Director of Policy

The Better Government Association seeks a Director of Policy. This position plays a critical role in the development, coordination, and implementation of the BGA’s policy agenda.  The Director of Policy will report to the President & CEO and serve as an integral member of the BGA leadership team. 

About the BGA

The BGA is Illinois’ oldest nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that combines investigative journalism, advocacy and civic engagement to promote good government at the local, county and state levels in Illinois. The office is located in Chicago.

The BGA policy team is a leading advocate for open records and open government in Illinois. Its policy agenda has included fair maps, ethics reforms, safe and accessible elections and consolidation of local governments. The BGA policy team operates independently of the BGA’s investigative team, which conducts deep journalistic investigations of corruption, waste, inequity and lack of transparency.

Core Responsibilities

The Director of Policy will:

  • Develop and initiate policy campaigns, research best practices in government, and support ally organizations, BGA staff and interns in planning and executing sound policy advocacy. 

  • Articulate and advance the BGA’s policy agenda through robust communication of the BGA’s policy positions in legislative testimony, in all forms of media and through public appearances.

  • Monitor and analyze policy proposals of governmental bodies, nimbly responding where needed to defend good government and the right to public records in particular

  • Influence local and state decision-making on public policies affecting the delivery of good government, meeting directly with public officials and enlisting their support as needed. 

  • Head the three-person BGA  policy team, guiding and directing the coordination of work, editing as needed and helping colleagues achieve high performance and professional growth. 

  • Be responsible for developing issues campaigns that involve players from multiple sectors, which may include allied advocacy groups, community members and academia, leveraging the BGA’s digital advocacy tools where relevant. 

  • Carve out a lead role for the BGA in collaborating with allied groups; collaborate with the Civic Engagement department to conduct education and training events; schedule and facilitate large- and small-group meetings with legislators, civic leaders, and other key stakeholders involved with identified issues; and leverage the BGA’s suite of digital advocacy tools to execute campaigns.  

Qualifications

The ideal candidate will:

  • Have a minimum of four years of advocacy experience with an emphasis on both legislative advocacy and community organizing, or relevant expertise and experience in journalism, government or a related field. 

  • Understand the Illinois legislature, Chicago City Council and Cook County Board legislative processes, including how to read and analyze legislative documents such as bills, amendments and committee reports; committee testimony, records, debates, and actions; floor debates and actions; and the messages and actions of the governor, City of Chicago mayor and Cook County president. 

  • Protect the BGA’s non-partisan standing while advocating for policy reforms and interacting effectively with partisans from all sides of public policy issues.

  • Advocate, confidently and capably, representing the BGA’s policy positions before legislative bodies, community groups and the media.

  • Write with authority and voice, persuasively arguing the BGA’s policy positions at a level suitable for publication in major news media.    

  • Contribute to the BGA’s community engagement work by using effective tactics—in-person and online—to inform the public and build support for reform.

  • Communicate openly and effectively, and handle conflict collegially, both with internal and external stakeholders.

  • Exercise good judgment and display excellent analytical and strategic thinking.

  • Work quickly and effectively under pressure, paying careful attention to detail in a fast‐paced environment, while handling multiple tasks and working independently and also part of a team made up of people from diverse backgrounds and in partnership with other organizations. 

  • Possess strong interpersonal skills and be able to work collaboratively with fellow BGA staff of highly motivated, enthusiastic, personable, hard‐working and committed individuals. 

  • Provide flexibility to work weekends and evenings as demanded by legislative developments or the BGA’s policy agenda.

  • Travel to Springfield as needed during legislative sessions and other parts of the state as warranted.

Application Process

Send a cover letter and resume to Sally Gonzalez at sgonzalez@bettergov.org. Please include “Director of Policy candidate” in your email subject line. No phone calls.

The BGA is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and strongly encourage applicants of color, LGBTQ, women, people with disabilities, veterans and/or those from immigrant backgrounds to apply for this position.

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