One of the evergreen complaints about calling Brookfield Village Hall with a problem or a question is employees’ approach to customer service. 

But a comprehensive change in the way the village hall front desk operates, one that will be made complete with the hiring of a planner and a permit coordinator, will hopefully be a solution to that age-old problem and make village hall more responsive to residents’ needs.

Of, course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be frustrations with having to comply with village codes and permit requirements. But the change was made to move those issues along more quickly and provide more timely responses for residents.

What are the visible differences? For one, clerical employees are now cross-trained, which means that any clerk who helps you at the window should be able to assist you with a variety of things — from purchasing a vehicle sticker to paying your water bill to answering basic questions about permits.

The reorganization has given the village the ability to re-open the front desk during the lunch hour, something that has frustrated residents for years now. There’s been a concerted effort to provide a more pleasant customer service experience as well. That doesn’t mean there will never be any issues, but goal is to make village hall work better for residents.

That’s a refreshing approach that we hope continues well into the future.

Now for a word about “planning.” Back in 2010 when Brookfield’s last planner walked out the door, in something more than a huff, the village was in a very different place.

The village’s financial world seemed to be collapsing around it. Brookfield had little in the way of emergency reserves, and it was forced to lay off employees throughout all departments, and hard cuts to police and fire personnel were being considered.

The last thing Brookfield needed, many residents complained, was a village planner. What was there to plan?

In 2014, there’s plenty to plan and to plan for, and it’s time for the planner position to be reinstated. Together with a permit services coordinator, who will also be hired soon, the village can start moving permits through the system quicker, which means more prompt inspections and quicker turnaround time of building projects.

In the past couple of years — despite the fact that there’s plenty more to do — there has been fairly significant progress on Ogden Avenue. It might not always seem like the sexiest development, but it’s solid retail development that will mean sales taxes and improved property values on a stretch of Ogden Avenue that has underperformed.

There will be more to come, and with the reorganization of the building department and front desk at village hall, Brookfield is poised to handle what comes at it better than it has in the past.