City Parking Tribunal Decision In The Hands Of The State

The fate of an administrative tribunal that would deal with city parking infractions is now in the state’s hands.

City Council held a voting session during Monday’s meeting to address the creation of an administrative tribunal that would deal with parking infractions in the city. The measure, which was originally brought to the council last November, was passed unanimously, authorizing the city to transmit the necessary home rule request forms to state Sen. Cathy Young, R-C-I-Olean.

When the possibility of an administrative tribunal was first approached, Jim Olson, city clerk, explained that the examiners who would be appointed to the council would be required to be practicing attorneys with at least five to seven years of local experience, and that the positions would be volunteer based.

Before the tribunal can officially be put into action, however, the home rule requests need to be brought before the state legislature.

“This is going to require permission from the state,” said City Council President Greg Rabb, D-At Large. “The reason that we had the special meeting tonight, when we don’t usually have a voting session, was so that we could hopefully get this to our state representatives to see if they can still get this accomplished in this session before the state legislature adjourns. That was our plan since we need their permission to get this done – we’re trying to rush it along.”

According to Rabb, the administrative tribunal would take many of the issues that are involved with parking infractions and non-moving violations and take them out of the court.

“The court has enough work to do,” said Rabb. “This would put it into an administrative law tribunal where you don’t necessarily have to have lawyers, you have a hearing officer. To take that out of the court frees up their time for other things. Not that this is not important, but given what (the court) has to do, this is more administrative. If we can get this accomplished, it would help us.”

The tribunal would be used for any ticket that an individual receives that they don’t feel that they should be responsible for paying or were justified in receiving. When the idea was brought to the table last November, there were roughly $300,000 in outstanding tickets, according to Olson. This tribunal would likely help to alleviate that issue.