DURHAM — Almost everyone has received a parking ticket at one time or another. While they are annoying and costly, it is nothing like the embarrassment Durham city employees could face if they do not pay their fines.
Thecity of Durhamasked theDMVto give it a profile of all of its parking violators. While the total amount of unpaid tickets in the Bull City is$1.5 million, the city finance office found an alarming trend on the list -- dozens of the violators are city employees.
The finance director, Nav Gill, has a message for those on Durham's payroll. With the city manager's blessing, the finance director got the word out. There will be an amnesty period until August 31, after that the penalty phase begins.
"The recommendation that I made to them was that as city employees, we wish that they would go ahead and pay the ticket," Gill said, "and that it is in their best interest to pay it, but we did not strong-arm anyone into paying it."
Gill says it is not strong-arming, but the penalty is a heavy slap on the wrist. City employees that are not paid up on time will have their names published in the paper. If they still do not pay, the city will notify credit agencies. The final step is that the employees could get a parking boot slapped on their car.
"We first need to clean up around our own house before we go outside," says Chuck Pettiford, who heads the city's Parking Enforcement Division. He would not comment on how many city employees are in trouble but laughed and said there are "a few."
Among city departments, the Public Works Department had the most ticket violators. Surprisingly, the Police Department came in second place. With city council approval, this plan could go into effect for all Durham motorists.