Independent panel to review operations of Philly’s Licenses & Inspections

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Mayor Michael Nutter has signed an executive order creating a review panel to delve into the operations of the city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections.

The review comes after the June building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets in which  six people died.

The independent review is designed to identify any problems that need to be addressed, Nutter said.

“In the wake of this great loss in our city, I want to make sure that I and we, as a city government, are doing all that we can to insure that this particular department and all departments are as strong as institutions can possibly be,” he said.

The commission will not interfere with any of the other investigations under way into the collapse, Nutter said.

Peter Viara, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will serve as executive director of the commission. Most of the commission’s work will be done privately.

“Public hearings are probably the least effective way to get information. Most of our investigation will be done by private investigators, persons on this staff, one-to-one, face-to-face communications with persons,” Viara said. “We’re after facts, we’re after information to find out if something went wrong, what went wrong.”

The commission will have a report ready by July 1, he said.

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