Job Description

***NOTE*** To be considered for this position, please apply at the Skagit County Job Opportunity site:



At the direction of the Deputy County Administrator, the Communications Manager is a leadership position responsible for the coordination of external and internal communication efforts that support the organization’s strategic direction, which includes developing and implementing strategy to inform internal and external stakeholders about the organization’s news, services, and events. The Communication Manager manages the organization’s public image by developing strategic approaches to communications, thinking outside the box to come up with innovative ways to reach their audience to provide information and promote positive perceptions of the County. Promote awareness, interest and understanding of the County’s brand and community impact through positive media relations, publicity, speaking engagements, educational activities, and special events.

This position serves as a liaison to the Board of County Commissioners and participates in their meetings, also working closely with County department heads and elected officials on politically sensitive and complex issues. This entails absorbing and positioning complex and sensitive information from a variety of advocacy and service areas. The Communication Manager provides leadership to the Commissioners’ Office and County Departments to achieve organizational goals and objectives as it relates to communications, community engagement, relevant technology, and strategic policy/budget priorities, including public speaking, hosting meetings, and giving presentations.

The Communications Manager has a wide range of responsibilities including developing, creating, planning, and implementing public engagement initiatives, public information, public involvement, community relations, and media relations to achieve the County’s strategic plan.

This includes content development of outreach and public awareness campaign materials, development of media outreach/educational strategies, talking points and speeches for elected officials, responding to external requests for information, and coordinating with internal and external communications teams or partners.

Employee engagement has become an increasingly important priority for Skagit County. The Communications Manager plays a significant role in fostering employee engagement by creating a workplace culture that promotes communication and collaboration, creating opportunities for employees to share their ideas and feedback.

For emergency response, the Communications Manager fills the role of Lead Public Information Officer, working closely with other communications staff and volunteer PIOs to create and coordinate messaging, delegate tasks, assign deadlines and provide guidance.


– Salary upon hire is $37.24 to $39.89 per hour (step 1 through 3) depending upon qualifications.

– Progressive increases are based upon years of service with Skagit County, up to step 10 (top step is $49.54/hr.). The Communications Manager is Range 28 of the Non-rep salary schedule.


** NOTE ** Skagit County is currently conducting a Compensation Survey for this position which should be completed by June 30, 2023. Any increases to the salary range will be added at that time.


Essential Functions

Sets strategic communication priorities for the organization in alignment with Board of County Commissioner strategic goals and priorities that further organizational goals. Develops an understanding of short- and long-term organization goals and planned initiatives.

Researches and understands key business challenges, customer behavior, target audiences, competitive activity, political and environmental factors that impact programs within the organization and departments.

Establish, maintain, and execute an internal and external communications plan based on strategic plan objectives and key Commissioner priorities. Define key performance indicators that will indicate level of success and be used for strategic direction and decision making. Provide support to Department Heads, Elected Officials, and County staff regarding strategic communications.

Responsible for the organization’s public relations and management of the organization’s public image which include informing media members or other publications and partners about policy, information, and campaigns to help build the organization’s reputation and promote its services.

Create a communications hub and spoke model, creating a team to expand and coordinate communications capacity and breadth across the organization. Lead teams to collaborate on communications campaigns and initiatives, including coaching and educating staff on communication practices. Identifies and presents opportunities for consistency in messaging and customer experience across channels.

Develop and implement processes to engage the public and key stakeholders with the aim of fostering a stronger connection between constituents and County government, advancing the County’s strategic priorities, and gathering feedback for County decision-makers. Includes hosting focus groups, writing press releases, responding to press inquiries, and hosting media availability to discuss developments. Educate local, state, and federal elected leaders on the County’s priorities, including legislative and budget requests.

Serve as a media advisor to department heads and elected officials on public information policies and issues. Oversee and/or assist other County staff engaged in social media content creation, written material development, web content, and media relations. Oversee utilization of media tools, including social media platforms, to provide multiple venues to distribute key messages to County employees, the public, the media, and other jurisdictions. Coordinate messaging calendars amongst relevant department staff and ensure that all communications are professional, well maintained, and archived according to County policy.

Act as the primary point of contact with media, serve as media spokesperson, as required, and direct media inquiries to subject matter experts on staff. Establish and nurture positive working relationships with media representatives by meeting in person, responding to their inquiries, providing information, and developing positive print and broadcast stories.

Build and maintain strong relationships with key community groups, external agencies, and other interested parties. Reach out to influencers, media and beyond to arrange story placement at the local level. Serve as a liaison to community members with questions about – and interest in – the work of Skagit County government.

Create internal communications protocols and initiatives that will foster employee morale, engagement and belonging.

Plan and manage the design, content, and production of marketing materials for Skagit County Government. Oversee all internal and external communications for the organization, ensuring messaging is consistent and engaging. Develops content and directs creative execution to provide a consistent, targeted, and impactful message.

Work with Department Heads and their designees to coordinate and implement communications and engagement campaigns for cyclical actions, one-time projects, strategic programs, and regular business operations.
Coordinate interdepartmental and interagency efforts to maintain and expand standard protocols and procedures to assure accurate information distributed in a consistent manner across a myriad of media including web, print, broadcast, social media, presentations, and workshops.
Oversee the creation of marketing and communications collateral to ensure that it is consistent with the organization’s brand.
Build and maintain solid partnerships with internal clients to better develop, coordinate, direct, and facilitate strategic communications designed to meet business goals.
Work with in-house and external graphic designers, photographers, and other media-production specialists integral to the completion of marketing projects.
Provide hands-on communications support for assigned departments, paying close attention to timelines: news releases, brochures, emails, social media copy, advertising copy, writing and designing newsletters, brochures, blog posts, creating videos, posting content to social media, and other communication pieces.
Write, design, and edit community reports as assigned.
Produce a variety of advertising material, including designing large displays, promotional banners, or billboards. Advertising materials may also include small objects with organizations logo.
Maintain Branding and Style Guide for Skagit County.
Develop daily responses to communications and inquiries. Develop and maintain tracking mechanism for inquiries and responses to ensure consistency and follow-through.
Stays informed of developments in the field of communications to foster ideas and innovation.
Work with leadership to take the pulse of overall business activity to identify cross-marketing opportunities.
Assist with intergovernmental relations activities as assigned.

Serve as lead public information officer during emergencies as assigned by Emergency Management.

Coordinate with government access Skagit 21.

Coordinate with County webmaster to improve and expand website. In partnership with Information Services, support initiatives to ensure a modern and accessible web presence for County government.

Represent the organization at events and press conferences



May oversee work of interns and work groups as needed. May be responsible for delegating tasks, assigning deadlines, and providing guidance.



May be tasked with performing related duties. Related duties as required are duties that may not be specifically listed in the position description but are within the general occupational series and responsibility level typically associated with the employee’s classification of work.


Minimum Qualifications

BA/BS in communication, marketing, advertising, public relations, political science, or another related field. Requires three years of experience in the field of communications, local government, or external relations. Equivalent combination of applicable education and experience may be considered.


Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:

Perform thoroughly and accurately the full scope of ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS for this position as listed above.

Proven success designing and executing marketing and communications strategies and campaigns.
Up to date on industry trends and able to stay ahead of the curve.
Excellent organizational and project management skills and ability to meet deadlines.
Must be able to think analytically and strategically.
A confident communicator and presenter.
Strong writing, editing, proofreading, layout and design, professional printing/publishing skills are essential, including ability to present concepts verbally.
Superior time management skills.
A wide degree of creativity and latitude.
Sensitivity to public perceptions and their implications.
Self-motivated with a positive and professional approach to management.
Capable of working well as part of a team as well as independently.
Great multitasker and capable of simultaneously managing multiple projects with different deadlines.
Refined communication and interpersonal skills; must be able to interact with coworkers, supervisors, general public etc. sufficiently to exchange or convey information and receive work direction.
Web design and management experience.
Media and public relations principles and practices.
Emergency response operation and protocols/crisis communications.
Research standards and processes.
Exercise professionalism when working with high-level officials.
Work as an on-the-record spokesperson for elected officials.
Deliver accurate, well-written and oral communications in a fast-paced environment.
Be politically astute, with excellent verbal and written communications skills.
Learn new media outreach tools and technology.
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with elected officials, department heads, associates, representatives of other agencies, and with the general public.
Maintain strong knowledge of the County’s activities and people to promote County strengths and contributions to the region.
Evaluate finished projects for compliance with County standard and style.
Organize and carry out assignments with minimal direction.
Identify issues and use sound judgment to generate and promote County programs and services for the region.
Speak effectively and convincingly at public meetings.
Develop and implement public involvement process.
Use tact, discretion, and courtesy in interdepartmental and public contacts.
Greet visitors, assist in public service functions, make presentations, and provide educational information to the public about departmental programs.
Maintain confidentiality of information.
Work independently and develop new procedures when necessary.


Licenses and/or Certifications:

Valid Washington State driver’s license.



Work is performed both in an office environment and on-site at project locations. Fieldwork may require walking on steep or uneven terrain.



Normal hazards found in an office environment.

Job Overview