Those of you who were told in February that the Hartford Parking Authority had assumed full responsibility for the city's on-street parking enforcement from the police department are in for a rude awakening.
Because of one of those odd clauses in the city's 2004 collective bargaining agreement with the police union, three employees in the police department's traffic division were grandfathered in to continue issuing parking summonses through 2010, when the contract expires.
As is bound to happen in situations where two agencies perform the same function, responsibilities overlap, despite the best efforts to coordinate them. Recently, for example, a car parked at a broken meter that clearly flashed "out of order" was tagged by one of the police department's parking "controllers."
Parking Authority officials say that, although placing summonses on cars at broken meters may have been a practice in the past, their eight enforcement agents are discouraged from doing so and such an infraction would have been voided.
The language in the union contract states that the police department's parking controllers are entitled to all of their current benefits and salaries until such time as they resign or retire, after which their positions will cease to exist.
It would have made more sense to either transfer the controllers to the Parking Authority's enforcement unit or to find them other positions within the police department or other city agencies.
City residents must instead bear the additional cost of what happens when good sense is surrendered at the bargaining table.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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