Memorandum - City of San Jose

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Sep 19, 2014 - AGENDA: 09/22/2014. ITEM: D (3). Memorandum ... Provide a description of what kind of customer service tr
AGENDA: 09/22/2014 ITEM: D (3)








Community & Economic Development Committee

Request For More Information

APPROVED: (~ a~~~~\.\].r.


Councilmember Johnny Khamis District 10


September 19, 2014




Direct staff to bring back the following information to the CED committee on/or before its November 2014 meeting. a. b. c.

Prepare a detailed description that includes specific goal sets for each workplan matrix line item. Provide a description of what kind of customer service training is to be delivered, and how it will be measured for success and retention. Provide a detailed overview of how the workplan will improve consistency and clarity within the building department with respect to inspections, permits, interpretations of building codes, etc.

BACKGROUND I want to express my thanks to Harry Freitas, Director of Planning Building and Code Enforcement (PBCE), David Sykes, Director of Public Works, and Ruben Torres, Fire Chief of the San Jose Fire Department, for their collaboration in preparing a memo/workplan titled Development Services Process Improvement Workplan and Development Services Staffing. This plan addresses some of the issues raised by Sharon Winslow Erickson, the City of San Jose Auditor, in her audit titled Development Services: Improving The Experience For Homeowners Audit Report. I appreciate the matrix and memo provided by our Directors and Chief. That said, I am concerned that the spreadsheet provides only a snapshot description of each line item and that the accompanying memo does not provide a more detailed look at the steps that are required to drive measur~ble improvement. A much more detailed, comprehensive description of each matrix line item would be helpful in understanding the proposed strategy. For example, on page 1, letter f of the matrix titled, Reducing the costs of home improvement, the description states, "This will be a continuing effort to align our fees to the services we provide." This ties to item V d., but how does this translate to end users? Further, how can we, the elected officials, determine if we have achieved success in reducing the cost of home improvements without metrics for comparison? Therefore, I would like a supplemental memo that provides the reader with a more comprehensive description of each line item on the matrix.

Unfortunately, I often hear discouraging stories regarding the lack of consistency and clarity that our residents and business community encounter with regards to the inspection process. Likewise, when I talk with inspectors and other employees of the Building Dept., I am told that San Jose has outdated infrastructure and technology, making it difficult for inspectors and others to do their jobs to the best of their ability. That's why I believe it's important to know how the work plan is going to address the consistency and clarity issues in the inspection process and how the purchase and use of technology will be used overall. The City of San Jose has the opportunity to support Development Services by investing in technology to assist employees and end users, teach and improve customer service, and provide an overall framework of goal sets that will set the course for the next decade. The City Council needs all the information avai lable to help determine how best to help the Development Services departments with funding in order to be successful in implementing the improvements listed in the workplan.