FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SPEAKER QUINN ANNOUNCE NEW PROGRAM TO ALLOW NEW YORKERS TO CONTEST TICKETS ONLINE
Part of NYC Simplicity - Entire Hearing Process Now Available Online for Parking and Environmental Control Board Tickets
Council Legislation Enabled City to Leverage New Technology and Create New Efficiencies
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith, Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs Carol Robles-Román, Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel, Administrative Justice Coordinator David Goldin and Chief Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Beddoe today announced the launch of a new program to allow New Yorkers to contest tickets online, eliminating the need for a time consuming trip to an in-person hearing. Online hearings – part of the City’s NYC Simplicity agenda to make City government more efficient, innovative, and customer-focused – are now available for parking tickets administered by the Department of Finance and many tickets administered by the Environmental Control Board, including health and sanitation code violations. Online hearings will produce efficiencies for City government, reducing spending on paper and mailings, eliminating paperwork processing, and increasing the productivity of administrative law judges, who will be able to make use of time between live hearings to review digital cases.
“Enforcing our traffic laws is critically important to protecting public safety, promoting business activity, and reducing gridlock and congestion,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “No one likes to get a ticket, but it shouldn’t have to be so difficult and time-consuming to contest one. This new program will make it much easier and faster to contest a ticket – and save New Yorkers from having to take off work do it.”
“Once again, we are making the City more customer-service oriented,” said Speaker Quinn. “Today’s announcement is a great example of how the Council seeks advice from New Yorkers and transforms that advice into results designed to improve the lives of New Yorkers. By allowing New Yorkers and small business owners to contest a violation online -- whether it be sanitation, health or otherwise – it’ll save them time and money, traveling to city offices and waiting their turn to make their case to an administrative judge. My Council colleagues and I are proud that both our bill and the Regulatory Review panel resulted in this great step in making the lives of New Yorkers easier. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Goldsmith for working with the Council to cut this unnecessary, red tape.”
“Offering citizens the convenience to contest parking tickets online clearly resounds with the goals of NYC Simplicity,” said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith, “The new automated application allows us to more efficiently and cost-effectively handle the high volume universe of parking tickets, while enhancing service options for the busy and mobile citizens of New York.”
“The office of administrative trials and hearings and the administrative justice coordinator’s office have made improving access to justice a top priority,” said Deputy Mayor Robles- Román. “For most New Yorkers, the first and only interaction with the judicial system will come in the form of an administrative proceeding. It is vital that we continue to make the hearings accessible and user-friendly for everyone that appears before our administrative courts.”
“Online hearings are not only easier, they are less expensive for the City,” said Finance Commissioner Frankel. “We will be able to conduct more hearings faster, and reduce costs. This is a part of our ongoing commitment to automate and upgrade our processes to increase customer service and create more efficiency for New Yorkers.”
“Under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Román, our office has been working with all of the City’s tribunals to simplify hearings for everyone who participates in them,” said Administrative Justice Coordinator Goldin. “We’ve worked to streamline procedures, increase the use of technology, and increase plain language and language access to ensure New Yorkers are able to fully present their cases. Being able to contest a fine without having to travel to a hearing office or sit in a waiting room is a big step toward ensuring that access to justice is a reality for everyone.”
“We understand that coming to an in-person hearing could cost property and business owners’ time and money and so we are proactively addressing this concern by exploring ways to make the hearing process more accessible and convenient by using technology and other innovations,” said Chief Judge Beddoe. “Some of the most commonly issued tickets do not require an in-person hearing; One-Click Hearings provide an easy-to-use option for New Yorkers who want their day in court without having to physically appear before the ECB judge.”
In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn announced the formation of the Regulatory Review Panel to modernize the rulemaking process with particular attention on enhancing public participation and identifying and fixing systemic problems with existing rules and rule implementation. The panel received input from over 200 small business owners, industry representatives and other stakeholders through outreach sessions with business owners in all five boroughs, meetings with various industry and civic groups, and written comments from the general public. One of the 14 recommendations, which is being acted on today, was to enable businesses to contest violations online and avoid having to appear before administrative tribunals.
“Every New Yorker has a story about the parking ticket they didn't deserve but never bothered to fight because it wasn't worth making the trek down to traffic court,” said City Council Transportation Chair James Vacca. “In a city where time is money, allowing motorists to challenge tickets online will save New Yorkers - and the city - a little bit of both.”
“I want to applaud the creation of this new program,” said Council Member Leroy Comrie. “I’m sure most working-class New Yorkers dread having to lose a day’s pay to deal with a parking ticket they feel they were wrongly given. By having the ability to contest a ticket on-line, it will help lessen the aggravation of this process. I firmly believe that government should work to help lessen the bureaucracy in the lives of its citizens and I hope this new system will do just that.”
Online hearings allow the users to enter a written defense and submit supporting materials such as photos or other documents which they would like the judge to consider when deciding their case. Once submitted, the defense is considered by an Administrative Law Judge who will send out the decision via email for parking and other Department of Finance tickets and by regular mail, often within 30 days, for Environmental Control Board tickets.
In addition to parking and red light camera tickets, New Yorkers can also contest the following tickets online:
Littering and Clean-up
The Environmental Control Board receives approximately 700,000 tickets issued by 13 different City Agencies and adjudicates approximately 250,000 cases a year. ECB was formerly part of the Department of Environmental Protection until it was consolidated into the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings by the City Council in 2008, making ECB the independent administrative tribunal responsible for conducting hearings involving the City’s health, safety and environmental laws. Under the guidance of the Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs, Carol Robles-Roman, Chief Judge Beddoe has been leading OATH/ECB towards making the administrative hearing process more transparent and accessible. Last September, ECB made it possible to appeal decisions online and it continues to explore ways to make OATH/ECB a more user-friendly court.
The New York City Department of Finance is the fifth largest taxing jurisdiction in the nation, responsible for collecting more than $35 billion a year and administering the City’s treasury. Finance administers fifteen different taxes, in addition to four City taxes administered by the State. Finance adjudicates and parking violations fees and fines, assesses values for over one million parcels of real property and administers exemptions worth $4 billion annually, audits business, personal and sales tax returns, oversees the Sheriff’s Office, and keeps records of title to property.
To contest a parking ticket or Environmental Control Board ticket, visit www.nyc.gov.
Stu Loeser / Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
Owen Stone (Finance)
Marisa Senigo (OATH/ECB)
Jamie McShane/Kim Thai (Council) (212) 788-7116
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