A new interim director was named Wednesday to lead the Department of Building Inspection after former department head Tom Hui resigned amid allegations that he committed legal and ethical violations.
The Building Inspection Commission voted to appoint Chief Building Inspector Patrick O’Riordan as interim director. O’Riordan has worked at the department as a chief building inspector for seven years.
Hui stepped down after the City Attorney’s Office accused him of a range of misconduct last week including that he accepted gifts from the developer behind a large project in Hayes Valley and gave him preferential treatment.
The City launched the investigation into Hui after the FBI arrested the former head of Public Works, Mohammed Nuru, in part for allegedly accepting gifts from the same developer of the 555 Fulton St. development, Zhang Li.
Mayor London Breed had called on the commission to remove Hui at its Wednesday meeting, but he resigned from the position before it could act.
“There is no place in public service for self-dealing,” Breed said in a March 10 letter to the commission recommending his removal. “Mr. Hui abused his position and authority, and betrayed the public trust.”
After meeting in closed session, the Building Inspection Commission emerged to announce O’Riordan as the appointee.
The commission plans to conduct a six-month national search to find a permanent replacement for Hui.
O’Riordan assured the commission that, “We have terrific staff who work relentlessly every day to ensure that building and life safety codes are observed in both the letter and spirit of the laws behind them.”
“We will continue to do everything we can as a department to meet the mayor and Board of Supervisors ongoing leadership efforts to build more housing that is safely constructed for all, especially for our city’s most vulnerable populations,” O’Riordan said.