A few weeks ago, Gary Malec received what he believed was an unwarranted parking citation.
Malec has lived on Cayuga Avenue near Glen Park for nearly five years, and said he has long done his due diligence to move his vehicle before the four-hour parking time limit to avoid being ticketed.
And Malec's ticket wasn't the first instance.
His girlfriend, roommate and two neighbors also said they were victims of wrongly issued parking tickets in the same area.
So Thursday, Malec, 33, moved his station wagon from a block away to directly in front of his home as a bait car and kept watch from inside the home. Sure enough, around 1 p.m., less than four hours after he parked, he saw a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency parking control officer approach the vehicle and appear to be writing a ticket.
Malec stepped outside and said, “Excuse me?”
Simultaneously, another outraged neighbor, who had just received a parking ticket, ran up the street with receipts in hand from a trip she had just made to a store to prove that she had not exceeded the four-hour limit.
When the parking control officer saw them, Malec said, she made a U-turn and “sped away on the street, reckless, and she didn't come around the Friday after that. She's, like, hiding or something.”
It was only when this parking control officer, badge No. 53, began inspecting the block that neighbors received unwarranted tickets, Gary Malec's brother said.
“They have to meet a certain quota, I'm sure, and she's just going around slapping tickets,” said Mark Malec, 23. “She's going rogue, because this has never been a problem.”
Gary Malec on Friday gave his testimony before an SFMTA hearing officer and won his case. He will receive a refund of the $74 fine.
But “no action is being taken against this employee based on that investigation,” said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose, who added that the parking officer who issued the ticket, Andrea Bouie, has been with the agency since 2003 and has no other unwarranted parking citations under her name.
As to whether employees in her position have quotas to meet, Rose said no.
The transit agency receives complaints of Gary Malec's nature across The City and “each time we do our best to get it right,” he said.
Of the more than 1.5 million parking citations issued during fiscal year 2012-13, 77,248 were contested at the first level and 28 percent were upheld as invalid. In addition, 13,085 citations went on to the second level — a hearing — and 38 percent of those were deemed invalid.
Mark Malec, who has in the past received an overtime parking citation when he exceeded the four hours, called the dismissal of his brother's unwarranted ticket “very surprising” and “very relieving.”
“It's helpful because it shows that if you have the time and you can fight this, you have to,” Mark Malec said. “Because the more you roll over and let it happen, the more they're going to take advantage.”
Parking citation numbers, fiscal year 2012-13
Parking control officer positions budgeted
Parking control officer supervisors and assistant directors
Total parking citations issued by SFMTA, police, other agencies
Overtime parking citations
Residential permit parking violations
Parking ticket revenue: