Both congratulations and condolences might be appropriate for William “Buddy” Christopher, Boston’s new czar of housing inspections.
Christopher was just named commissioner of the city’s Inspectional Services Department. His appointment comes in the wake of a hard-hitting Globe Spotlight Team series that detailed the awful conditions in thousands of rental units housing students across the city. They are a disgrace to a world-class city.
And as the Spotlight report demonstrated, the conditions are not just often unsanitary bordering on subhuman — they can also be deadly. Boston University student Binland Lee was weeks from graduation last year when she died in a fire, trapped in a plainly illegal attic apartment. She was living in precisely the kinds of conditions building codes are meant to prevent.
Christopher’s appointment was just announced, but was not unexpected. He and many of his family members worked tirelessly for the election of their Tuttle Street neighbor and dear friend Marty Walsh as mayor. Not only that: As an architect and longtime official of both ISD and the Department of Neighborhood Development, Christopher is a highly credible choice for the job. By no means should this be construed as cronyism.
He will have his hands full. As the Globe series amply demonstrated in devastating detail, the city is completely overmatched in its efforts to guarantee safe housing, especially for the thousands of college students who live off campus.
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