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The Red Tape that Refuses to Die

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This month’s theme.

The difficulties of cutting the red tape in  Government.

Here’s an example. Many Calgarians voted for change last October or November because they didn’t see things changing, but how much more difficult is it to change organizations like the City of Calgary? (See  Naheed Nenshi’s “cutting the red tape” podcast that contributed to his election for Mayor of Calgary) Here’s his latest comment on his cutting red tape campaign and how long it’s taking:

“We are actually going to look at a reinvention of how we do the whole process of planning, approvals and permits, and that’s going to get underway right now,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters, after a council committee approved $150,000 for public consultations on cutting red tape, an initiative that already had a $236,000 budget.

But while staff are already working on that major overhaul, Nenshi clarified later that it will likely be a year before changes are in place. Council will be looking to the incoming planning general manager to oversee much of that internal revolution.

The red tape consultation with businesses drew 202 submissions, and the vast majority concerned the city hall division responsible for permits and business licensing.

One particularly shocking testimonial read: “Two different city inspectors were actually arguing in the parking lot as to what the rules meant or did not mean in relationship to requirements for our equipment. Seven inspectors went through our warehouse before we could receive our (occupancy) permit.”

In another case, the development permit process stifled the creative process. “We want to paint a mural on a building and the DP is going to cost more than the mural!”

The first thing leaders have to cope with is more complex politics. On top of internal politics that exist in any organization they also have the political dynamics of executives, elected representatives and their appointees. (more…)