Member Feedback Needed on DCRA Operations
On January 22, Chairman Mendelson, along with 11 of his fellow 12 colleagues, re-introduced the “Department of Buildings Establishment Act of 2019.” The bill seeks to establish a new subordinate executive agency, the Department of Buildings (DOB), which would be responsible for the oversight of construction compliance, rental housing safety and residential property maintenance activities in the District. The duties, authorities, and functions currently housed in the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) including permitting, inspection, and enforcement of the construction/building, property maintenance, and residential housing codes would be transferred to this new agency.
Additionally, the bill would re-designate DCRA into a smaller agency named the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP). DLCP would retain the functions related to the following services: Business Licensing; Regulatory Investigation; Professional & Occupational Licenses; Consumer Protection; Corporations; Vending and the Small Business Resource Center. While a hearing has yet to be scheduled on the re-introduced legislation, on February 6 Chairman Mendelson is holding a Public Oversight Hearing to obtain feedback from the public on what issues the committee should pursue in its oversight of DCRA.
As members will remember, Chairman Mendelson hosted a series of public oversight roundtable discussions on DCRA’s operations during the previous council period. These oversight hearings proved to be invaluable for AOBA as they not only provided an opportunity to discuss our concerns with the issuance of licenses and permits and the enforcement of the District’s construction codes, but they also provided us with an opportunity to address the agency’s leadership on the efficiency of their operations.
As DCRA is arguably the most important District agency for AOBA’s members, it is imperative that we continue to hear from members so we can once again have this invaluable opportunity to discuss with the Chairman and other councilmembers ways that we believe the agency can improve. This hearing will also provide DCRA’s new interim director, Ernest Chapprah, with a roadmap for how the agency can improve their partnership with AOBA.
As we prepare for both the hearing on February 6 and for DCRA’s Fiscal Year 2018 performance oversight hearing on February 27, please provide feedback to Randi Marshall and Kirsten Williams on the facets of DCRA’s operations that most affect your business and if you believe any of the agency’s new implemented service improvements have benefitted your business. Member feedback is needed by January 30.