Mayor Swearengin: New Initiative Aimed at Making Fresno ‘One of Most Business Friendly Cities’ in California, Nation
10/10/2013
FRESNO – Mayor Ashley Swearengin today unveiled “Business Friendly Fresno,” an initiative designed to make the City of one of the most business friendly cities in California and across the nation.

In the initiative, Mayor Swearengin is bringing together private sector minds with City staff to make sure the City’s development application, permitting and construction management processes are cutting edge, highly coordinated, friendly, easy to navigate, and measurably competitive with other cities in the region and other regions of the country.

“The goal of Business Friendly Fresno is straightforward: Making Fresno become well known around California and the nation as one of the best cities for expanding business opportunities, creating diverse high-paying employment opportunities and competitive returns on private investment, and offering a desirable and attractive quality of life,” Mayor Swearengin said.

As part of the initiative, Mayor Swearengin has formed a Business Friendly Fresno Task Force that will be headed by community leader Pete Weber and supported by a Staff Action Team co-chaired by Weber and Jennifer Clark, director of the City’s Development and Resource Management Department.

The Business Friendly Fresno Action Team and Task Force will be responsible for:
  • Examining the current interdepartmental development application and permit review and approval process;
  • Exploring options to improve procedures, services, timelines and customer outcomes;
  • Identifying market competitors, best practices and benchmark cities;
  • Developing revised procedural frameworks and recommended solutions to streamline the process and increase customer satisfaction;
  • Offering new perspectives and ideas that will make Fresno among the “best in class” for cities of comparable size;
  • Addressing and recommending appropriate fee adjustments;
  • Proposing a comprehensive plan with measurable outcomes and appropriate metrics for measuring progress;
  • Recommend staffing and technology investments that may be needed to achieve the metrics recommended in the plan.
The Business Friendly Fresno Task Force will meet monthly and is expected to complete its work by March 2014.

Members of the Task Force are:
  • Brooke Ashjian, Seal Rite Paving;
  • Mary Jo Avila, MJ Avila Company, Inc. and Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
  • Councilmember Steve Brandau
  • John Brelsford, Diversified Development Group;
  • Lee Ann Eager, Fresno County Economic Development Corporation;
  • Debbie Hunsaker, Alert-O-Lite and Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce;
  • Dave Jones, Associated General Contractors of CA;
  • Gerard Lozano, Fresno Association of Realtors;
  • Rod McNeely, Provost and Pritchard;
  • Councilmember Clint Olivier
  • Michael Prandini, Building Industry Association of Fresno/Madera Counties;
  • Scott Rhodes, Wells Fargo and Fresno Business Council member;
  • Chuck Riojas, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
  • Ashley Swearengin, Mayor of Fresno;
  • T’Shaka Toure, Toure & Associates and Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce;
  • Pete Weber, Task Force Chair;
  • Dora Westerlund, Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
  • Nick Yovino, former City of Fresno Planning Director.

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