Maura In The News

Ticket scam penalties defended
By Kevin Joy, Globe Correspondent, 4/14/2004

The Menino administration yesterday refused to disclose the names of all seven employees suspended in a parking ticket fixing scam, as the mayor said his decision to suspend them for one day for each fixed ticket was appropriate punishment.

One employee who was suspended is a former campaign manager to Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Another runs the street furniture program. The mayor also fired two parking hearing officers who had worked under contract with the city.

Yesterday, Menino said his decision sent "a loud message that we will not tolerate action like that in city government." He said that the suspended workers were "young kids . . . making a mistake so early in their careers."

But Councilor at Large Maura A. Hennigan said the episode, in which tickets were dismissed without a hearing, deserved more scrutiny.

"Even when I get a ticket, I have to go to a hearing," said Hennigan. "Whatever process we have in here should work for everyone."

The City Council has received no official statement from Menino's office, Hennigan said. She said she may press him on the matter today, particularly because not all names and details have been disclosed.

"We should be looking at what the system is now, how it works -- how long have people been doing this?" Hennigan said of the dismissed tickets. "It just seems to me that there's more to this than meets the eye."

Menino said the suspended workers had no knowledge of a monthlong investigation of the parking enforcement office. He contrasted their actions with those of the two hearing officers who were fired. One of the fired officers was identified as Hayley Snaddon, 27.

"When you're a hearing officer, you have public trust," Menino said yesterday. "They violated that public trust."

Menino spokesman Seth Gitell yesterday refused to disclose the names of all the suspended employees because, he said, they were not major offenders.

The seven workers will serve a one-day suspension without pay for each dismissed ticket and will have to pay back all fines, plus interest and late fees.

Peter C. O'Sullivan, 34, director of the mayor's street furniture program, and Michael Kelley, 33, Menino's 2001 reelection campaign manager, were the investigation's two biggest offenders facing suspension. They had 15 and 13 tickets dismissed, respectively.

The city plans to hire a consulting firm to conduct a review of the city's parking office.

? Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

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