Thursday, August 11, 2011

EasyPark Begins Parking Enforcement In Downtown Anchorage, But Hires Outsiders As Employees And May Not Have Advertised The Job Vacancies To Alaskans

In concordance with Anchorage voters' approval of Proposition 10 during the April 6th, 2011 municipal elections, parking enforcement in downtown Anchorage has now passed to the private sector. Effective August 11th, EasyPark has assumed responsibility for parking enforcement, and already controversy has surfaced. The Anchorage Daily News has the primary story, accompanied by a photo gallery.

The EasyPark enforcers attended a parking enforcement class before starting work and wear uniforms while on duty. They ride white three-wheeled scooters, and will be writing tickets for expired meters and monitoring bus zones, fire lanes and handicapped spots in the blocks between Ship Creek, Gambell Street, 10th Avenue and M Street. They will restrict enforcement to parking only. But the first controversy surfaced when ADN focused on an employee from Michigan. Lynn Haske just moved to Alaska from Michigan two weeks ago, yet she got a job with these people while some Alaskans remain unemployed. And since I don't recall EasyPark advertising any job vacancies locally, it makes me wonder if they even bothered to recruit Alaskans, or merely used their own closed system. It has not been reported if the other four employees are Alaskans or not. The ADN comments section has erupted in justifiable protest:

STFU August 11th 9:50 P.M:
I never saw it advertised here.

coffee_d August 11th 9:37 P.M:
I wonder if any Alaskans had a chance at the job.

alaskanman August 11th 9:18 P.M:
Anchorage is turning into a messed up town, we hire people that arrived 2 weeks ago while our unemployement runs rampage [rampant?] for locals. Then the gringo makes money giving tickets to sourdoughs looking for work. At least some state work still have alaska hire preference. Its good to see she can also judicate who and who doesn't receive tickets based on how well she likes their excuse.

boalaska2 August 12th 9:19 A.M:
Seems to me something is wrong here when they have to hire from outside the state. It's tough enough trying to fine a good job for the people that are already up here and trying to survive. I think it's a slap in the face to a long time Alaskan looking for work and the Muni hires someone from outside the state. It's stunts like this that is causing Anchorage and Alaska to turn in to a terrible place to live. The crime rate will go up because the people here are having a hard time making ends meet and they have to support their families somehow. Anchorage used to be a good place to live and the people had morals and even the Muni of ANchorage did too. But this is getting to be to much. I can't wait to retire and move. Perhaps they need a parking enforcement officer in Michigan since the Muni of Anchorage couldn't hire from within the state. I am sure there were alot of former Parking authority people that applied for the positions. By the way what does being tall, a college student and vollyball player has to do with writing tickets? Over all it is a bad story to write about when people are struggling to find work and the ADN writes about a newcomer to Alaska is here for 2 weeks and got a job with the benefits most people don't have. Good Luck and hope she enjoys the winter months.

Lynn Thomas August 12th 11:42 A.M:
Can you tell me there was no one here locally qualified to read meters? Really? I wonder if they paid her way up here. Was this job even posted on CareerBuilder right here on the ADN website, or the ALEXSYS state job bank? This makes me sick sick sick. Give me 10 minutes and I can give you a pretty long list of qualifed local applicants out there searching for work as we speak. And I can give you an even longer list of qualified applicants working for minimum wage w/out benefits who would have given anything to have her job. Its not fair. Makes me hate this place I call home. Really.

A couple of other more minor controversies have also surfaced. First, it appears that when your meter is expired, you can’t just put more quarters in it; you'll have to move to another parking spot. This seems rather petty. Second, you're forbidden from being an angel of mercy and plugging somebody else's expired meter; if you're caught, it's a misdemeanor.

On the other hand, the EasyPark enforcers do show some flexibility. One woman parked near Nordstrom said she couldn’t make it to her meter on time because she just had a C-section; she didn't get a ticket. But you'll need a good reason, and you have to get to the enforcer before he or she starts writing.

What's even more irksome about the Outside hire is that EasyPark is a creation of the Anchorage Community Development Authority (ACDA). You would think that they, moreso than others, would have a strong interest in ensuring that Alaskans are aware of these job opportunities. And that's the real issue -- I have no objection to somebody from Michigan hired for an Alaskan job, but at least advertise the vacancy in Alaska. By the way, Lynn Haske does have good qualifications; she once worked for the East Lansing Police Department.

Update August 23rd: KTVA Channel 11 decided to do a follow-up story. They note that EasyPark controls 1,400 spaces in downtown Anchorage, and that citations are up by 300 percent. While Anchorage police, previously charged with issuing downtown parking citations, wrote an average of 50 per day, EasyPark writes 200. Each citation is about $20 with a $15 late fee.

1 comment:

  1. 5 officers were hired. 4 were from Alaska. The job was advertised locally. What frustrates me with this piece is that if the reporter had just done a little bit of leg work, this would have been discovered.