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Monday, June 18, 2012

The Big Parking Ticket

There is a bit of a kurfuffle about Mr Chuck Carney and the punishment of the chap who stole $37,792 from our parking receipts.  Given that I pay into those meters I want to see every nickel (they don't take pennies) going to the City Coffers.

All that said, this is not a major case.  For example, there is no where near the scandal that is the way colleges and universities are allowed to run star chamber like hearings for students accused of crimes up to rape—the rights of the accused being violated left and right.  This is a case of taking money, and the perp promising to pay it back (and has already begun to do so).  And, he was fired.

So, we have a contract with a company for which this person works.  Does that contract allow us to stick our oar in the water with regard to how they discipline their employees?  If the secretary had been stealing petty cash and she was cashiered, would we see it the business of the city to interfere?  If we do stick our oar in the water do we violate the contract and lay ourselves open to being sued?  What do the lawyers say?

Now, I grant you that on his blog, Gerry Nutter suggested that there may have been some favoritism on the part of Mr Carney.  Maybe and maybe not.  Let us set this aside for a moment.

The plan, as I read it in the newspaper is to turn this over to the police.  What will that do for the taxpayer?  We will spend some amount for a jury trial if the perp now pleads innocent (and why shouldn't he?).  We convict him and put him away for two years at $60,000 pa, which is $120,000 plus the trial, paid for by us.  In the mean time the convicted perp might take this opportunity to straighten out his life, but maybe not.  Maybe he becomes a person who turns to a life of crime.  Even if he doesn't, do we think he will quickly get a job when he gets out?  I hope he has a family to help him out.

In some way this incident asks the larger question of if our system is working for us or against us?

If we had just let the company deal with it we would have gotten our money back, avoided additional costs as taxpayers and maybe even found a man who straightened out his life.  Then again, maybe he was destined for perdition.

It is just that I would have preferred avoiding the instant outrage and asking some questions.  I would have liked some "out of the box" thinking before throwing the book at the perp.

Regards  —  Cliff


Renee said...

The company had an employee theft insurance policy. If they did not want criminal charges, the company NOT the thief should of immediately covered the costs to the city. You do not make a client go after their own money. It choose not to, instead they made an agreement between Carney and the employee. Or we assume it was Carney that was protecting the thief, at the rate the man was paying back it would take over 15 years.

Last week I had my own conflict, in which I was denied access to the garages because instead of using electronic payment they were demanding cash only upfront.

I was very upset, because I had no where to park and by the time I got cash my daughter could of missed her dance recital. I had to plead with them at a second city garage to let me in (with promise to pay back) and borrow money at the recital from a relative.

How can they audit parking kiosiks when on heavy volume days that bring the most revenue they're just collecting cash by hand?

The potential to skim was and is still high.

JoeS said...

Renee makes a good point about the cash-only policy for event parking. There is a lot of cash taken in without any obvious control of the money.

And the typical $10 fee at those events is a case of taking advantage of a captive audience, as the usual rate for a few hours would be less than that. I had occasion to do some business in the downtown a couple of years ago, but when I arrived all the street parking was full, so I went to a garage and ended up paying $10 because there was an event going on that evening, even though I was only there for a half-hour.

As far as the purported theft of money, the agreement to pay back at the rate of $300 a month is ludicrous. If it were delinquent taxes there would be a 16% interest rate applied, resulting in a monthly interest charge of about $500 per month. $300 payment a month would be a losing proposition!

Eleanor Rigby said...

Am I missing something? An employee steals money, is apparently caught and law enforcement is not called? It's okay to embezzle $37,000 because others have gotten away with worse? NO.

C R Krieger said...

I see Ms Rigby's point, which is sometimes honored in the breach, but this is a special case.  I believe the accused was NOT a City employee, but worked for a firm with a contract with the City.  Depending on the contract, it might be totally up to his non-Civil Servant supervisor and the firm's management.  If that is the case, for us to stick our oar in the water turns the contract into a "personal services" contract, which is a "BENO", at least in Federal circles.  So, as John Nappi said to City Life, we need the facts—and we need to read the contract.  And Bill Taupier said also.

Regards  —  Cliff

Anonymous said...

The problem I have is that Carney did NOT tell the Manager about this for several months. Lynch found out from an anonmymous source. Carney also worked out a deal with the Parking company without the manager's approval. For the Manager to do his job, he needs to be informed of serious issues like this one.