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Is the Curtain About to Come Down on Lancaster Era at DOB?

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Let's put it this way: when you wake up and most of the papers are running stories about how the mayor--who has been a staunch defender in the past--is unhappy with the way your agency is running, it could be a sign that it's time to put out feelers for a new gig. So it is with embattled Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster, who has been having a bad year. There have been worker deaths and, of course, the horrendous crane collapse that took seven lives. Safety sweeps have turned up scads of violations. There are routine claims that residents calls and complaints are ignored. And, of course, there was last week's revelation that the plans for the building at which the crane collapse should not have been approved. Yesterday the Mayor said: "I don’t think anybody should be fully satisfied with the Department of Buildings’ performance. 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." Ms. Lancaster says she's been doing a top-to-bottom overhaul of a department that was a major disaster when she arrived and that DOB issued nearly 10,000 partial or full Stop Work Orders last year. Even critics say that Lancaster has done things to turn around the Department, but that it's under-funded, under-staffed and still riddled with big problems. There have been 17 construction worker deaths so far this year.
· As Construction Deaths Rise, Buildings Chief Faces Scrutiny [NYT]
· Mike Rips Construx Agency [NYP]
· Mayor Dissatisfied with Buildings Department [Sun]