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tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  April 20, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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friend of lucy's. she called the insurance company. they determined that property was a total. they paid her off. as a result, she hired a license contractor to take up from this point to get a permit to take the building down. as far as she knew, that was going to happen. the building was taken down but it was taken down without a permit by license contractor she hired to do so. what we're saying, lucy had no idea what was happening here as the owner of the property and hopeful is not held accountable for what was done by the licensed contractor as a result of taking the property down without a permit from a licensed contractor. she's done everything possible to accommodate the city in this matter. we like to see the 5-year moratorium lifted. she doesn't have the funds to be
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able to rebuild the property back to its past condition, whatever it was before the fire. as a result, it's going to have to sit there for five years, the way it is, with nothing but a foundation that's probably not up to code anyway. you have to tear the whole thing down and she's asking that 5-year moratorium be lifted so she can sell the property or it's going to sit there for five years. her financial situation, and because of her age and proximity to where she lives in relation to the property. she's owned this place since 1988. she's maintained it. this is a sole source of income. it is a burden to have to go through this process. especially since it wasn't her fault, we're asking it the fire moratorium not be imposed on
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this property as a result. thank you. >> hi, i represent the demolition company. we have been in business peninsula hauling for the past 15 years doing this. we had no intentions of doing anything outside of what the city requirements were. with regards to demolition. we know the law. let me say that. i went out to the site, saw the site. the site literally was blowing in the wind. there were prostitution going on, there were drugs inside and there were literally two or three partitions that were standing that was blowing if the
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wind. at that time, i felt that property was not only a liability but a threat to lucy and the neighborhood and everything else. at that time, what i did instead of going down to obtain a permit for something that the city felt rared a permit, i went and i obtained alcom structural engineering. they did an evaluation, provided a written letter with regards to their opinion regarding this structure and what should be done. when we initially looked at the site and did an evaluation on this site and decided what we were going to do, all the charred and fire damaged material from that house was on ivy street with people inside
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the burnt dwelling. it was disastrous. at that time, i reached out to an engineer, please come out and provide us with an opinion what you think regarding should happen with this and the state and the condition of this property. which he provideddal letter. we literally did no demo. we cleaned the site up. that's what we did and disposed of everything. with regards to the complaint, we demoed on 23rd, which was fried. i don't know how the complaint come in before we cleaned the site up. i don't know how that could happen based on what was said here. we did everything we had to do pepertaining to clean up on that
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property in one day. that was it. that was the extent of that cleanup. >> that's the time. it will be public comment next so you'll have an opportunity for rebuttal. you guys want to ask questions? >> president mccarthy: no, i rather do public comment. your time is up. we can have public comment and we'll go back to questions. >> public comment? >> good morning my name is jerry dradler. it appears the building was demolished without a permit. the issue is, what's the resale value of the building with the stipulation that has to be replaced as it currently exist.
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i think the issue really is not about what happened, because it's clear what happened. the issue is, the petitioner is saying they are suffering a financial loss because of a demolition and the stipulation. question before the b.i.c. is do you remove the stipulation? my perspective is, if the petitioner suffered a financial loss, it's not the b.i.c.'s responsibility to make her whole. it's the person who demolished the building without a permit. if she feels she's entitled to money, she should take legal action against the person who demolished the building and result in the imposition of the stipulation. >> president mccarthy: next speaker. seeing none. public comment closed.
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>> rebuttal? >> yes, we did get the engineer's report but that came six months after the fire damage. we do have a system in place for fire damage buildings that require demolition. demolition permit can be approved with engineer's report and application and it goes through the proper channels. it is actually something that can be obtained. i'm going to show you the engineer's report. if you look at the highlighted part what it said, this is only thing that we got from the engineer. there's no pictures how the fire was. the date is actually februar
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february 6th. the original report was in 2018. unlawful demolition was no november 2018. there's loss couple of months there we didn't have communication from anybody. even the contractor saying, we need an emergency demolition permit. i want to apologize for not clarifying the determination and the definition of the 5-year moratorium. i did put it on back of my completion and findings. >> president mccarthy: thank you so much for that. >> one more thing. this is a double lot. there's a building on on 526 grove. i believe it's four-unit three-story building.
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the building is in the back which is the ivy street side. if you look at one of the pictures -- aerial view picture, you can see the bigger building. >> good morning commissionerrings. i wanted to restate couple of things that mauricio has said. i think it has to be understood that the engineers letter came in way after the fire and after the demolition of the building. i don't know that's a valid conversation to be had based on
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demolition that occurred with having an engineer's letter. i don't believe the engineer's letter was in place at the time of the democra demolition. it's not a vacant lot. this is a rear building. i think it was probably one of those rear structures that was built on the slab in the rather yard. you wouldn't really see any evidence of a foundation because there was a building placed on this slab. thirdly, we do have a process whereby an engineer and most structure engineers will understand that process. the process is, if you were going to be requesting an emergency permit for demolition, you will submit an engineering report along with pictures, submitted d.b.i., lot them happen to come to me.
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we have an inspector go out either concur with the engineer's evaluation or deny their request for emergency demolition and saying the building can be repaired. this process is in place. the report will come with pictures. it's not just a one-page document. it's an expansive report. >> commissioner lee: what's a turn around time for emergency demolition permit? >> if it's truly an emergency, it happens within days. >> president mccarthy: thank you. >> appellant have a rebuttal. >> i wrote that letter. i was on the site prior to it being demolished. it wasn't intended to be a full report. ivy street just assessing the damage of the building. if there was it was a potential
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danger. that letter was written much later at the request of a contractor to provide some evidence that it have been reviewed. >> president mccarthy: apprecia. where is your office located? >> i'm in river city. >> president mccarthy: if you done projects in the city before? have you ever been around demolitions? >> i never done a demolition in the city? >> president mccarthy: if you are called to do demolition report, would you understand the policy and procedures? >> actually i was called out there to assess the damage to see if it was rebuilt and repaired. that was the initial contact. >> president mccarthy: i think you come to the conclusion this property would probably need to be demoed and probably would have not passed. it would have made met that emergency demolition. that wasn't your mandate when
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you looked at the property. >> assess it to see if it can be rebuilt or demolished. my opinion it should be demoli demolished. would-be wer >> president mccarthy: were you informed? >> no. i took an initial look. >> president mccarthy: thank you sir. do we have more questions here? >> you have two minutes or do you have more comment? >> commissioner clinch: i forgot your name, your business located if san francisco. do you have prior experience
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working on demolition in san francisco? >> repairs and minor, nothing such as this. >> commissioner clinch: thank you. >> president mccarthy: commissie r clinch has a question for the department. >> commissioner clinch: i like to get further understanding of the rebuild moratorium. >> we want to let them finish their presentation. we have two minutes. you have two minutes. >> thank you. situation is like i mentioned before, lucy is not in position to rebuild this property. the state where it was at before the demolition. i want to let you know, if moratorium was not imposed, it would give somebody, if she was
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able to sell this prompt -- property, the opportunity to build more units to accommodate more people to the city of san francisco. lucy had no idea that was happening and the timing mentioned by the city. she was out of the area. notices was posted but she wasn't here to see them. that's where the delay was for her. as soon as she found out, she immediately and talked to the building department and to discuss the matter and try to come to a resolution. she's been very cooperative in the process of working with the city in order to get this thing resolved. thank you for your time. >> president mccarthy: seeing no more. we can open up to the department? >> yes. >> commissioner clinch: the question i have is the rebuild limitations are to be a building
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of similar or smaller size. does it have to have the same level of finishes for example? >> i don't think the code would speak to the finishes. the limitation is that the same configuration, the same size or smaller and the same number of dwelling units. that is the limitation. there's really two scenarios. if somebody elects to go that route, they can file for a permit to do that. the other route is if you want to build something bigger more units or a bigger envelope, you'd have to wait the five years to do that. really it's a two-fold thing. you either put it back the way it was or you wait five years and then you have opportunity to file for permit for a larger building. this is a rear-yard structure. there's already a building on
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the front. the owner did come to see us and was very cooperative. i think there's something here that mauricio can put on the overhead that will explain to you what the intentions were-in regards to the contract for the work that was performed. there are exclusions in the contract. permit was excluded in the contract. in my mind, that's meaningful. >> president mccarthy: thank you, very helpful. okay. i want to open up to commissioners comments we can take it from there if there's any. >> vice president walker: i think that there's -- we see
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enough of these demolitions that happen without permit that it's serious issue which is why the leadership in the city took the action of putting a moratorium as a real serious, hopefully, encouragement of not demolishing buildings without permits. we have one that's expedited for emergency demolition. the restriction allows for rebuilding it the way it was. there's no actual loss of value other than what you can -- what you are insured for. it is not the responsibility of our commission to waive this kind of punishment as it were
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for demolition. our department did the right thing when they realized what was going on. i think it's unfortunate that the owner was advised by her contractors or misled by her contractors or whatever it is, unfortunately there's a responsibility of a property owner to follow the law and know it and that's where it lies. i think there's several options going forward. if they need to sell the property or whatever, that's their call. i don't see where a there's anything presented to us that makes me think the department did anything that i wouldn't support. >> commissioner warshell: i should preface my comments i
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live near this property. in the large packet that ms. hungate provided, she begins can with i've been owner of 426 ivy street since 1989. parcel on the same land and just different addresses. i became aware of this property over five years ago when there was a major fire next door. the property, one door to the west, was completing a complete restoration of a historic building. there was inadequate securing of the rear yard. homeless broke in, fire started
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and ms. hungate's home as well as the home to the other side, suffered major fire damage and the property that where it began on ivy street was a complete demolition. in this period, we have gone through our painful process of permitting and approval to get a complete new construction on the property next door. the property on the other side to the west of the demolished property was owner occupied and restored promptly, even though it had severe damage. this property has remained in a boarded upstate. the 525 building. it's been a very long time from
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the community's point of view that this property has not been a contributing asset to the community. i've witnessed it different times for sale signs on it. i've seen construction going on at 525. the construction company -- if you have any questions, call this number. i did call it. they said they'd get back in one day, they got back in two weeks. they said construction is halted because we're having major problems. >> president mccarthy: i'm sorry. >> commissioner warshell: 525 has had tarps on the roof, ha
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hashad different situations as a neighbor. these may not be the principle elements in how we regard this property. i think commissioner walker had a very concise and focused and accurate assessment of purely the ivy street cottage was demolished without permit and that's the issue we're going to look at. i bring these other factors up only as a observer familiar with this property that has been uncle occupied 525 grove street
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and the unfortunate situation that happened on a fire in the cottage on ivy street on the same lot. i did feel it's my responsibility to relate my observations regarding this property and my concerns. the first fire started on ivy street. it took out three houses basically or took out fire damage two and took out one completely. now we have a fire at 426 ivy that potentially could have done
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the same to several houses. so the need to have this adequately secured can't be overstated. we now have two examples of issues and i think the people who spoke on behalf of ms. hungate, talked about the rapid misuse of the property after it was fire damaged by the people, prostitutes, homeless, others. again, while our issue here is purely with the illegal
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demolition of 426 ivy, i would temper any feelings i normally have small homeowners and trying to get to a good outcome. i'm harkened by one of the comments in public comment that this is almost a poster child of why we have this 5-year. it is purely a financial issue what is the worth of the property when it has the restriction that you could only rebuild it within five years to the same size as it was originally there. it's not a prohibition from selling the property, it's not a prohibition from rebuilding on the rear lot. it is, however, something that
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is germane to just how this property has been handled. cy would agree uphold decision 5-year moratorium that it can be rebuilt to the same size or sold in its current state with that restriction. it is an appropriate course for this unfortunate circumstance. >> president mccarthy: i'll close out my comments. i concur my commissioners here. we have from time to time have to deal with people who come and work here in this town. that's greet.
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they need to understand what the rules of engagement are for the lack of better word for building codes and laws. it's a shame really because i do believe you would have got this emergency demolition as i see on the building. i think you would have got all the substantial service that need to get this done. i understand the arguments about the blitheness and the danger. that's the whole idea we have those laws in place so we can strong guided principle how we approach our demolitions in this town which is right now is a serious matter. that said, i'm sorry but the laws are the laws. what you asking us to do is rewrite the script here. we can't do that. i apologize for misinterpreting what i thought was that you can
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replace this property. i do believe you can financially sell the property. i do believe you have tried to sell it. the problem is that, maybe you're not getting enough money for it. unfortunately, we have to up hold the laws says. this was unlawful demolition. if there's no more questions i like the call question plaza. >> the motion is to uphold the director's decision? >> vice president walker: i think we need the same language that we always include. >> commissioner walker made a motion uphold director decision. the basis for that motion the
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decision was properly issued? >> president mccarthy: correct. >> i would further add that the 5-year moratorium is an obligation imposed by the code. >> correct. >> i would second. >> we'll do roll call on the motion. [roll call] motion carries unanimously. next item is item 6. [agenda item read]
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>> good morning commissioners deputy director permit services. i'm here to discuss the newly released budget and legislation in this report on average d.b.i. review of approval time. the budget and legislation analyst report does not state the fact that 96% of permits receive are over the counter permit processes. these were stats that assistant director reported to us on.
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fiscal year '16-1/7/96% d.b.i. permits are issued over the counter or online. it breaks down to 25,609,000,000,000 issued over the counter. 15,610 electrical permits. for total of 59,854 permit. these permits were issued over the counter process. secondly, the report ignores a major metric, length average time owner it takes to respond on authorizations.
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they lump together all other agencies. we have department public works, you have urban forestry, you have public utilities commission and you have the fire department. one of the challenges for the small businesses that require multiple agencies. we do what we currently do and it's been working very effective there, we to have over the counter process. lot of these permits has to start off with conditional use and has to go to planning to get the authorization. we review all the permits in our division that comes from central permit bureau. we review them all. our manager and staff. any permit that's smaller project where we see a small business project, we reach out to them. we reach out and contact them that they are available for over
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the counter process. that's something we're setting out to the initiative to do. in over the counter process, we allow a job for plumbing and electrical, for building structural mechanical to go over the counter. we allow it on a two-week time frame. we have delay in comments. part of the problem is this is processes, all multiple agencies involved in this, when they go over the counter for example p.s.c. has to get a calculation for the water flow. d.p.w. has sidewalk permits, building and forestry permits. if you go from business assembly area, requires the fire department, requires fire sprinklers, requires areas
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separations there's lot of challenges to these permits. what we have done is when we these small projects, we change the information sheet. our g.o.2 information sheet that allows to go over the counter review for all the agencies. what we do, the following permits are eligible for conversion. we can't change it in the system. we're allowing over the counter review for all agencies on smaller jobs. we are currently doing that now.
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we did change information sheet when we see these small projects we are allowing them to do the over the counter process. part of the delay time that we're encountering, we're trying to do over the counter process, is eliminate the process from one department to the next. we're letting designer professional to take those plans and walk them through. comments are issued right away and respond. lot of the delay is a delayed time it takes from the design professionals that's requested of these comments.
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>> president mccarthy: that's a key point. there's no way of monitoring that. when somebody is submitted and you're sending comments back out, it falls upon the design professional to return those comments back in a timely manner? some cases, that could go on for quite a long time? some cases can be five months before it comes back. that is no responsibility of the department? that wasn't captured in that survey. >> it was not captured. that's a big issue. we're calling them and asking them to bring the comments back but there's a delay. lot of times the design professional doesn't want to go over the count for permit. they're saying we don't want it
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at that time. we want to wait? >> vice president walker: why is that? >> they're not ready to respond to all the comments at that time or busy with other projects. >> president mccarthy: are you finished? >> i want to say we are doing. we are looking proactively at the smaller projects for allowing over the counter. we're actually screening the job. we reach out and call out to them to encourage that so we can get passedor approved. >> vice president walker: on those, you issued -- you talked about couple of situations that requires noticing. like going from a partial restaurant to a full service restaurant and assembly. do nose noticing requirements, are they bypasse bypassed with r
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expedited service? >> planning still has to do the notice. that's why there's a delay in planning. we have a few cases now where there's notice of special restrictions involved from planning. they're okay in the review for us and we're putting planning as the last station. even though they are not complete with all their processing, we're doing the review on it and they're doing the last place where they can get the complete process. >> vice president walker: they can wait for the notice and any kind of thing what happens around that. everything else will be ready? >> it's difficult. when you go to a restaurant, requirements, the fire separation, majority of times, there's units above with the fire separation and there's lot of back and forth with many agencies to get it corrected.
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>> vice president walker: they are doing equivalencies trying to do what they can. there's no safety lessening on those issues in order to expedite the process. safety issues being evaluated but the process itself is being expedited. >> yes. >> commissioner lee: i do understand that there are delays and calls by the designer not responding to the department's questions on their permit applications. i find that this happens a lot. there's misunderstanding on their client's part. meaning that the property owner or the shop owner hired these
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professionals and these professional interact with d.b.i. sometimes these owners don't understand what the professional is doing with d.b.i. all they understand is that the permit application is held up. why? they don't know why. they say, it's stuck in d.b.i., it's stuck there. my question to d.b.i. is, is there a way to also inform the owners of the stores that hired these professionals that we responded. we asked questions to your designer to your professional and we're waiting for them to respond to us. is there a way to get that message across to the ultimate personal? which is the owner of the business? >> there could be a way if it's in the building division. they're lumping all the
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divisions together. comments may not be with d.b.i. it might be with a different agency that's not under our control. they can track it. they can track it to see where it's at. if we're familiar with it, we do ask. >> commissioner lee: let's say for d.b.i. for our department, is there a way we can communicate with the owner? >> we can send out the information to the design professional and the comments and owner. >> commissioner lee: that might help with the misunderstanding. lot of these owners don't know. they're saying the permit is stuck. we hired somebody to get it moving. it's not moving. the last question that i have, one of the recommendations in
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the budget and it report about simultaneous review of the permit. is that possible? is that practical? what is the sequence routing the permits now? is it practical to send the plans to everybody gathered the response. >> we do have a working group that's working effectively a a.d.u. lot of these small commercial places takes six months for agency to review. we had one recently where we went through all the review and health department sent out
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location where everything is placed where they wanted to have revision of that. we have d.p.w. as far as our review, it could be down in the future. we don't do that process now. we're allowed to go over the counter. it still has to go station per station. you have to have a building look at. we have to have fire look at. fire talks to building about it to see if that's doable and other agencies. we try to encourage over the counter process. >> commissioner lee: my last question, i forgot, --
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>> the health department is not there. we're releasing permit allowing the health department to give it right away. >> i applaud any efforts to take the a.d.u. coordinated. with small businesses there maybe more agencies involved. it's complicated. as we were raising the issue, the perception it's stuck in
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d.b.i. they come to planning and planning is a separate thing that they come to d.b.i. they get everybody else kind of when they are there. the perception is our way -- this is where it resides. >> commissioner warshell: i understand some things are out of our control. to whatever extent we can use our learning from the a.d.u. program and apply them, to speed up and simplify the process, i think it's highly desirable. i talked to small business owners. their biggest concern is, they sign a lease, they're paying the rent plus all the fees and anticipating all the costs and time is the biggest issue that they have. as we all know, rents not inexpensive. paying with this with no income coming in is horrible for them.
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understanding the constraints that we have of control over other departments. it's our goal to make this process as simple, speedy and transparent as possible. to ensure that the property own -- or business owners as well as their agents are appraised of where everything stands. maybe we would have fewer delays should clients understand what's
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going on. i appreciate everything that you invested in this. i think you're on the right track with everything. next step i think is transparency of information t notifications and working with all partners to bring that a.d.u. process to small businesses. they need our help. it's rough and if we don't want more vacant storefronts, if with don't want more small business failures, this is the way to really impact it. i would implore you to -- even though it's not our mandate to take upon ourselves, leadership role as much as we can to facilitate the goals that we all share to make it as speedy and
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effective process. while maintaining the correct notification and public safety concerns. i applaud your work and we recommend that we take upon ourselves as much as we can to reach the ultimate goal. >> gary lowe has taken over the counter permits. if he doesn't hear back from them, he does follow-up calls. he try to get the comments issues to move forward with the process. >> president mccarthy: thank you. my comments just as i read in the newspaper. i know for a fact how much you are doing behind the scenes to help the stakeholders and so on.
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i felt we keep communicating as best we can. you trying to do -- when these reports come out, there's a lot of moving talks attached to them. not just d.b.i. i think to commissioner lee's point, there's that misunderstanding what a delay is there for and why it happens. sometimes design professionals s are quite convenient. unfortunately we get blamed the reason why we're in trouble. particularly in the court of public opinion. that's the key for me. i know i talked with lot of people who understand the process and can actually identify when they are held up. they don't make a big deal about it. they understand why they are held up. it's usually due to issues. in the case i just talk --
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unfair to d.b.i. i want to keep communicating those facts and keep educatingesquing everybody. thank you for that. >> i hope that it will help the public know where the permits are and if there's an issue with it, for example the department has design professionally to respond to questions. i hope that is indicated. that will go a long ways into helping owners understand the process of what need to be and pushing the professional law.
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the health department. i know i ask this at the last meeting about the new permit centre and new building. it's my feeling that brick and mortar spaces -- retail entry iy slowing down. there's going to be more cafes. that usually means more health department overview. i was hoping that maybe in the new building we have space for the health department to be up on that permit centre. >> thank you mr. president. ron thomas, assistant director d.b.i. you want to speak to two items. one item is with communication. when we examined all our business process during the build process or s.f. permit.
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one thing identified was that we currently on our forms, don't have email address requirements. an email address is most expeditious way to communicate and memorialize the time frame upon which it was issued. we decided collectively, the best thing to do is start asking for these up front when an applicant comes in.
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once d.b.i. collects that information, once they issue a comment, they issue c.c. to the oner. you're sending it to the design professional regardless discipline, but the owner gets to a copy. that can be immediate approval. secondly, speaking to the new permit centre, if it's brick and mortar what we're looking at, our agency has the largest number of staff there. there's a director who has been hired to handle all those issues our understanding is, health department will have a presence. the whole idea is not to have an
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applicant go knirl else to get their brick and mortar3related permit. they need that information the permit centre as well. even though it's not permit. it's a start of deciding whether you want to do business in san francisco or not. there will be presence in that s.f. permit centre. i hope that answers couple of questions. >> president mccarthy: thank you for that comment. >> any public comment on item 6? >> good morning. deputy director lowery did define a serious problem and it deals with managing thousands orateds o -- or tens of thousans of permits of responses from
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designed professionals. i like to echo commissioner lee's comment, obvious solution is the workforce solution. one thing a tardy report by department could be issued weekly or monthly and sent to that department. you can kick them in the butt. other is commissioner lee mentioned it, if there was visibility through the citizen portal, which is supposed to be delivered, a citizen or professional could go into the portal and clearly see the status of their permit and if there's an obstacle. i think the bigger issue here really is, performance standards. you can manage and you can report but if you don't have a standard to report against,
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you're reporting the standard versus performance. that's one of the issues i can h b.i.c. would address. are they doing things against the standard correctly. it's always the 80-20 rule. thank you. >> president mccarthy: thank you. >> any additional public comment? seeing none. item 7, update on s.f. permit accela permit project tracking system. >> good morning. i'm from department of technology to give update on the s.f. permit implementation
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project. when i was here last month, we were just in the third day of our user acceptance testing round. as stated on the report, we completed that round only april 4th. out of that round, we had 328 issues and that was on the fourth. as of this morning, we're into the period of fixing and retesting the things that were reported as issues. we're down to 260 issues. this process of fixing, retesting will ensue over the next few week as we work that number of open issues down to zero. these are severity one or two issues which will prevent d.b.i. from going live. that number needs it come down to zero open issues. that will be our entry point to be able to start what's scheduled to be our last round of testing.
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we're going to add into our acceptance testing process that next round from end to end and business simulation testing. just to show that permit and involving the various divisions in d.b.i. a large project can come in and c.p.b. staff takes it in. it goes through initial checks with fire and planning and gets routed to t.p.c. the reviews ensue, reviews conclude and permits gets issued back again.
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everyone is dedicated across the department staff, they are participating as well as the project team. we're also have our dusting off what has been our plans for the three weeks of training prior to go live. in prior month report, the external stakeholder outreach which includes this commission and city hall constituents as well as the contract community and what we're calling now our resident community to make sure that all of those plans are firmed up and in place. >> vice president walker: it's all heading in the right direction and i want to also applaud our discussions, the commissioners as we have gone through this process with