Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio made the announcement last Thursday.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently emphatically vowed to crack down on City employees who abuse the privileges that come with a parking placard – including on City Police Department Traffic Enforcement agents, whose job it is to enforce the rules.
“We’re announcing today a set of new policies, and they are very tough policies. We will not tolerate the misuse of placards by anyone,” de Blasio said in a press conference last Thursday in the Bronx. “We are going to be very clear, to all City employees from a whole host of agencies that placards must only be used as designated, and not abused for personal gain. We’re going to be adding a number of new enforcement measures and new personnel to enforce the rules. We’re going to make clear there are real consequences for anyone who abuses a placard. We’re also going to say to the agents who provide the enforcement that they have to be consistent in the work they do.”
The administration’s pledge to punish placard abusers comes amid the growing popularity of the Twitter account @placardabuse, which posts photos of misused plaques and parking agents seemingly ignoring the flouting of the rules.
“We’re going to invite the public to help us in this enforcement effort by putting any information either online or calling it into 311, and our enforcement personnel will be looking for those public reports, we welcome those public reports,” de Blasio said. “Someone put together a website that shows public employees not doing their job – we don’t criticize that or look away from that, [or] ignore that…we want to use that as a tool to make sure that the public’s interest are being protected.
Calling it “a major priority” for the Police Department, de Blasio announced the creation of a Placard Fraud Enforcement Unit at the NYPD that will report directly to the Chief of Department. The City is set to hire 100 more Traffic Enforcement agents who will be focused on placard enforcement every day; and an additional 16 police officers will be assigned to “hot spots” around the city where there’s been a history of placard abuse. The mayor also said that the City will be adding additional towing capacity to this enforcement plan.
“Before anyone thinks it’s a clever idea to misuse our placards, my advice is you better get to know where our impound lots are because you’re going to end up visiting them if you misuse our placards,” de Blasio added. “Now let’s be clear, there need to be consequences. One of the most profound consequences will be that anyone found in violation will have their placards permanently revoked. And abuse cases in certain instances will be turned over to the Department of Investigation for further action.”
The mayor encouraged all New Yorkers to get involved by calling 311 if they see what they believe is a violation of the rules regarding placards.
“Bottom line is all New Yorkers need to know that are City employees are here to serve you, not serve themselves,” de Blasio said. “And we will be very resolute in cracking down on any inappropriate behavior.”