The problem with the DEP is that the laws and regulations are so convoluted at times that many working there won't make a decision on their own without going up the chain.
Isn't that what happened towards the end of Rendell's administration? Regional managers were "relieved" of the responsibility to approve and everything had to go to Harrisburg for a decision, if not mistaken? So that sort of "oversight" is bound to greatly increase permit issuance time.
I'll offer an example of bureaucratic nuttiness. For years we had to submit plans for two story townhouses to not only local building officials, but also to PA Labor and Industry. Since we're close to Harrisburg, I took the "funny papers" directly to their main building at the Capitol Complex. It involved hours of sitting in the waiting room, even with an appointment. None of those appointments were ever met anywhere close to the time scheduled.
Sometime in the mid-70s, went over for such an appointment, prints in hand. Sat there for about two hours and when it was my turn, the guy spent a few minutes looking at the plans, said, "Oh, we no longer exercise any jurisdiction over these two story units with a vertical "one family" lay out. We only handle units with the second or subsequent stories for separate family lay outs." Duh!
When I asked him why they didn't notify anyone who typically had come in with the type of units like we built, that L&I no longer "ruled" on such units, he said they figured they'd just "notify" them as they brought in those sorts of plans.
No skin off'n my nose. I got to clean up, change clothes and sit in an air conditioned building for a few hours that day, while the rest of the boys toiled in the hot sun. Boss wasn't too happy, neither were my coworkers.