Records Officer/Public Information Specialist

Cowlitz County, WA - Kelso, WA (30+ days ago)


This position serves as a liaison and advisor for all county department public records coordinators working on public records requests. The purpose of this position is to help coordinators analyze, process, and respond to public records requests submitted to the County, in compliance with state law, case law and policy and procedures. This position's responsibilities include: serving as the point of contact for County public records coordinators; overseeing compliance; and developing comprehensive records disclosure and retention policies. This position will be looked to for professional consultation, advice, and training in these areas. This position is the official spokesperson with the media. Coordinate all public information and oversee public outreach events and programs.

Benefits Information:
Cowlitz County offers a generous benefits package which includes:

Medical/Dental/Vision (includes dependent coverage)
VEBA/Health Retirement Account for those who qualify
Retirement through Washington State Public Employees Retirement System
Life Insurance
Deferred Compensation plans available (457b)
Vacation, Bonus and Leave Days Paid
10 Paid Holidays
Reasonable work hours
The County
Cowlitz County is a great place to live and work. Located along the Columbia River less than an hour from the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Cowlitz County provides an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and easy access to the Arts. The I-5 corridor runs right through Cowlitz County providing quick access to the Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon metropolitan areas.
Job Duties
Serve as the primary contact for department public records coordinators.
Provide guidance and training to all departments on appropriate public records management practices and policies.
Research and formulate public records management policies that comply with federal and state regulations, and meet best practices of public records management.
Develop and maintain policies and procedures for public records disclosure and retention.
Proactively promote County accomplishments and activities.
Media and Community relations, through news releases, emails, web postings and publications.
Develop and provide training to staff; and coordinate media training to management and employees as requested or needed.
Develop communication templates and other materials to assist in the public records disclosure process.
Receive, process and respond to all requests for public records in accordance with state laws.
Ensure timely response to records requests in accordance with the Washington Public Records Act.
Maintain public records request tracking system to monitor timely review and response.
Analyze records to determine if responsive to request.
Review responsive records for exempt information and apply redaction prior to release.
Send response/information to requesting party.
Track and compile statistical data on public records requests.
Keep up to date on legislative and case law changes regarding records management and public records requests; update staff in response to changes.
Provide staff training on public records compliance; consult with staff on the requirements of the Public Records Act.
Resolve internal and external client concerns with a high level of customer service.
Coordinate and maintain a comprehensive records retention program.
Develop procedures and guidelines for logically organized and searchable records.
Develop procedures to identify and control the destruction of records according to retention schedules.
Develop policy and procedure creation including communications, sponsorship and crises communications policy
Copy and scan documents as needed.
Work closely with IT to retain, produce, and dispose of electronic records and email pursuant to policy.
Maintain confidentiality.
Other duties as assigned.
Qualifications
Associates degree in paralegal, legal secretary or communications degree or related field and one (3) year experience as a legal secretary, communications specialist, or public relations.
Demonstrable knowledge of public disclosure activities or records management in a public agency.
Washington State Certified Public Records Officer (or ability to obtain certification within one year of hire date).
Proficient in Microsoft Office including but not limited to Excel, Word, and Outlook.
Supplemental Information

Required Skills and Abilities:
Ability to handle and perform the essential job functions independently as well as able to work well in a team environment.
Excellent interpersonal skills. Work effectively in a demanding and political environment. Establish and maintain effective working relations.
Multi-tasking abilities, and able to function in a busy environment with demands from multiple sources.
Excellent communication skills, both oral and written. Make oral and written recommendations and present plans of action.
Able to exercise judgment and discretion on sensitive or confidential matters.
Possess research skills, ability to analyze data, and arrive at conclusions.
Demonstrated skills in records, archives or project management.
Knowledge of retention periods and disposition schedules for public records.