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Southampton man files complaint against Greenfield police chief regarding ticket

  • Recorder/Paul FranzGreenfield police chief Robert Haigh Jr. PAUL FRANZ

  • The YMCA parking lots will have a paid attendant for 35 hours a week according to Bob Sunderland. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Confusing signs in the Ames Street parking lot in Greenfield. Of the 87 spaces, only five were available for 'pay to park'. Three are designated 'Handicap' and the rest being permit only. Several people confused by the signs paid at kiosks and left their cars subject to ticketing while the photographer was in the lot on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



For the Gazette
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GREENFIELD — A Southampton man refusing to pay a $10 parking ticket has filed a complaint in Franklin County Superior Court against Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr.

Shane W. Gilbert is asking a judge to dismiss a July 7 ticket and to waive all related fines or fees in addition to the $10. Court documents indicate the fee to enter a civil case is $275.

In his complaint, filed Aug. 22, Gilbert explained he requested an appeal numerous times through the website listed on the parking ticket. He said he could not submit all of his evidence via the website, so he sought a hearing to do so.

“Each time, I have received a decision without being told the date or time that the hearing will occur,” Gilbert wrote.

In his complaint, Gilbert said he tried to reach Haigh twice by email, and numerous times by phone. When he was able to reach Haigh on Aug. 22, the day the ticket was due, Gilbert wrote Haigh replied “he did not have to give me a hearing and his decision was final.”

“That’s just not part of the process,” Haigh explained Wednesday, noting he did review the case when Gilbert requested an appeal, but found the ticket was merited.

Court records also include a response Gilbert received from Haigh and the town of Greenfield, reporting that after investigating the case, “it has been found that the ticket is valid.” The document claims Gilbert was parked in a permit-only space that is reserved for permit holders, not in a kiosk pay-and-display space available to the general public.

“In this case, I must have viewed it and found the violation to be valid and upheld the parking enforcement folks who wrote it,” Haigh said, explaining the one full-time and four part-time employees responsible for parking enforcement take photographs when they write tickets. “When they take pictures, it makes it easier for me to feel that the ticket was valid.”

Haigh said he couldn’t recall the specific lot where the ticket was issued. In Greenfield, Haigh said, 12,000 parking tickets have been issued so far this year and 16,500 last year. Of those, Haigh has overseen 2,600 appeals, often viewing the spaces in person before making a decision.

“Everybody has a right to do this if they don’t agree,” Haigh said of Gilbert’s complaint. “He’s exercising his rights … Nobody likes to get parking violations, but my folks are out there just doing their jobs.”

Haigh asks that drivers “try to do the best they can to pay attention to the signs” indicating where to park, though he said he hears valid critiques regarding unclear signs or changes to individual spaces.

“We’re always trying to make it better and we do listen to folks that bring issues to us,” he said. “Things are constantly being adjusted.”

As for the complaint, Haigh said he submitted a response within the necessary 20 days. Both his and Gilbert’s responses will be submitted to Franklin County Superior Court. Haigh noted it’s possible the case may be dismissed before going before a judge.