This week the Town of Greenwich issued a request for proposals (RFP) from outside firms to run the town’s Parking Services Department.
According to the RFP, the firm would provide parking management services for the operation, maintenance, planning and administration of the town’s parking assets and personnel.
Specifically, the RFP says, “the selected vendor would provide a parking administration Supervisor or equivalent management structure to oversee current parking operations.”
The Supervisor would report directly to the Town Administrator, Ben Branyan.
Currently, the town’s parking services department has 15.14 full time equivalent positions, several who are union members.
The department’s operating budget for the financial year 17-18 is $2,680,498. In financial year 16-17, revenue was $3,712,378.
The department was shaken up last April when an accounting clerk in the department, Michael Gordon, was arrested for a scheme involving violations paid in cash. Through an elaborate series of fraudulent transactions, Mr. Gordon allegedly misapplied credits for non-cash transactions to satisfy parking violation tickets paid in cash. Mr. Gordon, who is no longer employed by the department, was charged with Larceny 2, Forgery 2, and False Entry by Officer or Agent.
During last fall’s election campaign First Selectman Tesei said the parking services director Rita Azrelyant, appointed in June 2014, had met with resistance from employees. He said Azrelyand had brought in auditors and worked with Greenwich Police and commended her.
After the election, Tesei announced the formation of a “cash handling” task force.
Subsequently he announced in late November that the Director of Parking Services position would be eliminated from the 18-19 budget, leaving Ms. Azrelyant without a job.
The move was said to be the first step first step in a reorganization and redefinition of the functions of Parking Services.
The day Azrelyant’s position was eliminated, it was announced that Greenwich Police Captain Mark Kordick, who previously served as an interim director of Parking Services, would temporarily oversee all facets of the daily operation of the department at the direction of the First Selectman.
The RFP for an outside firm to analyze the department and propose plans for its operation went out on Jan 26.
Reached by phone on Friday morning, Kordick said, “They’re looking to hire a firm strictly to analyze operations of the department and make recommendations.”
Kordick described the RFP timeline as “aggressive.” The closing date is March 2 and it is anticipated the service will begin on April 2.
Kordick said there is no reason to think that the current staff won’t keep their jobs.
“The Town administrator will use the person as long as it takes to plan the next steps, which may be anything under the sun,” Kordick said of the management consultant. “Maybe parking services will be outsourced. Nothing has been ruled out or in.”
Asked whether the town might hire a new parking services director, Kordick said, “I don’t see that as an outcome because the new budget cycle defunded that salary.”
Kordick is currently doing double duty. He said he reports both to First Selectman Tesei in his role as the interim head of parking services, and to Police Chief Heavy in his rank as Captain.
With parking a valuable commodity in Greenwich, the faster parking services is cleaned up the better.
“I think it will be as long as it takes to make recommendations,” Kordick said of the role of the firm selected through the RFP process.
The RFP compensation proposal form indicates the initial contract is for two years, with optional renewals for years 3, 4 and 5.
Kordick said one part of the consultant’s charge is to look holistically at the parking situation in Greenwich and come up with best practices. This will include maintaining assets like the town hall parking garage. The garage, town’s only parking garage, needs to be managed better, according to Kordick.
In recent years, the lot went from having individual parking meters, to having multi space meters, to having no meters and no fee to use.
“There’s a lot of other issues with cleaning and maintenance,” Kordick said of the parking garage. “The deck coating is peeling and needs to be replaced. Also drainage conditions need to be rectified.”
Another plan the outside vendor may inherit is whether to extend residential parking permits, which include 17 zones.
Last week, Captain Kordick sent a letter to 800 residential parking permit holders explaining that a study of residential parking permits was in progress and that renewal of permits is on hold. Kordick said there are simply way too many zones and permits for a town the size of Greenwich, which has 62,000 residents.
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