The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved a plan to merge two Los Angeles departments that was first proposed following the economic crash in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The council agreed to draw up a transition plan that will result in the merger of the city’s Department of Building and Safety and the Planning Department.

The move was proposed as both a cost saver for the city and a way of making the city’s development process more seamless for developers.

Through a 11-0 vote, council members agreed to hire a consultant to work with chief administrative officer Miguel Santana, business groups, neighborhood councils and developers to craft a plan by Jan. 1.

The report will include cost estimates of the merger and whether some jobs, including managers, can be eliminated, Councilman Mitch Englander, who led the effort, told the newspaper.

The councilman emphasized that the plan was not to eliminate positions, but perhaps to re-purpose them.

The vote is part of a broader effort by city leaders to turn around City Hall’s reputation as a tough place to do business, according to the newspaper. Los Angeles was cited as the region’s least welcoming city for business by 60% of respondents in a survey released Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Business Federation.

In a statement, Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, who will take the reins July 1, said: “Making it easier to open a business in L.A. is key to our economic recovery, and I’m hopeful consolidation can result in significant savings of time and money. I want to send a clear message that customer service — red tape — will be the priority at City Hall.”

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