Last week, hundreds of thousands of New York City residents received letters in the mail informing them that parking tickets they had attained earlier in the year, have been dismissed and refunded. The reason being that the code number for the violation involving a muni-ticket not properly displayed was changed from 4-08h10 to 4-08h1. For months, judges have been dismissing millions of dollars’ worth of parking tickets because of the faulty code written on violations. Officials have conceded that the Department of Finance was only recently alerted of the problem, and city agencies have just begun rectifying the issue, moving forward.
“The interagency communication breakdown that led to this error is unacceptable and new protocols have been put in place to ensure this won’t happen again,” said Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio.
As reported by the NY Post, usually when there is an alteration in a violation number or code, the Department of Transportation notifies the Department of Finance, which informs the NYPD and makes the change in the system. However, that information was not passed on in this case, said Goldstein. Between April and August over 54,329 drivers brought in tickets to be dismissed, but amazingly it was thought that officers were just writing in the wrong code by chance, and no further action was taken till this month.
City officials admit that the mistake cost the city $26 million, including $18 million for tickets which were already paid, from over 400,860 drivers, and another $8 million which was still unpaid. This is the heftiest sum of money that the city has ever lost because of an error like this, lamented city officials. “It certainly cost the city a lot of money to write those tickets and there’s a concern that, because of this, folks are not going to change their behavior,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan). “We need to make sure that when we make mistakes on tickets, we fix it quickly so that we don’t lose so much revenue.”
To prevent such massive miscommunications in the future, the city will implement new protocol that all code changes be sent to the Department of Operations, which will be responsible to inform all other agencies. Operations will also make a database to track all code changes, Goldstein said.
By Benyamin Davidsons