One local legislator is trying to inject a dose of common sense into the city’s ticket adjudication policies.
Speaking to members of Community Board 11, gathered at the Holy Family Home, 1740 84th Street, City Councilmember Vincent Gentile said he was in the process of crafting legislation “in the name of fairness” to make it easier for local residents to fight violations they have received.
The first would require the city’s Department of Finance (DOF) to provide the ability to upload evidence, for people who want to fight their tickets on line. Right now, you can only provide photographs or other similar evidence if you fight your ticket through the mail, Gentile said, meaning that those who choose to submit a challenge on line are basically hamstrung, when it comes to providing evidence that can help them prove their case.
The second piece of legislation would require the administrative law judges who rule on challenges to explain their decisions.
“Sometimes, if you challenge a bad ticket, ” Gentile noted, “when you read the decision of the administrative law judge, it says that the evidence was not persuasive -- guilty. It doesn’t say what the administrative law judge did to come to that decision.” To remedy that, Gentile noted, his bill “would require the administrative law judge to specify how he or she arrived at the decision.”
The third bill that Gentile is introducing would prevent penalty charges from accruing while an appeal is underway. Now, penalty charges mount up while the appeal is still being made, a state of affairs, Gentile said, that results in, “People saying they might as well pay the ticket, because, if they lose, they have to pay all the late charges from day one. This discourages people from fighting their tickets.”
The bills are currently being drafted, with the goal of being introduced later this year.
Gentile said that he was “hopeful” that his colleagues on the City Council would sign on in support of the legislation.