Denver mayoral candidate Mejia tells city: Refund bogus parking tickets

The City of Denver may owe thousands of people up to a $1 million or more because of parking tickets written by people who were not authorized to write them.

A News4 investigation revealed this week that at least two city employees have been writing bogus parking tickets for quite some time.

From the News4 story:

The Denver Public Works Department and Denver City Attorney’s Office are scrutinizing as many as 40,000 to 50,000 parking tickets, worth more than $1 million, that may have to be recalled after a CBS4 Investigation found parking agents who handed out the tickets had no legal authorization to do so.

“If the city attorney tells us to do that yes, that’s what we may have to do,” said George Delaney, the manager of Denver Public Works, which employs 58 vehicle control agents or VCAs.

Each vehicle control agent is legally required by the city to have a current, valid appointment from Denver’s Manager of Safety before they can enforce parking violations. The appointments, which designate the employees as “Special Police Officers,” are in force for two years before they need to be renewed. The authorization gives the parking agents the powers to hand out citations for everything from expired meters to street sweeping violations.

Denver Mayor Bill Vidal’s office did not quickly return a call seeking comment, but one of the candidates for that office was quick to release a statement:

Said James Mejia:

“If citizens are expected to follow the rules, than so should the City.

“A full investigation of how these two workers were able to write tickets without the legal authorization needs to happen. In addition, I’d like to see a full performance audit of policies, processes and procedures within the department. Are these workers properly trained and qualified? Do they have the correct backgrounds and clearances to become special officers? Was this intentional deceit? Who was asleep at the wheel?

“Clearly, things are falling through the cracks and we need to know if other workers are also writing tickets without the legal authority to do so.

“This couldn’t come at a worse time for the City. But at the same time, this is about doing the right thing and they need to be assured that those who are writing tickets are authorized to do so.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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