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The Quality of Life czar

Bridget Collins-Greenwald

Bridget Collins-Greenwald

Longtime city employee Bridget Collins-Greenwald is enjoying her new role – Licenses and Inspections Commissioner for Quality of Life.

“I love to be able to help people,” she said.

Collins-Greenwald is a Tacony native who attended St. Leo Elementary School and St. Hubert High School (class of 1988). She earned a business marketing degree from Drexel in 1993 (and later a master’s in human resources management from Holy Family University) and began working at SEPTA as a safety program data analyst, a job she enjoyed.

Next, she worked in marketing for a law firm, a position she hated.

Ultimately, she took the city’s management trainee exam and did well enough to land a job in the personnel department. Since then, she’s risen the ranks, transferring to L&I for 11 years, including a stint as deputy commissioner under Fran Burns, a St. Hubert graduate who is now a vice president for the Connelly Foundation.

Collins-Greenwald later became a deputy managing director and in 2012 was named commissioner of the Department of Public Property.

In February, Mayor Cherelle Parker announced she was splitting the duties of L&I. While Collins-Greenwald would focus on quality-of-life issues, Basil Merenda would lead an inspections, safety and compliance division.

“The splitting of L&I is great,” Collins-Greenwald said.

City Councilman Mike Driscoll chairs Council’s L&I Committee and oversaw an 11-member task force that produced a report recommending splitting the department

Parker said she split duties due to the “mission creep” of L&I becoming the default department for nuisance and quality-of-life issues.

Collins-Greenwald, who lives in Pine Valley and is just shy of 27 years with the city, said the splitting of the understaffed L&I was a “long time coming.”

Driscoll, also in support of the L&I split, said Collins-Greenwald’s background is perfect for her new role of combating issues such as nuisance businesses, graffiti and dumping.

“She has a lot on her plate, but is uniquely positioned as someone who gets it. She knows her mission, which is all 10 Council districts,” he said.

Collins-Greenwald appreciates Parker’s faith and confidence in her, and that she understands she has a big responsibility in her new role, which mixes public education and enforcement.

Among the things that fall under her department are dumping on vacant properties, illegal auto repair businesses, pop-up street businesses, bedbug infestations and AirBnB regulations.

Parker issued an executive order splitting L&I, and Collins-Greenwald and Merenda officially began work on March 4.

City Council is expected to pass legislation creating a Home Rule Charter change that voters will have to approve to make the L&I split permanent.

L&I does not oversee the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), which is now under the new city Office of Clean and Green Initiatives. L&I also doesn’t control 311, which is under the auspices of the managing director’s office.

But Collins-Greenwald will be teaming with CLIP, 311 and other agencies such as the commerce and health departments and the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Collins-Greenwalk encourages people to make a 311 service request by phone, through an online form or on the mobile app.

The new commissioner plans meetings with each district councilperson to find out the quality-of-life needs of all communities.

“We’re going to meet with them and be proactive,” she said. “We want to blanket large areas. There will be a comprehensive approach to everything we do.” ••

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