Local talent need not apply. Process improvement starts at home.

There are six-sigma consultants in Dayton. There are customer service trainers in Dayton, we have a city full of very capable business people. Clay Matile runs a center, Aileron, that trains organizations to be competitive right here in Dayton. So why does the City Commission hire people from California to “review” the process- instead of hiring someone from Dayton to improve it?

The Dayton City Commission today, March 11, authorized a review of the city’s building permit and inspection process to provide better customer service.

The analysis by the Matrix Consulting Group will cost $60,000.

The company will spend four months reviewing the process used at Dayton’s One Stop Center to issue building and inspection permits.

The goal is to identify ways to accelerate the process and make it more user-friendly.

City commissioners Joey Williams and Nan Whaley will co-chair a committee of public and private sector partners to review the final recommendations.

“We are constantly trying to improve the way we interact with our business partners,” Williams said. “Based upon the feedback we have received, this review is warranted.”

Matrix is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and has branch offices in the St. Louis, Dallas, Washington, D.C, Fort Lauderdale and Boston areas.

via Dayton to review permit, inspection service.

Of course, Commissioners Williams and Whaley are now going to be at the forefront of all kinds of initiatives since they are facing an election in the fall. Anyone who has dealt with the permit and inspection process in the City of Dayton in the last 25 years will tell you it’s not user friendly.

If the City had a single Citizen/Customer Relationship Management system in place, the flaws in our processes would have been identified long ago.

While it’s laudable that the Commissioners want to get involved, this kind of meddling in the day-to-day operations of the City are the responsibility of the City Manager and his staff. If the Commission was working properly, as a board of directors, the objectives would be set for the City Manager and his process for solving the problems would be reviewed.

Unfortunately, our current Commissioners have decided to spend $60,000 of our Dayton tax dollars on high priced consultants from out of town to tell us that too.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
Ben B GrahamDavid EsratiCivil Servants are People Too Recent comment authors
Notify of
Civil Servants are People Too
Civil Servants are People Too

Questions to consider….

Did any of any local companies you mention actually bid on the job? How did you determine Matrix is “high-priced” compared to other firms?

Why do you say the Commission hired them… isn’t it more accurate to say they approved the contract? Were they involved in selecting the company?

How is “reviewing final recommendations” after a 4 month review considered “day-to-day work” by the Commissioners? Should they not be interested in the results?

It seems that you almost reflexively criticize the decision to hire a consultant, despite your near-constant complaining that the permit process is unfriendly. If it is so bad, and they are finally doing something about it, why do you still criticize the move?

It doesn’t seem like a good way to win over your potential co-workers on the Commission.

Ben B Graham

I came across your post on the building permits process review that was recently awarded to Matrix Consulting Group. My company, The Ben Graham Corporation is based in Tipp City. We have been helping organizations build better processes since 1953 when my grandfather was “spun off” Standard Register Company to promote the “Paperwork Simplification” methods he developed as an executive at Standard. While our focus is broad (not just city government), we did work with Dayton to develop their one-stop-shop when Valerie Lemmie was City Manager. Later, we were asked by Valerie to support the city of Cincinnati in developing their one-stop-shop. We have also worked with the cities of Boca Raton and San Diego.

Dayton can lay claim to the first process improvement method focused on information processes (the Graham method developed at Standard Register in 1944) and also the first method developed by government (IDEF developed for software engineering at WPAFB in the 1970s ).

By the way, when we were working with Dayton, we trained several employees and worked closely with a few of them who are quite capable of facilitating a process review.