City Club of Chicago: Judy Frydland, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Buildings
November 2, 2017
Judy Frydland – Commissioner – Department of Buildings, City of Chicago
Judy Frydland serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Buildings for the city of Chicago. Appointed in May 2015, Frydland was confirmed by full City Council in July 2015.
The Department of Buildings is a 285‐person department with an annual budget of $37 million. The Department of Buildings supports the safety and quality of life for the residents and visitors of the city of Chicago through enforcement of the Chicago Building Code, including permitting, inspections, trade licensing, and regulatory review.
Frydland aggressively prosecuted landlords who failed to provide tenants with basic services and protections that led to dangerous and hazardous conditions. In 1998, Mayor Richard Daley and Police Commissioner Terry Hilliard presented Frydland with an award in honor of community activist Arnold Mireles, tragically killed by a landlord, for evacuating tenants in a building overrun with criminal activity and dangerous building code violations in 11 days, and relocating those tenants to safer housing. The evacuated building is now senior citizen housing.
Prior to joining the Department of Buildings, Frydland spent 25 years in the Chicago Law Department working with various city departments, community groups and other stakeholders on the enforcement of building code, municipal health and business license violations. In her most recent role as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Building and Licensing Enforcement, Frydland enforced the city’s vacant building ordinance and implemented strategies aimed to preserve the city’s housing stock, closed down and revoked licenses for problem businesses engaging in criminal activity, actively preserved occupied residential buildings through Circuit Court measures and available city programs, aggressively prosecuted illegal signs and dangerous and hazardous rooftop water tanks, as well as enforced the Life Safety Evaluation (LSE) requirements for pre-1975 high-rise buildings.
In her tenure at the Law Department, Frydland participated in the prosecution of building owners involved in the E-2 nightclub disaster, the Lincoln Park porch collapse, and the abandoned Waterview downtown construction project, including forcing the building owner to remove an abandoned crane on an unprotected upper level of the structure.
Frydland graduated from I.I.T. Chicago Kent College of Law, was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1990 and is a current member of the Chicago Bar Association. Frydland earned her law degree while working as a social worker and assistant administrator in a nursing home. Frydland also has a Master’s Degree in Community Health Care Planning and Administration.