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Parking and Traffic Appeals Panel

This is the annual report to the Faculty Council on the activity of the Standing Committee C-8, Parking and Traffic Appeals Panel during the 2005-06 academic year.

The Parking and Traffic Appeals Committee was convened on Sept 12, 2005, by Dr. Charles Hale. Martin Poenie, who was vice chair for 2004-05, was elected as chair for the 2005-06 term. The chair subsequently assigned committee members to six sub-panels consisting of six members each, to review the appeals. Each sub-panel consisted of a mixture of faculty, staff and student members, as equally divided as possible. In addition, experienced panel members returning from the previous year’s committee were distributed across the sub-panels as equally as possible.

The committee to date has received 155 cases and is in the process of deciding the last seven cases. An appellant whose citation is upheld on appeal by Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) may make a second and final appeal through PTS to this standing committee. The panel consists of twenty faculty members, ten staff members, and ten students.

Sub-panels received from six to ten cases to review at a time. They generally were given two weeks to review cases and to make decisions. Of the currently decided cases, the panel upheld seventy-three cases, dismissed thirty-four cases, and reduced the fine on forty-three cases. This represents a significant difference from the preceding year where the panel upheld 103 cases, dismissed twenty cases, and reduced the fine on four cases. The committee chair votes only in the case of a tie.

The committee this year used a secure Web site to enable the transmission and coordination of cases among panel members. As my first year as chair of the committee, I found that the Web site approach was very useful, but there were also numerous difficulties encountered in its use. This was apparent at the outset where many cases remained on the Web from the previous year and were reassigned even though they had already been decided. Also, the assignments did not correspond to organization of the subcommittees with some panel members being assigned over 100 cases. These glitches were resolved but led to some initial confusion and delays. Part of the difficulty arose from the fact that once the chair has assigned cases, they cannot actually see and confirm how the cases are assigned

One of the problems encountered as chair is getting committee members to decide their cases. If too few committee members respond, the chair is left with situations where only two or three committee members have responded to a case with differing decisions. I have made recommendations to Jeff Reed that I believe will help both committee members and the chair deal with these difficulties. These recommendations are as follows.

1. The data a case is assigned should be added to the information next to each case.
2. Cases should be organized so that the chair can see who was assigned the case, who has responded, and who has not responded. This would help the chair to identify and prod committee members who have not responded.
3. There should be a facility on the Web site to reassign cases and/or reorganize the subcommittees after they are initially assigned. There were cases where persons withdrew from the parking appeals committee after the subcommittees were assigned. One can really only know the habits of the committee members after assignments have begun. If patterns emerge where, for whatever reason, too few members of a subcommittee respond, there should be a facility to reorganize the subcommittee or reassign cases. This information has been communicated to Jeff Reed, who acknowledged the need for such facilities.

This year, the committee will be able to dispose of all cases without deferring any cases to the next year. In large part, this is believed to be possible because of the efficiency and convenience of the new computer system. We believe that the Web-based system has been a great asset, but as with any new system refinements are needed. These refinements should be implemented in the upcoming 2006-07 term.

Martin Poenie, chair

  Updated 2006 August 29
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