Have other housing inspectors failed checks?
Here's an interesting element of the city inspector general's report about a housing inspector who was hired despite having a criminal record and was promoted after lying on a background check application: nine current city housing inspectors also failed to meet the requirements to be certified as Special Enforcement Officers.
At a budget hearing today, Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano said there are currently about 80 housing inspectors. That means that about one out of nine failed the certification, which they are required to have under a procedure Graziano put in place in 2002.
Special Enforcement Officers undergo rigorous background checks and have the ability to make arrests, Graziano said. He plans to change department policy so that housing inspectors are no longer required to have the certification, which he says is unnecessary and a remnant from another time.
In response to a question about the nine inspectors, Graziano criticized today's story for not noting in the first couple paragraphs that he had fired the housing inspector, Algie C. Epps, after Inspector General David McClintock brought the falsified records to his attention.
According to McClintock's report, police informed housing officials in 2007 that Epps had listed a false Social Security number, birth date and middle name on his background check application.
Graziano said that "we were first advised" of the falsified documents by McClintock.
"None of us knew anything about that" in 2007, he said. "I never saw any of the documents because I don't deal with the paperwork."
At that point, mayoral spokesman Ryan O'Doherty said Graziano needed to leave for another meeting, effectively ending the interview.
When asked about the nine housing inspectors, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake read from prepared remarks that largely followed an emailed statement that O'Doherty sent the Sun Tuesday. She praised McClintock, whom she hired shortly after becoming mayor, and said this was the latest example of city agencies working closely with the inspector general.
After she finished reading the statement, Rawlings-Blake was asked about the nine inspectors again.
"We're looking into all of those," she said.