Councilmember Silverman Statement on Proposed Overhaul of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) today released the following statement after co-introducing a bill with Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) to divide responsibilities of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) into two newly created agencies:

“The District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs needs a significant overhaul. It is vital to protecting the health and welfare of our residents, as well as our businesses and our economy. That’s why I am an enthusiastic co-introducer of Chairman Mendelson’s bill today, the Department of Buildings Establishment Act of 2018, to break up DCRA into two agencies.

Take just these last four days: D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) crews have been called to fight fires that were caused by contractors either unlicensed or without proper permits. The violations were so obvious that FEMS could identify the problem almost immediately. These fires are further examples of the ways that DCRA puts our residents and businesses at risk.

Dividing DCRA into two agencies is not a cure-all, but it is a significant step in the right direction. It will give a greater focus to their core mission and bring more leadership. In my time on the Council, I have heard a steady and consistent stream of examples of DCRA falling short in permitting, inspections, and enforcement of construction codes in the District. These shortfalls cause real harm to residents through expensive legal fights and costly renovations and, in the case of the recent fires, put lives in danger. We simply must do something to better serve our residents.

I look forward to a hearing on the bill, quick passage, and implementation to make our government work better for everyone.”