Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng Announces Taskforce on Defective Drywall
– Taskforce Will Ensure Cohesive State Response in Seeking Federal Assistance, Keeping Affected Homeowners Informed –
*Defective Drywall Growing Issue in Hampton Roads Area in Particular*
RICHMOND – Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng today announced the formation of a taskforce concerning defective drywall that has affected homeowners in the Hampton Roads region of the Commonwealth as well as nationwide. The genesis of the taskforce is a result of Secretary Cheng's visit to Newport News in early February, organized by Del. Glenn Oder to tour homes and listen to the individuals impacted by the defective drywall. The taskforce will be made up of relevant state agency officials, members of the General Assembly from the impacted region, representatives of the Bureau of Insurance of the State Corporation Commission and the Attorney General's office, and three homeowners affected by the defective drywall in their home. Working groups will meet and involve private sector stakeholders. The taskforce will form a cohesive, coordinated state response to the federal government during their determination of potential federal action.
"During my visit to Newport News, I saw firsthand the situation facing these homeowners and listened to them about the issues they are dealing with," said Secretary Cheng. "As a result of an idea put forward by the impacted citizens, I have been working with relevant state agencies since that time and this task force is an extension of our efforts so that we have an opportunity to formulate a state response to the federal government."
"While we are not certain of an outcome from the federal government, it is important that we seek ways to best inform the citizens impacted and to hear from all interested stakeholders on the defective dry wall issue," said Secretary Cheng.
"Ever since the day I first became involved with the residents who have lost their homes to this dry wall disaster, I have been amazed that no one has brought them any relief or given them a voice to bring attention to the plight." said Delegate Glen Oder. "The speed of the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to set up this Task Force gives me great hope that this Task Force will move quickly to help these citizens find relief for their dire circumstances."
"Homeowners with Chinese dry wall were pursing the American dream and ended up with a nightmare. I asked Secretary Cheng to include them and I'm pleased the Task Force will have homeowners who have been so tragically affected," said Senator John Miller. "I look forward to working to bring needed relief to these innocent victims and making sure it does not happen to any more homeowners in Virginia."
Members of the state taskforce include:
- Jim Cheng, Secretary of Commerce and Trade – Chairman
- Senator John Miller
- Delegate Glenn Oder
- Delegate Bob Purkey
- Terrie Suit, Assistant to the Governor for Commonwealth Preparedness
- Bill Shelton, Director, Virginia Housing and Community Development
- Susan Dewey, Virginia Housing Development Authority
- Michael Cline, Director, Virginia Department of Emergency Management
- Dr. Karen Remley, Commissioner, Department of Health
- Dr. Diane Helentjaris, Deputy State Epidemiologist, Department of Health
- Dr. Dwight Flamia, State Toxicologist, Department of Health
- Dave Irvin, Attorney General's Office
- Mary Bannister, Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Insurance, State Corporation Commission
- Three Citizens (homeowners affected by defective drywall)
The taskforce will hold meetings and set up workgroups to address the various components of concern to the homeowners that will include input from all interested parties. Members of Virginia's congressional delegation with affected constituents will be invited and encouraged to participate. All meetings will be open to the public.
In Virginia, a number of agencies have been following this issue and monitoring federal action. Several actions have already been initiated. The Department of Health has been providing information on potential health concerns and has posted a frequently asked questions notice to its website. The Department of Housing and Community Development has issued guidance to local building officials on how the issue can be handled through the Uniform Statewide Building Code. The State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance is monitoring the response of the insurance industry and the Attorney General's Office has been responding to consumer enquiries.
Following the completion of its ongoing research, it is anticipated that the federal Interagency Task Force on Chinese Drywall will be issuing more detailed reports on protocols to address affected properties later this year.
# # #