Lt. Gov. Calley comes to Grand Rapids to launch regulatory efficiency program

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LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

by Cynthia Price
Legal News

Local business Dematic Corporation opened its doors to Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the press, business leaders and an array of state government officials last Thursday for an important announcement.

At the  Plymouth Road headquarters of the very successful global logistics company, Lt. Gov. Calley launched the next step in the (Governor Rick) Snyder administration’s efforts to make Michigan a leader in attracting businesses.

Local business leaders from companies such as Meijer, Brann’s, Axios, Metro Health, and Columbian Logistics sang the praises of current efforts to streamline the regulatory process and made suggestions for future improvements to Calley and the head of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Steve Arwood.

The new initiative will be called Reinventing Performance in Michigan (RPM). Unlike many other initiatives in the past, the customer-service-based RPM has definite and measurable goals to meet. These include:

—A 25 percent improvement in satisfaction with the regulatory process.

—A 50 percent improvement in customer response time.

—Ensuring 100 percent of customer-facing regulatory materials are utilized and needed.; and

—An overall 50 percent reduction in forms.

LARA comprises the licensing agencies for Liquor Control, Fire Services, Construction, and Health Care, as well as the Michigan Public Service Commission. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) falls under LARA, as do other similar agencies.

All of these will be subject to RPM customer service standards, but the Departments of Treasury and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) join in leading the initiative, supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

DEQ has already begun the process of making their permitting processes more efficient, including consolidating permit applications into one for impacts to a variety of related natural resource categories, such as inland lakes and streams, wetlands, and high risk erosion areas, according to Amy Kohlhepp of the DEQ’s Environmental Audit Program. Kohlhepp works with DEQ Director of Policy Madhu Anderson, who was present at the business roundtable.

The DEQ also participates, as does all of state government, in something called Business One Stop. At www.michigan.gov/business individuals considering going into business can step through an interactive process that lets them know what kind of permits and licenses they will need — a big advantage

LARA Director Steve Arwood has headed up the agency since his appointment by Gov. Snyder in Jan. 2013, having been with LARA since 2011 and served as acting director for the month prior. Arwood joined LARA in 2011. He was deputy director overseeing employment security and workplace safety including MIOSHA, and before that was U.S. regional director for Windlab Developments USA, working on wind energy and business development. He also served in several capacities for the Michigan Jobs Commission under Governor John Engler.

Last Thursday’s event also drew Senator Mark Jansen, who represents the 28th District including Grand Rapids and chairs the Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee of the state Senate. Sen. Jansen said that the legislature has played a strong role in authorizing regulatory reform.

Business participants in the roundtable uniformly praised the efficiency increases and customer service ethic of the state regulatory agencies since Snyder took office. Ingrid Cheslek of Metro Health had a request, which Lt. Gov. Calley promised to take into consideration: she said that because it so often represents a real delay in conducting business, the need for front-line agency personnel to get back to callers after consulting a supervisor should be decreased.While Cheslek said that she has seen an improvement there as well over the past two years, she hopes that even further improvements in allowing such personnel to make decisions on their own can be achieved.

The state reports the following improvements already realized:

—The Bureau of Health Care Services followed up on form consolidation by eliminating duplicate information fields and creating an online application. This has resulted in a 60 percent faster rate of issuing health professional licenses.

—The Michigan Liquor Control Commission now issues liquor licenses an average of 63 percent faster, allowing businesses to receive their liquor license 150 days sooner through eliminating paperwork.

—The Michigan Public Service Commission has introduced ongoing process improvements and automation which is expected to allow for authorizing motor carrier licenses up to 67 percent faster.

—The Unemployment Insurance Agency has eliminated and consolidated forms, and reduced processing and customer response times, and therefore processes tax reporting changes 90 percent faster and gives out registration numbers 98 percent faster.

Documentation of these changes is available at michigan.gov.

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