You are viewing a preview of this job. Log in or register to view more details about this job.

Public Safety Information Officer IV - Communications Director

The Fairfax County Health Department is a progressive public health leader serving 1.2 million residents from diverse ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds. With more than 100 years of leadership in the field, we are committed to promoting population health, protecting public health and the environment, limiting the spread of disease, and ensuring residents’ equitable access to health services and information.

The Fairfax County Health Department is seeking an individual to direct, design and implement public health communication activities. Researches, coordinates and provides timely, accurate and effective information regarding emergency incidents and other sensitive public health matters to the news media; general public; government employees; regional, state, and federal partner organizations; and other stakeholders. Executes a full range of internal and external communication activities including communication planning and strategy, VFOIA, production of public health educational materials and online communications. Utilizes digital and online tools, including websites and social media platforms, to communicate with target audiences. Interacts directly with the Board of Supervisors and County Executive's Office on behalf of the Health Department. Provides strategic communication leadership for the department. Supervises professional communications specialists. 
Illustrative Duties
  • Serves on 24-hour call, with responsibility for notifying County officials of significant incidents;
  • Makes decisions under pressure and deadlines regarding information that may be released to the media;
  • Coordinates and provides information regarding emergency incidents and other sensitive matters to the news media;
  • Plans, directs, and executes publicity campaigns designed to inform citizens about various county programs, events or legislation;
  • Supervises the work of subordinates engaged, in public information activities;
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with members of the media;
  • Responds to requests for information regarding agency/County programs;
  • Provides assistance to agency/County staff as to the most effective means of communicating information to the general public, government employees, and other target groups;
  • May interact directly with the Board of Supervisors and County Executive's Office on behalf of the department;
  • Provides strategic communication leadership for the department/division.
Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities
  • Knowledge of public safety area of expertise: fire and safety, police, public health, emergency management;
  • Knowledge of the principles and methods of public affairs work;
  • Ability to write clear, concise and effective informational material and skill in editing written material;
  • Detailed knowledge of the requirements of the media regarding content, format, and timing of official releases;
  • Broad knowledge of the principles of public administration and public relations as applied to public safety issues and local government operations;
  • Ability to plan and execute photographic coverage of complex events;
  • Ability to adapt broadly defined policy guidance to specific situations with a minimal amount of supervision;
  • Ability to work under pressure;
  • Ability to participate in meaningful interchange of views on matters of critical importance to the County;
  • Ability to plan and review the work of others;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with the public, the press, and County employees;
  • Ability to speak extemporaneously on a broad variety of County-related issues and occurrences;
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with County government;
  • officials and representatives of the media;
  • Thorough knowledge and understanding of the National Incident Management System.
Employment Standards
Any combination of education, experience, and training equivalent to the following: (Click on the aforementioned link to learn how Fairfax County interprets equivalencies for “Any combination, experience, and training equivalent to”)
Bachelor's degree in communication, journalism, public relations or related field or field of public safety specialization (fire, police, health, safety), plus at least 7 years of progressively responsible experience in management and supervision which includes 5 years as a media or communications professional or first responder communicator to include four years of social media experience.

  • Experience in the field of public health.
  • Experience preparing news releases and publications, developing information programs and public speaking.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with the public, the press, employees, senior management and elected officials.
  • Ability to work under stressful, fast-paced conditions.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, demonstrated systemic and strategic thinking and leadership skills.

Driver's license
AED (Required within 60 days)
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation - CPR (Required within 60 days)
Job is generally sedentary in nature, however, job entails walking, standing, sitting, climbing stairs, reaching and bending. Uses hands to grasp, handle, or feel. Visual acuity is required to read data on a computer monitor; ability to operate keyboard driven equipment and computer. Ability to drive and operate county vehicles. Ability to communicate well with others, exchanging accurate information verbally and in writing. May be required to lift or carry up to 25 lbs. Occasionally may be required to perform job duties outside of the typical office setting. All duties performed with or without reasonable accommodations.
The appointee to this position will be required to complete a criminal background check, a Child Protective Services Registry, and a driving records check to the satisfaction of the employer.
This position is considered "essential/emergency" personnel.
Panel interview that may include an exercise.

Fairfax County Government prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, political affiliation, or status as a veteran in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.  
Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-324-4900 for assistance. TTY 703-222-7314. EEO/AA/TTY.