They say an elephant never forgets, well COWs have pretty good memories too. We remember a few years ago, the Town Council gave the Town Manager a performance assessment and asked her to look at the functioning of the Planning, Building, and Engineering Departments to try to improve the application and approval process.
Town Manager Susan George paid a consultant. Irwin Kaplan, somewhere around $60,000 or $70,000 to come and advise how the entire entitlement process could work better. He spent months looking at the Department and finally delivered a report with excellent recommendations.
The Almanac News said Mr. Kaplan found that “the process is plagued by redundant reviews, contradictory and unclear rules and policies, and a fragmented process in which many people are involved but no one person is accountable.” Some of his proposals were for technical things like reclassifying positions and changing internal department procedures, but many were important commonsense changes, like having one particular staff member responsible for each project and setting a reasonable timeline for each project.
But four and a half years later few, if any, of the improvements are still being followed and once again the process is plagued by redundant reviews, contradictory and unclear rules and policies, and a fragmented process. Seems like they sent the Kaplan recommendations out to pasture. But the Town recently hired another consultant — Management Partners, Inc. — and spent more money (you can’t pay consultants with hay) for another study. Guess what, the recommendations are very similar.