The Director, Research & Analysis is responsible for the leadership, management, and success of the Research & Analysis Division (RAD) within the Office of County Administration (OCA).
As requested by Commissioners Court or County departments, the RAD analyzes data and other information. The division researches best practices and evidence-based approaches to help inform departments’ work and decisions by Commissioners Court regarding existing or potential new policies, programs, and services. RAD works with third-party public policy think tanks and other entities as needed and appropriate to leverage additional capacity and expertise. Occasionally, RAD provides ad hoc, short-term research and analysis to departments and Commissioners Court.
The Commissioners Court Analyst's Office and the Office of Justice & Safety were recently moved to OCA and combined to create the RAD. The two teams will remain distinct initially to allow staff and the new Director to participate in the structuring of RAD. The most robust processes and methodologies previously developed by these offices should set the standard across the entire division.
Harris County seeks a mission- and data-driven, service-oriented leader who can build and manage the RAD team and ensure the successful execution of the team’s research projects. This role oversees the RAD team and works closely with the County departments, Commissioners Court, and third-party entities as applicable to execute research projects. Research projects usually relate to the Commissioners Court’s priorities, which are focused on the environment, flooding, housing, public health, transportation, justice and safety, economic opportunity, governance and customer service, and issues salient to Harris County.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Research and Analysis: Oversees the division’s research of policy and programmatic best practices, including both qualitative research and quantitative data and statistical analysis, covering both existing and potential new County programs and policies. Oversees the development and maintenance of dashboards and other data visualizations to aid in internal and external understanding of County policies, programs, and issues. Ensures robust Quality Assurance/Quality Control protocols are established and implemented, especially concerning editing and proofing written materials, data sourcing, data definition (metadata), and report methodology.
Communication: Serves as the representative of and chief liaison for the division with County departments, Office of County Administration, and the members of Commissioners Court, ensuring clarity when developing research and data requests, presenting published reports, providing updates on ongoing work, and other requests as needed.
Collaboration: Serves as the primary representative of and liaison for the division with internal Harris County partners and external partners, including universities, foundation partners, government agency research partners, media outlets (with the guidance of the Communications team and senior management), and other stakeholders as needed, on projects and to facilitate partnerships.
Model Processes and Practices: Maintains an ongoing understanding of research and analysis industry standards, including maintaining knowledge of the practices of similar teams in other jurisdictions. Draws on past work and systems to further develop sound and consistent processes for research, analysis, and other related work across the division and a standard approach for how research, data, and analysis are presented, shared, and updated to make it as actionable and accessible as possible for Commissioners Court, County departments, and other stakeholders (as applicable). Explores the possibility of developing a knowledge bank that provides information to County departments about best practices, datasets, and other information that might be useful for County programs, services, and policies.
Team Leadership and Management: Manages division personnel, which includes training, hiring/firing, monitoring and supporting work performance, mentoring, and conducting performance evaluations. Works with the County Administrator and Deputy County Administrator to finalize the structure of the RAD team to maximize its effectiveness.
Resource Allocation: Works with the Deputy County Administrator to manage the division’s budget and human resources efficiently and effectively.
Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Research Methods, Data Analytics, Public Policy, Public Administration, Public Affairs, Social Sciences, or a related field.
Five (5) years’ experience managing multiple direct reports.
Eight (8) years’ experience in directly related work.
Experience in complex project management, process improvement, strategic planning, and/or innovation.
Direct and significant experience with gathering and analyzing data, assessing policies, and producing research and other reports to assist governmental bodies in making decisions.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Demonstrated commitment to and track record of advancing equity, justice, diversity, and opportunity in public policy design.
Advanced knowledge of or ability to learn quickly about public policy, Texas county government operations, laws, statutes, functions, programs, and best practices for county operations.
Advanced knowledge of and ability to use and direct various data analysis, quantitative analysis, data visualization, and geographic information systems, software, and applications.
Ability to prioritize assignments to meet Commissioners Court’s directives on time while managing staff workload levels.
Ability to effectively deliver and communicate information in various settings and to diverse audiences, including justice officials and staff, elected officials and staff, and the public.
Ability to learn quickly about complex systems involving multiple stakeholders with differing levels of decision-making authority and scopes of influence.
Ability to establish positive relationships, maintain the highest standard of professional and personal ethics and behavior, and accept and provide supervision.
Ability to provide counsel to, interface with, and obtain feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders, including at the leadership level.
Ability to continuously learn about all County operations and Commissioners Court’s goals and objectives to ensure the department is providing the appropriate service support to other County departments and offices.
Ability to drive organizational culture and build, manage, and motivate a high-performing team with expertise in statistics, data management, research science, and other areas of research and analysis in environment, health, housing, infrastructure, justice, public safety, and other policy areas; and in budgeting, performance, and other administrative areas.
Ability to work amidst ambiguity with a high level of emotional intelligence, curiosity, integrity, ethics, and transparency.
Ability to manage projects flexibly based on changing context, needs, information, and priorities.
Highly skilled in oral and written communication, with excellent ability to review, fact-check, proofread, and edit memos, policy documents, process flows, reports, and other documents.
Skilled in the use of Microsoft Office and project management applications.
Graduate degree in a field listed above.
Experience working with or in Texas county government or other government agencies in Texas.
Experience working with or in the justice system.
Position Type and Typical Hours of Work:
Monday – Friday
Hours will be discussed during departmental interview.
Must be available at all times.
Works nights and weekends as required.
This position may work from home periodically, as workload allows.
Depends on Qualifications
Based on 26 Pay Periods
Work Environment and Physical Demands:
This position is based in an office environment, where the use of standard office equipment, such as computers, phones, scanners, and filing cabinets is routine.
This is primarily a sedentary role.
However, requirements include the ability to lift up to 10 pounds, open filing cabinets and bend or stand as necessary.
Some local travel may be required.
Reports To Position: Deputy County Administrator
Supervises Positions: Most or all team members in the Research & Analysis Division