Parking citations on the decline

Although fewer parking enforcers will be on the streets next month handing out citations to scofflaw drivers, it is very unlikely the number of tickets being handed out will decrease.

Since The City flooded the streets with additional parking control officers in the last two years, the number of parking citations has been on the decline, prompting city officials to take some of the ticket cops off the streets.

In fiscal year 2007-08, the number of parking control officers in San Francisco increased from 261  to 282 — an 8 percent jump. But that hiring surge did not stem an ongoing slide in annual parking citations — which peaked at 1.9 million in the 2005 fiscal year — and is projected to drop to 1.6 million this fiscal year, according to the Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees parking policies and enforcement.

The MTA has attributed the 16 percent drop in citations to cash-strapped drivers becoming more wary of parking regulations, a decrease in street-sweeping operations and fewer motorists out on the road because of the weakened economy.

In the 2003-04 fiscal year, each parking control officer doled out an average of 611 citations per month. For this fiscal year, which ends in June, parking control officers are projected to hand out an average of 498 per month, according to an MTA document obtained by The Examiner.

The agency has used that drop in production as justification for the planned layoffs of 24 parking control officers later this month.

The MTA faces a midyear projected deficit of $49.1 million — $4 million more than first reported in November. The agency has proposed laying off 108 workers and eliminating 142 positions — saving $12.5 million in salaries and benefits — as a way to cut into that shortfall.

“I feel like we’ve done our due diligence on this matter,” MTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford said at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting. “All of these positions — we need them, we just can’t afford them.”

Overall, the MTA has come up with $28 million in cost-saving measures, but the agency has yet to determine how it will come up with the remaining $21 million needed by the end of the fiscal year.

While all 108 layoffs have been met with resistance, the decision to let go of the 24 parking control officers has attracted the most indignation, since those employees generate revenue for The City.

However, the MTA believes there won’t be a revenue drop, so long as the remaining 254 parking control officers step up their production.

If each one of those officers gives out 540 monthly citations — nine less than the 2007-08 fiscal year monthly average of 549 — the agency won’t lose parking-ticket money.

Many parking control officers have questioned the MTA’s layoff calculations.

SEIU Local 1021, the union representing the officers, has yet to make a full review of the MTA’s traffic citation data, but officials from the organization have said most of the information is based on projections and does not accurately reflect the ticketing potential of the laid-off employees.

Elias Georgeopolous, a parking control officer who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, said the 24 layoffs will actually cost the department
$8.64 million in lost revenue. And he said that was a “low estimate.”


More bodies, less production

Despite an 8 percent increase in parking control officers in The City since the 2007-08 fiscal year, the number of citations issued has gone down 16 percent.

Fiscal    Parking control    Citations issued
year    officers      per officer**
2003-04    294    611
2004-05    282    586
2005-06    278    552
2006-07    261    574
2007-08    282    549
2008-09    283    511
2009-10*    275    498

Parking tickets issued first 24 weeks of each fiscal year
FY2007-08    815,020
FY2008-09    768,773
FY2009-10*    718,199

* Projected   ** Monthly average

Source: Municipal Transportation Agency

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