By Jovany Leon
In response to concerns about fairness and public trust, the district hired an outside firm to handle the parking citation appeals process.
Phoenix Group Information Systems will process, collect fines and arbitrate the appeals system at a cost of $2,500 annually.
Criminal Justice Chair George Wright presided over hearings of contested citations for two years, starting in 2009 when former campus Safety and Security Supervisor James Wooley asked Wright to volunteer.
In 2011 Wright expressed to Wooley the burden being caused by the process.
“I didn’t want to end up in court to fight students or faculty members with tickets,” Wright said. “Some will fight you to the end of the Earth rather than pay $20.”
If a motorist would have challenged Wright’s decision, the case could have ended up in the Orange County Superior Court.
“I would prefer that the appeals process be done by an independent party so then there’s no allegations made by the people receiving the citations that we are handling this all ourselves and there are allegations that we are contriving it,” district Safety and Security Supervisor Alistair Winter said.
Despite there being no recorded complaints, Wright says, the district is guarding themselves from the possibility of suspected favoritism.
“I would probably be inclined to favor another fellow faculty member over a student, if I was to show favoritism,” Wright said. “But I never did and that was never an issue.”
Having faculty handle hearings also took time away from other responsibilities, Winter said.
Wright was not provided additional compensation for presiding over the appeals process.