Newly appointed State Architect Chester Widom said yesterday that he is "digging deep" and looking at all possible solutions to address issues cited in a recent audit critical of the state's seismic safety regulator for public schools.
Speaking for about five minutes near the end of yesterday's state Seismic Safety Commission meeting at the Delta King Hotel in Sacramento, Widom described his 49-year background as an architect and advocate for seismic safety. But he made only a passing reference to a California State Auditor report that found the Division of the State Architect's construction oversight to be “neither effective nor comprehensive.”
As a staff member gave each commissioner a copy of the report, Widom stressed he had been on the job for only seven days and was limited in his knowledge of the regulatory agency. He assured commissioners that the problems raised in the report and recent news reports were a "high priority" for him. He said he would be open to talking about the matter separately with individual commissioners or at a future commission meeting. Widom was tapped to lead the office by Gov. Jerry Brown in December and began working Jan. 1.
"I can tell you I've looked at (the audit report) very carefully, and I'm working very, very hard to address the issues that are shown in there," Widom said.