Faced with mounting concerns about a spike in construction accidents, including 13 construction-related deaths this year, Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster tendered her resignation this morning, which the mayor accepted.
“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, ” said Mayor Bloomberg in a press release, which was a far cry from some very critical, off-the-cuff remarks he made yesterday.
“I don’t think anybody should be fully satisfied with the Department of Buildings’ performance,” Bloomberg said, according to The New York Times. “Whether somebody could have done a better job — I’m trying to — whether they could have done a better job I just don’t know.”
The New York Post quoted Bloomberg as saying: “Whether they’ve done everything they can is something that I’m looking at. But clearly, we’ve had a dozen fatal accidents in the industry in the first six months of the year, and last year there were a dozen all year…. There was an issue of a building where a crane collapsed where they twice though’t the building plans were compliant with the zoning, and then a third look decided it wasn’t.”
The mayor’s harsh assessment came a week after it was revealed in a City Council hearing that a tower on East 51st—which was the site of crane collapse that killed seven and injured 24— should have never received approval from the buildings department because it was too tall.