Home Latest News Emmanuel shuffles leadership of key municipal construction industry departments

Emmanuel shuffles leadership of key municipal construction industry departments

Department of Buildings Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has reshuffled the leadership of agencies responsible for the city’s buildings and construction.

Judy Frydland has been appointed the Department of Buildings commissioner. Meanwhile the outgoing buildings commissioner Felicia Davis has been executive director of the new Public Building Commission, chaired by Emmanuel.

Former PBC executive director Erin Lavin Cabonargi has resigned to become Sterling Bay‘s director of construction.

Felecia Davis
Felicia Davis

Previously, as head of the Law Department’s building and license enforcement division, Frydland spent the last 25 years prosecuting Chicago landlords for building, fire and lead paint violations.

“She inherits a department once mired in scandal that has turned the page .  .  . but is still struggling to reign in and publicly shame its list of  “bad landlords” and file a flurry of lawsuits to force owners of 400 of Chicago’s pre-1975 residential high-rises to make fire safety improvements they have ignored for nearly a decade,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Meanwhile, the PBC — which oversees construction of police and fire stations, libraries and schools, hasn’t been building very much lately because of the city’s financial crisis and the fact that the school system is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Nevertheless, even with a bare bones capital budget, CPS still has $160 to spend — although that is the smallest in 20 years.

The financial crisis has forced CPS to propose a bare-bones, $160 million capital budget that’s the smallest in 20 years.

The mayor portrayed the changes as a win-win for both women and the city in a news release.

“Felicia’s diverse background has served Chicago well in her various positions in city government, and her most recent work at (the Department of Buildings) supporting and promoting new developments in neighborhoods throughout the city has positioned her to ably lead the PBC as the commission continues to develop community facilities and infrastructure,” Emanuel said.

“Similarly, Judy has decades of experience fighting for the safety of Chicago residents in building court, and the relationships she’s built with the business community along the way will enable her to be an effective advocate for public safety and continued economic development at DOB.”

Frydland said she has spent the last 25  “aggressively enforcing” the building code.

“Yet the Department of Buildings is much more than just an enforcement agency, and as commissioner I will continue to strengthen our relationships with businesses and investors to drive economic development in neighborhoods throughout the city,” the new commissioner was quoted as saying.


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