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Dallas brings in outside help to fix fubar'd building permit situation

Dallas brings in outside help to fix fubar'd building permit situation

Heights Mercantile construction
Lots of projects around Dallas are in limbo right now. Courtesy photo

Dallas has brought in an outsider to help clean up the department that issues construction permits, which has been plagued by backlogs and delays.

According to a release, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax has appointed William G. Mundinger II to serve as "Executive in Residence" for the Department of Sustainable Development and Construction.

He'll report to Dr. Eric A. Johnson, Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services, where he'll work on a reorganization of the department.

As far back as November 2020, construction industry veterans such as Phil Crone, executive officer of the Dallas Builder's Association, have raised alarms about a backlog in the city's building and permitting process, with hundreds of building permits stuck in review, and an average wait time to get a permit running at five weeks or longer.

On July 27, former department head Kris Sweckard was reassigned, and Johnson was appointed to manage in the interim. Two other high-ranking employees, Peter Chacko and David Cossum, announced they were retiring.

Broadnax says in a statement that Mundinger has "decades of expertise" to lend to this transition.

"His determination, dedication to the City of Dallas, and passion for problem-solving will prove to be beneficial as we navigate through this reorganization and chart a new course for Sustainable Development and Construction," Broadnax says.

Some of their goals over the next 90 days include:

  • Renaming Sustainable Development to "Development Services  Department."
  • Moving the zoning function to the Planning and Urban Design Department, with a goal of creating a comprehensive full-service planning and land use department. The Real Estate Division will move to the Public Works  Department as a part of the transition.
  • Both Departments will move from a traditional  organization format into a "teams" environment. 
  • Annual performance metrics will be developed. 

The release describes Mundinger as being adept at convening partners and identifying strategies, solutions, and implementation plans for complex problems in all aspects of the development process, across all types of properties and projects.

Mundinger was previously National Director of Development, Environmental, and Construction Services at Goldman Sachs, where he oversaw services in Dallas, the East and West Coasts, and internationally.

When the City Council approved the Economic Development Policy, they established a one-year transition period to develop the infrastructure and processes that will lead to a successful Policy implementation.

Mundinger's strategy will include organizational restructuring, communicating with the development community, and examining process issues.

He'll start on August 16.