City of Takoma Park, MD Class Specification

DEPARTMENT: Public Works
REPORTS TO: Director of Public Works
DATE: 02/2009
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Under general supervision, oversees the City's street and park tree resources with the overall goal of maintaining the resource in a safe and aesthetically pleasing manner; formulates and implements sound management plan for the City's urban forest, implements the tree removal and tree protection permit process and enforces the tree ordinance.


Customer Service

Handles customer questions and complaints, communicates with customers, handles service problems politely and efficiently, always available for customers, follows procedure to solve customer problems, understands all City services, maintains pleasant and professional image. Anticipates, monitors and meets the needs of internal and external customers and responds to them in an appropriate manner. Continually seeks to provide the highest quality service to all customers. Listens carefully when dealing with the public and communicates concern through tone of voice and by taking action to solve their problems in a timely manner. Complies with the City’s Customer Service Policy, including 24-hour response time for telephone calls and e-mails. Explains departmental and City issues to the public in a manner that demonstrates interest and concern for their problems. Listens well, diffuses conflict before it starts, finds causes of and solutions to problems, handles difficult people.


Communicates well both verbally and in writing when required, creates accurate and punctual reports, delivers presentations, shares information and ideas with others, has good listening skills. Effectively conveys information and expresses thoughts and facts. Demonstrates effective use of listening skills and displays openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts. Keeps key employees informed regarding relevant information. Shares information with other members of the team to foster teamwork and to further attainment of the City’s goals. Written and oral information is presented in a manner that projects a positive and professional image of the City.

Reports problems, concerns, issues that should be corrected. Readily shares information and ensures that team members are kept informed and up-to-date. Establishes team and individual accountability for goals, objectives and outcomes. Intervenes as necessary to identify and resolve conflict among team members. Makes conscious and deliberate efforts to build team spirit and identity.

Job Knowledge

Understands duties and responsibilities, has necessary technical skills, understands the City’s mission/values, keeps job knowledge current. Demonstrates the appropriate level of proficiency in the principles and practices of one’s field or profession. Demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement, including the understanding and application of technology where appropriate. Operates within the organization's formal and informal structures, builds allies and relationships across departments, uses allies to build consensus and create results, is appropriately diplomatic, understands others' roles and perspectives, can sell projects and ideas across the organization. Adapts to change, is open to new ideas, takes on new responsibilities, handles pressure, adjusts plans to meet changing needs. Prioritizes well and reacts to opportunities. Is attentive to detail and accuracy, is committed to excellence, looks for improvements continuously, monitors quality levels, finds root cause of quality problems, owns/acts on quality problems.


Budgets/Cost Control

Plans for and uses resources efficiently, always looks for ways to reduce costs, creates accurate and realistic budgets and budget projections, tracks and adjusts budgets, contributes to budget planning. Prepares and submits budget within specified time constraints. Anticipates departmental operating and capital needs and budgets adequately for needed expenditures. Reports departmental expenditures within specified time constraints. Bills are submitted for payment on time. Completes and files all applicable reports related to grants, agenda items, etc. within specified deadlines. Anticipates long-term budgeting needs in manner that allows the City to anticipate and plan for sources of revenues for extraordinary future expenses. Controls expenditures to deliver department's services within agreed upon budget. Follows established procurement procedures in obtaining goods and services.

Decision Making/Judgment

Recognizes problems and responds, systematically gathers information, sorts through complex issues, seeks input from others, addresses root cause of issues, makes timely decisions, can make difficult decisions, uses consensus when possible, communicates decisions to others. Knows when to notify and/or involve the department head or the City Manager prior to making a decision.


Tackles problems and takes independent action, seeks out new responsibilities, acts on opportunities, generates new ideas, practices self-development.

Negotiation Skills

Conducts positive negotiations, ability to compromise, handles conflict, seeks common ground, articulates own and others goals, stays focused on positive outcome.

Project Management

Establishes project goals, milestones, and procedures, defines roles and responsibilities, acquires project resources, coordinates projects throughout company, monitors project progress, manages multiple projects.


Enforce the City tree ordinance through processing permits for tree removal and tree protection plans. Including plan review, site visits, inspections, and issuing of citations and warnings.

Respond to citizen requests for tree inspections or tree care advice relating to the Tree Protection Code.

Organize and host annual Arbor Day events by including NGOs, service groups, and others in the community. Prepare annual reports to retain Tree City status. Prepare and present annual report for the City Council.

Produce public information for the City newsletter.

Prepare budget documents as required to ensure adequate funding for urban forest program.

Perform Tree Impact Assessments related to proposed construction projects through interpretation of written and verbal descriptions of proposed projects.


Maintain and upgrade municipal tree inventor process, database, and GIS display.

Forward Municipal Infraction citations to the City Attorney when payment is not received or when a letter requesting a trial is submitted. Attend court hearings as citing officer to present evidence, propose alternative settlements or participate in negotiation of alternative payments or abatement and mitigation with defendant if appropriate.

Develop annual tree planting program including setting budget, location selection, and installation practices.

Respond to complaints of tree removals without permit.

Performs site visits related to permit applications, makes determination regarding request, provide decision to administrative staff for processing. May be called upon to justify decision in Tree Commission Hearings or Court proceedings.

Enforce and provided guidance for City Ordinance on undesirable vegetation.

Ensure care for new and newly planted trees.

Act as liaison to the City Tree Commission.

Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Bore/Auger
  • Chain saw
  • Chipper Vehicle
  • Computer
  • General Office Equipment
  • Pole saw
  • small dump truck
  • Vehicle


Education and Experience

Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university in Forestry, Horticulture, or a related field; and,

Two to four years of progressively responsible related experience; or,

Any combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Licenses and Certifications

Valid State Driver’s License

State Tree Expert License

Maryland Pesticide Applicator’s license

International Society of Arboriculture Arborist Certification


Knowledge of:

Principles and practices of urban forestry management and arboriculture.

Recordkeeping, report preparation, filing methods and records management techniques.

Basic budgetary principles and practices.

Applicable state, federal and local ordinances, laws, rules and regulations.

All computer applications and hardware related to performance of the essential functions of the job.

Skill in:

Using tact, discretion, initiative and independent judgment within established guidelines.

Organizing work, setting priorities, meeting critical deadlines, and following up on assignments with a minimum of direction.

Applying logical thinking to solve problems or accomplish tasks; to understand, interpret and communicate complicated policies, procedures and protocols.

Communicating clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.

Mental and Physical Abilities

Ability to speak effectively before groups of employees and city residents.

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operation and maintenance instructions, procedure manuals, and so forth.

Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.

While performing the essential functions of this job the employee is frequently required to stand, walk, sit, use hands to finger, handle, or feel, reach with hands and arms, and speak and hear; and occasionally lift up to 20 pounds.

Working Conditions

While performing the essential functions of this position the employee is frequently exposed to outdoor weather conditions.

The incumbent's working conditions are typically quiet, but during tree removal operations can be very loud.

file: Arborist

This class specification should not be interpreted as all inclusive. It is intended to identify the essential functions and requirements of this job. Incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification. Any essential function or requirement of this class will be evaluated as necessary should an incumbent/applicant be unable to perform the function or requirement due to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodation for the specific disability will be made for the incumbent/applicant when possible.