Recruitment #2104-2615-001


The City of Tucson Planning and Development Services Department seeks a Principal Planner to play a key role in shaping future growth of Tucson.

Recent years have brought a record-breaking number of development permits and construction to Tucson. This period of growth is expected to continue across every sector, from residential to commercial to industrial. The Principal Planner will be instrumental in guiding the next phase of the City’s growth by serving as the point of contact for a range of development projects, making updates to code and helping develop new tools to support sustainable growth.
The Principal Planner is expected to supervise staff and help promote our customer-centric culture providing strategic, timely, quality planning and development services to an engaged community. Promoting safety, economic vitality, and adaptability to a growing development sector is what drives our department. 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 assisting in the management of our team. Reporting to a Section Manager or Administrator, the Principal Planner will supervise permanent and contracted staff working on development review, zoning, and special applications and manage complex, time-sensitive projects that require dedicated points of contact. The successful candidate will
  • Manage and review development applications and plans for compliance with City codes, standards, regulations, and policies. 
  • Serve as central point of contact and coordinate with applicants, internal reviewers and public review bodies to ensure thorough and timely project review. 
  • Lead meetings and present in a variety of settings including internal coordination meetings, public boards and commissions, as well as stakeholder and community meetings. Communicate with elected officials, city staff and the public effectively and appropriately.
  • Develop, maintain and utilize working knowledge of the Unified Development Code. 
  • Recommend and help develop 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. 
  • Lead and manage a team – assign projects to staff, offer guidance, review work and provide feedback. Serve as a mentor and support professional development across the department. 
  • Coordinate planning projects by conducting research, developing recommendations, and managing project timelines. 
  • Coordinate outreach programs to foster public participation, meet with stakeholders and organizations, create materials and present to a variety of audiences

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 managing land use planning projects 

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. The highest scoring applicants will then be invited to participate in the assessment process.
· Written Assignment will be distributed upon the closing of the recruitment and due May 24, 2021  
· Virtual Oral Board Interviews, including a presentation, will be May 26 and May 27, 2021  
* *It is important to note that the City of Tucson uses Microsoft Teams for its virtual interviews. Please ensure that you have access to this software application.**   
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 Written Assignment score
  • 50% of oral board interviews score
  • 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 email your documents to at the time you are invited to 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 please email 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.