SHREVEPORT --- Mary Samsonite starts her work day with a cup of coffee, then she opens up her email to view a report that shows which permits are coming due for her review. She also finds emails from contractors following-up on her review comments and asking to schedule meetings. After she gets through those emails, she spends her time following-up with other departments on their review of her plat and planned development cases. Mary then spends the last few hours of her day responding to inquiries from other departments about whether Planning can respond to a citizen's complaint about something outside of Planning's purview, be it potholes, traffic lights, inspection denials, or lot to lot drainage issues.
Mary is a Planner II.
"When I was in planning school, I thought planners were called planners because they made plans," Mary told us, "but when I realized that in the public sector, planners are called planners because they review plans, something clicked in my head." Mary had an idea to reconceptualize what her role within her public agency was and what it was not. "I'm not working on master plans, we hire consultants for that. I also don't want to be seen as some sort of consultant for private developers. So when I get angry phone calls about how poorly traffic is planned for, how there is a lack of parks in certain areas of the city, how certain streets flood during heavy rains, I don't especially want to be blamed for bad little 'p' city planning when that's not what I do everyday," Mary ranted, "heck, development review isn't even considered to be a planning process according to planning ethics publications."
Mary went to her Director and asked for her position to be retitled based of off her strong argument. Her Director referenced Gainesville's innovative approached in coming to his final conclusion about changing Mary's title. "Gainesville rebranded their development review functions as the Department of Doing, I thought that was innovative so I wanted to take it a step further," Development Director Michael Harris said. Harris approved Mary's title change from Planner II to Development Analyst II. "Now, it is clear to everyone that Mary analyzes development as it occurs and doesn't do any active planning for the city!" Harris rejoiced. We challenged Harris' line of thinking and asked him whether he thought about how the planner title is intended to keep attention on adopted city plans, how development relates to them, and how to fully implement them rather than simply reviewing plans willy nilly? Mr. Harris sighed and simply said, "oh yeah".
the names and places are intended to be fictional for satirical purposes