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City of Torrance
Class Code: 1134
Class Designation: Civil Service
October 2009
Representation Unit: Torrance Professional & Supervisory Association

Senior Administrative Assistant


Under direction, provides administrative and secretarial support to a department head or executive manager; uses independent judgment and initiative in the planning, organization and performance of responsible and confidential secretarial work; serves as point of contact for the department coordinating communication, information, schedules and activities, tracking activities to ensure appropriate response and/or timely completion; may supervise or provide lead direction to clerical and/or secretarial support staff; performs other duties as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Senior Administrative Assistant reports directly to a department head or executive manager.  Incumbents exercise a high degree of discretion and independent judgment in the performance of duties.  This classification is distinguished from lower level administrative support positions by a higher level of administrative knowledge and experience required for successful performance of the full range of assigned duties; supervisory and/or lead responsibility for clerical and/or secretarial staff; a greater complexity of work assignments; a higher level of independent judgment and initiative exercised in the performance of assignments; and a potential for greater impact of erroneous decisions on operating costs and schedules of a City department.
The Senior Administrative Assistant is distinguished from the Supervising Administrative Assistant as the latter classification has full responsibility for planning and administering department office operations and administrative support activities, budget administration and direct supervision of departmental clerical, secretarial and administrative staff. 

Supervision Exercised/Received

Receives direction from a department head or executive manager; may provide direct supervision and/or lead direction to a small clerical and/or administrative support staff. 

Examples of Essential Duties

The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all-inclusive.
  • Coordinates, designs, revises and maintains overall office systems for records and documents related to departmental operations.
  • Establishes and maintains confidential files, materials and information.
  • Schedules and coordinates appointments, conferences, meetings and maintains appointment calendar for department head and/or executive; tracks a variety of matters referred by the City Manager and information and actions requested by the City Council to ensure that deadlines are met.
  • Receives, screens, and responds to requests, queries and complaints, received by phone, mail, email or in person from visitors, other City departments and the public relative to departmental and City policies, procedures and regulations.
  • Screens and distributes incoming correspondence to department head, executive and/or staff members.
  • Performs routine but specialized administrative duties related to departmental operations including data research, report writing, coordination of special events, and development and maintenance of tracking systems for budget expenditures.
  • Researches and completes a variety of documents regarding personnel matters and departmental operations, coordinating activities with other departments as appropriate, and ensuring timely submittal to appropriate department for processing.
  • Independently, composes letters, memos and other written communications on routine matters.
  • Edits, proofreads and corrects written materials to ensure correct format, spelling, punctuation, syntax and grammar.
  • Prepares correspondence, such as letters, memos, reports, Commission and Council items and other materials on a variety of general and technical topics from rough drafts and other sources.
  • As assigned, purchases and maintains office supply inventory; receives cash receipts and administers related budget and reports.
  • As assigned, provides supervision and/or lead direction to departmental clerical and/or secretarial staff.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties:
  • Attends division and department meetings as required.
  • Serves on various committees as appropriate.
  • Performs special projects as assigned and related work as required.
  • Minimum Qualification Guidelines

    Knowledge of:
  • Standard office procedures and practices.
  • General knowledge of City operations.
  • English usage, spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation and business math.
  • Modern office equipment and software applications.
  • Advanced principles and methods of business correspondence and report preparation.
  • Advanced record keeping methods.
  • General methods of budget preparation and financial record keeping.
  • Telephone etiquette and principles of effective public relations.
  • Modern supervisory principles and practices.
  • City ordinances and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations and personnel matters.
  • General City operations.
  • Ability to:
  • Work independently, exercise good judgment in making decisions and in performing assigned duties.
  • Perform multiple and concurrent detailed tasks often under time constraints and/or in an environment of frequent interruptions.
  • Interpret, explain and enforce departmental and City policies and procedures.
  • Establish and maintain complex and confidential records, files and documents.
  • Perform highly skilled administrative and secretarial work.
  • Proofread and detect errors in typing, spelling, syntax and punctuation and make accurate mathematical computations.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing. 
  • Collect, interpret and exercise judgment in organizing data and compiling reports.
  • Type a variety of materials to, include letters, memos, reports, legal documents, Commission and Council items from rough drafts and other sources.
  • Understand and accurately follow brief oral and written instructions.
  • Effectively operate a computer and peripheral office equipment.
  • Supervise or Lead the work of subordinate staff including planning, organizing, prioritizing, assigning, reviewing, monitoring and evaluating work, as assigned.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work including City employees, City and other government officials, and the general public.
  • Perform multiple and concurrent detailed tasks in an environment of time constraints and frequent interruptions.
  • Learn and utilize new skills and information to improve job performance and efficiency.
  • Licenses/Certification Required

    Possession of a valid California class C driver license and safe driving record may be required for assignment to some positions in the classification.

    Education and Experience

    Any combination of education and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying.  A typical way of obtaining the knowledge and abilities would be:
    Graduation from high school or equivalent and three years of increasingly responsible secretarial and/or administrative support experience; courses in office administration and business occupations and experience in a lead capacity are desirable.
    Special Requirements

    Physical Requirements: Due to the nature of work assignments, incumbents must be able to perform detailed work on multiple, concurrent tasks, with frequent interruptions and under time constraint. On a daily basis, the essential duties of this classification may require the ability to stoop; to reach; to stand, to walk and sit for extended periods of time; to push and/or pull objects weighing up to 30 pounds; to lift and carry objects weighing up to 15 pounds; to use finger dexterity to operate a computer and other office equipment and hand strength to grasp files and other objects; to perceive the attributes of objects by touch; to hear and verbally exchange ideas and information with the public, staff and others on the phone and in the office; to see clearly from less than one foot to arms length with a good field of vision and to distinguish basic colors and shades of color.  On a frequent basis, essential duties of the position may require the ability to climb stairs, to kneel and/or crouch to retrieve files and other items. 

    Work Environment: Essential duties of this classification are primarily performed in a dynamic office environment that may include frequent interruptions and/or a high level of public contact.

    Career Ladder Information

    Experience gained in the classification of Senior Administrative Assistant may serve to meet minimum qualifications for promotion to Supervising Administrative Assistant.