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DCist: Bowser Shuffles Existing Leadership For Two New Agencies Replacing DCRA

September 30, 2022

Come Oct. 1 the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will be split into two smaller agencies, with the new Department of Buildings charged with issuing building permits, checking on illegal construction, and ensuring landlords are keeping their properties up to code.

Every year, Children’s Law Center works with hundreds of DC families to ensure that their landlords address housing code violations that threaten children’s health. We have also advocated for the creation of a new, public health-focused Department of Buildings to provide proactive inspections and enforce housing code violations. But just hours before the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) was scheduled to break up and reform as two separate agencies — the Department of Buildings and the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection –the Mayor nominated DCRA’s existing director Ernest Chrappah to lead the Department of Buildings.

In an email to DCist/WAMU, Kathy Zeisel, a senior supervising attorney with the Children’s Law Center, said she was disappointed with Bowser’s picks, especially at the Department of Buildings.

“Children’s Law Center has been advocating for changes to DCRA for years. We are concerned the mayor’s nomination will not take the Department of Buildings in the new direction it needs to go. It’s critical the new agency is able increase its focus on housing code inspections and enforcement so that it can truly promote safe and healthy housing in the District,” she said.

That sentiment was largely echoed by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who sounded a note of frustration in a statement.

Photo credit: Daniel Lobo/Flickr