Dear Management Doctor:
I run a medium size Planning and Zoning Department (15 people) that has some project management responsiblities. I have been given the opportunity to merge my department with our Economic Development office. I would like to do this. Do you have examples of organization diagrams of merged operations? We have a separate Housing Department, so Housing would not be part of the new organization. Our City is 130,000 pop. Thanks.
Dear Merger Opportunity:
Merging economic development with planning is an interesting concept and we're seeing it more and more in our organizational studies. I generally favor the merger but with a few cautions. There may be instances where the economic development function is encouraging a new or expanded business or industry that will need to go through an entitlement process. At that point in time, other factors may surface such as environmental issues, neighbors, and even due process. As such, I recommend that economic development be in a separate division from staff handling the entitlements. On the other hand, there should be good communication and coordination between the two functions, each helping the other. Another issue we also see relating economic development and redevelopment. In this case, I see no problem in merging the functions and often encourgae the merger. If you'd like to call me on 1-800-870-6306, I'd be happy to give you a few cities to call that have merged functions. Also, I hope our other readers of the Management Doctor will respond.