OSPCD - Transportation and Infrastructure

Somerville is a city that upholds progressive principles for both employees and residents alike. If you are looking for a culture that embraces innovation, empowerment, and collaborative involvement, Somerville not only embraces these talents, but encourages them. Creative, hands on collaboration with passionate dedication are at the core of the City’s workplace culture.  Challenging and fast paced, Somerville also offers a generous benefits package that embodies a strong work life balance. Not only is it a “Model City”, as termed by The Boston Globe, but it is also a model employer.

The Senior Urban Forestry & Landscape Planner performs field work, technical analysis, public

engagement and interdisciplinary coordination around arboriculture practices, plant health, risk

management and policy planning to support stewardship of the 12,000 public trees and 160 acres

of publicly-accessible open space in New England’s most densely-populated city. Employee will

lead program design, program management and project delivery for activities associated with

implementing the Open Space goals outlined in the City’s Five-Year and Annual plans under its

federal Community Development Block Grant program and consistent with SomerVision, the

City’s legally-adopted Comprehensive Plan.


Essential Functions:

  • Lead and perform arboriculture work in one or more functional areas such as tree condition assessment, risk management, pruning procedures, soil management, insect and disease control, tree planting and removal.

  • Lead a participatory community and technical process to prepare a citywide Urban Forestry Management Plan.

  • Support related community planning efforts associated with urban forestry, landscape management, ecological performance, ecosystem restoration, green infrastructure and climate resilience and adaptation.

  • Lead efforts to prepare and deliver public education messages and materials on care and management of the City’s urban forest.

  • Manage inspection of trees and related plants for quality, condition, defects, pests and other risks and determine best corrective and protective action.

  • Interface with the City’s Department of Public Works around preparation, implementation and evaluation of Standard Operating Procedures for tree maintenance, pruning, removal and related activities.

  • Prioritize assignments and balance team schedules for field work and office duties.

  • Envision and prepare updates to the City’s Tree Inventory and Urban Forest Management Plan.

  • Ensure quality control for tree work by private utility companies and contractors, including field work and policy development.

  • Design, implement and evaluate training programs for City staff, update with best practices in current field literature.

  • Research, prepare and implement planting specifications and oversee pilot projects to test effectiveness.

  • Evaluate and pursue grant funding and other outside financing to support municipal forestry activities

  • Evaluate planting plans for sidewalk, street and parks reconstruction projects.

  • Review private development proposals and collaborate around permitting processes with interagency staff. 



Recommended Minimum Qualifications:

Education and Experience: Bachelor’s Degree in forestry, arboriculture, horticulture, landscape contracting, or a closely related field with seven (7) years’ experience or Master’s degree in any of above fields. (Master’s degree preferred). Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture or a closely related field, with arboriculture concentration, will be considered.  Five (5) years’ experience in tree and plant care operations; experience as foreperson or supervisor with a private tree company or landscape service is desirable.  Master’s degree in a relevant field may be considered.  Any equivalent combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Special Requirements:  Massachusetts Certified Arborist (MCA) certification is required. For candidates holding ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certification, candidates must receive MCA certification within 180 days of hire. Extensions to this requirement may be considered.  Additional certifications including ISA Municipal Specialist and ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified are desirable. 

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill

Knowledge: Knowledge of principles and practices of arboriculture; ANSI A300 Standards, ANSI Z60.1; and other relevant standards. Knowledge of community and stakeholder engagement practices. Knowledge of statistical analysis practices and ability to communicate statistical analyses to diverse stakeholders.  Knowledge of economic, sociological and environmental aspects of planning; particular knowledge and experience with relation to design, construction and inspection problems commonly met in connection with municipal engineering activities. Knowledge of personal computers, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications.


Abilities: Ability to work effectively with the City’s Superintendent of Lights & Lines and City tree crew, which consists of one foreman and two laborers. Ability to interface with City contract arborists and private utility tree contractors. Ability to read and understand plan drawings and supervise implementation of a planting plan on sidewalk, street and parks construction projects.  Ability to manage field data collection and analysis to ensure accurate and up-to-date tree inventory.  Ability to formulate findings and recommendations to interdepartmental staff, and prepare technical reports. Ability to organize and direct the preparation of comprehensive research studies, analyze problems, prepare technical reports and formulate recommendations; ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with architects, contractors, developers, owners, supervisors, employees, and the public; ability to travel to multiple City locations within the workday.  Bilingual or multilingual ability preferred but not required.


Skills: Skilled public speaker; excellent customer service, planning and design skills. Design software skill (i.e. AutoCAD, ArcGIS, Sketch Up, Adobe Suite) is preferable; database software skill (Excel, TreeKeeper, etc) is essential.  Strong written and oral communication skills necessary with peers, consultants, contractors, and representatives of other agencies; demonstrated skill at facilitating public presentations; organizational skills managing multiple tasks and deadlines. 


Work Environment                                                                

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements.  Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant.  Employee may be required to work beyond normal business hours in response to attend evening meetings or complete work assignments.  When in the field or attending meetings, the environment can be at construction sites and outdoors.


Physical and Mental Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills

Few physical demands are required to perform the majority of work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing.  Work requires some agility such as moving in or about construction sites or over rough terrain. When in the field, more physical skill may be required to accomplish the duties. May also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment and computer paper (up to 30 lbs.)

Motor Skills

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone, personal computer and/or most other office equipment including word processing, filing and sorting of papers.

Visual Skills

Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes.

Application Procedure: 

This position is open until filled. Send your resume and cover letter to:

City Hall Personnel Office
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville MA 02143
Fax: 617-666-4426
TTY: 1-866-808-4851
Email: [email protected]

City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected].

Full Time
Application Start Date: 
Thursday, October 4, 2018