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Lancaster Resigns
April 22nd, 2008

Buildings Department Commissioner Patricia Lancaster has tendered her resignation to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which some say is the first time a Bloomberg administration official has resigned under a cloud.

Lancaster, who was the first woman in the post and has been there for six years, was brought in by Bloomberg to revitalize and clean up the long-deficient agency. After several large scale construction accidents, including the crane collapse earlier this year that killed seven people, her resignation may come as no surprise to some city officials (Check out this commentary featured on Gotham Gazette last month where State Senator Liz Krueger calls for Lancaster to step down).

Here is Bloomberg’s statement:

This morning, I met with Patricia Lancaster at Gracie Mansion and accepted her resignation as New York Citys Buildings Commissioner. 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 publics access to information and bringing increased levels of professionalism and integrity to all levels of her agency. Patricia led a comprehensive overhaul of the citys 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.

And here is Lancaster’s:

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. My message today to the talented and capable staff at the Department of Buildings is to keep up the hard work: youve made so much important progress. It has been my distinct pleasure working with you.

And this just in from Councilmember Tony Avella, a 2009 mayoral candidate who called for her resignation in January:

“While I thank her for her efforts to reform the Building Code, her administration was riddled with sheer incompetence and an absolute neglect of building construction and safety enforcement issues.”

(cut)

“It was clear that under Lancaster’s tenure, DOB was an agency in total chaos. Whether it was a high-rise or low-density construction, enforcement and oversight simply did not occur. DOB’s main mission to ensure the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties under the building and zoning code had been subverted in a mad dash for more construction and construction at any cost. In the interest of safety for all New Yorkers, new leadership was needed at the agency. It was simply time for Lancaster to go.”

By on April 22, 2008, 2:11 pm
In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Lancaster Resigns”

  1. Daniel Millstone Says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 7:51 am

    I suppose that this shows a key function of Commissioners: to shield the Mayor. If ever the Mayor deserved blame for the performance of a city agency, he deserves it for the appalling performance of the Buildings Department. Commissioner Lancaster did the Mayor’s bidding and managed the Buildings Department as Mr. Bloomberg wished for years. What is there about Mr. Bloomberg, other than the power to punish, that causes political figures to avoid criticizing him? Why to Scott Stringer, Tony Avella, Liz Kruger call for the head of a commish but are silent on the conduct of her boss?

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