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Letter: Department of Permits lacks staff to license bar bouncers

Department of Permits lacks staff to license bar bouncers

I read the Dec. 9 News article, “Common Council OKs licensing for bar bouncers,” with some degree of interest, until I read that it transferred the enforcement of this measure from the City Clerk’s Office to the Department of Permits and Inspections. This idea is an absurd answer to a real problem. One has to ask: Who makes these decisions?

The City of Buffalo’s Department of Permits and Inspections, for whatever reason, is currently tasked with and unable to enforce the following: the Rental Registry Law, licensure of property managers and, to a very large extent, the enforcement of New York State property maintenance and safety laws (which it is sworn to uphold). It would be categorically wrong to lay all the blame on the Department of Permits and Inspections because this department has seen cutbacks and hiring limitations (for both inspectors and support staff) going back as far as the Masiello administration.

For example, only two staffers are assigned to the Rental Registry Department who, due to the sheer number of properties that qualify under the law, are unable to effectively police payment and to go after those landlords who are not registering. Inspectors who have anonymously spoken to me about this situation say that at least two inspectors need to be added to this department, as well as supportive staff, in order to effectively enforce just this law. Licensure of property managers is a complete failure due to the fact that there is little chance that anyone will ever take them to task for not “signing up.”

The fact that the Council unanimously approved this action speaks volumes to the lack of understanding of this situation or, for that matter, the entire problem. It is way past time for the Council members to stop acting like politicians and begin to act like elected officials who are tasked to serve the needs of people living in Buffalo.

Fred Brace

Niagara Falls