Buildings department struggles due to staff shortages in Bronx

The city’s Department of Buildings does not have the staff and resources
required to keep the Bronx safe, having collected $164.9 million in
fines and fees in fiscal year 2011, but spent only
$99.6 million, according to the New York Daily News.

Far fewer buildings inspectors are assigned to the borough than is
necessary, leading to Bronx fires linked to illegal subdivisions last year, said Jeremy Warneke, district manager of Community Board 11.

“The dearth of inspectors is shameful,” Warneke said. “The agency has
a great staff, but they can’t keep up with the work.”

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The department employs 324 inspectors in total and regularly moves
them around between the five boroughs “according to need,” said agency
spokeswoman Ryan Fitzgibbon.

Though the agency is responding faster to emergency complaints,
according to the Mayor’s Management Report, average response times for
nonemergency complaints grew in fiscal 2011. Only 60 percent of
nonemergency complaints in the Bronx were responded to within 40 days, a drop from
78 percent in 2010 and 94 percent in 2009.

“The time periods are unacceptable right now,” Bronx Councilman James Vacca
said. [NYDN]

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