Here’s a little experiment.
Joanne Leiman, owner of Flowers Flowers, emailed me over the weekend. She asked if I was aware that Evanston outsources its parking ticket processing.
I’ll admit: I’ve paid many a ticket in my fourteen years here but I’ve never paid attention to the address on my ticket payment envelope.
As Joanne points out, tickets are processed in Milwaukee.
I was born in Milwaukee. I have nothing against Milwaukee. I love the sausages and beer in Milwaukee.
However, I’d like to know how the decision was made to outsource parking ticket processing, as well as when the practice was first instituted.
I went to the City’s website and found the “General Info About Parking Tickets” page. Once there, I clicked on the link to “send us an email” and was directed to the 311 Online Citizen Support Center. There, I typed in my question then provided my personal info. Once I sent my query, I received a confirmation that my question will be answered within two days. I’ll be waiting for it, and I’ll post it in the comments section of this article when it arrives.
I'm no economist, but I agree that some tasks are better left to those who can accomplish them faster and more efficiently or effectively. Corporations frequently outsource (oftentimes the administrative tasks or call centers) in order to keep the focus on other issues like growing the business and attending to clients. I think the sticky part about our parking ticket processing is that it's our City government outsourcing the work...during a recession.
What’s your input? Does an outsourced government task (such as parking ticket processing…or recycling) make sense? Does the money saved by contracting with a more efficient outfit balance the revenue lost from local employees buying gas in town? Purchasing breakfast or lunch or dinner in town? Shopping during breaks in town?
If you have any other questions for the City, you can submit them online, anytime. Click here for the link to the 311 Online Citizen Support Center.