Although it would be interesting to know how the unpaid parking tickets of Providence mayoral staffs going back three administrations stack up against similar statistics in other cities, the terrible message is telling even if administrations elsewhere have the same attitude:
City officials were planning to be in Municipal Court Wednesday morning to find out what to do about the $14,575 in unpaid parking fines and penalties that drivers of mayoral staff vehicles have run up since 2003. …
[Director of Communications Emily] Crowell said while on city business, they are supposed to put a placard on the vehicle’s dashboard that indicates that. They are allowed to park in legal parking spaces without paying at a parking meter. They are not allowed to park in tow zones, no parking areas or any places that parking is not already legally allowed, she said. If a city vehicle is in a legal parking space and gets a ticket, the driver is supposed to contact the public safety department, verify that the trip was city business and the ticket is dismissed.
Obviously, if a ticket is work related, it makes no sense for the city to waste money and time in the process of paying itself. But if employees can’t follow a simple process to keep the books straight or, as seems more likely given that the process was not followed, refuses to follow basic parking laws, something more is going on.
That something is an attitude that, because they currently run the government, they own the city. Of course, the biggest indications that government insiders understand themselves to be ruling, rather than serving, the public are the heavy burdens, restrictions, and taxes that they impose on us. Racking up and ignoring parking tickets, though, is certainly emblematic.