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City of Seattle Hiring URM Program Manager

It is a job opening for the right person.

Will wonders never cease? Hiring someone to manage the program which still needs to be created and agreed to will be no small task. At least they will have someone to work the issue. I hope they find the right person: a planner, negotiator, diplomat, soothsayer, etc.

Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Program Manager

Salary : $47.85 - $71.80 Hourly

Location: Seattle, WA

Job Type: Civil Service Exempt, Regular, Full-time

Department: Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection

Job Number: 2022-01267

Closing: 7/26/2022 4:00 PM Pacific

Position Description

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) Engineering Services Division is recruiting to fill a Strategic Advisor (SA2) position to serve as the Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Program Manager. This position, under the direction of the Principal Engineer, will be directly responsible for drafting a mandatory URM retrofit ordinance and developing, implementing, leading, and managing a mandatory retrofit program based on the recommendations (Download PDF reader) provided by the URM Policy Committee and other stakeholders. The anticipated impact of this program will be the seismic retrofit of approximately 1100 URM buildings over the next 15 years, increasing the safety for building occupants and the public as well as the resilience of our City.

The City of Seattle identified the primary goal of a URM retrofit program is to protect life safety by reducing the risk of injury from collapse of URM buildings in the event of an earthquake. Additional goals of the program are: preserving Seattle’s historically and culturally significant landmarks and structures that contribute to neighborhood character, improving the City’s resiliency to earthquake events, and minimizing the impact of a URM retrofit program on vulnerable populations to the extent financially feasible.

The URM Program Manager will be directly responsible for drafting a mandatory URM retrofit ordinance. The successful candidate will need to engage all stakeholders, both internal and external, throughout the development of the ordinance. It is critical to collaborate with internal stakeholders to understand cross-divisional and cross-departmental impacts in shaping the final policy. These departments include but are not limited to Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR), Office of Economic Development (OED), Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE), Department of Neighborhoods (DON), Office of Housing (OH), as well as the Mayor’s Office and City Council. Upon submittal and approval of the Ordinance for adoption by the City Council and Mayor, the URM Program Manager will develop a communication plan providing outreach to external stakeholders such as URM building owners, financial institutions, low-incoming housing advocates, historic buildings advocates, structural engineers, architects, and other members of the design and construction community. Once adopted, the URM ordinance will implement a mandatory seismic retrofit program for the affected URM buildings for the City of Seattle. The URM Program Manager will be responsible in putting in place a strategic plan in managing the program along with tracking mechanism in measuring progress against timelines and program objectives.

The URM Program Manager will be serving as the point of contact for the retrofit program. The successful candidate must demonstrate excellent written and oral communication skills along with a strong background in public policy development. They must be able to handle politically sensitive tasks and be able to communicate and partner effectively with both internal and external stakeholders consisting of a broad audience with varying degree of technical knowledge. They must also embrace a full understanding of the risks associated with an unretrofitted URM building inventory and the importance of the retrofit program. The successful candidate will have the ability to work independently with minimal supervision and work collaboratively with a wide variety of staff, applicants, and constituents. The successful candidate must have demonstrated experience in applying problem solving strategies to complex and controversial issues and will work cooperatively as part of a larger policy and technical team.

Job Responsibilities

  • Develop and draft the URM Retrofit Ordinance to be submitted to City Council and Mayor for adoption.
  • Develop the URM Retrofit Program.
  • Implement and manage the URM Retrofit Program.
  • Collaborate proactively with other intradepartmental divisions (Land Use, Inspection Services, Code Compliance) in the development of the ordinance and management of the retrofit program.
  • Collaborate with other City departments (e.g. OEM, OIR, OED, SE, OH, DON, etc.) to assess and mitigate impacts on them in the development of the ordinance and management of the program.
  • Respond to SDCI Director or Mayor inquiries.
  • Coordinate and develop progress reports to City Council or as requested.
  • Develop and maintain working partnerships with external customers involved including URM building owners, neighborhoods, design community, and stakeholder groups affected by the ordinance and program.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and other governmental agencies who are procuring alternate options for financing tools and funding opportunities to reduce the financial burden of required retrofits.
  • Represent SDCI at professional association meetings and outreach opportunities to promote, discuss, gather input, or garner support for the URM Retrofit Program.
  • Commitment to City’s and SDCI’s Race and Social Justice (RSJ) approach to managing workgroups and making decisions.
  • Define program objectives that align with the draft recommendations (Download PDF reader) provided by the URM Policy Committee and Council Resolution.
  • Develop notification process to URM building owners of the program requirements and associated timelines.
  • Develop a timeline for compliance.
  • Develop process and financial incentives/penalties for compliance.
  • Coordinate with Technical Code Development group in the development of the ordinance and technical code requirements.
  • Collaborate with URM Subject Matter Experts (SME) to develop understanding and alignment of technical design standards and requirements for retrofits.
  • Develop program objectives that align with the draft Ordinance.
  • Develop tracking process to monitor progress toward meeting the program timelines.
  • Develop permitting process for tracking and issuance of construction permits for mandatory seismic retrofits.
  • Serve as point of contact for the program.
  • Coordinate with process and technical review management to implement the program.
  • Manage the outreach effort, may include management of a third-party non-governmental consultant contractor tasked with developing a guidebook and general outreach information to help URM building owners to navigate the process.
  • Coordinate updates to public resources and information.

Successful candidates will have experience in:

  • Developing ordinance and public policy.
  • Writing codes and ordinances.
  • Working with the Mayor’s Office and City Council.
  • Forming respectful and trusting relationship with all stakeholders involved with a regulatory program.
  • Managing a regulatory program affecting public stakeholders.
  • Tracking, organizing, and evaluating a program’s effectiveness and measurable outcomes.
  • Administering or applying construction code regulations.
  • Translating policies, recommendations, and objectives into specific outcomes.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including experience in speaking to the public and media.
  • Emergency management and preparedness.



  • Five or more years of progressively responsible work in public policy development or in the field of planning.
  • Three or more years of program management or lead experience.
  • (Other combinations of education, training and experience will be evaluated on an individual basis or comparability).


  • Possess a fundamental knowledge of Seattle city government policy development process.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate complex information effectively and clearly with internal and external customers.
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative and proactively resolve issues.
  • Demonstrated capability to develop basic understanding of technical aspects of URM and related structural engineering issues involved with retrofits.
  • Demonstrated good judgment and balanced approach in administering policies.


  • Current, valid Driver’s License or evidence of equivalent mobility. 

Additional Information

Complete applications must include written responses to the supplemental questions. These answers will be read by review panels who may not have access to your resume, in accordance with SDCI's hiring procedures.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is a proud participant in the Race and Social Justice Initiative, a citywide effort to realize the vision of racial equity. 

We require a strong commitment to customer service and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with individuals from diverse communities and cultures.  The City of Seattle values diverse perspectives and life experiences; people of color, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.