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Executive Advisor for Tribal Affairs (WMS Band 3)

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Washington State Department of Ecology

Job Summary

Full Time
Posted on
October 31, 2019
Washington State Department of Ecology
Lacey, WA
Years of Experiences
5 - 10
Career Level
Executive (SVP, VP, Department Head, etc)
Education Level
Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, Doctorate
$95,649.00 - $115,576.00 Annually

About Washington State Department of Ecology

The Department of Ecology is Washington's environmental protection agency. Our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's land, air and water for current and future generations. We support environmental work throughout Washington. Nearly 70 percent of our budget is passed through to local communities to pay for projects that benefit the environment. We were founded in 1970 as the first agency in the nation dedicated to environmental protection.

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Protecting and restoring Washington State's environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology.  Our agency's touch stone is to make a difference.  If you want to join a team that is highly effective, collaborative and has leadership that embraces the value of people -- Ecology is a good fit.

We invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism and accountability.

To learn more about the Department of Ecology, please visit our website at and follow, like or visit us on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram or our blog.

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Ecology is looking to fill its Executive Advisor for Tribal Affairs (WMS Band 3) position. This position reports to Ecology's Director and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team. It works out of Ecology's headquarters office located in Lacey, Washington

This position is responsible for effective intergovernmental relations with tribal governments and federal agencies on cross-border, tribal federally reserved rights and jurisdictional issues.
This position assists environmental program managers and staff in carrying out their missions with respect to federal laws, cross-border jurisdictions, tribal federally reserved rights, and cultural resources and interests. It supports Ecology's environmental justice policies and goals and compliance with relevant state and federal laws, including the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
This position is the first point of contact for tribal governments and works to maintain and improve intergovernmental relations by providing timely, accurate information, and generally serving as a resource. It also supports Ecology's Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Title VI work across our ten environmental programs and two water offices.
What is the job?
This position serves as the internal and external point of contact for the agency on tribal issues.  It is responsible for cross program, cross border and statewide policies related to inter-jurisdictional and policy issues affecting Washington's 29 federally recognized tribes and 5 bordering states' tribes.  These policy issues include tribal water rights, tribal clean water and air protection, independent sovereign authorities on tribal lands and cultural, environmental and economic interests throughout the state. It serves as the tribal liaison position and carries out duties identified in state law Chapter 122, Laws of 2012, STATE-TRIBAL RELATIONSHIP--INDIAN TRIBES.  This position ensures executive government-to-government communication and consultation is in compliance with the Centennial Accord, an intergovernmental agreement between Washington's governor and 33 tribal governments.
This position provides analysis and recommendations for the agency's approach to tribal water rights. It facilitates Ecology's efforts to build and maintain effective relations with the 29 in-state federally recognized tribes, and the 5 bordering state's tribes with natural resources interests in Washington, to prevent or reduce conflict and litigation due to jurisdictional disputes, cross border issues or off-reservation treaty reserved rights and tribal cultural resources.
This position supports Ecology's senior expert on environmental justice who leads our work to develop and implement strategies and provide advice to ensure compliance with federal and state laws, policies and goals regarding environmental justice and compliance with federal Civil Rights Title VI, a law requiring non-discrimination associated with implementation of our environmental laws and rules. 
Why you should be interested in this job?

Issues with tribal interests cut across every program and office at Ecology. This position is responsible for considering impacts to tribes, identifying potential risk or harm to tribal communities near project sites, and identifying opportunities for collaboration with tribal governments.
This position supports our Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Title VI efforts and initiatives to ensure compliance with federal and state law, policy and goals, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. It plays a key role in ensuring fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.


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The Executive Advisor for Tribal Affairs will:

  • Harmonize agency rules, policies, and priorities with those of the 29 in-state federally recognized tribes and the 5 bordering state tribes with natural resources interests within the state, and relevant federal treaties, executive orders, laws and policies pertaining to environmental regulation, and natural, cultural, and archaeological resource management.

  • Resolve specific conflicts and disputes involving agency programs and offices, tribal governments and local, federal agencies associated with cross-jurisdictional work and compliance with federal and tribal treaties and priorities.

  • Ensure effective communication with tribal governments at all agency levels, including executive government-to-government communication in compliance with the Centennial Accord and the agency's responsibilities under Chapter 122, Laws of 2012, STATE - TRIBAL RELATIONSHIP--INDIAN TRIBES.

  • Provide leadership on and supports the agency's Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Title VI efforts and initiatives to ensure compliance with federal and state law, policy and goals.

This recruitment will remain open until filled.  The initial screening will be November 20, 2019.  In order to be considered for the initial screening, please submit an application on or before November 19, 2019.  The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.


Required Qualifications:

A Bachelor's Degree in public administration or related field and six (6) years of professional experience in tribal policy and environmental and/or natural resource management.
A Master's Degree in public administration or related field with five (5) years of professional experience as noted above.
A Juris Doctorate with four (4) years of professional experience as noted above.

Highly knowledgeable of and skilled at:

  • Distilling complex information into concise written and verbal formats suitable to a variety of audiences.

  • Active listening, verbal, written and interpersonal communications.

  • Meeting facilitation, negotiation and public speaking.

  • Advanced principles of policy and program planning and development.

  • Collaboration with ability to self-direct, work independently and function well in fast paced and complex environments.

  • Creative problem solving.

  • Organization, roles and politics of tribal/local/state/federal and Canadian governments in environmental and natural resource management and regulation.

  • State and federal statutory, administrative and case law governing natural resources.

  • Agency program policies and procedures.

  • Land use and natural resources management; and advanced principals of environmental management.

  • Public administration, multi-agency roles and responsibilities and political interactions in Washington State and a basic knowledge of state economics.

  • Expert on tribal treaties, federal tribal policy and history, federal laws and programs affecting tribes, tribal case law and tribal government structures and issues.

  • Environmental justice principles, strategies and policies.

Desired Qualifications:

Ability/skill to:

  • Effectively and diplomatically communicate complex controversial and highly sensitive issues verbally and in writing.

  • Conduct sensitive intergovernmental negotiations in areas of complex and ambiguous legal precedents.

  • Work with Washington State tribes on treaty and natural resource management issues through established network of tribal natural resource contacts.

  • Identify and address environmental management policy issues on a statewide basis.

  • Recommend solutions/actions and coordinate implementation.

  • Lead joint policy and technical team discussions; mediate, negotiate and communicate with concerned publics and governments.

  • Testify before governmental bodies; analyze, evaluate and provide comments and recommendations regarding proposed legislation, rules or policies related to natural resource management issues.

  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing across a broad spectrum of other experts, agency management, legislators and staff, business and environmental stakeholder groups, legislators and staff, news media and the public to influence the outcome of policy discussions.

  • Think analytically, innovatively and strategically to develop, evaluate and synthesize recommendations for agency management and the Governor's office.

  • Be open and responsive, and influence positions to achieve maximum consensus. Negotiate or facilitate effective resolution of complex, contentious issues in formal and informal settings.

  • Work cooperatively with persons and groups with a wide variety of views.

  • Make critical decision on the impacts of legislation, rules, programs, policies and budgets.

  • Exercise leadership with teams of staff working on program initiatives. Create a supportive work environment to promote meaningful work, creative problem solving, and continuous learning throughout the agency.

  • Research statutes, case law, journals, technical documents, and other sources to identify precedents and innovative approaches to key policy issues.

Special Requirements/Conditions of Employment:

  • Possess a valid driver's license.

  • Possess a valid passport to be able to travel internationally.

Why work for Ecology?
Joining Ecology means becoming part of a team committed to protecting and restoring Washington's environment.

A career in public service allows you to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing our state, while keeping health and financial security for you and your family a priority.  We combine one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation with a strong commitment to work/life balance.

Ecology employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s)Public Employees Retirement System (PERS),  Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan ForgivenessTuition Waiver,  Long Term Disability & Life InsuranceDeferred Compensation ProgramsDependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP),  Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA)Employee Assistance ProgramCommute Trip Reduction Incentives (Download PDF reader)Combined Fund DriveSmartHealth 

Student debt and how working for Ecology can help
Employees may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, which forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. See for more details.

*See the Benefits tab in this announcement for more information

Supplemental Information

Application Instructions:

In order to be considered, applicants MUST attach the following documents as attachments to their application:

  • A cover letter describing how your experience, skills and abilities meet the required qualifications of this position.

  • A resume outlining your professional experience.

Please do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.

Please complete the applicant profile when applying for this position. Or, you may paste the text of your resume within the profile's resume text field.

Please read the supplemental questions carefully and answer completely. Incomplete responses, including "please see resume" may disqualify you from further consideration.

Department of Ecology employees, please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources at (360) 407-6186.

If you are reading this announcement in print format, please visit to access the online recruitment system. Click on "Look for Jobs" and select Dept. of Ecology under the "Department" search list. Click "Apply Search."

Other Information:

If you need assistance applying for this job, please call Human Resources at (360) 407-6186 or e-mail Please do not call this number or send an email to this address to follow-up the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile's main page.

If you have specific questions about the position, please email Lisa Knutson-Sealey at:

The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed.

The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.