Mayor Nutter names Streets Dept. deputy commissioner Carlton Williams to lead L&I

During a press conference in City Hall Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter announced that Carlton Williams will become the next commissioner of the Department of Licenses and Inspections, the agency charged with ensuring compliance with the City’s various zoning and building codes. 

Williams currently serves as deputy commissioner of the Streets Department. 

Fran Burns, outgoing L&I commissioner, has been named executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. 

In his announcement, Mayor Nutter thanked Burns for her four years of service as L&I Commissioner, saying that the agency’s operations became more efficient under her direction. Specifically, Nutter praised the vacant property management strategy implemented by the agency during Burns’ tenure. That strategy, which focuses on holding vacant-property owners accountable for maintenance, was recognized with an “America’s Crown Communities” award earlier this year from American City and County Magazine. 

In recent weeks, L&I’s ability to deal with the epidemic of vacant property in Philadelphia has been called into question, particularly following a fire at the Buck Hosiery building in Kensington last month which killed two firefighters. In Wednesday’s press conference, Burns said she was proud of the agency’s improved operation under her direction, but acknowledged that it still needs to improve.

In his time at Streets, Williams helped lead the City’s recycling program and oversaw the annual Philly Spring Cleanup. He was recognized in March with the Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service. Williams will take over the L&I position in early June. 

“I couldn’t be happier with the appointment [of Williams],” Burns said. “I think this is going to be an extremely smooth transition.” 

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Philadelphia, May 9, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Deputy Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams has been appointed as Commissioner of the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I), replacing the current L&I Commissioner Fran Burns, who is slated to become the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. Williams will assume his new position in early June. 

“Carlton will be a tremendous leader at L&I. Much like his predecessor, he has a strong commitment to Philadelphia and a history of public service. Commissioner Burns set an example of innovation and hard work that I know Carlton will continue. While we will miss Fran, I am excited to see what is next for L&I under Carlton’s leadership,” said Mayor Nutter.   

Deputy Commissioner Williams has been an innovative administrator for the Sanitation Division of the Streets Department, overseeing the Annual Philly Spring Cleanup, the City’s UnLitter Us Campaign and the implementation of Big Belly Solar waste baskets. He has also led the City’s recycling efforts, which include a now 20% recycling diversion rate and citywide weekly recycling. 

“I am extremely honored to be selected as the City’s next Licenses and Inspections Commissioner,” said Deputy Commissioner Carlton Williams. “L&I is the lead agency for building code safety, and I understand the magnitude of ensuring that we continue to exercise the highest standards and professionalism in this regard. Commissioner Burns has set a precedent for accountability and integrity, and I am looking forward to building upon her success. I would like to thank Mayor Michael Nutter and Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger for this tremendous opportunity.” 

Carlton Williams has a long history of public service. He was recently honored with the inaugural Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service. He has served as Deputy Commissioner of the Streets Department since 2005. He also served as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Recreation for five years and worked 10 years for the Fairmount Park Commission. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Widener University.  

L&I Commissioner Fran Burns said, “It’s been a privilege to serve as L&I Commissioner. I thank everyone who played a role in moving this Department forward – the employees whose hours of hard work resulted in improved inspection rates, the community groups who partnered with us to identify and resolve issues, other City agencies for helping us reach our shared objective of improving this city, and Mayor Michael Nutter for raising the bar for L&I services. As a result, I am handing over a much improved Department. While there’s still work to be done, a solid foundation has been re-established. I look forward, with the same vigor of service of the past four years, to my new position as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.” 

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger said, “As sad as we were to have Fran Burns leave L&I, we are delighted to welcome Carlton Williams to this critically important leadership role.  Carlton’s dedication to public service and his vast knowledge of city operations will assure that improvements to L&I will move forward with professionalism and conviction.” 

Streets Commissioner Clarena I. W. Tolson said, “I am certain that the focus on customer service and integrity that Carlton Williams demonstrated every day in the Sanitation Division of the Streets Department will translate well to Licenses and Inspections Department.” 

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