Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Building Inspection Leaderless ... Again

Richie Aprile's old crew from the Soprano's had more stability than this. Or the percussion section from Spinal Tap.

Chief [Sergei] Matveiev, 42, said he is leaving because he got "a terrific opportunity" to serve as a code official for Plans Examiners Inc., and later to become managing director of that company's emerging architectural subsidiary. He is a registered architect. (P-G, Rich Lord; see also Trib, Jeremy Boren)

Uh huh.

Kevin Acklin released a short statement:

The Mayor's inability to bring stability to the Bureau of Building Inspection is hurting our neighborhoods. When both the ICA and City Controller Michael Lamb have issued reports criticizing the performance of BBI, the City's response to neighborhood complaints and Sergei Matveiev's resignation are huge steps backward for revitalizing this bureau and our neighborhoods. Under an Acklin Administration, you will see real leadership for, and investment in, our neighborhoods.

I wonder if anyone will try to draw a connection between turnover at the helm of this department, and the sort of unprofessional political shenanigans for which it is popularly said to be utilized.

For that matter I wonder if any of that stuff came to a head during this election cycle.


  1. Acklin: I would never put interests of my supporters before city. Asked mayor to explain John Verbanac and Ed Grattan's role in this administration, he said they were friends and supporters. My campaign has documents and emails showing Verbanac writes speeches, advised you to purge staff, advised you to fire BBI chief Ron Graziano - It's very clear Mr. Ravenstahl you lied to the people of this city on Saturday.

    So was it Ford or Verbanic who advised the mayor to fire Ron Graziano? There was speculation on the blogs and in the paper that it was Ford because of the "red tape" involved with the Wylie Holding's Sand Box lofts project.

    Do you have the e-mail that Acklin is referring to Bram?

  2. I would have taken a better paying position with room for massive advancement in my actual chosen profession also. Sergei may be a master code professional, but he is an architect by choice/education/preference.

    This probably isn't one of those issues easily tied to the others. That's the beauty of government work. You get tremendous exposure, make immense contacts, and if you're really good at what you do, you get plucked away by the private sector.

    That is the downside to managing the public sector - you can't compete with a great private-sector deal.

  3. BBi is a joke and has been for quite some time.

  4. Well, it WAS dismantled by the mayor and his "friends" Matt. The city should beef up BBI and start handing out fines left and right to all the absentee landlords in the blighted areas of the city. It would significantly increase revenue and reduce blight. What is stopping them? Private interests? Developers?

    No staff?

  5. The big unreported news is the Rental Unit Registration legislation that was passed by council LAST YEAR and supposed to be implemented by the City by Sept. The word is that the major rental properties have gone to the admin and a quiet negotiation is underway to gut the key code enforcement provision. Can you name the landlords ;)
    A KEY provision that could radically improve the condition of our housing stock, is the requirement that in order to be a rental property you have to have an occupancy permit. MANY dont.

    BBI, while it needs improvement, is not as corrupt as everyone makes it, especially now that you-know-who is gone. That said, the department suffers from poor technology and no integration of services and data.

    The paperwork can change without notice and while it is good intentioned, is driven by reactionary red tape (slumlaywers and slumlords drive these overreactions).

    Seen from my view as an architect, those who don't understand the underlying purpose and intent of the building code and the laws surrounding them, can easily be frustrated.

    That's what you pay code-savvy architects to deal with (we pay tens of thousands in professional liability to take it on ;)

  6. Anon 7:44, are you kidding me? Is that the spin on the resignation?
    Very imaginative.

    Anon 10:54, I agree with some of what you said, but not all of it. BBI is corrupt at varying levels, at varying times. It does not police itself very well from lower level employees to the top. Technology is not the panacea that most hope it will be. Strides have been made and I think some are very positive, however, it will take years to right that ship.

    Frustration is a good term in dealing with the issues, however, good architects and code officials are only a part of the solution.

  7. The rental law as well as the abandoned building law are crap bills. Over-reaching again. Worthless in the real world. If they wanted to streamline city government -- they'd prune all the stuff that they can't enforce and shouldn't enforce. Examples like these are not going to resonate with the voters / challengers. As if the members on city council started to campaign against the mayor because he didn't enforce -- then their twisted laws would be put front and center and they'd really be campaigning against what evil they have planted throughout.

  8. As a lawyer who had read the bill regarding rental properties, I agree with Mark R. The bills are crap and the Mayor's Office and City Council had to have known that when they were passed.

    However, this administration seems to not care what the law says or what is the "right" thing to do.

    Ron Graziano was a good man who got screwed by the administration because he stood up for law and what he knew was right. I am sure Sergi knows that if he stays in his current position, he will mostly likely be compromised. No professional who has other job opportunities would put up with what the R administration is dishing out to its people. Hence, the on-going exodus of good people from city hall.

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