Principal Contract Specialist

County of San Diego
$119,371 - $144,310 Per year California USA



See NOTE(S) below for future wage increases and/or additional compensation opportunities. 

Principal Contract Specialist positions, through subordinate supervisors, plan and direct the work of Contract Specialists; participate in the most challenging contract administration assignments; open, negotiate, recommend contract award, administer and terminate various types of public works contracts including consulting, architectural and engineering projects, design, construction and construction management, and pre-purchased material and equipment contracts; develop and maintain commercial terms and conditions of contracts; develop negotiation plans and strategies; prepare reports and correspondence; make presentations to City Council, community groups, consultants and contractors; and perform other duties as assigned.


  • Employees in job classifications represented by Municipal Employees Association (MEA) are scheduled to receive the following general wage increases:

4% effective 7/1/24 

2% effective 1/1/25 

5% effective 7/1/25  

  • Eligible benefitted employees originally hired on or after July 10, 2021, will be automatically enrolled in the San Diego City Employees Retirement System (SDCERS).


You must meet the following requirements on the date you apply, unless otherwise indicated.
EDUCATION:Bachelor's Degree or equivalent education (i.e., minimum completed units = 120 semester/180 quarter).  

  • Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for education lacked on a year-for-year basis. One year of full-time experience = 30 semester/45 quarter college-level units.
EXPERIENCE:  Four years of full-time professional-level contract administration experience in architecture, engineering, and/or construction which MUST include one year of full-time experience at a level equivalent to a Senior Contract Specialist with the City of San Diego (a position that opens, negotiates, recommends contract awards, administers and terminates various types of public works contracts including consulting, architectural and engineering projects, design, construction and construction management, and pre-purchased material and equipment contracts, and supervises and reviews the work of subordinate Contract Specialists) AND at least one year of full-time experience supervising a professional staff who are responsible for contract administration work.  Qualifying experience MUST include ALL of the following:
      1.  Contract development.
      2.  Evaluation of bids and/or proposals.
      3.  Negotiation of contracts and contract changes.
      4.  Administration of contract terms and conditions.
  • City of San Diego employees using Out-of-Class Assignment (OCA) experience to qualify must submit written documentation signed by their appointing authority or payroll specialist, detailing the work performed, dates, and total number of qualifying OCA hours.  OCA experience without the required documentation will NOT be considered.
LICENSE:  A valid California Class C Driver License may be required at the time of hire.
  • Public Works contract administration experience in a government or public agency setting. 
  • Demonstrated experience with construction management and/or task management of design and construction contracts.
  • Demonstrated understanding of unit pricing and usage of RSMeans data for public works construction contracts.
  • Knowledge of architectural engineering and design contracting practices.
  • Familiarity or experience with local, state or federal laws as they apply to public works contracting and/or labor.
  • Familiarity with negotiating labor disputes and/or labor compliance in a government or public agency setting. 
  • Knowledge of and ability to use a variety of computer software (e.g., Word, Excel, SAP, and labor compliance software).
  • Proof of degree/transcripts, if utilized to meet the minimum requirements.
  • For City of San Diego employees, proof of Out-of-Class Assignment (OCA), if utilized to meet the minimum requirements. 
Required documents should be attached electronically to your application.  If you are unable to attach at the time of application submittal, you must submit them as soon as possible via fax:  (619) 533-3337; or to the Employment Information Center:  City of San Diego Personnel Department, 1200 Third Avenue - Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101.  Include your name and the title of the position for which you are applying.


Please ensure all information is complete and accurate as the responses you provide on the supplemental questions will be reviewed using an automated evaluation system.  If you are successful in this initial screening process, your application will be reviewed for applicable education, experience, and/or training to ensure all minimum requirements have been met.  Successful candidates will be placed on a list which will be used to fill position vacancies during the next six months (180 days).  For each vacancy, only those candidates with the most appropriate qualifications will be contacted by the hiring department for an interview.


PRE-EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS: Employment offers are conditional pending the results of all screening processes applicable to this position, which may include the following: confirmation of citizenship or legal right to work in the United States; completion of a pre-employment medical review and exam (which may include drug and alcohol testing); reference checks; and fingerprinting. Fingerprints will be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice for a conviction record report. Certain positions may require additional screening processes, including a polygraph examination and/or background investigation. All screening processes must be successfully completed before employment begins. A positive test result for alcohol, cannabis/marijuana, illegal drugs, or inadequately explained prescription drugs, or misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of pertinent facts in any step of the screening or selection process, may constitute cause for disqualification or termination of employment. Nothing in this job posting constitutes an express or implied contract for employment with the City of San Diego. Candidates must notify the Personnel Department of any change in their name, mailing address, email address, or phone number, otherwise they may miss employment opportunities. 

Senior Civil Engineer (Option Title: Principal Contract Specialist)