Latrobe motorist's unpaid parking tickets mystery solved
City Manager Alex Graziani has solved the case involving two dozen parking tickets dismissed for a motorist in Latrobe.
An unwritten practice of dismissing tickets on a case-by-case basis came under fire after Jim Gebicki, a former mayor, asked at this week's council meeting for an explanation of the practice and the number of tickets dismissed.
Councilman Robert “Stuffy” Forish reviewed records for license plate numbers and questioned the listing of one plate 24 times.
In an email to council members Friday, Graziani explained that those tickets were listed after a woman appeared before the magistrate because of 26 unpaid parking tickets.
She served 24 days in jail, then the tickets were dismissed, Graziani said.
“They are, in essence, excused because of the time served, which acts as the penalty,” he said.
Officials questioned a discrepancy between records the city manager provided, accounting for tickets he dismissed, and police records.
Graziani said, like an accounting ledger, the police records include not only tickets dismissed at city hall, but also those dismissed by the magistrate's office, tickets voided by police officers who made transcription errors, as well as tickets issued in the area around Excela Latrobe Hospital, which are sometimes issued by hospital staff.
“The goal is, like you would imagine with accounting, to record every ticket,” Graziani said.
His own dismissal records indicate that out of about 4,500 tickets written so far in 2013, about 350 tickets have been dismissed, or 7.7 percent.
Through 2009, an average of 6 percent of tickets has been excused.
A policy has never been formalized by council, but Graziani has taken steps since last year to better track the practice. He developed a form that can only be used if the violator failed to properly display a handicapped parking placard, was completing business-to-business loading or unloading, experienced technical glitches in the online Pango mobile parking application, or had a medical emergency.
Until council votes on a policy, Graziani has issued a memorandum directing all appeals to Unity District Judge Michael Mahady.
While Forish said after reading the correspondence from the city manager that city records need to be as clear as possible. “All's we've got to go on is the public record, what we've got in front of us,” he said.
The councilman commended Graziani for answering council's concerns.
“I'm proud of him for doing that,” Forish said. “I'm glad he did it, tried to clarify the facts.”
He supports sending all ticket concerns to the magistrate in lieu of a formal policy.
“It's something that needs to be sat down and discussed with the (police) chief and council,” Forish said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Flight 93 memorial fire hints at struggle to safeguard historic artifacts
- DEP orders cleanup of former Jeannette Glass property to resume
- Route 217 bridge across Loyalhanna Creek reopens early
- Southwest Greensburg man died of injuries in accident in Bell
- The real Captain Phillips brings story of piracy to St. Vincent College
- Laurel Mountain State Park ski plans will go to Ligonier Township supervisors
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop
- Former Ligonier Township supervisor accused of abusing position, viewing porn on the job
- Missing Southwest Greensburg man found dead at crash site in Bell
- Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County upgrades emergency communications plan
- Greater Latrobe teachers, school board approve 5-year contract