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Chief Sustainability Officer

Oak Park, IL

Department: Village Manager’s Office

FLSA: Non-Union Exempt

Pay Band: 13-PM



Class specifications are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties performed by employees in the class. Specifications are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the job.




Under the general direction of the Village Manager or designee, the Chief Sustainability Officer collaboratively develops and drives organization-wide sustainability strategy ensuring timely execution of objectives, and continuously monitoring the progress toward reaching milestones. This employee works in collaboration with the Executive Leadership Team to ensure the organization employs strategies that align with the Village’s sustainability initiatives both within the organization and in collaboration with external partners.


The incumbent leads Village-wide policy analysis, program design and evaluation, and community engagement related to sustainability in close coordination with other Sustainability staff, the cross-departmental Sustainability Team, Environment & Energy Commission, community partners, and other Village departments. The role will include engaging diverse community members and stakeholders and facilitating active public participation in environmental initiatives.


The Sustainability program portfolio aligns with the impact areas of the Climate Plan: 1.) Energy Use in Buildings and Housing; 2) Transportation; 3) Extreme Weather; 4) Community Health in Climate & Sustainability; 5) Sustainable Economic Development; 6) Healthy & Sustainable Food; 7) Waste Reduction; 8) Parks, Plants & Biodiversity; and 9) Climate Plan monitoring.




As a leader in the climate, sustainability, and environmental justice movement, this staff person must be a dynamic visionary able to weave multidisciplinary thinking and practice into the fabric of the Oak Park community.


The Chief Sustainability Officer leads the municipal and community-wide implementation of the Village’s Board-adopted Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resiliency Plan (“Climate Ready Oak Park Plan”), which proposes achieving equitable carbon neutrality, resilience to climate change, and triple-bottom-line sustainability. Implementation of the Climate Ready Oak Park Plan will center on social equity and the priorities of Oak Park’s most vulnerable community members when developing programs, policies, and work plans.







Receives strategic direction from the Village Manager or designee. Works closely with all Village departments to educate and assist in the incorporation of sustainable practices as appropriate. The employee is expected to provide leadership to the sustainability division and all Village departments in achieving climate, resilience, and sustainability goals. 


Guidance is provided in alignment with the comprehensive plan; climate plan; Village Code, City policies and procedures; applicable state and federal laws and regulations, as well as a wide variety of information relating to sustainable practices, ensuring that initiatives meet legal requirements 


EXAMPLES OF DUTIES--Essential and other important duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:


  Essential duties and responsibilities


1.     Manage, facilitate, and advise the development, implementation, monitoring, and improvement of local government policies, programs, and initiatives that promote local environmental, energy, economic, and social sustainability. Champion integration of social equity into all climate, sustainability, and resilience programming, policy, and planning.


2.     Translate Board and Village Manager priorities into actionable programs and plans that improves Oak Park climate action, resilience, and sustainability outcomes.


3.     Facilitate the establishment of sustainability and climate goals for Village programs that are consistent with policies, desired impacts and outcomes, consideration for the views of interested parties, and other factors. Be proactive with regard to ensuring that parties affected by climate and sustainability programs are engaged through disclosure of relevant project information, consultation, and informed participation.


4.     Develops and directs educational curricula to advance understanding of climate justice, sustainable development, and leading practices in climate action.


5.     Collaborates with VOP department directors to identify programs and processes that integrate climate and sustainability into core Village services.


6.     Conducts program evaluation and recommends process improvements. 


7.     Partner with community groups, institutions, and other stakeholders to co-lead community-wide implementation of the Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resiliency Plan (Climate Plan). Collaborate with the Health Department and community organizations to regularly review and update the community climate risk and vulnerability assessment.


8.     Cultivates and fosters internal and external relationships with stakeholders including staff, commissions, and community partners. Collaborates with stakeholders to co-create climate and sustainability policies and programs.


9.     Manage the implementation of the community solar program and community electricity aggregation program.


10. Serve as a staff liaison to the Environment & Energy Citizen Commission. Co-facilitate the internal Village cross-departmental staff sustainability team.


11. In concert with the Environmental Services Manager, provide technical assistance to the Environmental and Energy Citizen Commission, the Village Board, and Village Departments in the development of climate and environmental implementation plans by researching and developing strategies to enhance current programs and implement new initiatives.


12. Develop and apply appropriate performance standards and metrics applicable to the environment, community health, safety, security, pollution prevention and abatement, and other policy areas as directed. Coordinate regular monitoring and updating of the Climate Plan and associated greenhouse gas inventory and forecast.


13. Develop and apply various operational controls and monitoring processes to programs in order to meet sustainability and climate policy commitments and control significant aspects of programs that affect desired impacts and outcomes. Facilitate the integration of climate, resilience, and sustainability initiatives across Village operations, programs, plans, and policies.


14. Analyze Village programs and practices to evaluate and assess their climate and sustainability status and impacts. Identify environmental attributes of Village activities and services, and identify those that could have significant impacts on the environment. Prepare reports describing program results and challenges including co-benefit analysis of programs and initiatives. Maintain data to identify trends and/or develop programs to accomplish the goals of the Village’s environmental program(s).


15. Assist other Village Departments and community partners in researching and developing grant opportunities and other funding and financing programs to improve or implement climate and sustainability practices. Identify and assist in securing grant funds (and materials) from public and private sources. Write grant proposals; administer grant projects including preparation and submission of grant reports as required.


16. Draft policies for consideration concerning methods and practices to increase sustainability and climate efforts throughout the community, and comply with Village, State, and Federal requirements. Actively collaborate and co-create policies and programs with community-based organizations, frontline organizations, and community leaders.


17. Develop and Manage capacity building, education, and outreach efforts to ensure that community members and Village staff are knowledgeable, trained, and capable of carrying out their respective environmental contributions. Coordinate Village staff training to promote sustainable practices in day-to-day operations.


18. Make public presentations to a variety of councils, boards, commissions, and community groups. Regularly represent the Village at external events, programs, and conferences.


19. Participate in regional and national learning groups and professional networks and organizations. Engage in continual learning and remain current in knowledge of best practices in sustainability, climate mitigation, climate resiliency, and environmental justice.  


20. Set team goals, develop strategies, and provides mentorship to team members.


21. Maintain confidentiality concerning sensitive documents and information.



      Knowledge of:


·        Issues, laws, and regulations related to all areas of sustainability, environmental quality, and climate mitigation, including solid waste and resource conservation, storm water management, air quality management, transportation, pollution prevention, and public health protection.


·        Sustainability and climate action principles, practices, codes, and standards, as applied to the delivery of projects. Knowledge of best practices in leading sustainable communities, successful programs, and utility and infrastructure systems and trends.


·        Racial and social equity principles and practices, and the ways in which historical and ongoing inequities further marginalize communities of color, immigrant communities, disability communities, youth and older adults, and lower-income populations. Demonstrated understanding of the interrelationship of social equity, climate resiliency, environmental justice, and sustainable economic development. 


·        Various indices to measure and evaluate sustainability efforts such as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and CDP united reporting system for reporting and tracking a diverse set of socioeconomic, environmental, and institutional indicators that characterize and influence environmental sustainability and related programs in the Village.

·        Principles and analytical tools for research, data collection and analysis, statistical analysis, technical writing, and data visualization, to determine program feasibility and prepare evaluation reports.


        Ability to:


·        Demonstrate a passionate interest in equitable sustainability and climate practices.


·        Demonstrate ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a diverse community and government stakeholders. Multilingual skills are preferred.


·        Operationalize diversity, equity, and inclusion principles and practices in environmental outreach, planning, policies, and programs.  


·  Establish and maintain effective work relationships with those contacted in the course of work including the general public, Village employees, community or civic leaders, public sector officials and staff, and partner agencies and organizations.

·  Excellent writing, editing, communication, and meeting facilitation skills.


·  Effectively communicates technical information to external and internal audiences orally, in writing, and in presentation form.


·  Effectively interacts with the public, Village employees, and Village Board and Commissions. Interpret and explain Village energy and environmental policies and procedures, as well as convey sustainability policy objectives and methods for their attainment to a variety of audiences through public speaking, training, community education, and the use of other media.

·  Be adept at developing and successfully implementing multiple tasks and projects while being results and detail-oriented.


·  Ability to perform co-benefit analysis for sustainability and climate projects. Experience coordinating comment summary and incorporation into project deliverables.


·  Demonstrate experience developing and implementing projects to reduce environmental impact or achieve sustainability and climate goals.


·  Demonstrated ability to work on multiple concurrent projects and to achieve desired goals on schedule and within budget.


·  Comprehend broad energy and environmentally sustainable policy objectives and transform them into action plans and programs.


·  Perform data processing, analytical tasks, and data visualization. Utilize spreadsheets and skills or familiarity with statistical analysis.


·        Apply a variety of sustainability indices, draw conclusions, and prepare reports and other information to be distributed to a variety of audiences.



·        Maintain accurate work records and data concerning environmentally sustainable issues. Ability to document research and work collection and processes.


·        Understand and follow oral and written instructions.


·        Make effective use of computer equipment including word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, and scheduling software applications, as well as effectively use internet and web resources.


·        Establish and maintain interpersonal skills in the workplace to effectively communicate and interact with others.

Maintain reasonable and predictable attendance


Maintain physical condition appropriate to the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities.  


─ Walking, standing or sitting for extended peri­ods of time

─ Operating assigned equip­ment.



        Maintain effective audio-visual discrimination and perception needed for:

                       ─        Making observations

                       ─        Communicating with others

                       ─        Reading and writing

                       ─        Operating assigned equipment.




Experience and Training Guidelines


ExperienceAt least four (4) years of professional-level experience that involved direct contact with community members, performing program development and administration, community outreach and organizing, or research and analysis, in the areas of environmental justice, sustainability, and/or climate mitigation and resilience, is highly preferred.




TrainingPossession of a Master’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in Environmental Science, Environmental Planning, Public Policy, Sustainability Studies, or a related field is strongly preferred.




Licenses and Certificates: Professional registration in one or more of the following is highly desirable: American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), Professional Engineer (PE), American Institute of Architecture (AIA), Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Sustainability (ISSP-SA or ISSP-CSP), or a nationally recognized Green Building organization.




Any combination of the above-mentioned experience, training, licenses, and certificates that can demonstrate through the resume and interview the ability to perform the roles and responsibilities effectively.




Flexible work hours and remote work opportunities may be available upon approval of the supervisor, as work duties permit. Primary office location at Village Hall, with possible local travel to offsite meeting locations. Sustained posture in a seated position for prolonged periods of time; occasional outside environmental conditions. This position will support internal Village staff and communicate regularly with the general public.




Diversity Equity & Inclusion Statement

The Village of Oak Park commits itself to diversity, equity and inclusion by recognizing that creating a mutually respectful, multicultural and equitable environment does not happen on its own, it must be intentional. This includes providing equal opportunities for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, military or veteran status or any other characteristics.




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