Policy & Planning Specialist (WMS 02)
Schedule:  Flexible work shift and optional work options:  office, telework, or hybrid.

Who we are:
The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is a small state agency located in Olympia, Washington that provides support for two boards and two councils in work that creates and maintains opportunities for recreation, protects the best of the state’s wild lands, farmlands and forestlands, and contributes to the recovery of salmon from the brink of extinction.

RCO strives to maintain a workplace that is respectful, inclusive and family-friendly where all team members feel safe to bring their true selves to work. We believe in a culture where everyone continually improves and has the opportunity to lead. We value diversity in hiring and seek to surround ourselves with great people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes our agency better.

RCO’s Mission is to be an exemplary partner that provides statewide leadership and funding to protect and improve the best of Washington’s natural and outdoor recreation resources now and for future generations. RCO rallies around the goals of fair and accountable grant and contract management, innovative and efficient business practices and leadership and collaboration.

Who are we looking for:
The Policy Section of the Recreation and Conservation Office provides all of the agency’s policy and Legislative support, as well as oversees and supports agency planning efforts. As the Policy and Planning Specialist on the team, you will provide policy support, with an emphasis on supporting RCO grant programs for conservation, recreation, and salmon recovery. The work involves internal policy issues, contract issues, and issues arising from one of our governing boards (the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) or the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (RCFB)). It also includes studies, plans, reports or projects assigned to the RCO by the Legislature.

In this role, you will work with the Policy Director, policy team, grant staff, and executive staff to prioritize policy projects and set project timelines as needed to meet agency needs and Board expectations.

Duties

Some of what you will enjoy doing includes:

  • Formulating statewide policy related to outdoor recreation, conservation, and salmon recovery as determined by the Director, Policy Director or funding boards or as directed by the Washington Legislature. Some emerging issues include equity and outdoor recreation, climate resilience, improving access for youth athletics, and enhancements to salmon recovery.
  • Independently responsible for assigned special projects, which may include management of contractors, development of policies, research and data collection, working with stakeholders, engaging with the public, preparing board memos, and formerly presenting to the funding boards.
  • Coordinating advisory groups and other stakeholders to provide input on policy development and representing the agency with constituent groups and organizations and other governmental agencies to develop and apply statewide programs and policies.
  • Recruiting and developing workgroups and teams, meetings and meeting agenda setting, policy direction and recommendation, contractor selection, and report preparation.
  • Coordinating the agency’s rule development work, including submitting the bi-annual rules agenda, tracking agency fillings with the Washington State Register, and managing the process of developing and adopting Washington Administration Code.
  • Assisting with drafting, reviewing, or preparing testimony on legislation or for legislative hearings.
  • Acting as the agency rules coordinator ensuring any agency rule making is done per statute.
  • Overseeing contractors hired to develop and draft agency planning efforts.
  • Assisting in drafting and development of agency required plans and coordinating agency planning efforts.
  • Working with potential grant sponsors to review and approve or deny, submitted required plans.
  • Leading and developing formal and informal council workgroups to achieve project goals and deliverables.
  • Leading a portfolio of projects ensuring compliance with agreement terms and resolves conflicts/issues that may arise. Projects to include cost-share agreement programs, invasive species action plan development, and leading formal courses and informal workshops for youth, the general public, and professionals.
  • Fulfilling an RCO and council commitment to constant improvement utilizing project management and lean processes, developing and implementing new strategies and initiatives that streamline and improve outreach and education processes, improve efficiencies to reduce costs and increase quality of programming.

Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s or advanced degree in public administration, public policy, natural science, or other natural resource policy area; AND
  • Three (3) years of professional experience developing and writing policies; AND
  • Three (3) years of professional experience working with managers, boards, elected officials, or other decision-making agencies or organizations on natural resource policy issues; AND
  • Three (3) years of professional experience soliciting feedback from the general public or key stakeholders on proposed public policy issues; AND
  • Three (3) years experience engaging with diverse communities and tribes and an understanding of effective community engagement strategies.

The most qualified candidates will also possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and develop large-scale programs and policies, including analyzing and interpreting guiding laws and principles.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a complex environment that demands political sensitivity, good judgment, and the ability to establish and maintain collaborative working partnerships with a variety of constituencies.
  • Ability to understand a broad spectrum of information from the scientific to the broad policy issues and be able to apply the information, as well as to communicate to broad audiences such as the public, media, elected officials, managers, board members, and scientists. This will require excellent verbal, writing and presentation skills.
  • Knowledge of research methods and experience in research in areas relevant to this position.
  • Broad understanding of natural resource law and policy which may include the following areas:   endangered species, growth management, mitigation, acquisition (including conservation easements), public use of lands, salmon recovery, habitat restoration and preservation, water rights, conservation biology, ecosystem protection and restoration, farmland preservation, and use conflicts involving public resources.

Required Competencies:

  • Demonstrated leadership skills in guiding the direction of an organization’s programs and staff to attain strategic plan goals or objectives, as well as skills to lead or facilitate teams that deliver results.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and develop statewide programs and policies, including analyzing and interpreting guiding laws and principles.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a complex environment that demands political sensitivity, good judgment, and the ability to establish and maintain collaborative working partnerships with a variety of constituencies.
  • Demonstrated ability to conceptualize and develop strategies, policies and fiscal impacts for the future direction for investments in conservation, recreation or salmon recovery and related programs.
  • Ability to understand a broad spectrum of information from the scientific to the broad policy issues and be able to apply the information, as well as to communicate to broad audiences such as the public, media, elected officials, managers, board members, and scientists. This will require excellent verbal, writing and presentation skills.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Basic knowledge of the state’s legislative and budgeting process.
  • Three (3) years of professional experience developing and writing natural resource policies.
  • One (1) year of experience developing and drafting recreation or conservation plans.

Supplemental Information

Please provide the following documents in order to be considered; failure to do so may result in you not being considered for the position:

  • letter of interest(no more than 2 pages) explaining how you have prepared yourself for this position;
  • current resume, detailing experience, and education; and
  • A current list of at least three (3) professional references with current contact information

Conditions of Employment: 

  • Per Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14 (Download PDF reader), state employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Being fully vaccinated means that an individual is at least two weeks past their final dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine regimen. If you are selected to serve in this position, you will be required to provide proof of vaccination before you are able to begin work.  This position requires in-person attendance with no option for full-time telework.  Please note that any offer of employment is contingent upon you providing verification of your vaccine status. No start date will be approved until you have verified your vaccine status.
Please do not attach your vaccination verification to your application as it will be removed. Details on how to proceed with verification will be provided once a conditional offer has been made.

Opportunity for All: 
The Recreation and Conservation Office celebrates our differences and we are committed to a workplace that supports equal opportunity employment and inclusion regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, marital status, families with children (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity diversity, age, status as a protected veteran, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as an individual with the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with disabilities or other applicable legally protected characteristics. We will also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws.

You are welcome to include the name and pronoun you would like to be referred to in your materials and we will honor this as you interact with our organization.

Contact Information:
Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call through the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.

For questions about this recruitment or to request a reasonable accommodation in the application process, contact Jennifer McWaid at (360) 407-8210 or email " target="_blank" rel="noopener">.