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SL County planning division lays out reforms

 (Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County's once-troubled planning division wants to make a new name for itself -- one that doesn't include adjectives such as "inconsistent," "cumbersome" and "rigid."

The county agency announced a series of reforms Tuesday that it hopes will more closely associate its name with words such as "efficient," "innovative" and "knowledgeable."

But it's going to take some work. The planning division was plagued with so much mismanagement and inner-office turmoil a year ago that the county called for the director's resignation, negotiated the assistant director's early retirement and ousted two other bosses.

A county-ordered investigation found that the office had struggled for years with a culture of favoritism, inconsistent policy enforcement, a soft-handed approach to unprofessional conduct and nonresponsive leadership.

But now, officials say, the agency is on the mend.

The new director, Rolen Yoshinaga, rolled out a plan Tuesday that he argues will make the division a more desirable place inside and out. He hopes to rid it of a reputation that has become overwhelmingly negative.

The outward changes will come by speeding up the application process, tracking cases online, providing customers with more answers at the counter and improving communication among staffers collaborating on a single application.

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