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Durham Residents Upset Over City Officials Voiding Parking Tickets

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham residents are upset over reports that city employees dismissed thousands of parking tickets for themselves and their friends.

According to published reports, $1.5 million worth of parking tickets were tossed out in Durham during the 1990s. Nearly 400 city employees had the power to void tickets. Some had been written to police officers and other government officials.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell calls the problem "staggering."

"To have that many people in the system able to void tickets is unbelievable. It shouldn't have happened and it won't happen again," Bell said.

City residents were also upset about the dismissed tickets.

"I feel it's an injustice that needs to be addressed. There are folks who pay their tickets and for city officials and others to have tickets dismissed, it looks like a criminal act to me," Durham resident Rick Alston said.

The dismissed tickets is the latest in a series of embarassing incidents for the city of Durham. It follows a failed search for a new police chief and allegations of fraud in the city's small-business loan program. Now, some Durham residents are wondering what is going on at City Hall.

"It's run badly, but that's the system. Until we improve the system, stuff like this is going to happen," Durham resident Rasheda Worth said.

"You have some ups and downs, unfortunately we've had some downs that have got a lot of focus, but we're going to fix those problems and move on," Bell said.

Former parking enforcement manager Chuckie Pettiford, who was placed on probation after admitting he voided more than 1,600 tickets, has left the department.

The city has made some improvements, including limiting the number of people who can void tickets. Durham leaders will meet Monday to decide what steps to take next.