Officials are hoping the third time will prove the charm when it comes to finding someone to help businesses navigate city and county bureaucracies.
Mike Diamente, hired in May to serve as the “ombudsman” between applicants for permits and the agencies that issue them, resigned last week to accept a job in Indianapolis, according to Allen County Councilman Roy Buskirk, who chairs the city-county committee overseeing the $1.4 million project announced last year.
“(Diamente) left his firm’s employment, and they weren’t interested in continuing. We hope to have a replacement next week, but it is a real disappointment since he had developed some contacts. We were caught off guard,” Buskirk said. Diamente had worked for the Abonmarche consulting firm.
In his short time on the job, Diamente had helped resolve three complaints and made several recommendations, Buskirk added.
The city and county each contributed $700,000 to the project, which is intended to improve the process by which the two governments process business applications and permits. The project includes new computers and software that will allow applicants to monitor the status of their permits and a review of city and county regulations. Denver-based Clarion Associates will be paid $84,880 to streamline the regulations, while Briljent LLC of Fort Wayne will earn up to $285,420 to oversee the program.
This is the second time the committee has had to reboot its search for an ombudsman. Last October it decided to seek new applicants after only one person – former developer and political insider Ken Neumeister – applied.
Buskirk said Neumeister is not currently being considered for the job.