CS&B AGENDA
                                                     FEBRUARY 20, 1997  

                               ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT

                                                Date: February 10, 1997
                                                C.C. File No. 5650-1

        TO:       Standing Committee of Council on City Services and

        FROM:     General Manager of Engineering Services

        SUBJECT:  Re-issuing of Meter Checkers' Tickets


             THAT staff report back on the effectiveness of a change in
             impound authorization procedures following completion of the
             current trial procedure.


        Council has created a Parking Enforcement Program and approves the
        staffing and budgets of that program.


        At a recent public meeting on the budget, one delegation spoke of
        the inefficiencies caused by the fact that Parking Checkers must
        re-issue tow-away tickets originally issued by Meter Checkers.  It
        has been variously stated that the cost to the City is $750,000 or
        $1 million per year.  The speaker, a now-retired civic employee,
        had previously won an award for a suggested change.

        Original Situation

        When the Parking Enforcement Program was originally created in
        1976, Meter Checkers dealt only with parking meters.  They operated
        on foot and did not have tow-away authority.

        Subsequently, the scope of the program was expanded by creating the
        position of Parking Checker in 1982.  These individuals are more
        highly trained, operate vehicles, and have discretion to enforce a
        wide variety of offences, including tow-aways.  Because of the
        extra responsibilities, these positions receive additional salary. 
        Although the branch has expanded and now operates on foot, bicycle,
        wheelchair, transit and automobile, the original distinction of two
        levels of checkers has persisted.

        The Inneficiency

        From time to time, a Meter Checker may encounter a vehicle
        requiring tow-away, for example in a bus zone.  The vehicle can be
        ticketed, but a Parking Checker must be called to re-issue the
        ticket and authorize the tow-away.  This is the source of the
        inefficiency identified by the delegation.


        The speaker proposed that the Meter Checkers be given impound
        authority, indicated that the procedure costs the City $750,000 per
        year, and complained that nothing had been done to implement the

        The inefficiency is real and is a source of concern.  However, the
        reality of the situation differs in two important aspects:

        1.   the cost to the City is not $750,000 per year.  By the end of
             1995, parking Checkers were being called to re-issue 4,000
             Meter Checker tickets annually (about 1% of all tickets) at a
             potential loss in revenue of up to $80,000, assuming the
             Checker would have written other tickets.  Offsetting this
             would be the annual cost to the City if all Meter Checkers
             were reclassified to Parking Checkers, which would be $50,000. 
             Thus, the net cost of the inefficiency was perhaps $30,000 in
             potential fine revenue.  However, staff suggest that the
             stronger reason for a change is to provide better service to
             the public, with fewer delays.

        2.   the suggestion has been pursued.  It was delayed, partly
             because of the job action by the Checkers through 1994 and
             1995.  However, on September 1, 1996, the Parking Enforcement
             Branch, in agreement with CUPE Local 15 and the Meter Checkers
             within the Branch, commenced a trial program in which Meter
             Checkers have had the authority to issue tow-away notices in
             rush routes only.  As part of this trial, the new flex-hours
             provision of the contract has been used to extend hours of
             operation.  This has had a greater benefit to ticket revenue
             than the re-ticketing issue.


        The trial program now underway will be complete shortly.  Following
        that, staff will be in a position to provide more detailed
        assessment of the effectiveness of a permanent change in
        procedures.  In addition, there needs to be further consultation
        with employees, and their Union representatives, concerning
        potential changes to the Meter Checker job description and

        In conclusion, it must be stressed that the 4,000 Parking Checker
        re-issued tickets in 1995 represent only 1% of the work of the
        Parking Enforcement Branch and, based on the entire Parking
        Enforcement budget, 1% of the operating costs represents only
        $42,000 per year.  This should clearly show that the figures
        presented at a recent citizens' forum were inaccurate.  However,
        the award for the suggestion is still valid, regardless of cost
        saving to the City, because of improved service to the public. 
        This suggestion, along with others, is being pursued as part of our
        continual program for operations improvement.

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