Tania Del Rio Named Commissioner at Inspectional Services Department

Special to the Gazette

Mayor Michelle Wu appointed Tania Del Rio as Commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) starting February 26, 2024. ISD administers and enforces building, housing, health, sanitation and safety regulations mandated by city and state governments. Inspectional Services is made up of five regulatory divisions charged with serving the public by protecting the health, safety, and environmental stability of Boston’s business and residential communities. Del Rio currently serves as the Director of the Coordinated Response Team for the City of Boston, leading the cross-departmental effort to address the intersecting crises of homelessness and substance use disorder. Del Rio will be the first woman to be ISD’s Commissioner.

“I am so grateful to Tania for her effective and compassionate leadership coordinating our efforts to address the urgent needs of the crises of homelessness and substance use disorder,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “With her ability to strategically lead multiple teams and deliver continuous improvement for our residents and City workers, I am excited to see her lead the agencies that deliver essential services impacting so many residents, businesses, and workers. I am grateful for Sean Lydon’s service leading the department to ensure our residential buildings and businesses are healthy and safe places for our communities.”

As the head of the Coordinated Response Team, she brought together over a dozen City departments and partner agencies to transform how the City cares for unsheltered constituents impacted by substance use disorder, homelessness, and untreated mental illness, with a focus on the ‘Mass and Cass’ / Newmarket neighborhood. In 2023, she coordinated the work that helped over 100 unsheltered people transition from a large encampment into safe and supportive settings.

Mayor Wu also announced that Brian Foran and Michaela Nee of the Coordinated Response Team will be named Acting Co-Directors. Both have extensive experience managing the City’s work on unsheltered homelessness and working with City Departments and external partners. Foran and Nee helped lead the recent phase change that ended the permanent encampment on Atkinson Street under Del Rio’s leadership.

“The responsibility of the Inspectional Services Department is to deliver core, essential City services to our residents, guaranteeing that the places they eat, shop, and stay are healthy and safe,” said Tania Del Rio, incoming Commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department. “I am so thrilled for this opportunity, and grateful for the honor of having worked with the many selfless teams serving our residents in need of substance use, mental health, and housing support. Together, they have helped countless residents embark on a path to stability and recovery. I have great confidence that Michaela and Brian can continue to move this work forward and I’m excited to get to work at ISD.”

Del Rio will be responsible for carrying out several of the Mayor’s priorities including expanding the Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) program, executing the conversion of commercial buildings to residential buildings, streamlining and fast tracking permitting for small businesses and homeowners, and improving quality of life for residents by enhancing basic City services.

She has a B.A. from New York University and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Del Rio is a BPS mother, a Latina immigrant, and a proven leader.

As the former Executive Director of Boston’s Office of Women’s Advancement and YWCA Cambridge, she has a track record of providing transformative leadership by fostering innovation, promoting strong organizational culture, responsible financial stewardship, and sharp strategic planning. Her work includes launching Boston’s Childcare Entrepreneur Fund, which continues to provide crucial support to the city’s childcare workers.

Del Rio is a proud resident of East Boston and an involved community leader. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two children, and staying active by surfing, swimming, and running.

Sean Lydon will remain with the City as Senior Advisor For Construction. In this role, he will assist in managing high priority projects under construction, including White Stadium, the stabilization of the buildings a part of the Long Island recovery campus, coastal resilience, and emergency projects. He will also provide guidance on permitting, particularly assisting with navigating the permit process for high priority projects under construction. This includes pre-construction, construction, and construction close out phases, with guidance on permitting strategy and execution to ensure timely delivery and cost effectiveness.

“I am so grateful to both Tania and Sean for their leadership in taking on these new roles to carry out Mayor Wu’s vision for a Boston with exceptional basic city services that residents can rely on,” said Chief of Operations Dion Irish. “With Tania’s experience effectively coordinating a cross-departmental team, I am confident in her ability to lead ISD, enhancing the core services our residents’ need and deserve. And I am so thankful to Sean for continuing to serve our residents in this new role, ensuring we deliver on major projects efficiently and thoroughly across our city.”

The mission of the Inspectional Services Department is to serve the public by protecting the health and safety of Boston’s businesses and residential communities. The Department consistently aims to fairly administer public health, safety, land use and environmental regulations throughout the City of Boston. The Department will continue to utilize resources to promote the quality of life in Boston through education, enforcement and providing emergency services.

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