Parking Ticket Follow-Up
Posted: July 11, 2014
My most recent column about being ticketed for parking in a handicapped parking zone created quite a stir. First of all, I received a phone call from the Deputy Chief of Police and had a pleasant discussion about the city's outside service contractor that handles parking ticket disputes. The police officer explained to me his frustration with the company, Milwaukee-based Duncan Solutions. Apparently, I am not the only driver who has expressed their concerns about not being able to contest a parking ticket.
Later last week I received a call from Eau Claire City Manager Russ Van Gompel. He also expressed his frustration with Duncan Solutions and wanted to make sure I knew that the city is trying to raise its level of customer service so people like me aren't turned off by the inability to protest a parking ticket.
After placing a third phone call to Duncan Solutions with no response, I paid the parking ticket without any recourse. Although I have parked in the same space for at least 20 years and never received a parking ticket for being in a handicapped zone, it's apparent that the white line that I crossed necessitated a $60 ticket. From now on, I will park in a different area and alert other drivers who park in my former space that they will be ticketed unless they indicate that they are a handicapped driver.
I visited the Duncan Solutions web site and learned that the company was founded in 1936. The full-service parking management company provides services to municipal and commercial clients throughout the country. The firm offers citation processing, debt collections and on-street parking management services to more than 2,000 clients. Despite the firm's claims about its reputation, I was not enamored with the company's lack of communication after making three phone calls to dispute my parking ticket.
I did send a request to have a company official contact me so I could send them a copy of my June 27th editorial and this follow-up article. I would be surprised if they addressed the issue. On the other hand, sometimes the power of the press has a way of generating a response.
Overall, I thought it was nice to learn that city officials are cognizant of the lack of communication between their outside service, Duncan Solutions, and the general public. I would not be surprised if the city takes action to either not renew its service agreement with the Milwaukee-based company or redefine the company's role in how it addresses parking ticket concerns in the future.