MARTINEZ -- Martinez seeks a jack-of-all-trades to help the city take advantage of the improving economy.

The deputy director of strategic planning and community development will work on economic development, housing, parking and quality-of-life issues. The employee also will write grants, act as the liaison with county government and the courts and work with the business community and residents.

Finally, the deputy director will set up and oversee Martinez's economic development corporation, a nonprofit lender the council created last year to help property owners get the capital to seismically retrofit their buildings.

Councilman Mark Ross called the job description -- which runs more than two pages -- "a tall order."

City Manager Phil Vince seeks a candidate who has policy experience and analytical skill. He also wants someone who can crunch data and is fluent in social media. As projects in Martinez have tended to drag on for years without coming to fruition, Vince wants to hire someone who will get things done.

"I want somebody who can take, execute and finish. So this is going to be a 'closer' position," Vince said.

The pay range for the full-time position is $110,000 to $132,000. With medical and retirement benefits, the annual compensation will rise to about $170,000. For the first two years, the city will use building permit and plan-check fees to cover the salary and benefits. Vince is confident that increases in the city's property and sales tax revenue will be enough to fund the position in the future.


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He hopes to have someone on board by July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

"Clearly, it's a gamble, and it's a leap of faith," Councilman Mike Menesini said. "But if the person we hire can do half these things, as Mark points out, it's going to be very fantastic and will be a big benefit to the community."

Mayor Rob Schroder pointed to the stock market's resurgence, falling unemployment and the housing sector's rebound as evidence that the economy is turning around. Martinez, he said, should be positioned to take advantage of the improving conditions.

Schroder acknowledged the financial risk involved with using one-time moneys to cover ongoing personnel expenses, but he said the potential payoff is worth it.

"I really believe that if we find the right person that has the skills that we're looking for, and they stay on task, that after two years, I think this will pay for itself and hopefully exponentially help the city," Schroder said.

During a February retreat, council members agreed to focus on economic development, opportunities at the waterfront, infrastructure, fiscal fitness and community wellness.

Before the deputy director is hired, Councilwoman Anamarie Avila Farias suggested the council revisit the goals it identified at the retreat to ensure they are clear, concise and measurable.

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.