David's Blog

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Celebrating a Victory Within City Hall

It is important that individuals and communities celebrate their accomplishments and victories. A victory has occurred within City Hall. The Duluth Building Safety Office has been revitalized. The office has transitioned into a positive and enabling resource for citizens, and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates the revitalization.

The office is responsible for issuing building permits and reviewing construction plans. When it comes to building something in Duluth, all paths lead to the Building Safety Office. This office is where Duluthians hoping to build, expand or otherwise improve a structure, must first seek and gain approval.

Prior to this recent revitalization, the office was viewed by many in the business community as a primary source of aggravation and frustration. When a person's money, time, energy and, sometimes, livelihood is placed at risk to build, expand or improve a building, that person wants to enter a predictable and enabling review and approval process. Oftentimes, the office was neither predictable nor enabling.

Mayor Ness made the revitalization of the Building Safety Office one of his initial priorities. The Chamber encouraged him to do exactly that. Moreover, the Chamber encouraged every candidate running for mayor and for the city council to commit to improving operations within the Building Safety Office. In an effort to keep our elected officials attention focused on the safety office, we held public forums on the issue. We wrote several editorials and blogs which encouraged service improvements within the office. Additionally, the Chamber encouraged the local media to keep the issue at a high profile within our beloved community.

The Chamber also facilitated a fundraising effort which generated private funding for a professional operational assessment of the office. The assessment led to many of the positive changes that have occurred within the office.

Yet, in the end, it was Mayor Ness and his administration that had the authority and the conviction to make the necessary improvement to the office. Mayor Ness was the one who, months ago, placed Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Bushey in charge of the office. Bryan Bushey has been a positive, powerful instrument of change for the office. Mayor Ness was the one who had the insight to contract with an operations expert to evaluate the office and make recommendations for efficiencies. Most importantly, the hard working and dedicated city employees working in the office embraced the challenge of bringing additional efficiency and improved service to the office.

The Chamber applauds the improvement within the City's Building Safety Office. We celebrate the accomplishments realized within this vital community resource. We congratulate Mayor Ness, Bryan Bushey and his colleagues working in the office as they are bringing heightened service and efficiency to the office.

It is an exciting time to be a part of our business community within our Emerald City on the Hill.

In support and advocacy,

David RossPresident & CEO

posted by David Ross at

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