Communications Manager

City of Takoma Park, MD Class Specification

CLASS TITLE: Communications Manager
DEPARTMENT: Administrations
REPORTS TO: Deputy City Manager
DATE: 02/2009
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Under general administrative direction, develops, plans, supervises and manages the City’s Communications Division; assures that accessible, easily understood information about the mission and services of the City is readily available to Citizens and Staff. Responsible for public relations policies and programs covering a broad range of public relations activities. Develops and manages the City’s external and internal communications processes. Administers the cable television franchise, oversees the operation of the City's cable television station, and advises the City Manager and the Council on telecommunication policy matters. Oversees the publication of the City’s Newsletter. Oversees the City’s website.


Customer Service

Handles customer questions and complaints, communicates with customers, handles service problems politely and efficiently, always available for customers, follows procedure to solve customer problems, understands all City services, maintains pleasant and professional image. Anticipates, monitors and meets the needs of internal and external customers and responds to them in an appropriate manner. Continually seeks to provide the highest quality service to all customers. Listens carefully when dealing with the public and communicates concern through tone of voice and by taking action to solve their problems in a timely manner. Complies with the City’s Customer Service Policy, including 24-hour response time for telephone calls and e-mails. Explains departmental and City issues to the public in a manner that demonstrates interest and concern for their problems. Listens well, diffuses conflict before it starts, finds causes of and solutions to problems, handles difficult people.


Communicates well both verbally and in writing when required, creates accurate and punctual reports, delivers presentations, shares information and ideas with others, has good listening skills. Effectively conveys information and expresses thoughts and facts. Demonstrates effective use of listening skills and displays openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts. Keeps key employees informed regarding relevant information. Shares information with other members of the team to foster teamwork and to further attainment of the City’s goals. Written and oral information is presented in a manner that projects a positive and professional image of the City.

Reports problems, concerns, issues that should be corrected. Readily shares information and ensures that team members are kept informed and up-to-date. Establishes team and individual accountability for goals, objectives and outcomes. Intervenes as necessary to identify and resolve conflict among team members. Makes conscious and deliberate efforts to build team spirit and identity.

Job Knowledge

Understands duties and responsibilities, has necessary technical skills, understands the City’s mission/values, keeps job knowledge current. Demonstrates the appropriate level of proficiency in the principles and practices of one’s field or profession. Demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement, including the understanding and application of technology where appropriate. Operates within the organization's formal and informal structures, builds allies and relationships across departments, uses allies to build consensus and create results, is appropriately diplomatic, understands others' roles and perspectives, can sell projects and ideas across the organization. Adapts to change, is open to new ideas, takes on new responsibilities, handles pressure, adjusts plans to meet changing needs. Prioritizes well and reacts to opportunities. Is attentive to detail and accuracy, is committed to excellence, looks for improvements continuously, monitors quality levels, finds root cause of quality problems, owns/acts on quality problems.


Budget/Cost Control

Plans for and uses resources efficiently, always looks for ways to reduce costs, creates accurate and realistic budgets and budget projections, tracks and adjusts budgets, contributes to budget planning. Prepares and submits budget within specified time constraints. Anticipates depart mental operating and capital needs and budgets adequately for needed expenditures. Reports departmental expenditures within specified time constraints. Bills are submitted for payment on time. Completes and files all applicable reports related to grants, agenda items, etc. within specified deadlines. Anticipates long-term budgeting needs in manner that allows the City to anticipate and plan for  sources of revenues for extraordinary future expenses. Controls expenditures to deliver department's services within agreed upon budget. Follows established procurement procedures in obtaining goods and services.

Decision Making/Judgment

Recognizes problems and responds, systematically gathers information, sorts through complex issues, seeks input from others, addresses root cause of issues, makes timely decisions, can make difficult decisions, uses consensus when possible, communicates decisions to others. Knows when to notify and/or involve the department head or the City Manager prior to making a decision.


Leads through change and adversity, makes the tough call when needed, builds consensus when appropriate, motivates and encourages others. Addresses projects, issues, and situations using innovative solutions that consider dollar and human resources as well as service goals. Asks clarifying questions, actively listens, stays open to other viewpoints, manages distractions and interruptions. Manages a fair workload, volunteers for additional work, prioritizes tasks, develops good work procedures, manages time well. Sets challenging and productive goals for team, keeps team accountable for actions, provides leadership, and motivation, uses checkpoints and data to track progress, sets up systems and processes to measure results.

Managing Performance

Applies clear/consistent performance standards, handles performance problems decisively and objectively, is direct but tactful, provides guidance and assistance to improve performance. Allocates work with adequate number of personnel so that project deadlines are never missed due to manpower allocation. Fully understands provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreement and ensures compliance with it. Consistently applies policies and procedures in an equitable manner with no valid complaints from subordinates. Trains and instructs employees in proper City techniques and procedures, including those designed to provide a safe working environment. Communicates job expectations and monitors employee progress such that there is sufficient documentation to justify performance appraisals, distinguished increases and/or disciplinary actions. Identifies and takes action to improve employee performance. Completes performance reviews within time-frame prescribed by City policy. Provides feedback and coaching, rewards hard work and risk taking, takes mentoring role, challenges and develops employees, accepts mistakes, provides visibility/opportunity. Defines roles and responsibilities, motivates and challenges employees, delegates effectively, and rewards contributions.


Develops realistic plans, sets goals, aligns plans with City’s goals, plans for and manages resources, creates  contingency plans, coordinates/cooperates with others. Creates and communicates a long-term vision, balances short and long term goals, keeps own and team's work aligned with overall goals, creates and adjusts strategic plans. Generates new ideas, challenges the status quo, takes risks, supports change, encourages innovation, solves problems creatively.


Develops, manages, and administers the City-wide communication plan to support internal and external communications within the City.

Plans, organizes, directs, and participates in various communication tools including the City Newsletter, City Website, City

Cable TV Channel, press releases, and special topic publications

Work with other departments and provide consultation to ensure all messages and materials are well coordinated.

Develop and implement communication strategies and tools to engage residents and customers.

Respond to constituent, Council, and staff requests for information.

Ensure the City’s photo inventory is up to date. Take photos as needed at City events.

Administer and coordinate all aspects of the operation of the City’s cable television station.

Develop strategic plans for the City Cable TV Channel including equipment purchases, programming, and operations.

Maintain current knowledge of technology for video equipment upgrades. Strategically plan short, mid, and long range upgrades to cable acquisition and playback equipment and manage Cable Special Revenue Fund.

Function as Executive Producer for annual day-long video shoots.

Set guidelines for operation of the Cable Bulletin Board.

Develop and implement plans to assure the City Website provides comprehensive information and is updated in a timely fashion.

Consult with departments to assure best uses of the City website. Keep up with technological improvements in government website to assure best use of the medium for the City.

Carries out supervisory/managerial responsibility in accordance with policies, procedures and applicable laws, including: interviewing, hiring and training staff; planning, assigning and directing work; establishing deadlines; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; coordinating, developing and approving staff training; approving leave requests; and addressing complaints and resolving problems.

Prepares division budget and monitor revenues and expenditures throughout the fiscal year.


Special projects which may include RFP writing, coordinating with consultants, and/or working with outside organizations.

Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Computer
  • Cameras
  • Video Switcher
  • Robotic Camera
  • Audio Boards
  • Playback Decks
  • Microphones
  • Recorders
  • Routers
  • Projectors
  • Timers
  • Character Generator
  • Still Cameras


Education and Experience

Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university in Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, or a related field; and,

Five to seven years of progressively responsible related experience; or,

Any combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Licenses and Certifications



Knowledge of:

Considerable knowledge of public relations principles, practices, and mediums that support internal and external communication needs of an organization.

Professional principles and practices of cable television production and administration.

Applicable state, federal and local ordinances, laws, rules and regulations.

Management principles and practices, including goal setting and implementation.

Short and long term planning.

Procurement process, contracts, and RFP procedures.

Record keeping, report preparation, filing methods and records management techniques.

Correct English usage, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary.

Standard business arithmetic, including percentages and decimals.

Basic budgetary principles and practices.

All computer applications and hardware related to performance of the essential functions of the job.

Skill in:

Planning, scheduling and implementing media events.

Formulating and implementing procedures, standards and guidelines for collection, review and presentation of information to be communicated to the public.

Organizing work, setting priorities, meeting critical deadlines, and following up assignments with a minimum of direction.

Using tact, discretion, initiative and independent judgment within established guidelines.

Strong interpersonal skills.

Applying logical thinking to solve problems or accomplish tasks; to understand, interpret and communicate complicated policies and procedures.

Communicating clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.

Preparing clear and concise reports, correspondence and other written materials.

Researching, compiling, and summarizing a variety of informational and statistical data and materials.

Mental and Physical Abilities

Analytical skills necessary to perform numerical calculations to obtain totals, balances, and verify information from complex forms and transfer to computers or manual reports.

Ability to establish and maintain working relationships with a variety of individuals.

Ability to read, analyze and interpret professional periodicals and journals, technical procedures and government regulations.

Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.

While performing the essential functions of this job the employee is frequently required to sit, stand, use hands to finger, handle, or feel, speak and hear, and lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

Working Conditions

Work is performed in a normal office environment with little exposure to outdoor temperatures or dirt and dust. Participation in off-site video production involves long days, weekend and/or night-time hours, primarily outdoors in hot or cold conditions.

The incumbent's working conditions are typically moderately quiet except for remote vide productions.

file: Communications Manager

This class specification should not be interpreted as all inclusive. It is intended to identify the essential functions and requirements of this job. Incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification. Any essential function or requirement of this class will be evaluated as necessary should an incumbent/applicant be unable to perform the function or requirement due to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodation for the specific disability will be made for the incumbent/applicant when possible.