Mayor creates board to oversee building safety

Mayor Michael Nutter announced on Tuesday that he has created a Building Safety Oversight Board to monitor implementation of the recommendations made by a Special Advisory Commission appointed in the wake of a building collapse at 22nd and Market streets in June of 2013. The collapse killed six people and led to the suicide of an inspector for the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Nutter selected Michael Nadol to chair the new oversight board. Nadol is managing director at Public Financial Management, a group of consultants and advisors to governments and nonprofit groups. He has also served as deputy mayor and director of finance for the City of Philadelphia and as deputy commissioner for the Philadelphia Water Department. Nadol is a faculty member at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

Also serving on the oversight board are 7th-District Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez; Ann Marie Ambrose, former commissioner of the Department of Human Services; Ned Dunham of Kleinman LLC, who was chief of staff for the Special Advisory Commission; Angelo Perryman of Perryman Building and Construction Services; and Wendell Pritchett of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. (Pritchett resigned from the School Reform Commission last June.)

In its report, “Safety First and Foremost,” the Special Independent Advisory Commission laid out 37 recommendations for improving the performance of the Dept. of L&I, which oversees building safety, issues licenses and permits, and enforces various municipal codes. The recommendations include splitting L&I into a Dept. of Buildings and a Dept. of Business Compliance, creating a vacant property task force, transferring fire safety responsibilities to the Fire Dept., and reviewing the training and compensation of all L&I employees.

“The formation of the Building Safety Oversight Board is one step in a deliberate, structured plan to bring meaningful operational changes, which will ensure that public safety is paramount in everything L&I does,” Nutter said in a press release. “After the Commission made its recommendations, I knew that the City needed a thorough analysis of every recommendation in the report. The Board is now bringing us one step closer to implementing the recommendations in a thoughtful, responsible way.”

The same day that Nutter received the Commission’s report, Council President Darrell Clarke announced a plan to overhaul the structure of the municipal government by creating a cabinet-level Department of Planning and Development. Clarke’s proposal was approved by a Council committee late last year amid calls from a number of witnesses to slow down and allow more time to review the various proposals.

Read Nutter’s press release here.

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