When a tree falls in San Diego, who will be there to listen and how much will she or he cost taxpayers? Such are the questions posed by a job listing posted on the city’s employment website for an Urban Forestry Program Manager. The holder of the non–civil service position will be expected to have the “ability to identify tree species, understand what species grow best in different environments, and knowledge of tree placement in urban settings.” In addition, awareness of “tree physiology and pathology” and “best arboricultural and horticultural management practices” is also desired.
The new hire “will manage the Citywide Urban Forestry Program to identify strategies and policies for proactively managing the City’s trees; coordinate citywide tree services; serve as a liaison to the Community Forest Advisory Board and other community groups; and provide technical and professional guidance to property owners and other City departments,” according to the notice. “Certification as an Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture,” is also desired.
Why the job is unclassified, meaning that the new employee will serve at the virtual pleasure of mayor Kevin Faulconer under the city’s so-called strong mayor charter, is unstated. The ex-public relations man is known to favor loyal pitch people for such jobs to further his political agenda and future political career as a self-cast environment-friendly Republican. Whether recent news coverage of the practice here and a local TV station’s follow-up will influence that policy remains to be seen. No salary is listed.