City PLI Director Maura Kennedy leaving with Amazon
November 26, 2019
After six years working successfully to modernize the City of Pittsburgh's building inspection systems, Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspection Director Maura Kennedy is leaving the city for a position in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Kennedy announced to employees last month that she was leaving Friday, Nov. 22, to become an economic development manager with Amazon's Public Policy team.
"Maura took on one of the hardest jobs in city government and out-performed all our expectations. On behalf of the residents and businesses of Pittsburgh I want to thank her for her service," Mayor William Peduto said.
When Ms. Kennedy joined the Peduto administration in 2014 the then-Bureau of Building Inspection kept all of its records on paper and inspectors had neither laptops nor cell phones. She led the modernization of the renamed department, even as permitting requests grew exponentially with the city's recent building boom. Upgrades continued into this year with the introduction of One Stop PGH, which offers online permitting and licensing for the first time.
In her role as director, Ms. Kennedy's contributions also included:
• Achieving a 500 percent increase in permit activity, $200M to $1.2B. Reduced permit wait times from 27 to eight days, increased violation compliance rates from 6 percent to 71 percent and increased revenues by more than 40 percent.
• Creating an interactive mapping site called BuildingEye, an online tool that allows citizens to be able to access all location-based permit, license, and violation data in real time. Scanned thousands of historical records so they are accessible by field personnel and the public.
• Reorganizing PLI to optimize functional alignment. Re-wrote job descriptions and revised employee recruitment to improve experience and diversity of candidates. Launched staff technical training program, recognized by state and national professional organization as a best practice.
• Starting proactive inspection procedures for more than 6,000 old, uninspected permits, 5,000 high risk structures under the fire code and 2,000 vacant structures. This effort helped reduce structure fires and building collapses in Pittsburgh.
• Restructuring the bidding process for the first time in more than 20 years to make demolition more transparent, safe, environmentally sound, and timely. Changes reduced the cost of demolitions by 30 percent, allowing the city to demolish more structures.
"I have tremendously enjoyed my time here and am so proud of the work that we accomplished together. This is a strong team and you are all thoughtful, compassionate, and technically excellent leaders. I have no doubt that PLI will continue to provide good service to the citizens and businesses of Pittsburgh going forward," she said.
As of Saturday, Assistant PLI Director Sarah Kinter will be named acting director of the department.
Before joining the Peduto Administration Ms. Kennedy held similar positions with the City of Philadelphia and served as Deputy Press Secretary for Mayor Michael A. Nutter. She is a nationally recognized leader in building code administration and code enforcement.
Ms. Kennedy is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Master's in Business Administration from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.