It's an old song most often sung the loudest during election campaigns. In between, the song diminishes to a kind of governmental Muzac - there, but not paid much attention. Judging from the comments of one of its members, the General Plan Advisory Committee listened to more than a few minor key choruses of "Too Much Time, Too Many rules."
Business consultant Stacie Thorlakson wrote that the GPAC "learned that regulations and rules, however well-meaning, may play a significantly negative role in our ability to tackle the economic and social problems identified."
In a Viewpoint published March 1, Thorlakson said the General Plan process is an opportunity "to examine existing laws and regulations and see which ones can be consolidated within the framework of the General Plan and which ones we can safely eliminate, saving both time and money."
Anyone doing business with the county often finds the bureaucracy more interested in putting up barriers than finding ways to get applications through the process. No one complains too loudly for fear of annoying bureaucrats who can shuffle papers endlessly if they wish.
By their very nature, bureaucracies - both public and private - have an inertia that leads to backlogs of work that become a justification for spending inordinate amounts of time to accomplish what could be relatively simple tasks.
Nearly every candidate for mayor and many candidates for the County Council pledge to make county government more efficient. The promises usually disappear from priority lists once the votes are counted. In recent memory, the only mayor to actually make some headway on this score was Linda Lingle, who demanded county workers treat everyone who came in as a valued customer. It may have had little effect, but the notion was correct.
Government employees should be eager to find ways of pleasing their "customers." Government managers should be encouraging workers to help design ways of improving work flow. Elected officials need to conduct regular reviews of rules and regulations with the idea of finding what can be eliminated. Time is money, and money is growing scarce.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.