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Program Director (Public Safety and Legal Counsel)

Department: Center for Best Practices
Location: Washington, DC

TITLE: Program Director (Public Safety and Legal Counsel)
ORGANIZATION: National Governors Association
LOCATION: Washington, DC
COMPENSATION: A competitive compensation package will be made to the qualified candidate
REPORTS TO: Director, Center for Best Practices

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association is a bipartisan organization of Governors from the 55 states, territories, and commonwealths whose mission is to share best practices, speak with an informed voice on national policy and develop innovative solutions to improve citizensí lives through state government and support the principles of federalism.  

Through NGA, Governors identify priority issues and deal with matters of public policy and governance at the state and national levels. Our policy and research arm, the NGA Center for Best Practices, helps Governors find collective answers to common issues and assists in developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges. Our Government Relations team ensures that Governors are a strong voice in Washington, DC. NGA also provides total consultative services, including management and technical assistance to both new and incumbent Governors, their senior executive staff, and their trusted advisors.

NGA is looking to add a bright, resourceful, and organized Program Director to our Center of Best Practices team. This position reports to the Director, Center for Best Practices. The Program Directorís primary responsibilities will be to lead NGAís policy and programmatic support for Governorís offices on a range of public safety and legal counsel issues, including criminal justice reform, justice policy challenges, the intersection of behavioral health and justice-involved individuals, state and federal statutory analysis, and other issues that may evolve as the needs of Governors varies over time. 

This position requires the ability to stand up quickly on issues, execute regular briefings for Governorís staff, lead policy engagements with states, and respond to Governorís offices technical questions on a wide range of criminal justice, public safety, and legal counsel topics.

Other important responsibilities of the Program Director include:

  • Managing multiple projects simultaneously, including consultants and sub-contracts with states and external partners;
  • Overseeing and analyzing project budgets, projecting future spending, and developing financial proposals for potential new efforts;
  • Communicating effectively in verbal and written forms, with an ability to communicate clearly with policy making audiences such as state and federal officials, national experts, and others;
  • Working with NGAís Office of Development in support of fundraising efforts by writing concept papers and proposals to enable the Center for Best Practices to provide relevant and timely expertise and assistance to Governors and their staff, as well as build relationships with current and potential funders to support this work;
  • Demonstrating strong interpersonal skills to effectively work with colleagues, partner organizations, and a variety of high-ranking state and federal officials;
  • Managing wide-scale projects with multiple staff and tasks simultaneously, in coordination with a diverse group of stakeholders;  
  • Organizing and facilitating workshops, conferences, seminars, panel discussions, state strategy sessions and other events;
  • Identifying and tracking key issues of concern to Governors, develop promising initiatives to address these concerns, and connecting Governorsí key staff with other states and national experts who can assist them in addressing these issues; 
  • Demonstrating a commitment to NGAís mission and goals to constructively serve the needs of all Governors; and 
  • Other duties as assigned by Deputy Director or Director, Center for Best Practices.

Supervisory Responsibilities:
Oversees employee(s) responsible for meeting project goals;
Sets goals for performance, ensures staff are meeting organizational and personal development goals and evaluates staff job results through performance management system;
Implements internal control policies and procedures for all program activities (including budgets and deliverables); and
Oversee employee training programs and identify training needs in correlation with Deputy Director, Center for Best Practices and Human Resources.

Candidates should have a bachelorís degree, preferably in public policy, criminal justice or a related field. A Juris Doctorate is preferred. Seven to ten years working in areas of policies and programs that are within the public safety and legal counsel portfolio, including expert knowledge and experience working on issues related to criminal justice reform, justice policy challenges, and state/federal statutory analysis.

Knowledge and expertise could include prior work with policies and programs to help Governors and their staff design and implement changes to produce better outcomes. Experience working with Governors, working in federal or state agencies, with membership associations, or in non-profit organizations is preferred.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following: 

  • Experience working with high-level state policymakers in a variety of settings;
  • Experience in organizing small and large scale convening for a variety of functions ranging from collaboration, consensus building, and structured learning opportunities where candidate will need to possess strong presentation skills, including at times, serving as subject matter expert and/or panelist;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to engage effectively with diverse stakeholders to advance objectives; 
  • Ability to manage budgets on multiple projects with a variety of funding streams including federal and foundation grants;
  • Ability to handle and process information of a highly sensitive and critical nature;
  • Capacity to manage a professional team that can work together and independently in a dynamic, changing work environment, as well as the ability to set priorities effectively; 
  • Skill in conveying essential information clearly and concisely, both in writing and verbally; 
  • Knowledge of web tools; and
  • Travel, as necessary.

Interested candidates should apply online through NGAís career site. NGA uses Clear Company and all information is kept strictly confidential. An application is considered when all required fields are completed.

Please include:

  • Your resume highlighting your education, experience, and direct transferable skills
  • A portfolio of your best work (attach to your candidate profile via Clear Company) 

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. NGA is committed to providing a productive and safe environment. To achieve that goal, we conduct background and reference check investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. 

NGA staff proudly serve our nationís Governorsí daily and itís our mission to ensure we offer a comprehensive, competitive benefits package designed to support the needs of NGA employees.

NGA is an Equal Opportunity Employer (M/D/F/V). NGA is committed to fostering an energetic, collaborative, diverse and inclusive workforce. We promote diversity and provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, or any other legally protected factor. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

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