JM Government Consulting 


Sample Projects

- As Director of Permitting and Land Use, oversaw the overhaul of a poorly functioning and demoralized permitting operation in Milford, Connecticut into a model of efficiency and customer service.

- As Assistant to the City Manager, led a 2-year, 4-department initiative to reform Bellevue, Washington's land use, utility, building, and fire permitting activities.  Project was selected for presentation at the Innovations in Government Conference in Tampa, Florida. 

- For Concord, Massachusetts, developed a user-friendly guide to permitting and land use activities for use by residents and businesses seeking to obtain planning and building permit approvals.

- Participated in permitting operations reviews for municipalities across the US, including:  Kissimmee, Florida;  DeKalb County, Georgia; Westminster, Colorado; East Point, Georgia; O'Fallon, Missouri; Los Angeles, California; Blacksburg, Virginia; Downey, California; and Redlands, California.  


Permitting is one of the most challenging areas of service delivery for cities, towns, and counties.  It is also an area that tends to generate a lot of complaints to elected officials.  Common problems in the permitting realm include poor communication, complicated and confusing processes, perceived lack of customer service, low morale and "Management by Anecdote" where faults are identified just by customer complaints. 

JM Government Consulting can...

Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current permitting system
​​Learnfrom customers and stakeholders what is and is not working about the system 
a plan for improvement 
Implement reforms, including permitting software  
customer education materials, including handouts, redesigned web pages, checklists, and clear, complete application forms 
accountability, including performance targets and measurements, so that you can track how the system is working.

No Silver Bullet

Elected officials and managers looking for a way to "fix" their permitting system often seek a silver bullet, such as new software or a new organizational structure.  In fact, to truly reform your permitting processes you need to tackle the system on multiple fronts:

  • Organization,oversight, and accountability.  Roles and responsibilities must but be clear, and the management structure should be designed so someone in authority is responsible for efficiency and customer service, not just the technical quality of the work being done.    
  • Tools and technology.  While a new software system is not a silver bullet, often new technology, or better use of existing technology, can help solve process and communications problem
  • Process Efficiencies. Over time, processes tend to become more complex and convoluted.  A review can identify steps that can be eliminated or consolidated to reduce the time and complexity of the process.  
  • Customer education. When a home owner, architect, or builder walks in the door, he or she must understand the process and what needs to be provided.  
  • Customer service.  Staff must understand that ensuring safe, appropriate land development and construction and providing customer service are not in conflict.  Both can and must be achieved.