Job Notice: Port of San Diego

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Vice President, Administration/CAO    APPLY

$188,224.00 – $239,985.00 Annually
Port of San Diego, CA
Job Type
Executive Office
Job Number
FY 21/22 #00040
11/12/2021 11:59 PM Pacific

The Port of San Diego is recruiting for a Vice President, Administration/Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). This is a C-Suite position that reports directly to the CEO and serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Group (ELG). This position serves as a strategic advisor and trusted partner to the CEO and the ELG.  The position currently oversees Human Resources, People & Organizational Development, Office of the District Clerk, Commissioner Services, Information Technology, Computer Information Security and Labor Relations.

The Port of San Diego manages San Diego Bay and 34 miles of its beautiful, natural waterfront for the people of California. The Port was established in 1962 under the Port Act and is charged with implementing the Tidelands Trust Doctrine. For over fifty years, the Port’s five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego – have worked together to develop and promote commerce, navigation, recreation, and fisheries on and around San Diego Bay. Self-funded, the Port contributes billions annually to San Diego’s economy, benefiting the community, local businesses, and employees. Businesses at the Port provide thousands of well-paying jobs, supporting individuals and families throughout the region. Each year, millions of people enjoy a remarkable way of life offered by San Diego Bay and its waterfront communities!

We are looking for a person that enjoys overseeing diverse work groups with unique challenges and opportunities. A person that has an interest in continually growing and learning is essential.  

Please be advised the District will be implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy. If you are not currently vaccinated, you will need to get vaccinated prior to your start date of employment unless you have a qualified medical or religious exemption. 


Under general policy direction from the Executive Director (President/CEO), plans, organizes and directs the activities of the Administration Division; directs and manages the development of short- and long-term goals and objectives consistent with the District’s strategic and business plans and ensures their effective execution; ensures all assigned operations and functions serve the needs of internal and external customers, while complying with applicable laws and regulations; provides leadership and expert advice and counsel to the Board of Port Commissioners, Executive Director (President/CEO) and all levels of management on District-wide matters related to corporate and administrative services and other areas of functional responsibility; and performs related duties as assigned.


This single position class is responsible for managing, directing and integrating the functions, programs and activities of assigned divisions and departments. With the Executive Director (President/CEO) and other executives, the incumbent provides strategic leadership and participates in development of short- and long-term organizational and administrative strategies and plans to meet operational and service delivery objectives while making optimal utilization of the District’s resources. The incumbent also provides strategic leadership in the development and implementation of policies and procedures, systems and processes for the delivery of centralized corporate and administrative services. Responsibilities are broad in scope and involve highly sensitive and publicly visible functions and programs that require a high degree of policy, program and management discretion. Results are evaluated in terms of overall effectiveness.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The following statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.

1.    As Chief Administrative Officer, plans, organizes, controls, integrates and evaluates the work of assigned divisions and departments to ensure operations and services comply with the policies and strategic direction set by the Board and Executive Director (President/CEO) and are in conformance with all applicable laws and regulations; participates in formulation of the District strategic plan and other long-range business, facilities and resource plans; with assigned division and department heads, develops, implements and monitors short and long-term plans, goals and objectives focused on achieving District mission, vision, strategic plan, core values, guiding principles and Board priorities; directs development of assigned department operating and capital improvement budgets; monitors implementation of adopted budgets; directs the development, implementation and evaluation of plans, programs, projects, policies, systems, financial strategies and procedures to achieve short- and long-term District-wide objectives and work standards within assigned areas of accountability.

2.    With other members of the executive team, exercises leadership and participates in the development of District’s strategic plan and development of key strategic initiatives, business plans and operational/resource priorities to achieve long-term and short-term goals and priorities, in alignment with the District’s core values and guiding principles.

3.    Provides leadership and works with directors to develop and retain highly competent, service-oriented staff through selection, compensation, training and day-to-day management practices. Provides leadership and participates in programs and activities that promote workplace diversity and a positive employee relations environment.

4.    Plans, organizes, directs and evaluates the performance of assigned directors and staff; establishes performance requirements and personal development targets; regularly monitors performance and provides coaching for performance improvement and development; provides compensation and other rewards to recognize performance; takes disciplinary action, up to and including termination, to address performance deficiencies, in accordance with federal, state and local laws and regulations, District Personnel Rules and Regulations, policies and labor contract agreements.

5.    Participates in assessing regional, industry, community and customer needs and ensures division and department objectives and priorities are focused on meeting those needs effectively, efficiently, and with high quality service; directs development and implementation of initiatives for service and quality improvement and customer satisfaction enhancement.

6.    Directs, coordinates and participates in the preparation of analyses and recommendations regarding policy issues and long-range plans to address District development, operational and administrative objectives; advises the Executive Director (President/CEO) regarding policy issues, programs and projects to meet needs in a manner that most appropriately supports business and economic development.

7.    Interprets Executive Director (President/CEO) and Board policies, instructions and requests; makes interpretations of Code, ordinances, policies, and applicable laws and regulations to ensure compliance within assigned areas of accountability.

8.    Supervises and participates in the analysis of proposed legislation and regulation; participates in industry and intergovernmental activities to influence legislative and regulatory change consistent with District interests and needs; represents the District as requested or assigned in dealings with member cities, federal and state agencies, industry and professional organizations, elected officials from all levels of government and business and community leaders; may represent the District dealings with the media often on difficult, sensitive and potentially volatile issues and situations.

9.    Within assigned areas of accountability, serves as the District’s representative to professional, industry and community groups and customers and to other agencies, organizations and individuals.

10.    Oversees District labor negotiations and labor-management relations processes.

11.    Oversees corporate learning and development programs; ensures that District policies and applicable law and regulations governing equal opportunity in employment.

12.    As Chief Administrative Officer, ensures the development and maintenance of internal policy, procedure and management systems infrastructure to support District operations and organizational growth; oversees the creation and maintenance of comprehensive, effective human resource management programs, policies and systems consistent with legal requirements; .

13.    Participates in major negotiations with contractors, consultants, vendors and other public agencies.


1.    May act for the Executive Director (President/CEO) in that individual’s absence.

2.    Participates in regional, state and national industry and professional meetings and conferences to stay abreast of trends and technology related to District operations, particularly in areas of assigned accountability.


Knowledge of:

1.    Theory, principles, practices and techniques of organization design and development, public administration, human resource management, labor and employee relations, training and development and equal opportunity management/diversity as they apply to a complex port district.

2.    Principles and practices of strategic and long-term business planning.

3.    Federal, California state and local laws, regulations and court decisions applicable to areas of functional responsibility, including the Brown Act and Public Records Act.

4.    District functions and associated management, human resource, labor relations, organizational development and public policy issues.

5.    Principles and practices of public administration, including budgeting, purchasing and maintenance of public records.

6.    Organization and functions of a public board and law and regulations governing the conduct of public meetings.

7.    Research methods and analysis techniques.

8.    Principles and practices of sound business communication.

9.    Principles and practices of effective management and supervision.

Ability to:

1.    Plan, organize, direct and integrate the diverse functions, operations and objectives of assigned divisions and departments.

2.    Define complex public policy, management, operational, human resource, organizational and administrative issues, perform difficult and complex analyses and research, evaluate alternatives and develop sound conclusions and recommendations.

3.    Understand and apply local, California state and federal policy, law, regulation and court decisions applicable to areas of responsibility.

4.    Understand and apply court decisions and proposed legislation and programs in terms of their implications and impacts on District programs, operations and policies.

5.    Present proposals and recommendations clearly, logically and persuasively in public meetings on a variety of issues.

6.    Represent the District effectively in negotiations with other entities and public and private organizations.

7.    Develop, implement and enforce appropriate procedures and controls in areas of assigned functional responsibility.

8.    Prepare clear, concise and comprehensive correspondence, reports, studies and other written materials.

9.    Exercise sound, expert independent judgment within policy guidelines.

10.    Exercise tact and diplomacy in dealing with sensitive, complex and confidential issues and situations.

11.    Establish and maintain effective working relationships with Commissioners, all levels of District management, other elected and appointed governmental officials, consultants, vendors, employees, union representatives, media representatives, the public and others encountered in the course of work.

12.    Understand, interpret, explain, and apply District Personnel Rules and Regulations, policies and labor contract provisions.


Education, Training and Experience:

Graduation from a four-year college or university with a major in public or business administration, or a closely related/relevant field; and at least twelve years of progressively responsible management experience in the administration and operation of a public enterprise similar in size, scope and complexity to the District. Time served as a District Intern counts towards the years of experience.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:

A current, valid California Class C driver’s license at time of appointment and maintained at all times thereafter in order to operate a vehicle on District business.
California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Pull Notice System: An incumbent in this position will be enrolled in the California DMV Pull Notice Program. The pull notice program provides information on the incumbent’s driving record and Driver License status on a periodic basis to the San Diego Unified Port District. An employee assigned a District vehicle must acknowledge receipt and understanding of District Administrative Procedures covering the use of District vehicles.

This position may be subject to a pre-employment background check. The District will conduct a California Department of Justice/FBI fingerprint and criminal history check; felony convictions may be disqualifying. Misdemeanor convictions may be disqualifying depending on type, number, severity, and how recently they occurred. Criminal arrests and convictions during employment may result in termination or limitation in job duties if reasonable can be made.

Supplemental Information


This position meets one or more of the criteria for the unclassified service as outlined in San Diego Unified Port District Act Section 72.5(b), and as such is exempted from the classified service.

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this class with reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis and depends, in part, on the specific requirements for the job, the limitations related to disability and the ability of the hiring department to accommodate the limitation.

Resolution #: 2014 – 130
Dated: June 10, 2014
Revised per President/CEO Approval: October 6, 2021    

Port of San Diego
3165 Pacific Highway
San Diego, California, 92101 
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