Stockton’s new Director of Community Development Steve Chase introduced himself today to a group of local developers at a meeting of the city’s Development Oversight Commission.
He presented his vision for the city’s building permit center reorg. He talked the nitty gritty – installing new software for permit tracking, for one – and he injected some inspiring language to convey his commitment to making a cultural change. The department he’s now heading is often criticized as a bureaucratic obstacle to developers.
Step into his office, Chase said, and you’ll see a list posted of “Steve’s victims.” The largest complaint from folks seeking permits is that there is no timely and predictable process from the city. That’s one of the first issues Chase said he’ll tackle – the culture shift.
“I have a passion for customer service,” Chase said. “My folks are going to have a passion for customer service.” He quoted a line Starbucks adopted: “What may I get started for you.” Chase said his staff won’t use that, but come up with their own lingo to convey the desire to help people walking through the door.
As Stockton redefines itself in the coming years, Chase said he’s ready to get to work and help shape the new culture. He last worked in Goleta in Santa Barbara County, which didn’t suffer the recession, but Chase said he’s an “old guy” who already has some gray hair. “I’m going to earn some more gray hairs.”
He’ll be bringing his presentation and plans to the City Council in September.
“We have a lot on our plate,” Chase said. “Man is it fun. Wow, I’m having trouble sleeping… It’s time to seize the moment.”
Oh, and he said his 8-month-old granddaughter also lured him to Stockton, Chase added.