Thursday, January 18, 2024

Job Opportunity. City of Boston. Chief of Emergency Preparedness.

Chief of Emergency Preparedness

Req ID         2024-26258


Dept            Emergency Management


Position      Regular Full-Time


Location      May Mayors Office


Union           CDH


Openings     1


Posting End Date     7/5/2024


Contact Email 



The Chief of Emergency Preparedness is the Mayor’s point person for emergency planning and preparedness as well as communication and coordination during an emergency response.  


This Cabinet-level position is essential for the safety and security of Boston’s residents and its infrastructure.  Boston will face an increasing number of emergencies -- both recurring and new.  This has been underscored not only by the global public health emergency and the increasing cyber-security threats, but also by the projected increase in sea level rise and the accelerating extremes in Boston’s weather.  


Thoughtful, comprehensive planning in advance of an emergency and clear coordination and communication during an emergency are at the heart of what will help Boston and its people manage any emergency or large scale event.  


The Chief of Emergency Preparedness leads this work, supported by the Office of Emergency Preparedness and its staff of 25 and annual operating and regional budget of approximately $12 million. 



Emergency Planning, Preparedness & Recovery

Central to this role is ensuring that the City -- led by the Office of Emergency Preparedness -- has developed thoughtful emergency plans, manages the response to those emergencies, and aids the City, its constituents, and the region in its recovery from emergencies.  


  • City Departments:  The Chief works across all City departments to develop comprehensive plans for potential emergencies that Boston may face.  Among other elements, this includes ensuring the development of actionable continuity of operations plans by Departments, leading trainings and table-top exercises to test the plans that have been developed, and coaching leaders on how to manage during emergencies.


  • City Constituents:  The Chief works with City Departments to ensure that residents, businesses and community partners have the tools they need to weather emergencies that may impact the city.  Among other efforts, this includes managing the City’s emergency notification system, coordinating standards for deployment of flood barriers on private property, and training residents on what to do in emergencies.  This also includes developing programs and policies, in coordination with other Departments, that help our constituents and businesses recovery after an emergency.  This work requires understanding community context and prioritizing an equity-oriented approach. 


  • Boston Region:  The Chief plays a leadership role in coordinating the Metro Boston Homeland Security Region, a consortium of municipal and state agencies in Greater Boston focused on homeland security and disaster preparedness.  This role includes managing the consortium, from overseeing grant administration to chairing the region’s monthly meetings and providing administrative support for this regional collaboration.  


Extreme Weather Events 

  • Of note, this role has an increasing emphasis on planning for and coordinating the response and recovery to extreme weather events, from high heat to severe rain to major coastal flooding.  The Chief is expected to ensure that the Office of Emergency Preparedness brings subject matter expertise to this work.  The Director will be responsible for developing plans, ensuring their implementation and leading coordination during extreme weather events. 


Communication & Coordination

  • Inter-Departmental Coordination:  Whether it is a short-term event such as a snow storm or a long-term such as public health pandemic, the Chief plays a central role in ensuring that there is good coordination across City Departments and supporting lead agencies in the execution of critical tasks.  This includes establishing and running an emergency operations center to facilitate the timely exchange of information, to ensure clarity about roles, responsibilities, and to identify and troubleshoot areas of need.


  • On-Site Coordination: For some particular disasters, such as large fires or snow storms, the Chief will also provide on-site coordination.  This is done in support of the work being done by lead agencies (e.g. the Fire Department or the Public Works Department), to bring in resources from other agencies as needed.



  • To execute on this work, the Chief of Emergency Preparedness oversees the Office of Emergency Preparedness.  There are 25 current staff in that office, who have backgrounds in everything from grant administration to disaster preparedness to communications to emergency operations.


Minimum Entrance Qualifications:

The qualities of an ideal candidate for this job include: 

  • Leader: The Chief of Emergency Preparedness must be able to move planning forward on the sunny days -- when attention can be elsewhere -- and help implement and adjust that plan on the stormy days -- when the intensity is at its highest.  This takes someone who can be a strong communicator about the importance of emergency planning and a clear-eyed advisor and decision maker under stressful conditions.  
  • Collaborator:  While the Chief of Emergency Preparedness ensures the effective citywide response to an emergency, the on-the-ground expertise and operational leadership is often within one or multiple other City Departments, including public safety.  Consequently, to be effective, the Chief needs the humility and skill necessary to know when to support the leadership of other organizations or to build bridges between organizations so that the City’s response can be most effective.  
  • Public Servant:  Without appropriate attention, understanding and action, emergencies can disproportionately impact some communities more than others.  The Chief must be able to work with Departments as they develop and implement plans to ensure that we are proactively addressing and preventing disparities that may otherwise arise across language, income, race, age and neighborhood in our city. 
  • Present: To add: this role is a principal advisor to the Mayor. As such, there is an expectation that this person will show up when needed at major city emergencies. [which also adds credibility with other stakeholders]

Minimum Qualifications:

  • At least eight (8) years of full time, relevant professional experience, four (4) years of which must have been in a supervisory capacity;
  • Proven track record of coordination and leadership across similarly complex organizations, including during stressful circumstances;
  • Command of disaster planning, emergency management principles, emergency planning, and/or climate and resiliency from an operational perspective;
  • Familiarity with state and local government operations and processes; experience managing complex government programs or grants in a political environment a plus;
  • Experience developing strategic plans and delivering on short and long-term goals for an organization;
  • Demonstrated knowledge in one of the public safety disciplines (Police, Fire, Emergency Services) and / or the specific threats that Boston may face, such as cyber security, climate or public health.
  • Boston residency required.



Salary: $150,000 - $165,000 commensurate with experience

Apply for this job

The City of Boston is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Therefore, qualified applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category.

The City of Boston has played a role in causing and perpetuating the inequities in our society. To break down these barriers, we are embedding equity and inclusion into everything we do.

We define equity as ensuring every community has the resources it needs to thrive in Boston. This requires the active process of meeting individuals where they are. Inclusion is engaging every resident to build a more welcoming and supportive city. We are building a city for everyone, where diversity makes us a more empowered collective.





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