Monday, October 19, 2009

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.......... no . really ........ it is. here's why

  In New York City, 13 people have died as of May 2008 in construction accidents, compared to 12 for all of 2007. In late April 2008, Lancaster resigned as buildings commissioner.

Last year, the city passed a law that removed the requirement that the buildings commissioner be either a licensed engineer or architect so Robert LiMandri could be appointed to the post. This proved to be an ill-advised move in January of this year when The New York State Society of Professional Engineers filed a lawsuit to remove Robert LiMandri as New York City's commissioner of buildings and void the law that allowed him to be named to the post. The city and the mayor were also named in the suit, which alleges the local law conflicts with New York State Education Law, which defines the practice of professional engineering. It says that the building commissioner can carry out duties which state law says should only be carried out by a licensed engineer.

The new local law does require that Mr. LiMandri have a deputy that is either a licensed engineer or architect.

In a city with nearly 1 million buildings, and about as many vocal and financially motivated constituencies, the job is widely regarded as a difficult and thankless task. The buildings commissioner requires a balance of professional credibility, political smarts, and media savvy. Removing the architectural or engineering license credential requirement dilutes the importance of the skills and training required, and will not benefit the public or necessarily result in greater construction safety--or more ethical building inspectors. 

Registered architects (RAs) and professional engineers (PEs), whose professional responsibilities, by law, are first and foremost to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, are best suited to lead public agencies that oversee building design and construction. ...

Robert LiMandri in May of 2009 said:

“As accidents increased in 2008, we added more inspectors and more specialized teams,” says LiMandri. “We increased our enforcement to unprecedented levels.”

By October of 2009 The Associated press reported this:

Six former New York City building inspectors, two reputed Lucchese crime family leaders and more than two dozen other people and businesses were indicted Thursday in a sprawling racketeering case that ranges from construction bribes to gun trafficking.
The encyclopedic indictment grew out of a gambling investigation and ultimately spanned from a betting operation in Costa Rica to construction bribes in the Bronx, authorities said.
The charges are the latest in a string of recent cases targeting construction corruption. They include a July indictment accusing a concrete testing company of faking test results on dozens of high-profile projects and a case charging a top city crane inspector with taking bribes to fake inspection reports.
Aided by wiretaps and even a bug in a restaurant, Manhattan prosecutors charged some 29 people and four construction and real estate companies. Together, they engineered about $120,000 in bribes and more than $400 million in profits from gambling and other crimes, authorities said.
"The case mushroomed," said Patrick Dugan, chief of the Manhattan district attorney's investigative division. "We uncovered the corrupt arrangements between all these individuals."
Most of the defendants were due to be arraigned later Thursday on charges including enterprise corruption — New York state's version of racketeering. Authorities still are looking for two defendants.
Three members of the Lucchese organization actually worked at the city Department of Buildings as inspectors, two of them juggling their government jobs with drug and weapons trafficking, loan sharking and illegal gambling behind the scenes, prosecutors said. Three other ex-inspectors also are accused of taking bribes. - A.P. News
Makes us wonder WHERE they hired all those "inspectors" and "specialized teams" doesn't it???
Michael Bloomberg is so busy listening to his Transportation commissioner and her special interest groups putting in bike lanes and plazas, that he neglects our safety by letting unqualified lackies run the Dept. of Buildings. WE ARE NOT SAFE UNDER MICHAEL BLOOMBERG!  

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