Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Meet the City’s Pothole Patrol

Turns out those frequently maligned parking checkers do more than issue tickets.

By - Apr 24th, 2019 12:42 pm
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Parking enforcement. Photo by Michael Horne.

Parking enforcement. Photo by Michael Horne.

Do the city’s parking enforcement officers, roaming the city’s streets in Jeeps, do more than issue tickets?

The Common Council’s Public Works Committee, led by Alderman Robert Bauman, raised the issue Wednesday morning. “They’re equipped with computers and smartphones, could they not be given additional responsibilities of reporting obvious things they see when traversing the city?” asked Bauman in response to what he said was a constituent suggestion.

Turns out, they’re already on the job. “They do report parking signs that are missing, stop lights that are out, stolen vehicles and potholes,” said city parking services manager Thomas Woznick.

“They do that now?” asked Bauman. “Absolutely,” responded Woznick. But exactly how many are reported is unclear at this point, something Woznick hopes to rectify.

The city’s parking enforcement officers drive in city-issued vehicles with a city-issued smartphone and an in-vehicle laptop. Woznick said they’re instructed how to install the MKE app to report issues on the phone and the laptop comes with a shortcut installed to the Department of Public Works service request page.

The reports are submitted generically at this point, similar to how a citizen would file a service request. But Woznick said the parking checkers would begin using a unique identifier which will allow specific requests and department-wide totals to be tracked.

Bauman asked if there are any financial incentives given to employees who report problems. Woznick said they can’t give city employees bonuses, but added, “We do commend staff.”

“Boy we’re one happy family,” Bauman replied. The alderman and many of his colleagues have in the past been critical of the department’s plowing efforts and subsequent pothole filling effort.

Bauman, Ald. Nik Kovac and others praised the department’s work to reduce potholes at this meeting, but also noted that plenty of work remains to be done.

Council members Mark Borkowski and Cavalier Johnson suggested parking checkers should be getting out of their vehicles more. “I would like to see us do a little more to highlight where these holes are,” said Borkowski. He said he was pleased when a cone was placed in a particularly deep pothole, only to see the cone itself crushed within five hours. “I don’t know where these drivers are coming from,” said the south side alderman.

“I’ll touch base with our city engineering group and see what we can do,” said Woznick in response to a question from Johnson about spray painting around potholes.

The city’s 2019 budget includes funding for 58 full-time parking enforcement officers and four lead parking enforcement officers.

The difficulty of the job’s core function, enforcing the city’s parking rules, was dramatized in early April when a male parking enforcement officer was stabbed in the middle of the night by N. 67th St. and W. Villard Ave. Two individuals were later charged.

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Related Legislation: File 190109

Categories: City Hall

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