Good Grief — They Couldn’t figure this out?

Seems the city of Scranton, PA, has had a problem. They had a requirement that the parking rules be enforced for 10 hours a day, from 8 to 6. Fair enough.
However the local enforcement staff only works 8 hours a day so they enforced from 8:30-4:30. After all, they didn’t have the funding to cover the entire 8 hours.

Enter the private sector. Republic Parking took over the adjudication of parking rules in Scranton this past year and low and behold, they decided to follow the rules. They staggered the shifts so that the entire 8-6 period was covered.

The city has been loosing two hours (or 20%) of citations and some meter revenue a day, since the savvy local parkers understood that enforcement didn’t begin until 8:30 and stopped at 4:30.

The city says that it’s impossible to determine how much money was lost since they started charging for parking in 1987.  Hmmmmm. I wonder what would happen if you simply figured the amount of revenue collected during the “off” hours now that the private sector is running things and the did a little simple math.

If a government body doesn’t see that there is commercial interest in collecting fees and fines, then they simply don’t see a reason to be efficient in doing it. Private companies understand that if you are owed money, you need to collect it.

Good Grief!

JVH

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3 Responses to Good Grief — They Couldn’t figure this out?

  1. Par Kin Guy says:

    What did you expect? This was the same administration that was prepared to enter into a no-bid contract with the “top parking company in the US” AND give them an additional share of revenue as incentive. The company even announced the deal on their earnings call.

    After the city council called them out on it, the administration quickly put the work out for bid with a ridiculously short response deadline. Even then, the resulting proposals were HALF the cost of the no-bid arrangement without a revenue share. However, even though they awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, they didn’t read the bid responses thoroughly in making their decision or asked for best and final offers from the three respondents. Subsequently, a judge recently ruled against the City in a labor dispute with the unionized parking system workers. The selected operator bid non-union salaries and benefits which accounted for their lower bid and so the city is on the hook for the difference which is substantial. All of this could have been avoided had they hired a competent independent parking consultant to guide them through the process. A Google news search will fill in the details on this fiasco.

  2. rta says:

    Government employees get a check on the 15th and 30th of each month, and they are going to keep getting those checks twice every month until they put in their 20 to 30 years and then they will retire. There is typically no incentive involved in Government operations that are performed by Government employees, any and all performance evaluations are based on nothing more than a “job description”.

    Take the exact same job and put it under the control of the private sector and all of a sudden you start seeing changes. Why? Because in almost every instance the private sector evaluates performance by placing an emphasis on “improvement”.

    Status quo in government operations seems to be a goal, while in the private sector that is considered failure. In Government the aim is to “meet” budget, in the private sector your stock value can drop by a significant % if you don’t “exceed” budget by a certain %. We’ve all seen examples where the market drops because a company’s earnings missed “expectations” by a few cents, even though those earnings were still ahead of what was originally projected.

    With very rare exceptions most Government employees have very little if any incentive to perform beyond expectations, while the majority of private sector companies and employees are expected to perform beyond those same expectations. It’s not that complicated to figure out.

  3. Hal King says:

    I agree with rta to an extent. Many long-term municipal employees cultivate an attitude that says “Somebody must change but it won’t be me”. Many municipal supervisors won’t raise changing shift times when enforcement hours are extended because they don’t want to deal with union representatives so these coverage gaps exist. Municipal employees have little incentive to perform beyond expectations with one exception: the loss of employment to the private sector. In the last decade, I have worked in two cities where enforcement has been privatized. Both cities saw significant increases in citation issuance and collections. They also found many parking congestion problems were cleared up with proper enforcement.
    The problem lies in the inertia of the union and management employees of some municipal departments that take the easy way out of their work and expect the rest of us to cover the cost.

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