Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The Greenburgh Town Board met with Complus yesterday afternoon—the company that administers the towns scofflaw program. This meeting took place as a follow up to a report from the comptroller’s office that there were $2.7 million in outstanding tickets (this includes penalties)—many tickets going back to the early 1990s. We were advised at the meeting that in 2007 the town collected 93% of all parking tickets. The national average is 69%, according to Stephen Hittman, Chief Operating Officer of Complus.

Prior to the meeting Police Chief Kapica conducted his own review of our collection and issued the following report to the Board: re: the issue of outstanding parking tickets and Complus.
A further review of the scofflaw information provided me by Complus indicates that some of the most grievous violators received their tickets in the early 1990s. For example, the biggest scofflaw with 115 tickets totaling $6,940 in fines received summonses between 1993 and 1997. This person may have died or moved out of state making it unlikely that any of these funds will be collected. Others have similar circumstances. Of course, our new law will prevent this from recurring. The responsibilities of Complus are to input all parking tickets written by officers from both the Hartsdale Parking Authority and Greenburgh Police Department. Between 15,000 and 20,000 are written annually. The Police department forwards its hard copy tickets to Complus by mail while the Hartsdale Parking Authority downloads its tickets from electronic ticket writers. Complus provides and maintains the electronic ticket writing equipment and instructs Parking Authority personnel in their use. The Complus database is accessible by Court personnel and when a payment is entered, it is automatically updated. Complus also forwards up to five (5) delinquent notices to the registered owners of vehicles with overdue tickets. They also submit the vehicle registration to DMV to bar the owner from reregistering any vehicle which has 3 or more outstanding tickets within an 18 month period. Vehicles with 20 or more outstanding tickets are also reported and the registrations of these vehicles are suspended. The administration of this portion of the Scofflaw program relieves Court personnel from performing these functions ensuring that data entry and notices are forwarded in an expeditious manner. Although there is currently $2.7 million in outstanding tickets (many of these are from the 1990s), the overall collection rate is 91.5% of the total tickets issued. According to a 2003 audit by the office of the New York State Comptroller, an effective system should recover 85% of parking fines, excluding tickets that were dismissed and voided and adjusted for fines that were reduced. Among the eleven municipalities audited by the Comptroller collection rates were between 60% and 90%. Only one, however,had a collection rate of over 85%. So it seems that our collection rate is on the high side notwithstanding the outstanding balance, which incidentally dates back as much as 18 years. We did discuss our new program and some suggestions for improving the program.

NEW LEGISLATION TO BE INTRODUCED NEXT WEEK TO AUTHORIZE THE POLICE CHIEF TO IMPOUND VEHICLES AGAINST WHICH THREE OR MORE PARKING SUMMONSES HAVE BEEN ISSUED, IF THREE OR MORE OF THE SUMMONSES HAVE NOT BEEN ANSWERED WITHIN 45 DAYS OF THE APPEARANCE DATE. Vehicles will be released to the owner upon: payment of all towing, storage and administrative fees, the payment in full of all fines and penalties. We believe that many people who do not pay their fines are persistent violators or have out of state registration –and are able to evade existing enforcement measures.
The new law, if adopted, should result in an even greater collection rate for the town and additional revenue.


Feiner report shows lack of internal controls said...

It is difficult to believe that the Town Supervisor would "accept" -- much less publicize -- a report from Chief Kapica in which Kapica speculates that the Town's biggest scofflaw with 115 tickets totaling nearly $7,000 in fines from the 1990s may no longer be alive.

A high school intern with basic computer skills could easily check to see whether the person is alive or dead. Feiner is obviously so defensive about allowing $2.7 million in parking fines to accrue on his watch as town supervisor, and clearly an inept manager, that he apparently doesn't know how to read a report from the chief without demanding better answers.

Instead, Feiner posts the message from the chief so we can all see how inept Feiner himself is.

If this is what passes for internal financial controls in Greenburgh, it's no wonder that the Town is in so much financial trouble.

Anonymous said...

How come we have this amount of outstanding tickets??

What has the police department done up to now?
Did they finally wake up to the fact that they will be needing more money in their budget so let's lay this in front of the board.
The amount of money owed should have never gotten to this point.
You have all been sleeping on this one but boy have you been fully awake as to how to screw the residents.
Another thing how the hell can you get this money paid through our court system which is at the moments being critisized for the mishandling of funds.
Has the money the court received previously for tickects received in Greenburgh ever been accounted for.
I've been in court a few time and noticed most of the fines were being paid in cash.

Before you take this step make sure that the 2 plus million owed does not go in someones pocket.
The one judge named in many of the conversations at town hall should be let go together with the clerk .
You have to have internal control in place as Kolesar was ready to impliment but you fired him --before you try this system.

Anonymous said...

If Greenburgh traffic system was run properly we would not be in this situation that so much money is owed by scoflaws.
Shame on our police .
Maybe you should have waited for the amount to go higher before you realized hey we better get on this if not we wont be able to get what the PD will be asking for in the next year.

Good luck in catching these people.
If you want to know if they are dead or alive go to the social security site and you will find all the information.
You really don't need a company to do the work for the PD.
It's as easy as pie.
You then have a tax base for the others if they are alive but above all the parking authority has their own listings.
Put them all together and vola we have a good system in place using our own personnel.

Disgruntled Greenburgher said...

Dear Mr. Feiner -
Why is the Hartsdale Public Parking District submitting its tickets electronically while the Greenburgh Police Department is still sending handwritten tickets by regular mail to be transcribed and entered into a collection system?
Doesn't this strike you as an instance where investing in the appropriate technology would provide an immediate benefit?
If the Town can regularly expend "capital budget" funds for depreciating assets like vehicles, why can't capital funds be spent on significant technological improvements like electronic devices for parking enforcement?
Please exercise your power as the Town's Chief Fiscal Officer and mandate GPD acquire devices similar to HPPD's.
As an additional benefit, such devices would greatly enhance efforts to create and maintain the kind of internal financial controls whose absence has caused the State Comptroller to criticize the Town.
You have the power to make this happen - do you have the political will?

Anonymous said...

Precisely how much do you pay this outside company? Wouldn't it be cheaper to hire a high school student to work after school as a clerk to do the same tasks? The steps involved are pretty simplistic.

Hal Samis said...

Dear 10:41,

It is really easy to understand why the Town Supervisor accepts and publicizes the findings of Chief Kapica.

Knowing that the Chief is retiring and observing the niceties of the mutual admiration society for those departing, Feiner is merely passing the buck assuming that no one will notice.

Clearly, the Chief has not exercised good judgement or diligence in looking over the shoulder of the outside vendor hired for the purpose of collecting overdue fines. Asssuming they are paid either a fee or a percentage of revenue recaptured or a combination of both, it is easy enough for them to shut off the lights when 5:00 rolls around, go home and call it a good day. In other words, go after the easy ones and ignore all the rest.

What seems to be missing in these apple and orange comparisons is how many tickets are paid on time and without protest. Thus saying that the Town collected in 2007 93%of all fines? tickets? only reaffirms that most people pay on time.

The problem facing the Town is not those that pay when due but collecting from those who do not.
It is this group, the scofflaws, that are the problem. So what the Town, the Chief and Complus are frantically trying to explain away is that they have failed miserably in collecting from those that don't want to pay. Who cares about what other municipalities do.
Isn't Greenburgh the 80th best place to live -- do we care about what #81 or #881 does?

And, how embarrassing is it for the Chief not to know how to find the whereabouts of the most grievous offender -- or even if this person is still alive. I assume that this "person" is protected by a network of accomplices that is rival to those hiding Osama Bin Laden.

All in all, what this post states minus the sugar coating and scratching under the bulbous mumbo jumbo of the cited percentages ("it's ok, she's only half pregnant") is that the Town and its minions have done a terrible job --even if it started back in the early 1990's. The Town, the Chief and Complus (from whenever they signed on) did a bad job then and they are still doing a bad job. And they don't do this bad job for nothing either. How much has Complus pocketed for their labors? Asked another way, for each $100 of outstanding fine, how much goes to Complus?

Since Mr. Dwinnell has such an outstanding record of tax collections, maybe the Town should seek out his skills.

Whether the proposed new law will have any effect AND if it is written by the usual suspects, I expect this will have to undergo quite a few rewrites, remains to be seen. One more thing to judge AFTER the fall elections.

Finally, none of this is new news.
A few years ago, the balance stood at $2 million. Nothing was done and it continued to rise unchecked. To say that it doesn't count because of additional late fees or interest is another shield to hide the fact that the Town, the Chief and the hired guns dropped the ball.

Why has it re-emerged recently? Because Kolesar revived interest and blew the lid off. Just one more reason to hasten his departure.

feiner is doing a little better on updating blogsite said...

I also feel that the police should stake out more on top of site C on top by Esat Hartsdale Avenue (EHA) for people who are extremely unsafe by going over the double yellow line by 50 and 60 EHA to get to the light to make a left turn on Cetral Avenue. This would be a better use of the PD instead of being in the unmarked car looking for speeders by the furniture stores and the chinese Restaurant. This stake out should be done at rush hour on a daily basis between 5 -7 PM.

Anonymous said...

The town's collection rate is higher than most communities in the nation.

Feiner's "Outreach" Won't Allow Speakers said...

Continuing with his campaign against open government in the Town of Greenburgh, Feiner and the Town Board last night refused to allow certain residents to speak at a so-called "outreach" meeting held on public property in the Village of Irvington.

The Town Board, which is meeting at Town Hall only once this month -- on April 22 -- met last night at the Irvington Recreation Center and, according to the public notice of its meeting, "all persons interested are invited to attend and be heard."

Despite the official notice, which is required by state law (and which still appears on the Town's website), residents of Fulton Park who attended last night's meeting were told in advance, when they arrived, that they would not in fact be allowed to speak.

The orders not to speak were issued by East Irvington Civic Association President Danny Gold. The "outreach" meeting was also a meeting of the civic association. Significantly, no more than 9 people from the civic association showed up.

None of the town board members, all of whom were in attendance, objected when Gold told the Fulton Park residents they could listen, but not speak. Gold said only members of the East Irvington Civic Association were allowed to speak. The only exception was the president of a neighboring civic association who Gold said, "lived close enough."

At the meeting, Planning Board chair Fran McLaughlin spoke out against a zoning change needed for a proposed Stop & Shop development on Route 119, claiming it was "spot zoning" and should await the results of the Town's comprehensive plan. McLaughlin took the opposite position when it came to the rezoning opposed by Fulton Park residents at 22 Tarrytown Road.

The East Irvington Civic Association also voted to support proposed amendments to the Finneran Law. Since Fulton Park residents were not allowed to speak, no one present was allowed to hear a dissenting point of view. In fact, no one in the room was told that the villages, the CGCA and the ECC were all opposed to the amendments, or that Feiner had announced at a meeting of the Democratic Party last month that without village support, the amendments would not be introduced.

The East Irvington Civic Association supported the amendments -- at least all nine of them present -- because they wanted to make it easier for the Town Board to acquire another 60 acres of land to add to Taxter Ridge, and have it paid for without objection by the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh.

Feiner behavior disgusting said...

What Anon at 3:51 says reminds me of those staged meetings of supporters that W used to hold when he was president. Feiner and the town board members should be ashamed of themselves. If residents of Fulton Park took the time to come out last night to a public meeting to be "heard" as the town's official notice says, how dare Feiner and his cohorts on the town board go along with an order that they be seen and not heard. That's downright disgusting.

Anonymous said...

This is the way Feiner and company deal with meetings.

It's the court, stupid said...

Why is everybody pointing fingers at the police. The police only issue tickets. It is the court that is supposed to enforce the tickets and collect the fines.

We have had a few audits that showed that the court clerk is inept and has exercised no control over the administrative parts of the court. She is the one who is supposed to schedule these things, send out notices, and these kind of things. She seems not to have done her job.

If people don't pay their fines the court is supposed to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles and the scofflaw's registration won't be renewed. If that were to happen, the scofflaw would be johnny-on-the-spot with his payments.

It is time to point fingers at the right person. It isn't the police. It is at the court clerk and maybe to the judges who don't supervise her.

We are talking about millions of dollars that the town can have at a time when it needs the money. Yell at the court, not at the police.

hal samis said...

To those who say the problem is at the Court, not the Police Department...If so, then a re-reading of the original post by the Supervisor is completely off base and the response from the Chief of Police is similarly inaccurate.  Nowhere in the post is the Court as the cause mentioned.  In fact, it appears that the vendor Complus seems to be reporting to Chief Kapica who probably vetted them as vendors.

But whose numbers do you believe?The Chief wants you to agree that Complus is doing a great job "the overall collection rate is 91.5% of the total tickets issued". You have to recognize which lullabye he is singing you to sleep with.  The collection problem is not with the total tickets issued but with the collection rate measuring the group, scofflaws.  Since most people pay their tickets without Complus intervention, the growing problem is from the 8.5% that don't. The uncollected funds, over $2.7 million, come not from the 91.5% that have already paid but from the 8.5% that didn't.And believe that the Chief chose his words carefully.

The fact remains that once hiring Complus, the Chief took a long nap and forget all about the rising amount of receivables. Including the receivables from the Housing Authority. What the Chief does best is spend money, not look for ways to save it or collect it.
Not my job!

And again, who screwed the lid on the honey jar (for those who catch flies) tight? In this case, the honey being Police overtime...why the former Comptroller, Mr. Kolesar.

But hey, the Chief like Mr. Regula before him, everyone leaves Town service on a high note.
All except those that blow the whistle.

Anonymous said...

"The town's collection rate is higher than most communities in the nation."

So what?! Mr. Feiner: Do you not see that your posting makes you appear incompetent? For a person who's always so concerned about his own PR, I'm surprised you even posted this.

Anonymous said...

Complus does nothing but supply software and hardware for reporting.

Thinking Complus has any responsibility in collecting fines is absurd. It's akin to saying Microsoft Money is responsible for paying your bills.

Anonymous said...

Can't people read? it is the court, not the police, which is responsible for collecting the fines for tickets.

hal samis said...

Dear 10:14 If people can't read per your lament, it is only because it hasn't been written. In the original post by the Supervisor and, in turn a statement by the Chief of Police, where is it mentioned that the problem lies with the Courts?

Either you know what the Supervisor and the Police Chief don't (if so, then convince them) or you don't know.

Perhaps citing Town Law would be the final arbiter.

I am not a hard sell that the Supervisor and the Police Chief don't know what they are talking about. But don't just tell me; show me.

Anonymous said...

The difunctional court system does collect the fines,but the tickets must be sent to them by the one department that writes them up.

Why is it that other departments have their ticket accounting up to date and the police cannot .

Herb Rosenberg said...

Dear Hal Samis and Anonymous 11:51.

The 10:14 poater is correct. It is the court that has the responsibility to collect the fines.

The way it works is this. When tickets are issued by the the police the enforcement functions moves to the court. It is the court which is required to enforce thereafter and there are several ways to do it. That is why the revenues from the parking violations show up in the court budget, not the police budget.

In Greenburgh, because the court office is so unprofessional, the enforcement follow-up has been farmed by the court out to Complus, an agency which, presumably, can work computers better than the court staff. But Complus is under the juridiction of the court, not the police. When people don't pay their fines it is the court that is supposed to issue warrants, notify the DMV, and take the other measures. That is the way it is done in towns which have courts that function properly. Just because the court has delegated those functions to Complus doesn't mean that the court is relieved of the responsinility. In the Greenburgh court, where the court office does nothing right, and the justices don't seem to know that prosecuting parking tickets is part of their job, the enforcement falls into the balck hole, together with the missing moneys, insufficient records, backlogs, etc. that the recent audits have disclosed.

I have been critical of the mismanagement -- and worse -- at the court. This is just the latest illustration of what I have been talking about.

It doesn't matter that some other courts have a lower percentage of collections. What matters is that with a properly supervised court or agency, Greenburgh should have the highest rate of collections. What matters is that we are talking about almost $3,000,000 that is virtually lost, because after all this time it is almost impossible to collect.

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Rosenberg,

Thanks for the explanation.

Now would you care to comment on the viability of the proposed legislation.

I wonder whether the vehicle can be indicted as the criminal and thereby incarcerated. I wonder whether vehicles with out of state registration can be impounded for such crimes.

I wonder whether if due process is being served and, if so, why bother with picking up, delivering and storing a car when the proposed legislation implies that without further notice the Town would do better by just attaching the scofflaw's banking accounts and not have to deal with all the operational matters regarding taking possession of the vehicle.

Similarly, if Greenburgh were the Lender, would it write laws that those three months behind in mortgage payments would be locked out their homes and the formal foreclosure process would be circumvented.

I wonder if Greenburgh is attempting what the State won't and for good reason.

I wonder with fewer police officers to patrol Greenburgh, where those bodies to enforce these new laws are in the Police Department roster.

Finally, I wonder whether any of this would hold up in Courts if passed by the Town Board. Why do I wonder aka "What, me worry"? Because I see Town Attorney Tim Lewis opining that all this is kosher.

And I'm thinking that Greenburgh had better take another look at its insurance coverage and have a safe place to store these impounded

But mostly I'm wondering how these new laws will affect the over $2.7 million of fines that are already on the books before these new laws get passed. I'm thinking, nada.
Locking the barn door after...

Let's run another "epistle to dippy" up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

Anonymous said...


That trailer is parked ahain on Sprain Valley Road. This is a fatal accident waiting to happen. Can't you please tell the Police to patrol the streets on a nightly basis?

Anonymous said...

You have got to be kidding,The last time someone complained on the blog the person stated that the trailer was parked for a week day and night and last year it was parked for months at a time.
Does that say enough for the police department partoling this area.

hal samis said...

What it says is that the Police will be doing even less patrolling when they become involved with impounding cars.

And the $2.7 million+ will still be uncollected.

greenburgh jeopardy said...

epistle to dippy indeed
btw - did you know jimmy page played guitar on that track?

bonus question - and no checking wikipedia (the true library of the present and future)

what was the B side of the single?

winner receives a mention in the next post on the samis blog

Anonymous said...

Paul the trailer has been parked in their driveway overnite.

Is there some law against this?????
If there is that means the PD bypassed this road again.

Anonymous said...

Once a violation notice is issued the land owner has a certain number of days to remove. A summons is then issued. The Town Judge decides on the penalty. The town cannot remove without a court order.

Anonymous said...

get a life who cares is someone has a trailer in their PRIVATE driveway!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This happens to be a residential area where no commercial vehicles are permitted to park.

Check the law.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the building department has the last word to say concerning commercial vehicles parked in residential areas.