Story Category: The Bay Net Exclusives »
Department's Name Change Takes Effect
Prince Frederick, MD - 7/3/2012
By Marty Madden
Maybe it was the diversion of a damaging derecho, the heat wave or perhaps the pending Independence Day holiday. Whatever the reason, Calvert County Government began another new year (fiscal new year) with very little fanfare regarding the official name change for one of its high profile departments.
As of July 1, the Department of Planning and Zoning is now the Department of Community Planning and Building. The Calvert County Commissioners, who voted 4-to-1 this past spring to allow the name change, have admitted adapting to the name change would be a challenge.
Charles Johnston, the department’s director, suggested during staff session Tuesday, June 26 that the commissioner and public think of “crunchy peanut butter,” as a way to remember CPB, the department’s new initials.
The new name is the completion of a reorganization of the department that often gets pilloried in public and political circles for its customer service.
Department staff was directed by the county commissioners to submit a reorganization proposal during the spring of 2011. That mandate was followed by the announcement by Greg Bowen, the department’s director, that he planned to retire after 32 years in county government. The county subsequently hired Johnston as the new department director. Johnston had held a similar position in Clarke County, VA for 22 years prior to coming to Calvert County.
Last fall, Johnston and other department officials proposed organizing Planning and Zoning into four divisions—Policy, Development and Review, Appeals, Variances and Exceptions; and Inspections and Permits. The commissioners also approved the recommendation to create a new position called development navigator for the purpose of guiding applicants through the approval process.
The commissioners also agreed to allocate $51,927 for renovating the department’s third floor offices to include a more customer friendly desk.
The department has a brief You Tube video available for the public to view. As of today, less than 100 people have viewed the video, which was produced by Career Puppy (the business’s co-founder, North Beach Councilperson Gwen Schiada, has a brief cameo in the video).
While the presentation consists mainly of Johnston and the division chiefs talking about the department's importance, another speaker, Chesapeake Services Incorporated President Jim Wilson, who works on building projects throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, offers a testimony to Calvert's efficiency. "Without a doubt, Calvert County is the easiest county to deal with," Wilson stated.
More information about the Department of Community Planning and Building can be found on the county government web site at www.co.cal.md.us. Under "News and Highlights" is a story about the department's name change. A link to the video is included in the story
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
Comment On This Story!
Send This Story to a Friend!