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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Original Author: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Date of Material: 07/01/2001

Forests and forestry
Parks and recreation--Personnel
Urban forestry

Sample Job Description for City Arborist

Reviewed Date: 06/29/2021
Sample job description for the position of city arborist from the City of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Est. 2.00
Rev. 7.01


Class specifications are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties performed by employees in the class. Specifications are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the job.


Manages and supervises the urban forestry program including the planting, maintenance, and removal activities.


Receives general direction form the Assistant Parks and Recreation Director of the Parks Division.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTION STATEMENTEssential duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Essential Functions:

1. Supervises the activities of crews involved in the planting, maintenance and removal of City trees; hires, trains, evaluates and manages subordinate personnel.
2. Reviews and evaluates tree maintenance needs by reviewing complaints and observing problems or upon direction from supervisor; and determines work priorities and assigns work to subordinates.
3. Receives and responds to a variety of complaints concerning status of City trees; provides procedural and policy information regarding tree trimming and removal. Schedules emergency action based on complaints; provides advice on proper care of trees and possible remedies for disease or pest problems; prepares tree damage and claim reports.
4. Prepares, maintains, updates and reviews street tree master plan; prepares written and oral reports regarding tree plan or tree removal to City commissions and committees.
5. Manages annual budget for Forestry Section, prepares specifications for and monitors contractual tree maintenance operations; completes necessary requisitions and reports to maintain the operations of the Forestry Section.
6. Keeps accurate records of Park Commission actions and maintains the computerized "TreeKeeper" program of all maintenance activity and tree inventory changes.


Knowledge of:

Local tree and plant species, arboricultural practices in streets and parks.
Insects and diseases that infect tree and plants in Santa Barbara region and the actions necessary to correct problems.
Tree maintenance methods and equipment.
Safety practices related to tree maintenance.
Principles of supervision and people management skills.
Contracting, principles for arboricultural services and all other aspects of a modern Urban Forestry Management Program.
Computer software applications to manage the urban forest.

Ability to:

Communicate effectively and concisely, both orally and in writing.
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with City staff, contractors, citizen groups, and the public.
Direct, supervise, train, and evaluate staff.
Detect insect and plant diseases and prescribe corrective action to eradicate problem.
Prepare and monitor section budget.
Operate a PC system and utilize computer applications.
Maintain physical condition appropriate to the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities which may include the following:
  • Walking, standing or sitting for extended periods of time
  • Operating assigned equipment.
    Maintain effective audio-visual discrimination and percep-tion needed for:
  • Making observations
  • Communicating with others
  • Reading and writing
Operating assigned equipment and vehicles.

Experience and Training Guidelines
Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

Experience: A minimum of five (5) years active tree management experience including supervising personnel involved in carrying out management operations.


Possession of a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry or related field.

License or Certificate:

Possession of, or ability to obtain, an appropriate, valid driver's license.
Within one year of employment, must have or obtain the "Certified Arborist" designation by the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.


Environmental Conditions:

Office and field environment; travel from site to site; exposure to noise, dust, fumes; inclement weather conditions; work with computer and office equipment.

Physical Conditions:

Essential functions may require maintaining physical condition necessary for standing, walking, climbing, or sitting for prolonged periods of time and operating motorized vehicles.


Assistant Parks and Recreation Director
Parks and Recreation Director

Main Document(s):
file Arborist.pdf