conducting design review and other work. Help set tone for a collaborative and customer-centric workplace.
  • Lead and contribute to strategic initiatives to implement the goals of Plan Tucson, the City of Tucson’s General Plan. Analyze economic, social, and environmental issues, identify community needs, and help make Tucson more attractive to residents, businesses and visitors.
  • Coordinate planning projects by conducting research, collecting technical materials, and meeting with stakeholders and organizations. Create and present multi-media materials, manage project timelines, make recommendations, and coordinate events to promote programs and foster public participation.

Essential Functions

Supervises and coordinates the equivalent of two or more fulltime employees and all assigned work in a unit ensuring timely and quality activities to respond to the needs of the City, community, department, and unit.

Assists with the implementation, evaluation and interpretation of department policies, projects and procedures.

Manages, coordinates, and determines priorities of work load, monitoring levels of resources, establishing time lines, assigning work, monitoring progress, recommending changes and suggestions, writing, reviewing and editing reports prepared by staff, and approving completed projects and reports.

Implements controls for appropriate unit staffing and effectiveness by participating in the recruitment and hiring of employees, making recommendations on employee discipline, and other human resources issues, evaluating and managing employee performance, discussing and identifying personnel issues and facilitating resolutions, promoting positive morale in the unit, ensuring staff is trained appropriately for maximum performance, and providing leadership and guidance.

Contributes to the needs of the community and City by implementing and causing others to implement the organization's values and strategies by leading through example, competency, and accountabilities.

Provides customer service by responding to information requests, conducting research, providing solutions to problems, and correcting errors.

Ensures that unit work conforms to local, state, and federal governmental regulations, and other applicable rules and requirements.

Prepares detailed reports, approves vendor payments, attends and conducts meetings, assists with preparation of contracts and amendments, maintains procurement documents, responds to inquiries, and reviews rezoning cases.

Coordinates public outreach programs, reviews licenses, issues permits and researches codes.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum Education Level & Type: Bachelor’s Degree

Minimum Experience Qualifications: At least 3 years experience in land use planning projects

Special Job Requirements

An equivalent combination of education, experience and training that provides the desired knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions may be considered.

Preferred Qualifications

In addition to the minimum qualifications stated above, the ideal candidate will possess the following:

•Master’s degree in Planning, Real Estate Development or closely related field
•At least 5 years professional experience as a Planner
•Project management experience
•Strong interpersonal communication skills
•A proven track record of successfully completed planning projects
•AICP certification or certification in progress

Selection Plan

Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will be evaluated on the education and work experience in their employment profile and the responses to their supplemental questions. Qualified applicants will then be invited to participate in the following assessments:

A written assignment which will be distributed the week of August 12, 2019 and due by close of business August 28, 2019

Oral Board Interviews which will include a presentation and will be held the week of September 2, 2019

Upon completion of all examination processes, the highest scoring applicants will be placed on the Civil Service Employment List. An applicant's ranking on the Civil Service list will be based on their final score which will be calculated as:

  • 15% of your rating for education and work experience
  • 10% of your score from the written assignment
  • 50% of your oral board interviews scores
  • 25% of your presentation score

This recruitment will establish a civil service list that will be utilized to fill vacancies occurring within the next 6 months. Veterans, Native American, or Disability preference points will be added to the final score for those that are placed on the Civil Service Employment List. If you qualify for preference points as outlined in the Employment Profile, please present your documents at the time of the interviews. The DD 214 must be a copy that indicates characterization of service. If you are in need of Americans with Disabilities Act-related accommodation during the testing process, please call Pilar Jauregui (520 837-4177) at least 48 hours prior to the evaluation.


You are encouraged to print this bulletin because it contains important dates and information that will not be available online once this position closes. Communications throughout this process will be sent via email exclusively so please ensure your browser accepts emails from and check your email account regularly; this may include your junk box/spam filter. Failure to respond or follow instructions will result in disqualification.

Pre-employment Medical Testing Requirements


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To ensure accurate payroll information for tax purposes, the successful candidate will need to provide their original Social Security Card or original letter from the Social Security Administration with their social security number prior to beginning work with the City of Tucson.

The City of Tucson hires lawful workers only - US citizens or nationals and non-citizens with valid work authorization - without discrimination. Federal immigration laws require all employers to verify both the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States. In its efforts to meet the law's requirements, the City of Tucson participates in the E-Verify program established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to aid employers in verifying the eligibility of workers.

Retired City of Tucson employees receiving benefits from the Tucson Supplemental Retirement System who are considering reemployment with the City should be aware that pursuant to Section 22-37(g) of the Tucson City Code, retirement benefits shall be suspended during the period of reemployment with the City of Tucson unless you have been separated at least twelve consecutive months before returning to work AND you return to a non-permanent employment classification. Creditable service does not accrue during any reemployment period.