Position Summary: The Sustainable Communities & Planning Advocate will develop and implement strategies to create sustainable Montana communities, support land use policies that help to address the climate crisis, and advocate for equitable land use decision-making through the defense of Montana’s existing land use policies and regulatory framework as well as through the creation of creative and strong land use policies in Montana. This position will lobby the legislature and other government officials, work with local and state agencies, and engage in public advocacy, organizing, and outreach.  Issues include, but are not limited to subdivision regulation, protection of water resources, planning and zoning, and equitable and sustainable communities and housing.

To Apply: Please combine a cover letter, a resume, a writing sample, and the names and contact information for three references into a single PDF file and email to jobs@meic.org. The position is open until filled with preference for a start date in July 2022.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Program Related Activities: 50%

  • Assist in the development and implementation of campaigns and programs that result in the adoption of innovative and equitable policies and rules that improve housing affordability and sustainable land use practices. 
  • Research effective sustainable land use practices in Montana and across the West and assist in the development of policies and/or legislation that would implement sustainable land use practices.
  • Defend Montana’s existing regulatory framework against efforts to undermine the protection it affords to communities and the environment. 
  • Work with local governments and planners to identify and encourage sustainable development and affordable housing.
  • Help local governments adopt and implement plans and ordinances that provide affordable and sustainable land use practices.
  • Coordinate with state, regional, and national organizations and individuals to develop policies promoting affordable and sustainable land use practices.
  • Assist MEIC’s Clean Energy Advocate in implementing programs that aid in the equitable transition towards electrification of buildings and transportation in Montana.
  • Serve as a registered lobbyist during the Montana legislative session and interim legislative committees. These duties include but are not limited to conversing with legislators and other stakeholders, research, drafting legislation and fact sheets, conducting outreach to members and supporters, testifying at hearings, and representing MEIC in a favorable and professional manner. Periodically work with federal elected officials and agencies on sustainable land use policies.

 

Organizing and Outreach: 40%

  • Work with MEIC staff to develop and implement grassroots education and advocacy programs to build support for sustainable land use practices.
  • Help build and manage a coalition of individuals, organizations, businesses, and community leaders across the state to develop and defend policies that promote affordable housing, clean air and water, open space and agricultural lands, the climate, sustainability, and the constitutional rights to a clean and healthful environment and the right to participate. 
  • In coordination with other staff, help prepare written and visual materials, such as policy papers, fact sheets, presentations, action alerts, newsletter articles, and social media communications.
  • Develop strong working relationships with news media, including reporter education and speaking at press events. Work with MEIC staff to develop and implement media and social media campaigns.
  • Represent MEIC at conferences, events, meetings, and other public speaking engagements on issues consistent with MEIC’s strategic plan.
  • Stay up-to-date on current environmental, technical, and political events.

 

Administration: 10%

  • Work with MEIC staff to develop and implement social media strategies.
  • Write and review member alerts for events and issues.
  • Write newsletter articles, blogs, and social media materials.
  • Participate in staff and board of directors meetings.
  • When requested, participate in staff evaluation processes.
  • Track work time and submit monthly time reports in a timely manner.
  • Assist with fundraising.
  • Assist in preparation of the organization’s annual budget.
  • Participate in board meetings, retreats, and member events.
  • Comply with MEIC Board policies as necessary.
  • Participate in the preparation of annual and long-range plans.
  • Help maintain a safe, collegial, clean, and productive work environment.

 

Job Title: Sustainable Communities & Planning Advocate

Location: There is a preference for Helena, Montana, though other locations in the state will be considered for the right candidate. Full-time presence in Helena is required during the legislative session (Jan. 1, 2023 through April 30, 2023)

Type: Full time. The position is funded for one year. There is potential for permanent status if funding permits and program benefits are demonstrated.

Reports to: Water Policy Director/Staff Attorney

Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state and out-of-state required

Compensation: $47,000 to $50,000/year. MEIC offers a competitive benefits package that includes: paid vacation and holiday leave, sick and family leave, and health insurance. Additionally, retirement account contributions begin after two years of employment, and sabbatical leave is available after seven years of employment.

Knowledge, Competencies, & Skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree is required. A graduate degree or comparable work in a related field is preferred.
  • Three years of experience in land use regulation and/or planning, or a related field is strongly preferred. However, MEIC encourages applications from those with a passion for land use protections and who meet other qualifications.
  • Understanding of Montana’s land use regulatory framework and its connection to the climate crisis and equity.
  • Keen awareness of Montana’s political landscape, especially as it pertains to environmental and land use issues and policies.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and justice and an understanding of how these values intersect with environmental and land use issues.
  • Excellent communication skills. Strong and persuasive public speaking and writing skills. Capacity to understand legal issues and translate them into accessible, engaging language. Ability to facilitate conversations as needed.
  • Social and emotional intelligence.
  • Highly-motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently. The ability to lead and work effectively in a team environment. An understanding of and demonstrated effectiveness in working in a coalition of individuals and organizations with potentially disparate interests. 
  • Demonstrated leadership skills.
  • Comfortable with confrontational advocacy and resilient in high stress conditions.
  • Demonstrated ability to think and act quickly, strategically, and enthusiastically.
  • Lobbying experience preferred but not required.
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to work on multiple projects at a time.

Position Background:

Montana is changing. Recent years have seen high population increases and housing shortages that are causing significant environmental and equity problems across the state. Pressure is mounting to change Montana’s land use framework to accommodate increased housing needs. MEIC believes the state is at a crossroads. Increased housing and increased diversity of housing stock are critical, but such development must occur with an eye towards affordability, equity, sustainability, the climate crisis, and a quickly evolving transportation sector. Montana lawmakers can either encourage the development of housing in a way that protects affordability and the amenities that make Montana special, or they can develop housing policies that harm water quality, eliminate open space and agricultural land, deepen the climate crisis, and result in more unaffordable, sprawling, and poorly planned development. MEIC believes the state needs to have sustainable land use policies that benefit all Montanans, the climate, and the environment. 

The Sustainable Communities & Planning Advocate is a new position within the organization, though MEIC has worked on land use issues since its founding. The employee would be responsible for working with existing staff to protect, develop, and implement sustainable and equitable land use policies, which aim to address the climate crisis, incorporate environmental justice and equity, and minimize harm from the impacts of development on habitat, water resources, energy demands, communities, and infrastructure. The priority for this position will be the defense of Montana’s existing land use regulatory framework as well as the development and advocacy for creative, equitable, and sustainable land use policies at the municipal and statewide level. Responsibilities will include lobbying the legislature and other government officials, working with local and state agencies and public interest organizations, conducting public facing advocacy, organizing and managing coalitions, public speaking, and community outreach. Issues include, but are not limited to, subdivisions, planning, zoning, water resources, housing equity, and transportation. 



About MEIC:

The Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental advocate founded in 1973 and dedicated to a clean and healthful environment for present and future generations. MEIC is a fun, fast-paced, and cutting-edge environmental organization with a long history of success in protecting Montana’s clean air, clean water, healthy landscapes, and climate. MEIC works on a broad range of environmental issues impacting Montana, including the climate crisis, fossil fuels, clean energy, environmental justice, air and water pollution, and hardrock mining.

MEIC is committed to creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. Staff members need to be able to work independently and adapt to changes. MEIC will not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law (“protected classes”). MEIC will make reasonable accommodations for a qualified individual with a disability in compliance with federal, state, and local law.

 

To Apply: Please combine a cover letter, a resume, a writing sample, and the names and contact information for three references into a single PDF file and email to jobs@meic.org. The position is open until filled with preference for a start date in July 2022.

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