Planner Principal, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)

Planner Principal, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)

Job Category:                       Principal

Experience Required:          Minimum 8 years

Salary Range:                       $86,200 to $106,850

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is seeking to hire one full-time employee to join the agency’s Planning department.  The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is our region’s comprehensive planning organization.  The agency and its partners are developing ON TO 2050, a new long-range plan to help the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.  See for more information.  For detailed information about our benefits, please go to

Position Description

The successful candidate will primarily be responsible for helping to lead and manage the agency’s award-winning Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program.  Depending on agency needs, the candidate may also manage elements of CMAP’s research, analysis, mapping work, and contribute to the agency’s long-range planning.  Compensation will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The position is primarily expected to contribute to the leadership and management of the LTA program.  This program was initiated in spring 2011 to create new resources for technical assistance and coordinate with existing technical assistance activities.  It has resulted in a series of innovative local projects in the Chicago region that support livability principles, implement GO TO 2040, and build capacity in local communities.  Nearly 150 projects have been completed to date, with 40 more underway.  New projects are identified annually, through a competitive selection process.  Projects include comprehensive plans, corridor or subarea plans, zoning revisions, studies of special topics such as housing, economic development, water resources, or climate resilience, and similar planning activities.  The position will also manage consultants, project implementation, and work with external agency partners.

The successful candidate will be expected to: oversee numerous projects, supervising the work of other staff; directly manage a small number of projects, with support from a team of staff; ensure a high quality of products across the program; assist in the selection of new projects; identify new strategic directions for the program, based on local interest and regional priorities; and many other activities.  Overall, the position will have a high level of responsibility for the success of the LTA program, and will work collaboratively with other senior staff and agency leadership to manage and continually improve it.

This program requires travel throughout the region.  Candidates must have the ability and willingness to work with communities across the region, and should value the diversity of communities that our region contains.  To obtain more information on the LTA program, please visit

Depending on the skills of the candidates and the needs of the agency, the position will also be asked to contribute to other CMAP activities:

  • CMAP has an extensive research and analysis program, which provides support for the agency’s planning and programming activities as well as external dissemination of data. Candidates may manage employees that work on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and overall application of quantitative research and analysis methods to local and regional planning issues.
  • CMAP is producing a long-range regional plan, ON TO 2050, which is due to be complete in October 2018. Many staff across the agency are involved in its development.  This position is expected to contribute to ON TO 2050 by bringing knowledge of local planning practice in northeastern Illinois, which will help CMAP ensure that the plan speaks to and is useful to communities.  The position may also contribute to plan content and outreach and engagement efforts.  For more information, visit

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Applicants must demonstrate that they have the knowledge, experience, and skills to assist in the management of the LTA program and the development and implementation of LTA projects.  Experience and interest in long-range regional planning or in research and analysis is a plus.

General qualifications and skills for the position include:

  • Knowledge of local planning practice in northeastern Illinois, including plan and ordinance preparation, development review, and the role of appointed and elected officials.
  • Experience working on or familiarity with local planning projects. Examples include comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, corridor plans, sustainability plans, studies of housing or other specific topics, and similar products.
  • Understanding of the links between transportation, land use, housing, economic development, environment and natural resources, community development, and governance.
  • Ability to provide technical assistance, facilitate meetings and workshops, and develop innovative, collaborative solutions to build local capacity.
  • Ability to effectively promote regional principles while respecting and addressing local concerns.
  • Experience or interest in working with elected officials, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, the general public, and other partners on planning issues.
  • Excellent skills in public speaking, writing, facilitating, and other forms of public engagement.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for effectively managing diverse teams and complex projects, as well as working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and across departments.
  • Multilingual skills, especially Spanish fluency, are a plus.
  • Sufficient substantive experience with advanced use of GIS, managing and analyzing large datasets, developing tools for use in planning processes, and similar experience for purposes of managing staff with these skillsets is a plus.
  • Familiarity with regional planning and policy and the role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). In particular, knowledge of best practices in linking planning at the regional and local levels is a plus.

Positions at the Principal level have supervisory and leadership responsibilities, and Principals are typically responsible for supervising 4 to 7 staff of varying levels.  Candidates must have a demonstrated aptitude for effectively managing staff and projects, and should have demonstrated leadership capabilities.

Education and Experience

A Bachelors degree in planning, policy, public administration, or a related discipline is required, and a Master’s degree is strongly preferred.  At least 8 years of experience is required.

Experience may be in a variety of relevant fields.  Employment with municipalities, counties, nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, or similar organizations is considered relevant for this position.

How to Apply

Please submit cover letter, résumé, and writing sample via the web at  Please refer to Job Code (PPL2017).

Posting End Date

This posting will close on April 13, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.  All applications must be completed and submitted within that timeframe.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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