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Controller, Mayor In "War of Words" Following Licenses And Inspections Criticism

By Pat Loeb, Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had some choice words for the city controller after the controller criticized the department of licenses and inspections.

As KYW's Pat Loeb reports, Controller Alan Butkovitz called on the mayor to replace his L and I commissioner after his investigation of the department showed uncertified people inspecting buildings, excessive overtime and lagging demolition of dangerous buildings.

Mayor Nutter rejected the findings and questioned Butkovitz's motives.

"We're not going to get distracted by that kind of nonsense, or ego or narcissistic personality disorder that seems to compel the need for constant public attention."

Mayor Nutter says the department has made and continues to make reforms since a Center City building collapse killed six people.

Butkovitz called the mayor's criticism an attempt to distract from the issue, which he says is incompetence at L and I.

As CBS 3's Walt Hunter reports, A "War of Words" is now underway between Mayor Nutter and City Controller Alan Butkovitz, after the Controller called on the Mayor to dismiss  L & I Commissioner Carlton Williams.

Butkovitz says his investigation shows that following the deadly June, 2013 building collapse that killed six, the department has allowed too many dangerous buildings to remain standing, and too many improperly certified workers to remain on the job, with a 235 percent jump in overtime.

"I am calling for L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams to be replaced," Butkovitz told reporters at a morning press conference.

"Instead of getting it done, he's been interested in making it appear things are getting better."

But both the Commissioner and the Mayor say that won't happen.

"The Commissioner is doing a fine job trying to transform an agency in this city," he told reporters gathered in the hallway outside his City Hall office.

City officials say 272 imminently dangerous properties have been identified, down from more than 600 two years ago.

2,100 vacant properties have been sealed, up from 1,900 last year. And, they add, L&I's new budget is nearly $500.000 under projected costs.

"I have absolutely no intentions of resigning," Commissioner Williams stated in an email, responding to CBS 3.

"I am dedicated to the citizens of Philadelphia and will continue to make public safety a top priority of the Department of Licenses and Inspections."

Nutter accused Butkovitz of seeking publicity, rather than solutions with "outrageous, misguided and really irresponsible actions."

"We're not getting distracted by that kind of nonsense or ego, a narcissistic personality disorder that seems to compel the need of public attention."

Butkovitz responded in an email that reads, in part, "Mayor Nutter is incapable of responding to these issues substantively, so he has decided to instead take the Donald Trump approach of spewing insults and abuse."

Finally, one of the mayoral candidates James Kenney has already stated that, if elected, he will appoint a new Commissioner.

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