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The City of Johnson City announced Monday a realignment of its Development Services Department that will strengthen customer service and make the development process smoother and more efficient. The addition and refocusing of several key positions comes as a result of a department assessment, which included numerous meetings with community and industry stakeholders, interviews with employees, and identification of areas for improvement.

“We took an in-depth look at what we were doing well and what we could do better,” said City Manager Pete Peterson. “We listened to the feedback from our stakeholders and determined that speed, consistency, efficiency and customer service were areas for improvement. After carefully assessing the strengths of our staff to determine how we could best utilize their talents and skillsets, we developed a plan that will provide an enhanced level of service moving forward.”

As a direct result of the feedback provided by members of the local building community, Dave McClelland will fill the newly created position of Development Services manager. McClelland, who previously was deputy building official, will serve in the field as an advocate for expedited project development and will oversee both the building and permitting functions to facilitate successful completion of any project from start to finish. 

Under McClelland’s leadership is another new position, permitting coordinator, which has been filled by Adrienne Brown. A former permit technician, Brown is responsible for monitoring and improving the permit process and the current utilization of the City’s development software. The existing customer service clerk positions will be elevated to permit technician positions. These employees will participate in additional professional training to obtain International Code Council permit technician certification, which will enable them to perform at a higher level of service.

The City’s chief building official will also fall under the purview of the Development Services manager. Currently vacant, this position will take the lead as chief plans examiner, chief building inspector, and property maintenance inspector. The search is under way for candidates to fill this vacancy.

The Code Enforcement Division (zoning, nuisances, and property maintenance) previously overseen by the chief building official has been relocated under the direction and leadership of Will Righter, who serves as staff liaison to the Board of Zoning Appeals and Board of Dwelling Standards and Review. A development technician position has been added within that team to assist with planning and zoning concerns. 

“I remain deeply impressed by the quality and commitment of the employees in this department,” said Development Services Director Preston Mitchell. “Johnson City is on the cusp of a vibrant period of growth and progress marked by increased economic investment and recognition of our city’s quality of place offerings. These changes will allow our staff to function at the highest levels of professional excellence by improving administrative efficiency and placing greater emphasis on meeting the needs of our stakeholders.”