Council chief out on beat with parking officer

Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose (left)  speaks with parking officer ''Marty'' on...
Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose (left) speaks with parking officer ''Marty'' on her ride along yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Donning a helmet, a high vis jacket and climbing aboard a scooter yesterday gave Sue Bidrose a ''front line'' perspective of what her parking officers do.

The Dunedin City Council chief executive accompanied parking officer ''Marty'' around the city's hotspots in the CBD, including Filleul St, Moray Pl and High St.

''Most of my staff are out on the front line so it's good to get out there and see what happens,'' Dr Bidrose said.

''It helps me see face to face, genuinely, what they are dealing with.

''I send these guys out and, frankly, if I'm not willing to go out and see what it's like myself, I'd be a pretty poor CEO.

''It's nice to be able to respond from first hand experience.''

Parking wardens had a tough job and had to put up with a lot, Dr Bidrose said.

''Letters about parking and parking enforcement are one of the most frequent emails I get about services our front line staff provide.

''They [parking officers] take me round and show me where some of the difficult spots are, so I know what it is I'm getting written to about.''

She said parking officers were there to provide a service to the community.

''I think the perception out there is that they get a bonus for writing a ticket and that they're gagging to give people a ticket.

''I can categorically say they don't.''

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times after the experience, Dr Bidrose said it was ''really good''.

''I got to see three or four areas where there are issues with parking [and] it was good to see just how many people were positive [towards parking officers].''

Parking officer ''Marty'', who did not want to give his full name for fear of reprisal, said it was important people knew parking officers were understanding of people's situations.

''The hospital can be a difficult area to work.

''They could have had a life changing experience and they come out and see us. We take a courtesy sort of approach to it.''

The interaction with people was the best part of ''Marty's'' job.

''Not everyone is a-slap-you-in-the-face-person.''

-rhys.chamberlain@odt.co.nz

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