Busy Work Costs Everyone Time and Money

It has been reported that in Boston nearly 72,000 parking citations were dismissed in 2013. A Bostonherald.com article says:

“71,922 of 1.3 million tickets issued in fiscal 2013 were dismissed, and that … the most common reasons were drivers being slapped with violations for parking in handicapped and residential spaces — even though they had valid permits to do so — as well as duplicate tickets issued for the same violation at the same location.”

Nearly everyone sees it as problem that parking enforcers are writing so many unenforceable tickets. The parking clerk’s office is working thousands of hours handling appeals and members of the public are spending thousands of hours making those appeals. According to the article:

“At-large City Councilor Michael Flaherty said he plans to take the issue up with the Boston Transportation Department, along with a host of other complaints — including “convoluted signage” — that he says are hindering businesses and residents.”

While people fume about the situation, Gina Fiandaca, head of Boston Transportation Department’s Office says all is not at it seems. Her office’s policy is to give the public every opportunity possible to appeal tickets.

“If we can dismiss the ticket before the hearing, then we do,” Fiandaca said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that there was an error made and that the ticket was invalidly issued. But there’s a reasonableness assessment, that a reasonable person could probably make that mistake and park somewhere in violation. And, in that case, the hearing is an opportunity to educate the customer.”

That’s a lot of teaching moments costing everybody too much time and money. Sounds like a meet-in-the-middle moment to me.

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One Response to Busy Work Costs Everyone Time and Money

  1. Brandy Stanley says:

    72,000 out of 1.3 million? That’s 5.5%, which is a pretty darn low number and it sounds like a well-run operation. No way are the enforcement officers issuing that many bad tickets, and anyone running a municipal parking enforcement operation knows that people forget to display permits all the time. We dismissed 10% of our tickets in Manchester, NH and nearly all of them were courtesy dismissals for the same reasons cited above. A real waste of time, taxpayer dollars and political capital is sending them to court or a hearing when you can educate the person, dismiss the ticket and let everyone go on about their business. You make the customer happy, you save the city’s staff time and you end up with a customer that doesn’t make the same mistake again (most of the time). Sounds like Boston is solidly on the middle ground already. Councilman Flaherty wouldn’t like the result if Gina’s crew stopped dismissing valid tickets and sent them to hearing, I can guarantee that!

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