You might be owed a refund: City canceling hundreds of thousands of parking tickets (updated Thursday)

ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY REPORT: If you got a city-issued parking ticket between September 1, 2021 and April 5, 2022, the city is canceling it – and if you already paid it, you’l get a refund. According to an announcement from the mayor’s office late today, this is because a mistake was made when Parking Enforcement Officers were transferred to SDOT last year. Long story short, as explained in the announcements, once they were no longer in SPD, the PEOs were supposed to get “special commissions issued by the Chief of Police” so they could keep enforcing the law. That didn’t happen – until the new administration noticed it and fixed it. But that meant uncommissioned officers had issued tickets to about 200,000 people, and those are being voided. To check if you got a ticket that’s involved, go here. The city says if you’re entitled to a refund, that’ll happen automatically, starting next week. If you’ve gotten a city-issued parking ticket since April 5th, you’re out of luck – that’s valid. The city’s announcement says they estimate refunds are due to 100,000 ticket recipients who had already paid, while 100,000 others have not-yet-paid tickets that will simply be voided.

ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: We asked mayoral spokesperson Jamie Housen two followup questions: First, how much this will cost; second, what kind of investigation is under way into who was accountable for the mistake? First answer: Just over $5 million including the cost of a third-party administrator. Second, “The mayor has requested additional information from the involved departments about the transition of the PEOs and the issuance of special commissions and will use this information to determine next steps and how to improve coordination between departments.:

19 Replies to "You might be owed a refund: City canceling hundreds of thousands of parking tickets (updated Thursday)"

  • Mj June 1, 2022 (5:57 pm)

    Wow –  so what is the cost of this bureaucracy failure?  200,000 * $50(?) + cost to issue refunds, staff time & postage!

    • WSB June 1, 2022 (6:27 pm)

      That’s the followup question I want to ask (along with who exactly was responsible) but this came in too late in the day, can’t ask until tomorrow. The Times, which looks to have had something of a jump on this (I see they have a story with multiple quotes and other context is timestamped 3:50 pm, less than 20 minutes before the city sent its announcement), estimates up to $5 million. – TR

    • JBone June 1, 2022 (7:22 pm)

      Never thought I’d see the day that someone would complain about getting their money back from what is essentially a nuisance ticket.

  • Zipda June 1, 2022 (6:01 pm)

    Seems to me that it should be the city responsibility to find and issue the refunds without the public trying find a remote paid parking ticket and needing to submit paperwork for their unlawful screwup.

    • WSB June 1, 2022 (6:28 pm)

      Note that as reported above “if you’re entitled to a refund, that’ll happen automatically, starting next week.”

  • CarDriver June 1, 2022 (6:34 pm)

    City needs to add this requirement to their training manuals: Left hand meet right hand. 

  • Eric1 June 1, 2022 (7:06 pm)

    LOL.  Wasn’t this part of the grand plan of the Seattle City Clowncil of “defunding the police”?  The refunds should come out of the Clowncil budget. It is clear that the brightest minds run this city. 

    • WSB June 1, 2022 (8:52 pm)

      If the council’s plan had gone through – moving PEOs to the new Community Safety Center – this wouldn’t have been an issue, or so suggests today’s news release. Instead, then-Mayor Durkan wanted to move the PEOs to SDOT, and this apparently got lost in the shuffle. But certainly if the PEOs had just been kept in SPD, also, it wouldn’t have been an issue either.

    • Jort June 2, 2022 (10:50 am)

      haha, “Clowncil!” So funny! Haha, so great. Especially since this was a failure of the Jenny Durkan administration but somehow everything that goes wrong is the “Clowncil’s” fault. hahaha “clowncil” so funny omg!

  • Bob June 1, 2022 (10:18 pm)

    So we paid salaries for parking enforcement, but the provided no ROI.  Whoever is responsible for this should be fired.  What a joke.  Inflation out of control and now more need for tax dollars.  This city is out of control.

  • Anne June 2, 2022 (9:21 am)

    It will cost the city $4.5-$5 million to fix this stupid oversight. It never ceases to amaze me how in certain (most?) city departments the inmates seem to be running the asylum . It also never ceases to amaze me that anyone is rarely held accountable-but then we rarely demand accountability here.  Just thinking of all the other ways that  almost $5 million could have been put to use-instead it’s a huge  hit -because of an “oversight”.  City government at its finest. 

  • Chuck Jacobs June 2, 2022 (10:31 am)

    This is another example of how the city council and mayor’s office screwed up a working  system in order to appease the woke mob, and they didn’t even accomplish that. They shifted money and people around to different departments in the city so they could claim that they reduced the size and budget of the SPD. 
    I guarantee that dozens of parking enforcement officers and staffers were warning their bosses that this would happen. Or maybe they didn’t, due to the “proud nail gets hammered” school of management. 

    • Phil June 2, 2022 (11:08 pm)

      Non-decision, non-implementation, was way above PEO pay grade. Look at Chief Diaz and SDOT’s Rodney Maxie and Darren Morgan. Therein lies your accountability.

    • anonyme June 3, 2022 (6:19 am)

      Chuck, sounds exactly right.

    • shotinthefoot June 3, 2022 (4:01 pm)

      You negated your entire argument by using the phrase “woke mob”. Saying the quiet part out loud. 

  • WestSeattleFlorist June 2, 2022 (12:46 pm)

    The council voted to defund the police by moving Parking Enforcement, 911, and Victim Advocates out of SPD and gave them…what..6 months to complete the move.  Since the move the city is out $10 million dollars due to an oversight in granting PEO’s the authority to write tickets after they left SPD, the 911 center no longer staffs the non-emergency line meaning a lot of people are unable to report crimes, and we’ve now see that sexual assault crimes are not being investigated.  Just read the SPD had even more officers resign than expected in May.  This is going really well. 

    • CarDriver June 3, 2022 (6:56 am)

      SPD never did staff the non-emergency line. It is answered by 911 operators who are in between calls. 10 years ago a friend waited 45 minutes for someone to answer. Nothing new here.

  • aa June 3, 2022 (4:11 am)

    Whatever this error was about, the infraction is not in question, right?  Thats the bummer here in my mind. The city is going to pay out millions (?!) in refunds , not because we didn’t do something that resulted in the ticket, but because the person writing the ticket was not officially assigned to the right department?  

  • Pessoa June 3, 2022 (2:40 pm)

    This bureaucratic bungling is like a cross betwen Nikolai Gogol’s “Inspector General” and Terry Gilliam’s, “Brazil.”

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