NYC Buildings Commissioner Resigns Following  Construction Accidents

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–In the wake of a recent spate of high-profile construction accidents on multifamily high rises in New York City, the city’s buildings commissioner, Patricia Lancaster, has resigned.Patricia Lancaster submitted her resignation to Mayor Michael Bloomberg today morning, amid accusations that the department failed to adequately deal with safety violations at construction sites.“Today I submitted my resignation, which Mayor Bloomberg accepted,” Lancaster said in a statement. “After six years in public service, I made this decision because I felt it was time to return to the private sector.”The announcement comes less than a week after the six-year veteran was criticized for failing to oversee and enforce building regulations that could have prevented injury or death at a number of city construction sites, most notably the East 51st St. construction site where six workers and one civilian died in a tower crane collapse last month. Last week, Lancaster admitted that construction plans for the site should never have been approved because the development violated zoning regulations.“Patricia has moved the Department of Buildings a long way forward by fighting corruption, strengthening inspections and oversight, increasing the public’s access to information, and bringing increased levels of professionalism and integrity to all levels of her agency,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Patricia leaves a strong foundation of reform and improvement for her successors to build on.”Bloomberg hired Lancaster six years ago to modernize the agency, which employs nearly 1,300 people.