By Jon A. Brake
It sounded so simple...
City Attorney William Frost told the Manhattan City Commission Tuesday night that he had prepared a Charter Ordinance which would give city employees the authority to give tickets.
Frost told the Commission: "Examples of these types of violations, are offenses under the various building codes, which are enforced by the City’s Code Department; dog at large cases, which are enforced by the Animal Control division; and, zoning violations, which are enforced by the Zoning Officer. When these types of violations occur, the City employee charged with enforcement cannot issue a Complaint and Notice to Appear directly to the offender. The employee must either summon a police officer or make a report to the City Attorney’s office, where a complaint is prepared by the City Prosecutor, and then is served, either by mail or by RCPD, upon the offender."
Frost said this process is cumbersome.
It may be cumbersome but what Frost wants is dangerous. Police officers are killed every day giving tickets and they are trained. To place city employees in such a position is outrageous.
As it now stands a city employee may find a building codes violation, or have a dog at large case and they must return to the office to make out the complaint. This works..it defuses a bad situation.
To have a city employee tell a property owner they are in violation of a city ordinance can create a violent situation. To have that employee pull a pad of tickets from the back pocket to write an arrest warrant may end in a fight for something worse.
A second reason the City Commission should stop this ordinance before it starts is giving city employees more power than is needed.
It is bad enough for a city employee to require a thirty foot wall to be moved "one inch" (and that has happened) or to tell a widow that her fifty year old tri-plex can not be sold as a tri-plex (and that has happened) now they will have the authority to take them before a Judge.
This ordinance opens new areas of abuse. Talk to the Commissioners..they