From the NY Times:
More than one third of Manhattan’s public school buildings have hazardous code violations, including many that have gone unresolved for years, threatening the safety of children and teachers, according to a report by the Manhattan borough president’s office.
The report, to be released Thursday, offers a cutting assessment of the New York City Buildings Department, the much-maligned agency responsible for building safety, which has been stung by charges of corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency.
In addition to the backlog at schools, the study found open violations at the borough’s public hospitals and estimated that nearly a third of all buildings in Manhattan have at least one open violation classified as “hazardous” or “Class 1,” meaning they pose a “threat that severely affects life, health, safety, property, public interest or persons so as to warrant immediate corrective action.”
Even if the problem has been corrected, a violation can still be listed as open if the fine has not been paid or if the necessary paperwork has not been filed.
Using a random sample of more than 2,200 violations, the researchers found that infractions classified as Class 1 or hazardous had been open an average of 1,829 days — nearly five years. The sample also estimated that building owners owe the city $60 million in uncollected penalties.
“I would classify this as a crisis that is happening right before our eyes,” said Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. “You have a quarter of a million open violations. You can’t trust the system because there’s no transparency or accountability.”