The president of Pottsville Business Association and city councilman Dave Clews recently blasted the city’s Parking Authority for continuing to ticket vehicles amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
While there are no positive cases of coronavirus cases in Schuylkill County (as of March 21), that doesn’t allow many local small businesses here to stay open. If some do stay open, they’ve been forced to drastically alter how they do business.
Further, these businesses are dealing with uncertain futures, not only for themselves but their employees.
The last thing people want to think about is feeding parking meters when they’re worried about feeding their families.
We found at least one person complaining about getting a ticket on Twitter a few days ago. Many more complained on Facebook, too.
We’re all out of jobs for 14+ days but the Pottsville parking authority is still making sure to give everyone their damn parking tickets 🙄🙃
— Meg ✌︎ (@breathinmeghan3) March 18, 2020
User @breathingmeghan3 says, “We’re all out of jobs for 14+ days but the Pottsville Parking Authority is still making sure to give everyone their damn parking tickets.”
Pottsville Parking Authority Continues Ticketing While Businesses Ponder Uncertain Futures
On Thursday afternoon, before Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-essential businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations, the president of the Pottsville Business Association, city councilman Dave Clews, wrote a scathing message on the PBA’s Facebook page.
In it, he blasts the Parking Authority’s decision to continue ticketing after “non-essential businesses” were “urged” to close amid coronavirus worries earlier in the week. And the ticketing continued into Friday.
Clews’ message reads as follows:
Not often do I feel the need to comment but as President of the Pottsville Business Association and a small business owner I will at this time.
It completely baffles me that with all the request for support of small businesses that our Parking Authority would decide to enforce parking at this time.
Am I missing something? With the lack of business and traffic this is necessary?
I’m sure I speak for many of my fellow businesses that have already expressed their concerns to me. During this unprecedented time with the challenges our small businesses face do we really need one more thing to deal with.
Thank you to everyone that continues to support your local small businesses. We have all seen and heard support from our customers and appreciate all you have done. We will make it through these times, we are coal region tuff, and a strong community.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and God Bless.
We fully support Clews’ comments on the Parking Authority’s decision to continue ticketing vehicles after Gov. Wolf issued his controversial order last week.
The governor’s decisions last week sent many local businesses into a bit of panic mode. But it didn’t phase the Parking Authority and its new executive director Ian Lipton.
No One Should Be Surprised
Not stopping parking space enforcement rules during this time shows an ignorant disregard for the struggle many of the city’s businesses face. Especially true for those downtown.
It’s also nickel-and-diming people at a time when every nickel and dime is more precious.
But should anyone be surprised or “baffled” as Clews puts it kindly in his commentary?
Since taking over at the Parking Authority late last year, Lipton’s messaging has been nothing short of self-aggrandizing. And that attitude dates back a couple decades, too.
Even though he appeared at a PBA meeting earlier this year to field questions and comments, he spent a good portion of his time talking about himself and the many roles he’s been appointed to in Pottsville over the years, according to one source inside the meeting. (READ: Parking Wars – Unlikely Source of Savage Trolling at Pottsville Parking Authority)
This came after he passive-aggressively slammed the outgoing interim director of the Parking Authority, John Levkulic, for a botched rollout of the ParkMobile app. (READ: No Room to Talk – New Pottsville Parking Authority Director Slams Outgoing Leadership)
A lot of businesses right now still wonder if they’re deemed essential or non-essential. The harsh reality is situations like the coronavirus pandemic could sound the death knell for businesses like those downtown, essential or not.
Now, allegedly, the “meter maids” will stop issuing parking tickets starting Monday. But that’s about a week too late.
It’s hard to argue any business is non-essential. But it’s easy to make that case for the Pottsville Parking Authority.
When the coronavirus pandemic finally subsides, the board of directors at the Parking Authority should seriously consider removing its new executive director. Find someone who fully understands the plight businesses in Pottsville are facing right now.
For the record: Don’t misinterpret this for police enforcement of parking violations. That will continue but we’d expect them to limit it to parked vehicles posing safety concerns – like parking on sidewalks, in front of hydrants, or in no-parking zones, etc.
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SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus in Schuylkill County