Community Planner/Engagement Specialist – City of Newton

Department:                            Planning & Development – Long Range Planning
Starting Salary Range:         $61,893 – $65,655
Reports to:                                Chief of Long Range Planning


The position of Community Planner/ Engagement Specialist in the Department of Planning and Development will undertake a leadership role in facilitating a strong and effective voice for Newton’s community in planning for the future of their City. A strong planning background and experience in undertaking various forms of community engagement are essential requirements for this position.


  • Work under the direction of the Chief of Long-Range Planning.
  • Design and direct community engagement programs for the Planning Department and for other departments engaged in implementation projects. This work may include project management for projects with substantial community engagement, coordinating consultants/staffs on efforts in a variety of planning topics.
  • Establish a program of more continuous community communication for City Planning and plan implementation. This includes presentations, website development, update, and maintenance, and other tools as identified. Oversee departmental web-site continuous improvement program.
  • Develop community engagement protocols to be adapted for other City departments or outreach efforts. Serve as a coach for Planning Department and other City staff in public process design, community engagement, and presentation. Prepare outreach materials to facilitate community engagement.
  • Support the Zoning and Planning Committee of City Council, including presenting on community engagement programs and the products of that work in public meetings.
  • Acts as liaison to potential interns or volunteers; duties may include incorporating intern/volunteer efforts with planning and departmental initiatives.
  • Provide staff support for various planning and implementation projects, in collaboration with other City departments.
  • Assist with planning and policy development studies working collaboratively with other staff. Conduct research and prepare policy recommendations for topics including arts and culture planning, placemaking, economic development, transportation, housing, and environmental sustainability.
  • Provide advice to developers on community engagement methods with the goal of expanding the use of community engagement earlier in the process.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


The City is seeking applicants with a bachelor’s degree in planning, public policy, communications, or a similar field and 2 to 5 years of experience directly in community engagement for planning or urban design. The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree and at least 2 years of experience in this field.


Further, the candidate should have experience and training in meeting facilitation/design, public engagement methods and similar areas. Experience conducting such trainings is advantageous. The candidate should also be aware of and have experience using and creating various online community engagement tools. Graphic design skills, for creating web graphics, posters, flyers, and similar products would be advantageous. Experience in volunteer management would also be a plus.


COMPUTER SKILLS: Excellent computer skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook. Experience using databases. Strong typing skills with attention to detail and the ability to conduct computer searches for resources, answers to questions, and fact-based information. The ability to develop educational and promotional materials.

LANGUAGE SKILLS: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals, and legal documents.  Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from clients, or regulatory agencies.  Ability to write/document information that conforms to prescribed style and format. Ability to present information effectively, which may be controversial in nature, to all levels including clients, groups of clients, families, top management, outside agencies, public groups or employees of the City. Additional language abilities in addition to English a plus.

MATHEMATICAL SKILLS: Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs.

REASONING ABILITY: Ability to define problems and use judgement to work toward results, modify methods/techniques and make recommendations dealing with several abstract and concrete variables within clearly defined laws, precedents and policies.


PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The physical demands described here represent those requirements that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The job may require one to carry materials, heavy at times, to support clients or programs.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Fast paced
  • Multi-tasking
  • Extensive interpersonal interaction
  • Flexible
  • Some evenings and weekends required

To Apply go to the City’s Website at .  The position will be open until filled.