A Potential Baghdad by the Bay Awardee…

From the opposite coast, the city of Wilmington, Delaware caught our eye with this from the “Town Square Delaware” blog. H/T Scott:

I learned something disturbing from a friend the other day.

My friend had received a notice in the mail that they had an overdue parking ticket and that they owed the city of Wilmington more than $100 and that the fine would continue to grow until they paid the money.

So, my friend went to the Department of Finance on the 5th Floor of the Louis L. Redding City/County Building at 800 North French Street in Wilmington, Delaware (zip code 19801).

Apparently the conversation went something like this:


Friend: I just got this notice in the mail saying that I am past due for a parking ticket and I didn’t know I had a parking ticket until just now.

Wilmington Official: Are you here to pay your ticket and late fine?

Friend: Well, yes, I want to get this cleared up, if I had known I had a parking ticket I would have paid it right away – is there any way to take off the late fine, since I’m just now finding out about this?

Wilmington Official: It’s your responsibility to know if you have a parking ticket.

Friend: Wait, are you saying I should call regularly to find out if I have a parking ticket?

Wilmington Official: Yes

Friend: um, OK, that’s good to know in the future, but since this is the first time, can I just pay for the parking ticket?

Wilmington Official: According to our computers, since you haven’t paid the ticket yet, we can boot your car.

Friend: Really?

Wilmington Official: Yes, you are a scofflaw and you probably don’t pay your other bills on time.


When I heard this I was shocked!

I didn’t realize it was my responsibility to make sure I didn’t have unpaid parking tickets, I do not want to be a scofflaw – I want to be a responsible citizen.

I’m sharing this because I believe you, too, want to be a responsible citizen.

So, starting today, we should make sure that we do the right thing:

Call the Wilmington Department of Finance/Division of Revenue at 302-576-2400 between 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM.

Obviously this blogger has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.  Heh — Hopefully the Department of Finance will get myriad calls asking if they have records of parking tickets. Trust me, the phone calls arn’t as absurd as the clerk accusing a person of being a scofflaw (who is standing in front of him/her asking to pay) plus a deadbeat PLUS telling them to call regularly to see if they have an unpaid ticket.

I would say unbelievable, but then…here is an example where technology trumped personal service and wisdom, or lack thereof.



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