Mayor Rahm Emanuel today named Felicia Davis Commissioner of the Department of Buildings. In this role, she will be responsible for enforcing the building code; continuing efforts to modernize the department, including reducing permitting times; fostering economic opportunities by working with developers and builders on economic development projects; and promoting public safety.
“Beginning with her role in my transition, Felicia has been an invaluable member of my team, bringing to public service a unique skillset that has served Chicago and our residents well” said Mayor Emanuel. “Felicia’s diverse background as a police officer, college administrator, and in community engagement will continue to serve her well as she takes on this new role to enhance service efficiency, promote safety, and advance economic development throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.”
The Department of Buildings is a 285-person department with an annual budget of $32 million. It enforces the building code by reviewing and issuing permits for construction projects, performing inspections of buildings under construction as well as annual inspections of systems and structures. Building inspectors also respond to more than 50,000 residential complaints each year, ranging from unsecured, vacant properties to complaints from tenants about inadequate heat in rental buildings. The Department is also responsible for working with high-rise owners on compliance with the Life Safety Ordinance and addressing vacant buildings in communities across the City.
“The Department of Buildings plays a vital role in public safety and neighborhood protection, and it also has a responsibility to help review plans and issue permits efficiently to allow new developments to revitalize neighborhoods, create new jobs, and expand economic activity,” said Davis. “I am honored to continue serving the Mayor in this new role.”
Davis was the first Executive Director of the Office of Public Engagement, which serves as a direct link between the Mayor's Office, City departments, Sister Agencies, external partners and communities across the City to make city government and its resources more accessible.
With a professional career spanning more than 20 years, Davis has worked in a wide range of environments with diverse populations and built strong networks and partnerships along the way. Prior to leading the Office of Public Engagement, Davis was the First Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Emanuel from May 2011 to June 2012. She served as a member of the Mayoral Transition Team and Chair the Public Safety Committee in 2011.
Before returning to public service, Davis served as the Vice President of Administration at Kendall College. Prior to Kendall College, she served the Chicago Police Department, with distinction, for 10 years. During her tenure at CPD, she worked in many roles, completing her law enforcement career as a Detective in the Department’s Violent Crimes section, where she also oversaw the Community Policing Strategies.
Davis is a Chicago native and life-long resident; she resides on the City’s South Side with her family.
Davis will begin serving as acting commissioner until her appointment is approved by the Chicago City Council.
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