Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections Splits into Separate and Distinct Divisions

Written by: Natalie Klyashtorny

Mayor Cherelle Parker enacted a plan that splits Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) into two separate divisions, each with its own commissioner, as part of the proposed overhaul of L&I. The split aims to create more specialized and focused oversight within L&I, addressing various aspects of licensing and inspections separately.

Mayor Parker appointed Basil L. Merenda, the former Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Labor under former Mayor Jim Kenney, to head the division responsible for overseeing construction, building operation, and demolition, while Bridget Collins-Greenwald, the Commissioner of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Property, has been tapped to head the division which will focus on quality-of-life issues and business code enforcement.

By splitting L&I into two distinct divisions, Mayor Parker’s plan aims to improve efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness within L&I. Each division will have a clear focus on its respective areas of responsibility, allowing for better coordination, specialization, and resource allocation to address the City’s licensing and inspection needs more effectively. This change to one of the City’s most crucial departments comes just days after Mayor Parker announced that the City of Philadelphia’s Streets Department would be separated into two distinct operations – Streets and Sanitation. 

In late 2023, Nochumson P.C. attorneys, Natalie Klyashtorny and Alex Goldberg, participated in a L&I Reform Task Force Subcommittee on Enforcement which made recommendations to L&I focusing on the “out-of-balance” enforcement structure that is currently in place. Ultimately, the task force called for steps to be taken to make L&I more responsive to construction site complaints. The task force also wanted to see better collaboration with 311, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue, and the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department to eliminate government silos, along with initiating more vigorous code enforcement of contractors that are not code compliant, not properly licensed, or not meeting their tax obligations. The findings of the task force and others were published in a Final Report of the Joint Task Force on Regulatory Reform for the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which was reported to Mayor Parker on December 19, 2023. 

We are optimistic that the changes proposed and newly implemented at L&I will improve efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness within L&I, and we look forward to Mayor Parker’s new administration in 2024 and beyond. 

Please feel free to contact Natalie Klyashtorny at either (215) 600-2852 or if you wish to learn more about these changes to L&I and how it may affect a property or business you own or manage in Philadelphia.