Officials say Pittsburgh worker owes nearly $800 in parking tickets

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PITTSBURGH —

Pittsburgh officials said Tuesday they will investigate how an assistant director in the Personnel Department racked up more than $800 in unpaid parking tickets.

Parking Authority records show that Tamiko Stanley owes $745 from five tickets issued to a sport-utility vehicle registered to her. In addition, Pittsburgh police cited Stanley eight times for parking violations since 2006.

She pleaded guilty to two of the citations but owes $104 for them. She didn’t respond to the remaining six, including three that total about $284, records show. If found guilty of those three, she could owe as much as $1,100.

“I was certainly alarmed by it and I was unaware of it. We are in the process of contacting the personnel department where she’s employed and speaking with her,” Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said.

Stanley, 33, of Sheraden earns about $76,000 a year. She declined comment.

“This is unacceptable behavior, and we will be investigating,” Personnel Director Judy Hill Finegan said. She declined further comment.

City Council President Darlene Harris said she doesn’t believe anyone should run up so many unpaid tickets, “let alone a city worker.”

“I think anyone who has tickets should pay them if they know they have them,” Harris said. “If you work for the city, they should take it out of your pay.”

City Court generally issues bench warrants for unpaid citations, city court Administrator Angharad Stock said. But no warrants were issued for the six tickets that Stanley didn’t respond to because the court is catching up on warrants from that time, Stock said.

Parking scofflaws with five or more unpaid parking tickets that are 30 days overdue from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority are placed on a boot-and-tow list. An enforcement truck with a camera scans license plates on city streets and places a boot on any that are flagged. Stanley received her most recent ticket from the authority on the SUV on Jan. 28, 2011, records show.

The Parking Authority was unable to provide a list on Tuesday of current parking scofflaws, but last year that list included Councilman Ricky Burgess, who owed $426.88 for five tickets and City Controller Michael Lamb, who owed $117.88 for two tickets. Both said they paid their tickets.

The biggest scofflaw was Avis Rent-A-Car, which owed more than $75,600.

The city hired Stanley as assistant director of the Personnel Department and equal-employment officer in 2007, with the goal of increasing the number of minorities in the city’s workforce. She has worked to recruit minority applicants for public-safety jobs, including police work.

The American Civil Liberties Union last month sued the city, alleging discriminatory hiring practices against black applicants to the police force. One of the plaintiffs, James Foster, was told he was passed over for a police job because he had three warrants for failing to respond to citations, and nine moving violations, the lawsuit states. Foster and Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, did not return calls seeking comment.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.