Contact:Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958, Jack Deacy (212) 788-2969
MAYOR GIULIANI ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT BETWEEN CITY
AND STATE DEPARTMENT ON STRICTER DIPLOMATIC PARKING RULES
Scofflaw Diplomats Who Ignore Tickets Will Be Required To Surrender Plates
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani joined United States U.N. Ambassador William Richardson in announcing that the City of New York and the U.S. State Department have reached agreement on new diplomatic parking regulations that for the first time will make diplomats who refuse to pay valid parking tickets accountable as scofflaws.
"This agreement provides the City of New York for the first time with a process for holding diplomats accountable for being scofflaws," Mayor Giuliani said. "Diplomats who abuse diplomatic parking privileges and refuse to pay valid parking tickets will finally be held responsible by the State Department. I want to thank Ambassador William Richardson and other State Department officials for working with the City to address diplomatic parking abuses. This agreement helps protect the citizens of New York against those diplomats who choose to flagrantly abuse those privileges."
UN Ambassador William Richardson said, "My colleagues in the diplomatic community must understand the City's obligations to minimize congestion, ensure public safety and provide fair parking access to all vehicles. Let us make no mistake. Blocking a fire hydrant impedes public safety. Double parking breeds congestion. Let there be no misunderstanding. Diplomatic immunity is not a license to disregard the laws of the City of New York. Let us also be clear that the operation of a motor vehicle in the United States is not a right, but a privilege that may be withdrawn in cases of abuse. To my friends in the diplomatic community. You will find no greater advocate for your due rights and privileges. But as the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, I cannot stand idly by and endorse anyone's flagrant abuse of the city's parking and traffic regulations."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas E. Burns from the Office of Foreign Missions in Washington, D.C. said, "The agreement is a strong step forward in setting standards for the enforcement of parking regulations in New York City. The new requirement to extend the enforcement of parking regulations to members of the diplomatic community in New York City will benefit all who live and work in the City. We extend our thanks to Mayor Giuliani and his staff who worked diligently with our New York Office and the U.S. Mission to the UN over the past months to develop the program we announce today. We are committed to working with all involved, the Mayor's Office, the U.S. Mission and the diplomatic community, to ensure the implementation of this ambitious program."
Under the new parking provisions, diplomats who fail to pay valid parking tickets for a period of 12 months will be classified as scofflaws and notified by the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions (OFM/NY) that the diplomatic vehicle cannot be legally operated until the violation is properly adjudicated with the City. The State Department will request the Consulate or Mission to return the diplomatic plates in question until the scofflaw status is removed.
Should a vehicle in scofflaw status be towed, the vehicle plates will be removed and forwarded to the State Department Office of Foreign Missions Regional Office.
In a "one time" provision under the new agreement, the City is targeting the more than 500 diplomats who have ignored "public safety" violations, such as parking by a fire hydrant, that were issued since January 1, 1997. These violators will be notified by OFM/NY of the existence of an outstanding violation and be requested to satisfy it. If any of those notified receive another such violation and refuse to adjudicate it within 30 days of its issuance, they will be classified as scofflaws and notified not to operate their diplomatic vehicle and to surrender their diplomatic plates until they have satisfied those multiple violations.
As part of the agreement, the New York City Commission for the United Nations and Consular Corps will ensure that each UN Mission/Consulate has in place its allocated number of legal parking spaces. The current provisions allow for two legal diplomatic parking spaces in front of the Mission/Consulate and for one space in front of the residence of the Ambassador/Consul General. The New York City Police Department will designate a "hot line" that Missions and Consulates can use to report that there are unauthorized vehicles utilizing their parking spaces. The NYPD will tow such unauthorized vehicles.
In addition, the City's Department of Finance (DOF) will have a designated unit to review all tickets issued to diplomatic vehicles to determine which tickets are valid and which tickets were incorrectly issued and should be dismissed. DOF will also provide a monthly printout of outstanding valid summonses to OFM/NY to all Missions and Consulates, and to the United States delegation to the United Nations.
The program will take effect by April 1, 1997 upon completion of the necessary notification to diplomats by the State Department.
In addition, the City's Department of Finance (DOF) will designate a unit to review all tickets issued to diplomatic vehicles to determine which tickets are valid and which tickets were incorrectly issued and should be dismissed. DOF will also provide a monthly printout of outstanding valid summonses to OFM/NY, to all Missions and Consulates, and to the United States delegation to the United Nations.
The negotiation of this agreement was spearheaded by Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro, who was assisted by Donna Lynne formerly the Director of the Mayor's Office of Operations, and Marilyn Haggerty-Blohm, Deputy Director in the Office of Operations. Finance Commissioner Fred Cerullo and Transportation Commissioner Christopher Lynn and their senior staffs played a positive role in reaching this accord. Commissioner Livia Sylva of the New York City Commission for the United Nations and the Consular Corps and her staff also contributed to the agreement.
The State Department was represented by Sandra Cecchine, Regional Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, and Bob Moller, Minister-Counselor, U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas E> Burns of the Office of Foreign Missions coordinated the negotiations on the Washington, D.C. front and ultimately provided approval for the agreement.
Ambassador Victor Marrero, the U.S. representative to the Economic and Social Council and for the United Nations Management and Reform, participated in negotiations.
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