Hartford Parking Authority City parking garage operator limps along with three vacancies. Fill them
The Hartford Courant
January 18, 2011
Mayor Pedro Segarra is looking for good candidates to fill three vacancies on the Hartford Parking Authority, the five-member body that sets policy for and administers city-owned parking garages downtown.
There are at least two good reasons why the mayor should kick his effort into high gear.
One, the authority is being sued by Connecticut Parking Services Inc., which contends that an authority decision not to honor an agreement with the company was made by only two HPA board members, in violation of Hartford's municipal code. The code requires a majority of three to be present to vote on an issue.
And second, the authority needs a full complement of hands on deck for strategic planning and to continue marketing efforts to attract motorists to park at the Morgan Street garage, the newest of the authority's three downtown garages.
Although the other two — the Church Street garage and the MAT garage — operate at full capacity, the Morgan Street facility does not, in part because a major tenant moved and in part because of job losses due to the recession.
In fact, the top two floors were recently closed to save on maintenance and security costs. The authority's refer-a-friend and parking loyalty programs have been modestly successful, but more promotion and special pricing programs would help.
The authority had a full five members until the middle of last year. Then, one member resigned because of a move to Glastonbury. Another took a job in New York. A third, James Thompson, resigned at the end of December because he became superintendent of schools in Bloomfield.
That leaves only Patricia LeShane, chairwoman, and treasurer Kenneth B. Lerman as commissioners.
This is one of the city's more important boards. Safe, clean, convenient, affordable, well-run parking facilities are a vital necessity. The mayor nominates members of the parking authority and the city council — which itself has two vacancies — confirms them.
The search for new members is underway, necessarily complicated by the need for demographic and partisan balance.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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