OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
DEFINITION OF CLASS:
This is executive level work directing the operation of the Office of Consumer Protection. Contacts are with high ranking legislative and executive officials within County Government, officials of equivalent rank in other local, state, and federal governmental jurisdictions, trade and civic associations, corporate officials and private sector and community organizations and groups, and the media. The purposes of the contacts include presenting, justifying and defending controversial positions, clarifying and exchanging information, and promoting the services of the Office, and promoting the services of the Office, including consumer education, complaint conciliation, and law enforcement.
The employee in this class plans, develops, implements, and evaluates consumer protection policies and programs by directing subordinate managers to: administer and enforce consumer protection laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices in order to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and merchants; investigate and assist in resolving individual disputes between consumers and merchants; identify, stop or prevent deceptive and misleading trade practices through administrative hearings, settlement agreements, and civil citations; license certain businesses including new home builders, automotive repair shops, motor vehicle towing firms, appliance repair firms, and secondhand personal property dealers; serve as staff to the Commission on Common Ownership Communities in helping to resolve disputes between homeowners and common ownership community boards of directors; oversee unfair trade practices regarding internet access service; oversee consumer complaints regarding predatory or abusive lending practices; conduct consumer/merchant educational programs through a variety of outreach efforts including press conferences and other news events, publications, speaking engagements, workshops and disseminating merchant complaint history information. The incumbent testifies before and advises county, state, and federal legislative bodies on consumer protection issues requiring regulation and coordinates action with other local, state, and federal advocacy organizations and regulatory agencies. The work is performed under broadly defined missions and functions and general administrative direction with little technical guidance. The incumbent employs considerable judgment in interpreting broad policy directives and basic legislation to generate Office policies and staff guidance, considering the legal implications of actions taken in the Office of Consumer Protection. The employee exercises full and final accountability for all matters associated with completing work assignments including determining the work to be performed and the methods used. Results of the work are considered technically authoritative and are evaluated in terms of the Office's direct role in meeting the consumer protection needs of County residents and providing an important public service that affects residents' well being.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: (Illustrative Only)
Plans, develops, implements, and evaluates the programs, policies and procedures
of the Office of Consumer Protection; sets priorities for Office activities
through long and short-term planning; manages, motivates and evaluates staff.
Directs the preparation and administration of the Office's annual budget, ensuring
necessary documentation and reports.
Oversees the receipt, investigation, and resolution of individual consumer complaints and the identification, investigation, and resolution of major cases involving large numbers of consumers and/or extensive monetary damages.
Directs the enforcement of County, state and federal laws and regulations relating to consumer protection; participates in the development of new local and state consumer legislation.
Determines when a violation of the County's consumer protection laws occur, issues subpoenas requiring the appearance of witnesses and the production of records and holds administrative hearings for the purpose of adjudicating and enforcing violations of the consumer protection laws.
Issues cease and desist orders and/or executes settlement agreements with respect to consumer practices determined to be in violation of the consumer protection laws.
Reviews the business practices of a variety of industries; e.g., financial institutions, builders, automotive sales and service companies, etc., and analyzes trends/issues related to business credit counseling, predatory lending, etc.
Plans, develops; and administers a voluntary arbitration program.
Represents the County Executive or County Government on a variety of boards, committees, and task forces comprised of business, citizen and government representatives.
Develops and conducts programs of consumer education and information through meetings, public appearances, presentations on television and radio, and distribution of printed educational materials.
Encourages local businesses and industry to maintain high standards of honesty, fair business practices and public responsibility in the production, promotion and sale of consumer goods and services and in the extension of credit.
Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with federal, state, and local government agencies, County Government officials, citizen/professional/ business associations and County residents.
Testifies before local, state, and federal legislative bodies, coordinates action with local and national consumer advocacy organizations, and serves as a news spokesperson representing the office in radio, television, newspaper, and magazine coverage.
Performs other related duties as required.
Experience: Extensive (7 years) experience in consumer protection or
related fields, with at least four (4) years in a managerial or supervisory
capacity that included responsibility for fund and budget administration, program
planning, implementation and administration.
Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master's Degree in Public or Business Administration, or other related areas.
Equivalency: An equivalent combination of education and experience may be substituted.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Extensive knowledge of the principles, methods, and practices of community-oriented consumer protection programs.
Extensive knowledge of federal, state and county laws, statutes, ordinances and regulations pertaining to consumer protection.
Extensive knowledge of investigative techniques and procedures to oversee individual and major case investigations and to mentor/oversee staff work.
Extensive knowledge of economic and social trends affecting the consumer marketplace; skill and ability to identify vulnerable and underserved groups of consumers, and identify consumer challenges caused by changes in the marketplace; skill and ability to set priorities, anticipate problems, develop contingency plans, and monitor achievement of broad program goals and objectives.
Extensive knowledge of marketing, advertising and other business practices of a variety of businesses such as automotive, real estate, home improvement, and financial and predatory lending practices, and consumer credit.
Skill in interpersonal relations and ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with other government staff, advocacy organizations, and community groups and individuals; ability to effectively represent the office on policy matters and controversial questions.
Skill in negotiating agreements which accommodate the conflicting interests and viewpoints of numerous groups and organizations while enforcing consumer protection laws.
Skill in planning, directing and coordinating the many functions and activities involved in the applications of effective consumer protection programs.
Skill in oral and written communication sufficient to develop defenses and justifications of decisions reached.
Ability to lead, inspire, motivate, evaluate, and counsel subordinate supervisory staff and to delegate responsibility as appropriate; ability to operate with the highest level of integrity where even the appearance of impropriety is to be avoided.
Ability to leverage the productivity of the office by recruiting, training, and supervising a volunteer investigatory team of retired professionals, law school and college interns, and high school students.
Ability to identify, design, and implement innovative concepts and programs to deliver the highest possible level of customer service regarding consumer protection issues.
Ability to oversee the development, implementation, and continual upgrading of a complaint tracking / case management system to ensure efficient operations of investigative staff.
Ability to attend meetings and perform work assignments at locations outside the office.
MEDICAL GROUP: Medical History Review
Class Established: July 2007