Local recruitment: Sonoma Water Senior Programs Specialist - Community & Government Affairs

Sonoma County

Santa Rosa, CA, USA 🇺🇸

Salary: $85,050.14 – $103,395.92 Annually

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Job Type: Full-Time

Department: Sonoma County Water Agency (WTR)

Job Number: 23/03-0984-O

Closing: 3/23/2023 11:59 PM Pacific

Position Information

Join the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) as the Senior Programs Specialist!

The Sonoma Water Senior Programs Specialist is a member of the Community and Government Affairs team and the primary communications representative responsible for planning and implementing Sonoma Water’s communication strategies. This position represents Sonoma Water by providing information at community events, arranging press appearances, and participating in interviews with television, radio, and print media. Additional responsibilities include:

  • Producing staff reports, news releases, brochures, pamphlets, bulletins, and other publicity and educational materials
  • Participating in public outreach related to emergency events that affect Sonoma Water facilities or resource management by issuing press releases, public service announcements, and media placements to keep the public informed 
  • Developing positive working relationships with the media as well as fielding questions from the public, government officials, contractors, and others regarding the agency’s policies, programs, and contracts
  • Coordinating and directing community engagement programs with other staff and departments
  • Promoting awareness of Sonoma Water projects and programs through designing, implementing, and maintaining the content of a variety of media including intranet, internet, and social media platforms, and maintaining the agency website content

In addition to bringing years’ of experience implementing water-related programs, the ideal candidate thrives in a collaborative environment, can take direction and possess:

  • Press release writing experience
  • Proven water-related experience in planning, managing, and implementing public information campaigns
  • Working knowledge of web design and online social networks
  • Adobe Creative Suite experience designing brochures, flyers, and other public documents
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite programs

What We Offer

Working at Sonoma Water offers expansive opportunities for growth and development, the ability to be a part of a challenging and rewarding work environment, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re working to better our communities. You can also look forward to flexible work arrangements and excellent benefits* including:

  • A hybrid telework schedule that meets the needs of our staff, department operations, and the communities we serve may be available depending on the assignment
  • Eligibility for a salary increase after 1,040 hours (6 months when working full-time) for good work performance; eligibility for a salary increase for good performance every year thereafter, until reaching the top of the salary range
  • Competitive vacation and sick leave accruals, 12 paid holidays, and an additional 8 floating holiday hours per year
  • County paid 100% premium contribution for the majority of employee-only and employee + family health plan options
  • An annual Staff Development/Wellness Benefit allowance of up to $500 and ongoing education/training opportunities
  • County contribution to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to help fund post-retirement employee health insurance/benefits
  • Retirement fully integrated with Social Security
  • May be eligible for up to 8 weeks (320 hours) of Paid Parental Leave after 12 months of County employment

*Salary is negotiable within the established range. Benefits described herein do not represent a contract and may be changed without notice. Additional information can be found in the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Memorandum Of Understanding (SEIU MOU) and our Employee Benefits Directory.

About Sonoma Water

Sonoma Water is a special district formed by the California State Legislature in 1949 and is responsible for providing a safe and reliable water supply to its customers in Sonoma and Marin counties. Sonoma Water also maintains 75 miles of flood control channels and provides sanitation services. Employing approximately 250 employees, Sonoma Water consists of seven divisions including Engineering and Resource Planning, Environmental Resources, Community and Government Affairs, Water and Wastewater Operations, Maintenance, and Administrative Services. Sonoma Water supports the concept of environmental sustainability, focusing on renewable power sources, and strives to be a leader in its water conservation and fishery restoration programs.

Please note: Employees of Sonoma Water are employees of a special district and are not subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Ordinance of the County of Sonoma.

The formal title for this position is Water Agency Senior Programs Specialist.

We are currently recruiting to fill a full-time Sonoma Water Senior Programs Specialist.  This employment list may also be used to fill future full-time, part-time, or extra-help (temporary) positions as they occur during the active status of this list.  Qualified County employees who wish to be considered for future positions should consider applying to this recruitment.


Education & Experience: Any combination of education, training, and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities listed. Normally, this would include a four-year degree in water related science, environmental studies, education, political science, communications, public relations, or a closely related field; and three years of experience, which includes at least one year at the level of Water Agency Program Specialist II, or equivalent, that has included experience in the implementation of water-related programs in one or more of the following areas: community relations, public outreach, media, water use efficiency technology, teaching methods consistent with state-wide educational standards, and/or legislative processes at the federal or state level.

Desired Certifications: Possession of a Grade II Water Use Efficiency Practitioner certificate from the CA/NA Section of the American Water Works Association for persons in the Water Use Efficiency specialization.  Possession of a California teaching credential for persons in the Water Education specialization

License: Possession of a valid driver’s license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California, may be required depending upon assignment to perform the essential job functions of the position.Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Thorough knowledge of: Operation of water supply facilities, water treatment facilities and water distribution systems; methods of water treatment and recycling; environmental regulations and environmental enhancement and restoration methods related to operation and construction of water supply, flood control, renewable energy, recycled water, and wastewater treatment facilities; fundamentals of communication, public speaking; data analysis and statistical forecasting methods; best practices for community outreach; English grammar, composition, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation; standards and practices for workplace safety; and office procedures, methods, and equipment including computers and applicable software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, search tools, social media services and database applications.

Ability to: plan, develop, organize, and implement a wide variety of water-related programs; negotiate agreements with various agencies and special interests to facilitate program activities; speak effectively and persuasively before diverse groups; establish effective working relationships with other staff and with persons possessing a wide variety of divergent views; plan, organize, train, lead, and direct the activities of Water Agency staff and employees of participating municipalities, specials districts, the public, and outside agencies; create, innovate, develop, implement, and manage a variety of programs and projects related to water use efficiency, water education, community affairs, or government affairs; write and edit written materials for publication; compile concise reports, letters, newsletters and other written materials; coordinate educational and informational seminars and workshops; prepare and disseminate information to media and others; prepare a wide range of clear, concise, and informative reports, correspondence, and brochures; operate office equipment including computers and supporting word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications; use the internet and social media to enhance public outreach.

Specialized assignments require the following:

Water Use Efficiency
Working knowledge of: Principles, practices and methods of water use efficiency and natural resource conservation; methods of conservation program implementation and monitoring; plumbing efficiency; building code requirements; landscaping and turf water efficiency; methods for urban and non-urban water reuse; landscape design and installation practices; regulatory framework and reporting standards for water efficiency in California including State Water Board requirements and urban water management plan specifications.

Water Education
Working knowledge of: Strategies and methods for effective educational programs; current state and federal standards for science education; strategies for effective behavior management; methods for outdoor education and natural interpretation, strategies for curriculum development and implementation; methods to analyze educational effectiveness.  

Community Affairs
Working knowledge of: Principles and techniques for establishing and maintaining effective public relations; media operations and effective media relations;  techniques for effective use of social media; principles of graphic design and production; techniques and methods of research, report writing and preparation of informational materials; strategies for conflict resolution and mediation;

Government Affairs
Working knowledge of: Basic principles of the state Water and Government Codes and related laws; state and federal legislative procedures; regulatory requirements governing legislative advocacy; communication methods for legislative advocacy; strategies for developing multi-agency coalitions.Selection Procedure & Some Helpful Tips When Applying

  • Your application information and your responses to the supplemental questions are evaluated and taken into consideration throughout the entire selection process.
  • You should list all employers and positions held within the last ten years in the work history section of your application. Be as thorough as possible when responding to the supplemental questions.
  • You may include history beyond ten years if related to the position for which you are applying. If you held multiple positions with one employer, list out each position separately.
  • Failure to follow these instructions may impact your competitiveness in this process or may result in disqualification.

Please visit Getting a Job with the County of Sonoma to review more detailed information about the hiring process, including the application process, examination steps, and department selection process.


Responses to supplemental questions will or may be scored using position-specific criteria. Please provide specific and detailed responses of a reasonable length to allow for a thorough assessment of your qualifications. Responses that state “See Resume” or “See Application” may be considered insufficient and therefore may not be scored.
The selection procedure will consist of the following examination:

An Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination (weight 100%) will be conducted to evaluate each applicant’s application and supplemental questionnaire for satisfaction of minimum qualifications (pass/not pass); and for educational coursework, training, experience, knowledge, and abilities which relate to this position. Each applicant will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of work history, related experience, and achieved level of education and/or training as described in the application and responses to the supplemental questions.

Candidates demonstrating possession of the minimum qualifications will be placed on an employment list in order of most qualified to least qualified based on the achieved score received in the Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination which evaluates the education, training, experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, and other qualifications that you demonstrate in your application and/or response to the supplemental questionnaire. Please be aware that resumes and cover letters are not typically evaluated in the Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination. Scores may be adjusted based on such factors as the number of candidates, anticipated vacancies, past practice, and natural breaks in the scores achieved by this group of candidates.


A background investigation is required prior to employment. Candidates referred to departments for a selection interview are typically required to sign authorization and release forms enabling such an investigation. Failure to sign prescribed forms will result in the candidate not being considered further for that vacancy. Reference information will not be made available to applicants.

Additional requirements, such as successful completion of a physical exam, drug screen, etc., may apply, depending on the duties and responsibilities of the position. If you receive a conditional job offer for the position, the requirements upon which the offer is contingent will be outlined in the conditional job letter. You may also review the Job Classification Screening Schedule to determine the requirements for this position.


Applications are accepted online at www.yourpath2sonomacounty.org. Paper applications may be submitted by person, fax (707-565-3770), email, or through the mail. All applications and appropriate supplemental information as outlined in the job bulletin must be RECEIVED by the time and date specified on the first page of this job announcement. Applications received after the recruitment closes will not be accepted.

The County of Sonoma values diversity and is dedicated to creating a workplace environment that provides individuals with a sense of belonging. We are committed to having a diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve. The County is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer where all aspects of employment are based on merit, competence, performance, and business need.

HR Analyst: BH
HR Technician: KK

Agency: County of Sonoma (CA)

Address: 575 Administration Drive, Suite 116B, Santa Rosa, California, 95403

Phone: (707) 565-2331

Website: http://www.yourpath2sonomacounty.org





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development