Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Council admits to fleecing motorists for more revenue

Council spin doctors go to work and claim no more fine quotas

Melbourne City Council spin doctors go to work. Council admits to fleecing motorists for more revenue and now claims they will call off the dogs. Yeah right we have heard this all before. Its time to put an end to the ripp-off and corrupt practices. the elected Council must begin to govern for Melbourne and stop travelling on luxury ratepayer funded junkets. John So and his team are the biggest spenders of luxury trips of all time. He claimed he was going to scrap his limo but instead he continues to hang on to the benefits of office. The Deputy Lord Mayor's self drive council funded petrol guzzling limousine should also be scraped and money for private use of the limo refunded to the City. Only then can teh City Coucnil begin to regain public repsect.

City to scrap ticket quotas

MELBOURNE'S parking officers have been bullied for over a decade into using sneaky and overzealous methods to meet daily fine quotas.

City of Melbourne chief executive David Pitchford made the startling admission yesterday and vowed to stop the quota system and change the culture of parking officers away from revenue raising.

Mr Pitchford said it had never been council policy to have quotas, but admitted some managers adopted them.

Some managers threatened parking officers with the sack if they didn't each issue 30 tickets a day in 2004-05 to reach a $27.5 million target.

Mr Pitchford said some of the council's 123 parking officers used inappropriate methods of booking people as a result of this pressure.

A council source told the Herald Sun the methods included issuing fake fines on non-existent cars, working late to blitz sporting and entertainment venues and restaurant and nightclub strips, and not reporting unclear and confusing parking signs so they could book those who thought they were legally parked.

Mr Pitchford yesterday revealed a number of council managers had been moved as a result of intimidatory tactics relating to quotas.

He also said he was trying to identify staff who altered council records in a bid to foil an investigation by the Ombudsman into ticket irregularities.

State Ombudsman George Brouwer this year revealed his investigators seized council computers and discovered evidence of staff altering records to try to cover blunders.

Mr Pitchford vowed to end the sneaky and underhanded methods used by some to book motorists.

He promised to instruct parking officers to use more discretion about recently expired meters.

"What I would like to see happen there is if he or she comes up to the meter when it goes into the last minute that he or she would wait there until at least two minutes past and then have a look around to see whether the motorist is nearby," he said.

"And if the motorist arrives they say 'that's fine, but don't run that close in future'."

Mr Pitchford said the council would still include a projected parking fine figure in its annual budget, but nobody would be punished if the budget was not met.

He said the City of Melbourne had agreed to adopt all the measures suggested by the Ombudsman to improve the parking fine system.

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