City Housing Inspectors Fired
The firing of more than half of the city's housing code inspectors is shaking up a department that, in many cases, failed to protect tenants in dangerous apartment buildings, The Post's Debbie Cenziper reports.
The firings follow a Post series, "Forced Out," published in March, which found that the city's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has overlooked bad conditions in many cases, then granted permission to the landlords to turn rent-controlled apartments into condominiums.
The city's 34 housing inspectors, who are charged with ensuring that rental properties are clean, safe and well-maintained, have faced criticism for failing to cite landlords for shoddy conditions or following up when problems are noted. The lack of enforcement came at a time when tenants across the city complained that landlords were allowing buildings to fall apart to empty rent-controlled apartments and convert to condominiums.
In a statement, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs chief Linda K. Argo said inspectors were given more than 14 months to receive certification from the International Code Council, the "industry standard" licensing group.
"From day one of my tenure, my goal was to professionalize our inspections division through streamlining operations and increased training," Argo said. "This was not the outcome we had hoped for, but the goal remains the same and we must keep moving forward."
The employees have 15 days to appeal the decision and the agency said they "plan to minimize disruptions to the inspections unit," which performs more than 40,000 inspections a year. An "intensive" recruitment campaign to fill those inspector jobs will begin Oct. 1, officials said.
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Posted by: Singing Senator | July 16, 2008 5:38 AM
Posted by: Singing Senator | July 16, 2008 5:41 AM