Parking Officer Issues Tickets for Vehicles Parked at Meters that Hadn’t Expired Yet

Update: see previous post – October 20, 2010 Hypocritical Parking

The City of Windsor, in Ontario, has fallen on hard times. They have high unemployment and residents are feeling the effects of this.

On the other hand, this City of 215,000 residents, can boast about the fact, that it hasn’t had a single murder in 2010.  The last time on record that this happened in Windsor, was in the year 1963, some 47 years ago. In comparison, Toronto has had 60 murders, and doesn’t appear to be finished yet.

The City of Windsor may need revenue, but ticketing motor vehicles that are parked at meters on the street, with time still displayed on them, is just wrong. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires apparently have some overzealous by-law enforcement officers within their ranks, according to residents of Windsor.

see source, The Windsor Star

Rick Bekendorf received a ticket for parking at this meter when the meter failed. He fought the ticket and won.

Rick Bekendorf received a ticket for parking at this meter when the meter failed. He fought the ticket and won.

Photograph by: Tyler Brownbridge, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — The privatization of city parking enforcement has led to a flurry of complaints, including one against a Commissionaire who a Windsor business owner said went on a “rampage,” issuing tickets to a row of cars with money left in the meters.

Another Commissionaire has been accused of parking in a handicapped zone while issuing tickets.

A Walkerville restaurateur filed the complaint about an angry parking enforcement officer who recently ticketed cars even though the meters had not expired.

“She came here and started very aggressively giving everybody tickets, even on meters that had 10 minutes left,” said Vito Maggio, owner of two busy restaurants on Wyandotte Street East — Vito’s Pizzeria and O’Maggio’s Kildare House.

The incident happened a couple of weeks ago, he said. He regularly sends out staff to feed the meters as a courtesy to customers whose time is running out while they’re dining. But this time, the staff encountered an enforcement officer — a member of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires who took over the city’s parking enforcement in October — getting out of her car as they put change in the meters, Maggio said.

“She completely lost it,” he said.

He said she proceeded to write tickets to a row of seven cars parked along Wyandotte. He declined to elaborate on what she said, except to say she insulted his restaurant.

“I understand if the meters are expired, you’re going to get a ticket, but some had five minutes left, 10 minutes left, and she was on a rampage.”

He said one of the cars with time left on the meter belongs to Joan Charette, co-ordinator of the Walkerville Business Improvement Area.

Contacted Wednesday, Charette said she didn’t want to comment on the incident she witnessed, since it’s now being investigated by the city. But she did confirm that tickets were written for cars that still had time on their meters.

A spokesman for the Commissionaires wasn’t available Wednesday. The city’s chief administrator Helga Reidel was unable to confirm that Maggio had filed a complaint but said that the city’s parking enforcement supervisor had heard about an incident at Vito’s. If a complaint is filed, she said, it will be investigated.

She said it would not be appropriate for an enforcement officer to write tickets on unexpired meters. She also said there’s “nothing illegal” about a store employee feeding the meter for a customer.

Maggio said when parking enforcement was done by City of Windsor employees, the enforcement wasn’t as aggressive. It seems the Commissionaires “are on a mission,” he said.

Carol Beaumont, a saleswoman at Karen’s for Kids on Ottawa Street, agreed. “Oh my God, you have no idea,” she said. “We joke here that they sit at the corner and wait for our customers to come in the store and jump to give them a ticket.”

Chris Edwards, executive director of the Downtown Windsor BIA, said the Commissionaires are “especially brutal.

“I was down there on a Saturday morning, minus 20 degrees, no one around, and they were going around and around and around to pounce on a car,” said Edwards. “We don’t need that downtown; we have enough problems.”

If people are peeved about aggressive ticketing, they’ll go places such as the mall, where the parking is free, he said.

Coun. Alan Halberstadt, who has three BIA districts in his ward, said he has heard some complaints since the Commissionaires took over. In one case, a Commissionaire was reported to have parked in a handicapped spot (a $350 fine for regular citizens), while he wrote $15 tickets on neighbouring cars. He said the Commissionaires have provided councillors with a phone number to call with any concerns. And the responses have been prompt. “They may have a few cowboys they may need to weed out, but it’s a learning curve, obviously,” Halberstadt said.

Reidel said “it’s only natural with a change like this (contracting work out),” that people perceive the Commissionaires as being more aggressive. But all they’re being asked to do is enforce the parking rules, she said. “I think they’re only trying to do their jobs.”

On Wednesday, Rick Benkendorf, a retired teacher who lives in LaSalle, opened a letter from the city informing him a $15 ticket he received for parking in a spot whose meter was broken had been cancelled.

On Dec. 14 he had parked on Ouellette Avenue, put a loonie in the meter and dashed into the Dr. Disc music store. He came out 10 minutes later to find the ticket for an infraction he didn’t know existed.

“Giving a ticket for parking at a meter that’s broken is outrageous,” he said. Council had approved the measure earlier this year, apparently as a way to address the people in areas such as the university who deliberately jam a meter so they can park there all day. At the time, an official said the city won’t be “heavy-handed” about enforcing the new rule.

But Edwards said there have been reports of a number of drivers downtown getting ticketed for parking in spots with broken meters.

“You ticket people but you don’t take care of the meters — it’s ridiculous,” said Liam O’Donnell, the owner of Dr. Disc.

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3 comments

  1. Funny stuff, vandalizing a meter so nobody has to pay. Also funny, giving tickets for parking legally. Just individuals making mistakes.

    My suggestion is that the parking enforcement that the city has contracted may be in breach of contract. That makes the city look bad, greedy, and they should do something about it — preferably transparent and public.

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