Buildings Department chief resigns
Click here for updated story. Earlier post below.
A day after the mayor said he wasn't happy with the Department of Buildings in the wake of the uptick in construction accidents in the city, the agency's commissioner Patricia Lancaster resigned today.
"This morning, I met with Patricia Lancaster at Gracie Mansion and accepted her resignation as New York City's Buildings Commissioner," the mayor said.
Lancaster has been facing heat from newspapers and bloggers, especially since the March crane accident in Turtle Bay that killed seven people. It turned out construction of that building should never have been allowed under zoning laws. Thirteen people have died in construction accidents in 2008.
Lancaster has overseen the agency for six years, during the city's historic building boom that has transformed city neighborhoods.
Yesterday, Bloomberg said: "I don't think anybody should be fully satisfied with the Department of Buildings. Whether they've done everything they can is something I'm looking at."
She was out by this morning. From Bloomberg's release:
"Over the past six years, Patricia has moved the Department of Buildings a long way forward by fighting corruption, strengthening inspections and oversight, increasing the public's access to information, and bringing increased levels of professionalism and integrity to all levels of her agency. Patricia led a comprehensive overhaul of the City's byzantine building code, the first in 40 years, which will make the construction of homes, schools, stores and offices in New York City safer, more affordable, and more environmentally friendly for years to come. Patricia leaves a strong foundation of reform and improvement for her successors to build on, and I thank her for her dedication to making New York City a far better place to live, work, and visit."
From Lancaster herself:
Today I submitted my resignation, which Mayor Bloomberg accepted. It has been an honor serving in his Administration and I thank the Mayor for this opportunity. After six years in public service, I made this decision because I felt it was time to return to the private sector. I am proud of the groundbreaking work the department has done during my tenure to root out corruption, increase transparency, overhaul the building code, and increase safety for workers and the public alike.
-- Pete Catapano and Rolando Pujol
Photo: In this May 2007 photo, Patricia Lancaster is seen with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo by Jonathan Fickies)
From The New York Times.