City of Garden Grove


The Economic Development Director will be responsible for planning, directing, and overseeing the activities of the new Economic Development and Housing Department comprised of three divisions: Administration, Office of Economic Development, and the Housing Authority. This is a great opportunity for the right candidate to participate in the economic growth for the City of Garden Grove. The accredited Office of Economic Development is actively delivering several high-profile projects in the Garden Grove Resort District (The Audela Project comprised of Le Meridien/Kimpton Hotels and the Nickelodeon Hotel Project), an adaptive reuse project branded as Cottage Industries, and several mixed developments planned in the City. This position will be responsible for the Garden Grove Housing Authority and related Housing Successor priorities that work in providing assistance for low-income Garden Grove residents and advancing production of affordable housing. Additionally, the Director shall oversee implementation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan to Address Homelessness including the future Central Cities Navigation Center.

THE CITYGarden Grove was founded in 1874 and formally incorporated on June 18, 1956. The City of Garden Grove is located in central Orange County, approximately 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The City is the fifth-largest city in Orange County and the 31st largest in the State of California. Garden Grove is vibrantly progressive and culturally diverse, spanning nearly 18 square miles in Orange County, California. The City spans an area of 17.9 square miles and is a general law city in the State of California.


The City is a vibrant and culturally diverse community that promotes unique attributes and preserves residential character and great neighborhoods. The City maintains its small town ambience with an extensive local community programs and events while attracting visitors to the City’s local foodie scene, the annual Strawberry Festival and close proximity to entertainment destinations and tourism.


The City is a full-service general-law city with a Council-Manager form of government. It has a Council-Manager form of government with a Mayor elected at large and six City Council members elected by districts for four-year staggered terms. The City Manager, Lisa Kim was appointed in February 2023 to oversee City operations with an annual budget of $314 million and a staff of over 650 employees, who deliver quality municipal services to more than 172,000 residents.


This position is subject to approval by the Garden Grove City Council for FY 2023-24.

Essential Duties

Reporting to the City Manager, this at-will position is a key member of the City Manager’s Leadership team.  The Economic Development Director will oversee Economic Development, Neighborhood Improvement, and Housing Authority, with a total of 27 full-time and 3 part-time employees and a total budget of $72 million ($7 million operating, $20 million Successor Agency, and $45 million Housing Authority).

Key responsibilities of this position include:

  • Administer and direct a comprehensive economic development program;
  • Develop and implement department goals, policies, and procedures;
  • Prepare long range and short-term plans for the City’s economic development and affordable housing efforts;
  • Prepare, administer, and monitor the department’s budget; determine allocation of resources to department programs;
  • Ensure economic development and Housing Authority activities comply with City goals, policies and procedures, as well as local, Federal and State regulations;
  • Administer the CDBG, H.O.M.E., housing rehabilitation, and first-time homebuyer loan programs; coordinate housing development and revitalization projects for targeted neighborhoods;
  • Resolve complex successor agency and economic development-related problems and questions;
  • Evaluate and manage the City’s development incentive programs including fiscal and economic impact and cost benefit analyses;
  • Oversee implementation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan to Address Homelessness and all areas related to homeless programs and resources deployment;
  • Oversee the implementation of State and Federal programs related to housing assistance and homeless services as appropriate, ensuring proper systems of control and allocation of resources, including administration of the City’s Housing Authority;
  • Secure and ensure effective management of project funding for economic development opportunities and affordable housing efforts; direct the forecast of additional funds needed;
  • Analyze complex financial data, including financial statements, balance sheets, project costs, budgets, revenue and expense pro forma, and income and revenue projections and assumptions;
  • Direct and participate in the preparation, development, analysis, and/or evaluation of technical studies and related department activities, including the preparation of project cost estimates, analyses, and pro formas;
  • Develop and administer acquisitions and disposition and development agreements;
  • Develop bids and specifications for economic development activities, and analyze proposals;
  • Provide technical assistance to the City Manager, City Council, Housing Authority, commissions, committees, and members of City management;
  • Meet with members of outside agencies and the public including local developers, members of the business community and citizen groups to discuss projects, locations, and coordinate projects and programs;
  • Meet with potential investors and developers to encourage investment and development in the City;
  • Negotiate amount and terms of assistance, review contracts and monitor progress;
  • Select, supervise, and monitor consultant contracts for legal contracts, financial analysis, land use, appraisals, and housing relocation;
  • Select, train, motivate, supervise, evaluate, and discipline staff;
  • Coordinate department activities with other City departments and outside agencies and organizations;
  • Interact with Chamber organizations and community stakeholders;
  • Perform related duties as assigned.


The ideal candidate will also possess the following key competencies:

  • Knowledgeable in the practices of economic development, real property transactions and management, grant-funded housing, and neighborhood improvement programs;
  • Political savviness to navigate the complex relationships with the City Council, community groups, developers, and other City staff;
  • Relationship building skills to cultivate the City’s partnerships with community groups, governmental agencies, and local, national, and international business leaders;
  • Ability to advance and persuasively communicate the City’s goals, initiatives, programs, and incentives to stakeholders;
  • Effectively negotiate contracts with developers, and business and community leaders;
  • Dynamic and engaging leadership style that can motivate, engage, develop and empower employees;
  • Think critically and strategically to develop plans for achieving short-term and long-term goals;
  • Be apprised of City and regional economic, market, demographic, and social trends; and
  • Adept at prioritizing and allocating monetary and physical resources within the Department.

This position requires the possession of:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Economics, Planning, Finance, Business Administration, Urban Studies, Housing, Real Estate or related field. A Master’s Degree is highly desirable.
  • Seven years of progressively responsible experience related to economic development, land development, housing, redevelopment and/or successor agency, municipal planning or related field, including at least three years of administrative and supervisory experience.

Other Important Information

To be considered for the position, applicants must submit the following by 5:00 p.m., Friday, June 9, 2023:

  • online application,
  • cover letter,
  • comprehensive resume,
  • and four (4) professional references.

Applications can be submitted online at the City’s job opportunities website at:

Note: References will not be contacted until mutual interest has been established.  Candidates will be contacted after the application filing deadline.


Your application will be reviewed very carefully, and only those who appear to have the best qualifications will be invited to continue in the selection process. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an invitation to further testing.
Candidates who are selected to move forward in the recruitment process will be contacted with more information.  Interviews are tentatively scheduled for the week of June 19-23, 2023.
Candidates who may need accommodations during the selection process must contact the Human Resources Department at at least one week prior to any test dates.

A 3.5% COLA increase is scheduled for July 2023 and July 2024.

If there are any questions, please contact Liane Kwan at or (714) 741-5011.


The City has adopted a Nepotism Policy that may affect the status of a candidate’s application.  Please refer to the Garden Grove Municipal Code 2.44.440 Nepotism Policy for more information.
The City of Garden Grove is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, religion, ancestry, national origin, medical condition, non-disqualifying disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, genetic information, military/veteran status, or other protected class covered by appropriate law.

Per Government Code 3100, in the event of a disaster, employees of the City of Garden Grove are considered disaster service workers and may be asked to respond accordingly.


Accrues at the following rates:
  • 80 hours upon completion of one (1) year
  • 120 hours after one (1) year – 10 hours per month
  • 144 hours after nine (9) years – 12 hours per month
  • 168 hours after fourteen (14) years – 14 hours per month
  • 207 hours after nineteen (19) years – 17.25 hours per month
  • 246 hours after twenty-four (24) years – 20.6 hours per month

HOLIDAYS: Fourteen (14) paid holidays annually (up to 125 hours)

ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE: Employees received forty (40) hours of administrative leave for use each calendar year beginning January 1.  New employees hired July 1 and after shall be allowed to use up to twenty (20) hours during that calendar year.

SICK LEAVE: Sick leave accrues at the rate of eight (8) hours with pay for each full calendar month of service.

INSURANCE: Cafeteria Plan Spending Fund: Employees receive a monthly allowance with which to purchase medical and dental benefits for themselves and their dependents. Any unused portion of the allowance may be put into a deferred compensation plan or Flexible Reimbursement Account, or taken as cash at the end of the year. The City also provides a Flexible Reimbursement Account into which employees may tax-defer funds to use to pay for childcare or to cover those health and dental care expenses (deductibles, etc.) that are not reimbursed by an insurance carrier.

AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE OR ASSIGNED CITY VEHICLE: Employees may be assigned a City vehicle by the City Manager to conduct City business.  In lieu of a City vehicle, employees may be provided with a car allowance.

General Central Management
Tier I – Employees hired prior to January 1, 2013 are covered by the “2.5% at 55” single highest year option of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) plan. Employees contribute eight percent (8%) of salary to PERS on a tax-deferred basis.

Tier II – Employees hired and enrolled into PERS after January 1, 2013 are covered by the “2.0% at 62” 3-year average option of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) plan. Employees contribute half the normal cost to PERS on a tax-deferred basis.

Police Chief 
Tier I – Employees hired prior to January 1, 2013 are covered by the “3.0% at 50” single highest year option of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) plan. Employees contribute twelve percent (12%) of salary to PERS on a tax-deferred basis.

Tier II – Employees hired and enrolled into PERS after January 1, 2013 are covered by the “2.7% at 57” 3-year average option of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) plan. Employees contribute half the normal cost to PERS on a tax-deferred basis.

DEFERRED COMPENSATION PROGRAM: Employees may contribute to a 457(b) account up to the maximum as determined by the IRS annually.  There is no City contribution.

BILINGUAL INCENTIVE: After qualification, employees are eligible for the use of bilingual skills of Spanish, Vietnamese, or Korean.  Employees may receive $85 per pay period for verbal and written translation, or $65 per pay period for only verbal translation.