Appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter in October, 2013, the Special Independent Advisory Commission investigating operations at the Department of Licenses and Inspection (L&I) has launched a website – www.phila.gov/specialadvisory - to provide the public with more information on the process and to encourage more people with relevant information to contact the Commission.
“We are looking forward to gathering new information submitted through the website,” said Peter Vaira, Executive Director of the Commission. “Feedback from those with knowledge of L&I practices, including anonymous feedback, is the next critical step as we begin to formulate constructive strategies to improving building safety and demolition standards in Philadelphia.”
Since the Commission’s launch, members have been collecting information through interviews with current and former L&I staffers, audit reviews and relevant document research through L&I and the City. The Commission originally expected to complete its work and issue a report by July but has now informed the Mayor the process will take until mid-September. The Commission is staffed by highly experienced professionals who are volunteering their time while maintaining their day jobs.
“We are working at full capacity to conduct a thorough investigation,” said Commission chief of staff Edward Dunham Jr., a commercial litigation attorney at Kleinbard Bell & Brecker. “The City and L&I have given us reasonable access to documents and there has been full cooperation from L&I staff. We want our report to be as comprehensive as possible, so we need more time for us to thoroughly review every aspect of this department.”
The Commission is looking into a number of issues, ranging from staffing, fees, permits, building demolition, vacant and abandoned structures, inspections, customer service, and many other topics, including the procedures followed by L&I in the collapse of the building at 22nd and Market in which six people were killed and 14 others injured. Additional questions, comments and concerns submitted through the website will contribute additional support.
The website currently has basic information on the Commission, profiles of commissioners and a contact page for submissions. The Commission will consistently update the website with new information as the Commission begins to formulate its report.
The Special Independent Advisory Commission to Evaluate the Department of Licenses and Inspections was established by Executive Order 6-13 following the deadly building collapse at 22nd and Market Street. Chairman Glenn Corbett, a fire science professor at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, oversees the 14-member group of lawyers, building engineers, professors and city employees.
“We need this public input, whether it’s by email, phone or stopping by our office to see us, to help us determine whether the overall experience with L&I is good or bad,” Corbett said. “Mayor Nutter has given us the authority to act completely independently in issuing our report. The bottom line of all this work is public safety.”
The rest of the holiday weekend continues to look warmer and unsettled. Shower and thunderstorm chances increase late Sunday and Labor Day.
The heat and humidity will continue to expand Sunday into Labor Day. There is a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both day. Best chance will be in the afternoon and evening.
Sunday (88/69): Clouds/Storm
Monday (90/71): Clouds/Storm
Tuesday (92/72): Clouds/Storm
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