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Do San Diego county's land-use planners have sufficient culture to deal with big developrs and angry neighbors?

Apparently not, judging from a "request for information" posted online July 12 by the county's department of purchasing and contracting.

According to the document, the Board of Supervisors wants to pay a private consulting firm an unspecified sum to provide "Culture Consultant Services" as part of a makeover of the county's 200-employee-strong planning and permit processing operation.

The board, "recently approved a comprehensive initiative to improve land development services and one outcome has been the reorganization of departments and functions involved in the land development process into a brand new department called Planning and Development Services, with a new culture, a more customer-focused mission and a new level of accountability."

Sounds okay, if a bit vague, but now comes the really hard part, changing the department's "culture."

"Through meetings with staff, we have established what the current culture is and have identified the general direction we want to go," the request says. "We need specific assistance refining the culture and how the ‘new culture’ is implemented."

Firms aspiring to become the county's culture maven must answer a bevy of questions, including "What experience do you have working with culture change (fostering a culture that is customer-centric, with ownership/accountability of staff, where staff assist in navigating the process) in the public sector?"

And, "How would you go about changing the culture of an organization?"

Also, "How long do you think it takes to establish the vision for a new culture?"

As well as, "How long do you think it takes to realize a change in culture?"

And, of course , "How do you know when the culture change has been successful?"

Respondents must get their applications in by this coming Monday.

Estimated cost to taxpayers of the culture consulting is not discussed.

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