Position Available, County of Santa Cruz, CA

CP&DR Staff on
Aug 22, 2021
Principal Planner 

Supplemental Questionnaire Required 

Open & Promotional

Job # 21-GC6-01 

Salary: $8,881 – 11,871 / Month

Closing Date:  Friday, September 17, 2021


THE JOB:. Under general direction, plan, organize and direct a section of the Planning Department; act as designated, on behalf of an Assistant Director in their absence; and to do other work as required. The current vacancy is in the Development Review Section of the Planning Department. The Principal Planner may also be assigned to act as and/or supervise the Zoning Administrator, and/or to act as Planning Commission Secretary.


THE REQUIREMENTS: Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:


One year of work experience equivalent to a Planner IV or Resource Planner IV at Santa Cruz County, including experience leading teams and directing the work of others.


SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver License or the employee must be able to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority.


Knowledge: Working knowledge of effective management principles and practices; principles and practices of organizational control and personnel management; principles of land use planning in a controlled growth environment; budgeting principles in a government agency; section programs, functions and services of the section to which assigned; California Environmental Quality Act may be required for some positions; environmental and biological consultant services may be required for some positions. Some knowledge of the applications of data processing to planning operations; California Coastal Act or of statutes governing regional transportation planning may be required for some positions.


Ability to: Plan, organize, direct and control the work of a functional section of a planning department or related land use agency; supervise, train and evaluate the work of subordinate staff; exercise initiative, ingenuity and sound judgment in solving administrative, operational and personnel problems; evaluate and develop improvements to the effective and efficient delivery of section services; establish and maintain effective working relations with the general public, boards, commissions, public officials and other staff; understand and relate to others the goals, concepts and principles of the section; prepare clear and concise administrative and technical reports; effectively present planning matters to public groups; plan, scope, coordinate and manage consultant contracts for environmental and biological consultant services may be required for some positions; develop, submit, track and obtain environmental permits from local, state and federal agencies may be required for some positions.


THE EXAMINATION: Your application and supplemental questionnaire will be reviewed to determine if you have met the education, experience, training and/or licensing requirements as stated on the job announcement. If you meet these criteria and are one of the best qualified, you may be required to compete in any combination of written, oral and/or performance examinations or a competitive evaluation of training and experience as described on your application and supplemental questionnaire. You must pass all components of the examination to be placed on the eligible list. The examination may be eliminated if there are ten or fewer qualified applicants. If the eligible list is established without the administration of the announced examination, the life of the eligible list will be six months and your overall score will be based upon an evaluation of your application and supplemental questionnaire. If during those six months it is necessary to administer another examination for this job class, you will be invited to take the examination to remain on the eligible list.


HOW TO APPLY: Apply online at www.santacruzcountyjobs.com or mail/bring an application and supplemental questionnaire to: Santa Cruz County Personnel Department, 701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. For information, call (831) 454-2600. Hearing Impaired TDD/TTY: 711.  Applications will meet the final filing date if received:  1) in the Personnel Department by 5:00 p.m. on the final filing date, 2) submitted online before midnight of the final filing date.


Women, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  If you have a disability that requires test accommodation, please call (831) 454-2600.


To comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, Santa Cruz County verifies that all new employees are either U.S. citizens or persons authorized to work in the U.S.


Some positions may require fingerprinting and/or background investigation.




The supplemental questions are designed specifically for this recruitment. Applications received without the required supplemental information will be screened out of the selection process. Employment experiences referred to in your response must also be included in the Employment History section of the application.


NOTE: Please answer the question(s) below as completely and thoroughly as possible, as your answer(s) may be used to assess your qualifications for movement to the next step in the recruitment process.


1. Describe your education, training, and experience in each of the following areas:

            A. Development review and permitting, including environmental review

            B. Comprehensive land use planning: e.g. General Plans, Area Plans, Special Studies
C. Developing new systems or strategies for delivery of high quality development review services while keeping permit costs reasonable, and in an era of reduced staffing.


2.  Describe your experience administering and ensuring compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or similar environmental review requirements.


3. Describe your experience in supervising, training, and/or evaluating the work of subordinate professional planning staff.


4. Describe methods you use to ensure a high level of customer service in public information and project permitting functions of a Planning Department.


5. Please describe your experience working effectively with the public through a variety of public participation strategies.




VACATION - 16 days 1st year, increasing to 31 days per year after 15 years service. Available after 1 year service.

ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE – One week advanced upon appointment; two weeks accrued each year; can be taken in cash or time off.

HOLIDAYS - 13 paid holidays per year.

SICK LEAVE - Six days per year.

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE - 3 days paid in California, 5 days paid out-of-state.

MEDICAL PLAN - The County contracts with CalPERS for a variety of medical plans.  For most plans, County contributions pay a majority of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents.

DENTAL PLAN - County pays for employee and eligible dependent coverage.

VISION PLAN - The County pays for employee coverage. Employee may purchase eligible dependent coverage.

RETIREMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY - Pension formula 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 as determined based on provisions of the CA Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013(PEPRA). Pension benefit determined by final average compensation of three years.  County participates in Social Security. 

LIFE INSURANCE - County paid $50,000 term policy.  Employee may purchase additional life insurance.

LONG TERM DISABILITY PLAN - Plan pays 66 2/3% of the first $13,500, up to $9,000 per month maximum.

DEPENDENT-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay for qualifying child or dependent care expenses may elect this pre-tax program.

H-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay a County medical premium may elect this pre-tax program.

HEALTH CARE FLEXIBLE SPENDING ALLOWANCE (HCFSA) – Employees may elect this pre-tax program to cover qualifying health care expenses.

DEFERRED COMPENSATION - A deferred compensation plan is available to employees.


NOTE: The provisions of this bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract.


County of Santa Cruz