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									 JOHN D. SPENCER                                                                        CITY HALL
     MAYOR                                                                     YONKERS, NEW YORK 10701-3883



  PHILIP A. ZISMAN                                                                      Ph: 914-377-7000
INSPECTOR GENERAL                                                                       Fax: 914-377-6990


                                           DEPARTMENT OF
                                         INSPECTOR GENERAL
                                           CITY OF YONKERS




                                                                     July 16, 1999

     TO:             John D. Spencer, Mayor

     FROM:           Philip A. Zisman, Inspector General

     RE:             Review of the Parking Violations Bureau (“PVB”)

            This memorandum summarizes our findings regarding our review of PVB
     operations and procedures.

     Overview

              PVB annually collects approximately $7 million dollars in total revenue
     from parking fines based on the issuance of approximately 159,000 tickets.1
     According to PVB computer records, fines are collected on 78% of all issued
     tickets; 6% of all tickets are dismissed after administrative hearings; and 16% are
     uncollected.2 In recent years, the collection rate has dramatically increased.3 This
     is attributable to PVB’s aggressive enforcement efforts that include boot and tow,
     and registration suspension programs. In fiscal year 1999, PVB had twenty-
     seven employees with an operating budget of $2 million dollars.

           After preliminary discussions with PVB Director Frank McGovern and
     Deputy Director Anita Morck, we decided to focus our review on six areas: 1)
     Cash Procedures; 2) Office Operations; 3) Computer Functions; 4) Ticket
     Issuance; 5) Administrative Hearings; and 6) Miscellaneous Items. Our
     observations and analysis regarding these processes are set forth below.
     1
       In calendar year 1998, PVB’s gross revenue was $7 million dollars, and net revenue was $6.6
     million. (A total of $400,000 dollars was paid to the State of New York and the Yonkers Parking
     Authority in surcharges and fees). Tickets are issued by three separate agencies; of the 159,000
     tickets issued in 1998, PVB parking enforcement officers issued 120,000 tickets; the Yonkers
     Police issued 32,000 tickets; and the Yonkers Parking Authority issued 7,000 tickets.
     2
       See footnote 7 and accompanying text, which puts the accuracy of these figures into doubt.
     3
       See graph of PVB revenue in calendar years 1992-1998, attached at the end of this report.


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Summary of Findings

        Our review of PVB records and procedures has revealed that PVB is
performing well. With respect to cash receipts – our primary concern – we are
satisfied that there are adequate controls and procedures in place to ensure the
integrity of the money collection process. Similarly, office procedures,
administrative hearings, and ticket issuance are efficient and well organized. We
are also satisfied that PVB management is working to improve perceived
problem areas such as the auctions of unclaimed vehicles.

      With respect to information technology, now that the PVB computer
system is being replaced, the new system should greatly reduce the present
hardware and software problems that cause the old computer to regularly
breakdown. Moreover, unlike the old computer, the new system should be able to
perform statistical analysis of PVB data.

       In addition to evaluating current PVB operations, we also considered what
steps PVB could take to improve parking enforcement and regulations in the City.
Because of PVB’s knowledge and experience in parking issues, we believe that
PVB is in a unique position within the City to evaluate whether City parking
regulations are working properly. Thus, we recommend that PVB head up a
committee including representatives of the Police Department, the Parking
Authority and the City traffic engineer that would seek to address all parking
issues within the City, and ensure that specific parking regulations are carefully
tailored to meet particular parking concerns.

Cash Procedures

       Our primary concern in this review was to make sure that all ticket
payments were properly accounted for, and that there are adequate internal
controls to safeguard the money collection process. Our review confirms that
PVB is doing a good job in this respect, and properly accounts for all monies that
are received.

       Payments are received in three different methods: in person, by mail, and
through the lock-box system. PVB cashiers handle cash and checks received in
person and when sent directly to PVB. Checks are also sent directly to a lock-box
with the bank.4

       With respect to monies received by the PVB cashiers, at the end of the
day, each cashier prepares a report called the “Daily Register Reconciliation” in
which the cashier counts and certifies the amount of money received. The next
day, the Daily Register Reconciliation is verified against the daily, computerized

4
  All tickets that are issued come with a pre-addressed envelope that is deliverable to the bank’s
lock-box. However, instead of using the pre-addressed envelope, some people mail ticket
payments directly to the PVB office.


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“cashiering and summary report.” (Any discrepancy in the amounts as stated in
these two reports becomes the cashier’s responsibility.) At the end of each
month, the Daily Register Reconciliations are summarized in a report submitted
to the Commissioner of Finance. Financial matters are overseen by PVB Fiscal
Officer Darlene D’Apice who generates her own daily Excel worksheets that track
and account for all monies received.

      Our sampling and review of PVB’s financial records indicate that all
monies received by PVB are being accurately reported, and that all payments
made to satisfy tickets are being properly credited towards the ticket for which
the payment was made.

       With respect to lock-box receipts, the payments go directly into a
commercial bank account with Chase Manhattan Bank that is overseen by the
Finance Department. PVB receives a daily faxed summary of all lock-box activity
from the Finance Department, and a report with back up documentation from the
bank indicating which tickets have been paid. As with the cash receipts, our
review confirmed that all lock-box monies are appropriately accounted for.

      Finally, we wanted to make sure that all PVB revenues are appropriately
deposited in City accounts. Our review confirms that the Finance Department is
properly overseeing PVB revenues. The Finance Department places all PVB
monies received into a City revenue account, and performs a monthly
reconciliation of this account to make sure that all monies are accounted for.

Office Operations

       PVB’s offices are located on the second floor of 87 Nepperhan Avenue.
We reviewed the office’s physical set-up in order to evaluate how staff interacts
with the public. There are two areas that are open to the public: 1) the cashier
and information windows, and 2) the administrative hearings waiting area. We
observed both areas on several occasions, paying attention to how staff
interacted with the public. It is our impression that both areas seemed orderly,
well organized and efficiently run, and that all interactions with the public were
conducted in a business-like manner.

      We have also considered security issues and discussed our observations
with Mr. McGovern.

Computer Functions

      PVB’s computer system is a Bull DPS7000, a mainframe computer that
was originally purchased when PVB was established in 1991. Associated Data
Processing Co. Inc. (“ADP”) has maintained the hardware and software, and
managed the computer facility under service contracts since PVB’s inception.




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The current contract is valued at $477,540 with a three-year term expiring on
June 30, 2000. Director McGovern is satisfied with ADP’s performance.

       The mainframe system has been deemed obsolete. Moreover, there are
frequent hardware and software problems that cause the computer to break
down. When the computer is not operating, the cashiers are required to issue
manual receipts and enter data into the system at a later date, leading to an
increased chance of error and an additional workload. PVB is now in the process
of replacing its computer system with a PC based network using a Windows
operating system and an updated software program. PVB expects to have this
new computer system in operation by December 31, 1999.5 PVB anticipates that
the cost of replacing the computer system will be approximately $500,000
dollars. ADP has been awarded the contract to upgrade the system.

       The current computer system has three major functions: 1) to compile all
the data on tickets issued; 2) to keep track of all cash receipts and apply
payments to outstanding violations; and 3) to generate reports and notices
regarding the status of tickets.

        With respect to the compilation of data on the tickets issued, PVB parking
enforcement officers (“PEOs”) and Yonkers Parking Authority personnel issue
tickets using hand held computers, from which the data is downloaded directly
into the PVB computer system. Tickets issued by the Yonkers Police are
manually written. The police tickets are sent to an outside service bureau that
key punches the data, creating a computer file that is downloaded into the PVB
system. Based on our review of the reports that the computer generates, we are
satisfied that all data is being appropriately compiled in the computer.

         With respect to the computer keeping track of cash receipts and
payments, first, we audited a sample of the daily Excel worksheets prepared by
Ms. D’Apice, the PVB Fiscal Officer to verify their accuracy. Once we were
satisfied that these worksheets were accurate, we compared them to the
computerized daily and monthly cash receipt reports and found no discrepancies.
Thus, we are satisfied that the computer system is adequately performing this
critical function.

        With respect to reports and notices generated by the computer, we found
that, as part of the collections process, the system generates notices of non-
payment, notices of judgment, and notices of eligibility for impending suspension,
and also prepares a monthly tape of vehicle registrations eligible for suspension
that is forwarded to the State Department of Motor Vehicle. These functions work
well.



5
 In the event that the implementation of the new computer system is delayed, the Bull system is
being made Y2K compliant to ensure continued operations.


                                               4
        We did, however, find problems with the statistical reports that the
computer generated. We reviewed four statistical reports prepared by ADP
entitled: Payment Analysis, Disposition Summary, Disposition by Code, and
Issuance Summary by Violation for the period of January 1, 1999 through March
31, 1999.The data contained in these reports had discrepancies that neither PVB
nor ADP could explain.6 Because of these discrepancies, we found these reports
to be unreliable, and, in fact, PVB does not use them. Thus, currently, PVB has a
diminished capacity to do statistical analysis of information in its computerized
databases.7 PVB and ADP have been notified of these problems and are
researching their cause and searching for a solution. It is anticipated that the new
computer system and software will resolve all current problems with statistical
reporting.

Ticket Issuance

        PVB employs 13 parking enforcement officers (“PEOs”)8 who work
staggered shifts on a 24-hour basis. On each shift the PEOs are assigned to a
designated route. Collectively, the routes cover the entire City. Tickets are written
using the PVB’s hand held computers9 that only require that the PEO swipe the
bar code appearing on the vehicle’s registration and input the code for the type of
violation found. The computer then prints out the ticket, which is affixed to the
car. The entire process can usually be completed in less than a minute. On a
typical shift, a PEO writes between 40 and 50 tickets.

       At the end of a shift, the PEO certifies to the accuracy of the tickets that he
or she has issued. Thereafter, the hand held computer is recharged and the data
from the tickets that were issued on that shift is downloaded into a PC and the
PVB’s mainframe computer. PVB has the capacity to run a variety of reports that
allow managers to carefully track and evaluate the performance of each PEO.

       Upon review, we found that PVB has an organized and efficient ticket
writing process. The hand held computer system works very well, with a high
degree of accuracy and speed, and allows for a high degree of management
oversight.


6
  Inexplicably, each report contained a different number of transactions for the same period of
time. Although the dollar amounts agreed in these reports, we could not reconcile them with the
worksheets prepared by Ms. D’Apice.
7
  PVB’s claim of having a 78% collection rate appears to be based on the statistical reports that
we found to be unreliable. Thus, we can not confirm the accuracy of this claim.
8
  This includes one parking enforcement supervisor. Additionally, there are four sanitation
enforcement officers (“SEOs”) who are responsible for writing tickets for certain code violations.
While the SEOs work out of PVB, and there are plans to give PVB jurisdiction over the tickets
they write, presently all tickets for code violations are returnable in the City Court, and the
collection of those fines is not the responsibility of PVB.
9
  PVB, through the City, has contracted with Clancy Systems International, Inc., of Denver,
Colorado, for the hand held computer technology. The City pays Clancy $ 0.44 for every hand
held ticket written. Clancy provides the computers at no additional charge to the City.


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        Furthermore, it is evident that the use of the hand held computers to issue
tickets is far superior to the handwritten tickets still utilized by the Police
Department. Each month approximately 100 manually written tickets cause
problems because of illegibility, omissions and key punch errors. PVB personnel
must individually investigate all such problems. We recommend that PVB and the
Police explore the feasibility of the Police using the hand held computers.
Additionally, there is no reconciliation of the tickets issued to the Police
Department. Thus, we also suggest that PVB and the Police Department
establish an inventory system to ensure that all manually issued tickets are
accounted for.

Administrative Hearings

       Ticket recipients have the right to request a hearing either in person or
through the mail (“Ex-Parte”). PVB has contracted with several experienced
attorneys to serve as hearing officers on behalf of the Department. Adverse
rulings can be appealed to a panel of three hearing officers. All hearings are
recorded and a written record of the proceedings is kept on file.

        It was observed that the hearings that are held in person are orderly and
efficiently conducted. This is mainly attributable to PVB management that
schedules all requests for hearings at a specific date and time, and the efficiency
of the various hearing officers. Hearings take approximately five minutes, and
most people do not have to wait for any excessive period of time before their
case is called.

       Stanley Weitzenberg, the supervising hearing officer, has imposed a
review and evaluation procedure for all hearing officers. On a periodic basis, he
reviews the tapes of the hearings that are conducted and hearing officers’ written
decisions. Mr. Weitzenberg writes critiques of the hearing officers’ performance.
The results of the hearing officers’ evaluations are shared with the PVB director
who is responsible for recommending attorneys to the Board of Contract and
Supply to serve as PVB hearing officers.

       The standards imposed by Mr. Weitzenberg’s oversight are intended to
ensure the integrity of PVB hearings by seeing that hearing officers are
consistent in their interpretation of the law, act ethically and courteously when
making their decisions, and do not otherwise abuse their considerable discretion.
This review and oversight has led to the non-renewal of certain hearing officers’
contracts.

       It is our impression, that with the oversight of Mr. Weitzenberg, the
hearings are being appropriately conducted in a professional manner. To the
extent that certain hearing officers do not meet high professional standards,
given the review and evaluation procedures, the PVB director has the information
he needs to take corrective action.



                                         6
Miscellaneous Items

        Boot and Tow Program

        PVB has an aggressive boot and tow program that targets scofflaws. Each
year PVB boots approximately 900 vehicles. Vehicles become boot and tow
eligible 90 days after at least one ticket has reached final judgment status, and
there is at least $300 in outstanding fines and penalties. If a vehicle is subject to
being booted and towed, it means that the owner has ignored at a minimum three
notices from the PVB to pay parking fines.

        Each week between 150-200 cars appear on the boot and tow eligible list.
There is one PEO who is primarily responsible for booting eligible vehicles. Boots
are usually applied only early in the day when the PVB office is open for
business. This gives the owners sufficient time (usually four or five hours) to pay
appropriate fines and have the boot removed before a car will be towed. 10 If the
owner does not call PVB on the day his or her car has been booted, the car may
be towed to a private impound lot by a private tow truck operator. It is the policy
of PVB to provide all owners of cars that have been booted or towed with an
immediate hearing if requested. Cars that have been booted and/or towed will
not be authorized for release until all fines and penalties have been paid, or a
payment schedule has been agreed to. Cars that are not claimed after thirty days
will be auctioned or junked.

        We are satisfied that the boot and tow program is being efficiently and
fairly administered.

        Auctions

        Mr. McGovern expressed concerns over how the City disposes of vehicles
that are impounded and for which tickets are never paid. Towing of scofflaws is
performed by private tow truck operators who also store the vehicles on their lots
until the owners redeem them or the City authorizes that they be sold at auction.
A Deputy City Marshall, who is not a City employee, oversees the auctions. The
concern stems from the fact that the auctions are performed in the name of the
City but are controlled by non-City entities.

     The City Marshall, Ralph Arred, has now contacted PVB requesting that
changes be made in the auction procedures. PVB has referred this matter to the
Law Department for legal advice regarding how the auctions should be

10
   While the one PEO assigned to search for boot and tow eligible cars applies most of the boots
in the City, all PEO vans are equipped with boots. The hand held computers can identify boot and
tow eligible vehicles and any PEO can apply a boot when appropriate. During night and weekend
shifts, boots may be affixed when the PVB offices are closed. According to PVB, this is not a
common occurrence.


                                               7
conducted. Since this matter is presently under review, the Inspector General's
office has not evaluated the present procedures. Once the Law Department has
finished it review, we recommend that PVB establish a policy and procedure
regarding the disposal of impounded cars that are never redeemed.

       City Code

       During our discussions with Frank McGovern and Anita Morck, we asked
questions about how the Bureau followed policies and procedures set forth in the
City Code Article V, section 109, entitled Parking Violation Bureau, and other
established policies and procedures of the PVB. Without recommending any
specific provisions that need to be amended, to the extent that changes in the
Code may clarify or simplify proper PVB procedures, we recommend that PVB
seek appropriate legislative changes. Similarly, we suggest that PVB review its
own internal policies and procedures to determine if any changes are advisable.

Recommendations

       We believe that PVB performs its core functions well. Thus, we have only
made some relatively small suggestions concerning: 1) the feasibility of having
the Police Department use hand held computers to write parking tickets; 2) the
creation of a new policy and procedure for auctioning unclaimed vehicles; 3) the
creation of an inventory system for manually written tickets; and 4) the review
and possible revision of the City Code and PVB’s own internal policies and
procedures. These suggestions are aimed at fine tuning present operations.

         More importantly, however, because PVB does a good job, we believe
that it is well positioned to play a leadership role in helping to shape parking
policy throughout the City. During the course of our review, we heard repeated,
but admittedly anecdotal, complaints that parking regulations in the City are not
carefully tailored to the requirements of a particular location; that parking meters
remain in effect when unnecessary; that parking signs are vague, faded and
generally inadequate, and that street markings are inadequate. PVB PEOs and
PVB hearing officers are in a unique position to identify such conditions and bring
them to the attention of the appropriate City department to take remedial action.

        A process should be established that promotes the improvement of
specific parking conditions and regulations. Because of PVB’s daily presence on
the streets, it is a logical choice to coordinate such an effort. We recommend that
the Mayor’s Office request that PVB head up a committee including
representatives of the Police Department, the Parking Authority and the City’s
traffic engineer that would work to coordinate efforts to improve the regulation
and enforcement of parking in the City. This would be an important first step in
ensuring that the City’s parking regulations are meeting the actual needs of our
communities.




                                         8
Conclusion

      For the reasons stated herein, we believe that the PVB is performing well.
We are available to discuss these findings at your convenience.




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