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Published: Tuesday, 10/26/2010

Parking Authority to expand ticketing

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Clayton Johnston, president of the parking authority, said downtown business owners want the tougher enforcement.

"With the conversations we have had with business and property owners downtown, we have heard over and over about the problems with downtown and people stopping illegally and creating problems," Mr. Johnston said. "Our management agreement with the city permits us to write these tickets and cite those nonmoving violations."

But leaders of Toledo Police Patrolman's Association and

AFSCME Local 7 plan to file grievances.

Dan Wagner, TPPA president, said the parking authority attempted the same thing last year but quickly backed off.

"The law department advised against it at that time because it was outsourcing union work to a nonunion affiliation," he said.

Mr. Wagner also questioned why the city continues its contract with the parking authority, also known as ParkSmart. He thinks the city could make more money if it ran the operation itself.

Steve Herwat, deputy mayor of operations for the city, said Mayor Mike Bell concurred with Mr. Johnston on the plan and authorized the enhanced ticketing.

"If you read the agreement between the city and ParkSmart, this enforcement is allowed," Mr. Herwat said. "It's our position that this is something our personnel don't do on a regular basis and it's certainly not a priority for police officers with everything else we have going on."

Police officers and two civilian parking aides have the power to write nonmoving violation tickets. The aides belong to AFSCME Local 7.

"This is something we believe is needed to promote activity downtown," Mr. Herwat said. "If you have people parking illegally in areas like loading zones they are taking away from business."

Toledo's parking authority was formed in 1996 to improve on the city's poor job of maintaining its three city-owned garages - an idea from some of the business leaders who now make up its board of directors. The authority also operates and patrols downtown parking meters and by contract pays the city $725,000 annually.

The roughly 1,000 on-street parking meters generated about $412,000 in revenue last year - almost entirely in nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Toledo Councilman George Sarantou, who sits on the parking authority board, said the mayor should have communicated with the two unions.

"Apparently, there was no sign-off from TPPA or AFSCME and that should have been discussed," he said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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