Deputy Commissioner Communication and Engagement

  • 1101 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
  • Full-time

Company Description

With a workforce of over 30,000 people, and opportunities in more than 1,000 different job categories, the City of Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the United States and one of the largest employers in Southeastern Pennsylvania. As an employer, the City of Philadelphia operates through the guiding principles of service, integrity, respect, accountability, collaboration, diversity and inclusion. Through these principles, we strive to effectively deliver services, to resolve the challenges facing our city, and to make Philadelphia a place where all of our residents have the opportunity to reach their potential. 


The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater, and storm water services. The Department's primary mission is to plan for, operate, and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region's watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively. In fulfilling its mission, the Department seeks to be customer-focused, delivering services in a fair, equitable, and cost-effective manner, with a commitment to public involvement. More than 2,000 women and men of the Philadelphia Water Department work around the clock to make sure that a safe, high-quality supply of water is always on tap, that stormwater drains away without major flooding, and that our rivers and streams become cleaner with each passing year.

Having already served the City and region for nearly two centuries, the Department's commitment for the future includes an active role in the economic development of Greater Philadelphia and a legacy of environmental stewardship and a vision to become a model 21sth century utility.

Job Description

The Deputy Commissioner for Communications and Engagement (DCCE) is responsible for developing and implementing strategies that enhance the PWD’s image, services and engagement with its customers, all residents, elected officials, media and key stakeholders. The DCCE directs a comprehensive public affairs program for the PWD, a large, municipal, non-profit water, wastewater and stormwater utility. The DCCE directs the planning, development and implementation of diversified programs designed to inform and serve water, wastewater and stormwater customers and the public and to increase the PWD's credibility and accessibility. Work is carried out through an integrated team of unit managers and staff engaged in nine key functional areas including an emergency and billing customer contact center, public relations, community relations, digital communications, public engagement, creative/design and production and the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center.  The DCCE is charged with convening and facilitating a variety of internal and external committees and task forces that serve to improve internal and public facing communications with the goals of improving customer service and engagement, improving policies that impact the department’s customers and ensuring that the PWD meets its environmental obligations under regulatory requirements in the areas of partner collaborations and public engagement. Additionally, the DCCE and staff act as the spokesperson for the Commissioner on sensitive customer, community and public affairs issues, directs customer research projects, facilitates relationships with a variety of stakeholders, and participates in the development of departmental policies. All the above are significant aspects of the DCCE’s responsibilities. Work is performed under the general direction of the Water Commissioner.

Essential Functions: 

  • Implement and advance the PWD Public Affairs strategic plan to increase PWD’s reputation; broaden awareness of its services, programs and mission; and increase the visibility of it programs across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Plans and directs the implementation of customer service, public affairs, and community and educational programs to promote a favorable department image, to improve reliable customer services and to enhance customer and community relations and standards governing programs through the integration of a communications strategy that includes print, digital, web-based and social media tools.
  • Revises and updates departmental communication policies, purpose and scope; maintains timely and effective communications, liaison and rapport with government and civic organizations, private financial organizations and the media to obtain and provide information that affects corporate plans, programs and public image.
  • Establishes objectives and directs the implementation of customer research programs; prepares findings for modifications to water operations, services and facility to ensure the department's sensitivity to the public and to enhance public acceptance of water, wastewater and stormwater services, products and facilities.
  • Confers with community groups, RCOs, NGOs and other key stakeholder groups and individuals to determine public perception of the department's employees, products and services; develops recommendations to improve customer satisfaction; confers with department managers to revise and develop policies, plans and programs intended to increase employee awareness of customer needs and perceptions; identifies training programs to improve employee public contact techniques.


  • Experience and leadership in managing complex strategic communications, digital engagement, media relations, advocacy/government relations teams to advance an organization’s mission and goals
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field plus demonstration of significant experience in marketing, communications, media, or digital media. Experience in a mission-driven, water utility, environmental advocacy and/or educational organization is desirable


  • Action oriented
  • Approachable
  • Able to manage conflict
  • Strong customer focus
  • Interpersonal savvy and good listener
  • Highly developed organizational skills and ability to delegate

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Innovative thinker, with the ability to translate strategic thinking into action plans, outputs and results.
  • Exceptional and persuasive communicator; written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation.
  • Leadership skills; experience in building, mentoring and coaching a team of communication professionals.
  • Established expertise in overseeing high-profile campaigns to advance organizational goals.
  • Outstanding judgement and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Energetic, flexible and proactive; a good team player eager to collaborate with colleagues on the senior management team and Public Affairs team.
  • Plan, develop and implement comprehensive customer and public affairs programs to improve customer relations and to enhance the image of the Water Department.
  • Direct the implementation of communications and customer research programs.
  • Employ sound judgment and diplomacy when communicating with the public on sensitive and critical Water Department issues.
  • Prepare policy and operational recommendations sensitive to public concerns.
  • Negotiate contracts related to public affairs and prepare operating budgets.
  • Learn aspects of water treatment and distribution technology applicable to public affairs issues and be able to communicate them to the public.
  • Establish and maintain harmonious working relationships with the media, government stakeholder and civic organizations, educational institutions and other City departments.

Additional Information

Successful candidate must be a City resident within six months of hire

Please upload a cover letter, reference list, writing sample, and resume. Applications withouth these documents will not be considered. 

The City of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity employer and does not permit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age,disability, marital status, source of income, familial status, genetic information or domestic or sexual violence victim status. If you believe you were discriminated against, call the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations at 215-686-4670 or send an email to [email protected] For more information, go to: Human Relations Website at: