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Published: Tuesday, 6/16/2009

Police union president may go to court to halt writing of tickets by other city employees

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association said he may go to court to prevent employees from the city's streets department from writing parking tickets.

"This falls under police duty and police are the only ones who can take law enforcement action," said Dan Wagner, the union president.

Sue Frederick, commissioner of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor, wrote seven tickets to residents in the 400 and 500 blocks of North Holland-Sylvania Road for parking on gravel-covered surfaces.

The residents complained to the city after receiving the $25 tickets for parking their vehicles on their own driveways.

Ms. Frederick did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on Monday said he stands by the citations handed out last week by the Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor.

During a news conference Monday, the mayor refused to answer reporters' questions on whether the crackdown and fines were related to the city's budget crisis.

Mr. Finkbeiner said the tickets were issued under a city law against parking on unpaved surfaces, including gravel driveways.

Councilman D. Michael Collins, whose district includes the homes where the tickets were issued, said he would make certain that the homeowners do not have to pay the $25 fine.

"I would hope the city would realize this was an exercise in insanity and rescind the tickets," Mr. Collins said. "Those who work for the mayor, it is like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, where those who are all insane flock together."

Mr. Collins said Ms. Frederick went on to private property and wrote the tickets without any authority.

"The people ticketed would have to pay $50 to appeal a $25 ticket to a board that does not exist," Mr. Collins said.

He promised to pay the fines himself if they are not rescinded.

Both Mr. Collins and Mr. Wagner said crushed stone surfaces are a type of pavement.

"When I would go out to someone's house, I wouldn't even issue a ticket," Mr. Wagner said. "I would say 'if you want to park in this area like on grass, you have to have it paved.'"

The city released a statement Monday night that said: "In response to a citizen complaint to the city of Toledo Board of Community Relations, the commissioner of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor responded by going to the location of the complaint to assess whether it was valid or not.

"She personally observed that it was a valid complaint. She observed several illegally parked vehicles along the first street she visited," the statement said. "While there, a neighbor asked her to check out his street, which also had a number of illegally parked vehicles. Once she observed they too were illegally parked, she cited them as well."



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