Director of Public Policy

  • Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Sep 02, 2021
Full time Other

Job Description

Job Title: Public Policy Director

Department: Public Policy

Job Reports to: Executive Director

FLSA Status: Exempt-Full Time

Collective Bargaining Unit: Eligible

Pay Range: $101,000.00 - $110,000.00

Location: Baltimore, MD or Annapolis, MD


About the Position

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland /ACLU Foundation of Maryland seeks a dynamic attorney, strong community advocate, and an experienced innovative program director to lead the public policy work of the organization in advancing the ACLUs broad and ambitious civil rights and civil liberties agenda including government accountability, police accountability, individual autonomy, voting rights, immigrants rights, and education before the Maryland General Assembly, the executive branch, and local governmental bodies, as well as some work with Marylands Congressional delegation.

This is a full-time position. During the Maryland General Assembly legislative session (January April), the Public Policy Director will be based in Annapolis. During the interim (May December), the Director will be based in Baltimore City. During COVID19 the position is fully remote and will be performed via telecommuting.

The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who flourishes in a fast-paced environment and can effectively manage multiple issues and projects simultaneously. They will enjoy mentoring staff and cultivating advocacy and leadership skills within the team. They will have a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial equity, substantial public policy or legislative experience, knowledge about civil rights, and experience in working with local, state, and national partner organizations and community allies. They are a thoughtful leader who values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance, and they actively work to foster an equitable and inclusive experience for everyone in their work.

The Public Policy Director leads and participates in advancing ACLU of MDs broad civil rights and civil liberties policy agenda through applying a race equity lens. Oversee public policy strategy for the organization. Develop and assess public policy work to disrupt the systems and practices that disadvantage communities impacted by injustice from advocating autonomously for justice reform. Provide leadership and development to the Public Policy team. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Management Committee, the Public Policy Director will advise the Executive Director and colleagues on policy advocacy implementation consistent with ACLU-MDs strategic priorities.

Essential Functions, Duties and Responsibilities:

The information provided below encompasses the essential functions and capabilities linked with this position:

  • Oversee a statewide Public Policy program designed to fulfill the outcomes and priorities outlined in the strategic plan. Provide guidance on public policy advocacy, legislative engagement, and lobbying efforts aligned with organizational priorities in: education, government accountability, immigrants rights, individual autonomy, legal justice system, and voting rights.
  • Collaborate with program staff in legal, engagement and mobilization, and communications to achieve goals. Work closely with ACLU-MD members, prospective members, local coalitions, and community partners with lived experience to support litigation, legal advocacy, and public policy advocacy. Coach and develop staff; collaborate with inter-departmental teams to provide impact internally and externally.
  • Advise and coordinate with National ACLU and affiliate partners on legislative and lobbying efforts as needed.
  • Identify need for, develop, modify, and maintain all public policy efforts, incorporating best practices as well as anticipating/addressing changes in the political, electoral, and public policy environment.
  • Ensure compliance with laws and guidelines established by federal, state, and local legislative bodies, regulatory agencies, and courts including lobbyist registration and reporting.
  • Provide leadership and development of Public Policy Team.


The individual in this position is expected to engage in the following work-related activities:


  • Lead the Public Policy team in visioning and implementing innovative advocacy efforts.
  • Identify track, and advise on introduced and proposed legislation before the Maryland General Assembly and other local legislative bodies that affect civil liberties.
  • Advocate for ACLU-MDs position on pending legislation at Maryland State Capital through lobbying, written, and verbal testimony before the Maryland General Assembly and local legislative bodies.
  • Engage, develop, and execute a public policy agenda that supports the organizations strategic goals.
  • Develop and execute strategic advocacy plans, including public policy, legislative and other outreach efforts with internal and external partners.
  • Supervise Public Policy Counsel(s), Policy Advocate(s), Data Analyst(s), Department Interns(s), and support staff working to gain support for ACLU-MD policy priorities.
  • Manage work assignments; recommend training; solicit and respond to employee feedback/concerns; evaluate performance and discipline as necessary.
  • Provide team members with regular feedback on performance, including frequent informal feedback, annual performance reviews, advising on professional development and making recommendations for promotions or special assignments.
  • Oversee team completion and filing of semi-annual lobbyist registration and reporting.
  • Oversee compliance with annual attorney reporting requirements.
  • Participate in recruiting new employees, including interviewing and making hiring recommendations/ decisions and compensation recommendations.
  • Work to actively elevate the work of and center the leadership of communities directly impacted by injustice.
  • Cultivate relationships with key elected and appointed officials, policy makers, and related governmental bodies and leaders.
  • Develop respectful and productive relationships and coordinate advocacy efforts with impacted populations and partners.
  • Assist with development and support of coalitions.
  • Advocate for the organizations position through meetings with lawmakers, position papers, public testimony, grassroots efforts and other effective advocacy methods.
  • Lead research and analysis on policy issues and regulations to inform policy positions and trends.
  • Prepare, review, and edit research memos, briefs, reports, projects, and presentations in a variety of formats to engage a diverse range of constituents.
  • Prepare and edit policy and advocacy materials in collaboration with the Communications Director, including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, letters, press statements, opinion editorials, website updates and legislative and public policy reports.
  • In collaboration with the Directors of Communications and Engagement and Mobilization, develop and coordinate messaging, initiate press conferences, and speak publicly on ACLU-MDs behalf in media opportunities and at events and forums.
  • Leverage ACLU-MDs access to media outlets to raise the profile of impacted constituents; collaborate with the engagement team to engage and mobilize stakeholders.
  • Provide strategic advice on key initiatives to the Executive Director and other staff.
  • Engage in public speaking, and effective communication with co-workers, constituents, and outside agencies.
  • Attend conferences and other networking events relative to organization's mission and public policy.

Management & Supervisory Responsibility

This position is a management team position that encompasses the supervisory responsibility described above. Members of the management team are responsible for managing matters of significance directly related to the organization. They exercise discretion and independent judgment for the organization. This position customarily and regularly directs the work of at least two or more full-time employees or their equivalent.

Responsibilities may include but are not limited to:

    • Board Meetings: attends and speaks on behalf of the department.
    • Business Operations: commits to or makes recommendations/decisions that have a significant impact on general business operations, finances, plan/control budgets, and team decisions.
    • Strategic Planning: participates in planning both long/short-term objectives for the organization.
    • Contract Negotiations: represents the management team during union negotiations.
    • Policies and Procedures: authority to waive or deviate without prior approval.

In addition to the management team responsibilities, they include but are not limited to:

  • Supervising Work Activities: assigning, directing, planning, scheduling, defining methods, providing resources to ensure organizational objectives are achieved.
  • Recruitment and Separation: aides in staffing selection, hiring, and terminations.
  • Training: facilitates internal mentoring and staff development activities.
  • Compensation: aides in the decision-making process in promotions, demotions, and job transfers.
  • Performance Management: provides job performance feedback, conducts performance reviews, and staff progressive discipline.
  • Employee Relations, Safety, and Security: responds to employee complaints and grievances as well as promotes employee health, safety, and security.

Position Qualifications:

Minimum Entry Qualifications

Values Agreement:

  • Demonstrated personal commitment to advancing the ACLUs values, mission, goals and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil rights and civil liberties issues and their implications through previous experiences.

Race Equity Commitment:

  • Demonstrated commitment to racial equity, dismantling white supremacy, and incorporating a structural power analysis into work. Must have knowledge and understanding of how power is manifested in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances.

Typical Education & Work Experience:

(Relevant experience will substitute for required education at a rate of one-year relevant experience per year of required education.)

  • Juris Doctorate Degree or equivalent.
  • A minimum of 7 to 10 years experience in a similar position, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • At least 5 years of experience managing people doing lobbying, policy advocacy, or legislation for a social justice or racial justice organization.

Apply Here



ACLU of Maryland