Mayor Johnson forms Mayor’s Working Group on Permitting

The mayor appointed City Councilmember Paula Blackmon to lead the group.

City Councilmember Paula Blackmon and Mayor Eric Johnson at a news conference Monday.

DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson on Monday announced that he is creating the Mayor’s Working Group on Permitting, and that he is appointing City Councilmember Paula Blackmon to lead it.

To help the group’s efforts, Blackmon has selected Macey Small Davis, a longtime public policy consultant, as her private-sector co-chair.

Mayor Johnson and the Dallas City Council have previously declared fixing problems in the city’s permitting office as a top priority for the city manager. The mayor on Monday morning sent a memo to the City Council announcing the working group.

“Over the past two years, we have been inundated with complaints and concerns about the increasingly slow and byzantine nature of our city’s permitting processes,” Mayor Johnson said. “Enough is enough. Dallas deserves better. It is clear that we must now intervene with a new approach.”

The Mayor’s Working Group on Permitting will be responsible for seeking input, researching solutions, monitoring progress, holding city staff accountable, breaking down silos in city government, assessing potential budgetary impacts, and returning to the relevant City Council committees with any policy proposals deemed necessary to fix the problems in the permitting office.

Mayor Johnson said he selected Councilmember Blackmon because of her extensive experience in government and her proven ability to tackle complex, difficult issues. At Mayor Johnson’s request last year, Councilmember Blackmon joined Ad Hoc Committee on General Investigating and Ethics Chairwoman Cara Mendelsohn to guide the mayor’s comprehensive ethics reform proposal through the Dallas City Council.

Councilmember Blackmon thanked Mayor Johnson for this leadership on this issue and stated, “I am a firm believer that we work best when we work together and when we hold one another accountable. This is an opportunity for us to really get this right and fix a process that has been broken for a long time.”

Davis currently serves the city as the District 13 representative on the Dallas Arts and Culture Advisory Commission. She previously served as the president of The Davis Advocates, a local public policy and planning firm that she founded. Prior to running her own consulting business, Davis worked as the Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for The Real Estate Council in Dallas and as the first Tax Counsel of Federal Public Policy for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business association.

“I look forward to collaborating with our industry partners — builders, developers and customers — to provide a feedback loop at City Hall that will help us know what is working and what is not,” Davis said.

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Tristan Hallman

Tristan Hallman

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Chief of Policy and Communications for Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson