NAFUSA member Peter Vaira, (ED PA, 1978-1983), shown right, was appointed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on October 31, 2013 as Executive Director of the Independent Advisory Commission to probe the cause a building collapse on Market Street, Philadelphia on June 5, 2013 that killed six persons. The Commission which consists of 16 persons will be chaired by Glenn Corbett, associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, of the City University of New York. The Mayor signed an executive order directing the Commission to examine the role of the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections in licensing and inspecting the contractors who were demolishing the building when it collapsed, and to further examine the entire regulatory and licensing function of L& I. The Commission is to make a final report to the mayor on July 15, 2014.
The daughter of city Treasurer Nancy Winkler was one of the persons killed while she was visiting the Salvation Army gift shop which was adjacent to the building being demolished when the building collapsed on the gift shop. Two persons involved in the demolition have been indicted by the Philadelphia District Attorney.
The Department of Licenses & Inspections has long been the subject of allegations of shakedowns and bribes, political influence, and general inefficiency regarding licenses and inspections of commercial buildings and businesses in Philadelphia.