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Tow Company Report

Tow Company Report

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Published by Ernie Garcia
Yonkers Inspector General Dan Schorr's report on the city of Yonkers practices regarding the awarding and supervision of contracts with companies that do vehicle towing and impoundments in Yonkers.
Yonkers Inspector General Dan Schorr's report on the city of Yonkers practices regarding the awarding and supervision of contracts with companies that do vehicle towing and impoundments in Yonkers.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Ernie Garcia on Mar 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/20/2014

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PHILIPA.AMICONEMAYORCITYHALLYONKERS,NEWYORK10701DANSCHORRINSPECTORGENERALPh:914-377-6107Fax:914-377-6990DEPARTMENTOFINSPECTORGENERALCITYOFYONKERS
TO:
PhilipA.Amicone,Mayor
cc,
ChuckLesnick,CityCouncilPresidentAllCityCouncilMembersEdmundHartnett,PoliceCommissionerCarlManiscalco,FinanceCommissionerDanSchorr,InspectorGeneral
z:r.::g_
FROM:SUBJECT:
YonkersVehicleTowsandImpounds
DATE:
March15,2011ThisreportisissuedinresponsetoinquiriesfromvariousCityofficialsandmembersofthepublicregardingtheCity'sadministrationoftowcompanyservicesandtherelatedfinancialandcontractualissues.
SummaryofFindingsandRecommendations
TheCityrecentlytookpositivestepstowardsimprovingitsproceduresforawardingtowandimpoundcontracts.Nevertheless,additionaltransparencyandobjectivecriteriaareneeded,suchashavingCityemployeeswhointeractwiththecompaniesprovidewrittenperformanceevaluationspriortothenextcontract.RequiringtowcompaniestobidonthepriceofimpoundingvehicleswouldprovideanimportantobjectivecriteriaandcouldbringincreasedfundstotheCity.Additionally,Cityrecordsfortowcompanyactivityareoftenhand-writtenandinconsistent,resultingininstancesofunder-billingthetowcompanies.Improvedrecord-keepingandbettercommunicationareneededtoincreasetheefficiencyandaccuracyofthebillingprocess.
Background
WhentheYonkersPoliceDepartment(YPD)ortheParkingViolationsBureau(PVB)encountervehiclesthattheybelieveshouldbetowedand/orimpounded,privatetowcompaniesarenotifiedto
 
performsuchfunctions.Thesecompaniesmustmeetcertainminimumqualificationsand,inthecaseofimpounding,competewitheachotherforthecontractualrighttoworkwiththeCity.Recently,severalquestionsandconcernsregardingtheCity'srelationshipwithandselectionoftowcompanieshavebeenbroughttoourattention.Theobjectivesofthereviewwereto:1.EvaluateproceduresforvehicletowsinitiatedbytheCity2.ReviewtheprocessforselectingtowcompaniesforCityimpoundcontracts3.AnalyzefinancialpaymentsmadebytowcompaniestotheCity4.AssessandrecommendpossibleimprovementsforCityinteractionwithtowcompaniesInthecourseofourreview,welookedatCitytowlogsforcalendaryear2010andcorrespondingbillingrecordsfor2002thru2010,preparingExcelschedulestoanalyzerelevantdata.WealsoreconciledimpoundandbillingrecordsfortheperiodofOctoberthruDecember2010.Additionally,ourofficeinterviewedmembersoftheYPDCommunicationsDivision,HackUnit,AbandonedAutoUnit,andFiscalServicesDepartment.WealsospokewithsupervisorsinPVBandtheFinanceDepartment,andofferedrepresentativesoftherelevanttowcompaniestheopportunitytotalkwithusbeforeissuingthisreport.
DiscussionTowcompanies
and
the"policelist"
YonkersCityCode,Section111,governsthe"towingandstorageofabandoned,damaged,disabled,andwreckedvehicles"inorderto"establishanorderlysystemforthesafeandexpeditiousremovalandstorageofthesevehiclesfromthestreetsandhighwaysoftheCityofYonkers."Amongotheritems,itsetsforthrequirementsforsituationsinwhichvehiclesencounteredbytheYPDaredisabledandneedtobetowed.TheYPDmaintainsa"policelist"ofeligibletowcompaniesthatmaybecalledwhenadisabledvehiclemustbetowedbecauseofanaccidentorothermalfunction.Thesecompaniesonthepolicelist,alsoknownasthe"emergencyroster,"mustconformtovariousmandatesoutlinedinSection111.Currently,ninetowcompaniesareonthisroster,andtheyperformatotalofapproximately600-700towsperyear.Inordertosuccessfullyapplytobeonthepolicelist,atowcompanymustownandoperatea"NewYorkState-registeredbodyandfendershop"and"musthaveaplaceofbusinesswithintheCityofYonkers."TheCodealsospecifiesotherrequirements,suchaspayingtherequisitelicensefee,maintainingaspecifiedamountofinsurancecoverage,beingontwenty-four-hourcall,andrespondingwithintwentyminutestoaYPDtowrequest.Section111providesthattheYPDrotatewhichlicensedtowcompanyonthepolicelistiscalledforeachemergencytow.Twopre-printedlistsareutilized,onefortheeastsideandoneforthewestsideoftheCity,witheachcompanyhavingonelistingforeachmedallionitpossesses.TheCodealsomandatesthat"[a]heavy-dutypolicelistshallbeestablishedinthesamemannerasthepolicelist."However,inpracticebotharecombinedintoonepolicelist.
2
 
Impoundedvehiclescontract
TheYPDandPVBordertheimpoundofvehiclesoncertainoccasions,suchaswhentheyareillegallyparkedincertainareas,suspectedtobeevidenceinapendingcriminalinvestigation,orexcessivelydelinquentinparkingviolationssummonses.ThevehiclesarethenimpoundedandsecuredbyoneoftheCitytowcompanies.Theimpoundingofsuchvehiclesgeneratesrevenueforthetowcompaniesinvolved.Section111-15setsforththattheMayor,afterhavingreceivedrecommendationsfromthePoliceCommissioner,"shalldesignatethreequalifiedlicensees,eachtomaintainanimpoundareawiththeCityofYonkersandtoremoveanimpoundedvehicletheretowhenandasdirectedbythePoliceDepartment."Thus,threetowcompaniesareselectedtoimpoundvehiclesfortheCity,witheachbeingawardedatwo-yearcontract.Inorderforatowcompanytobedesignatedasoneofthethreeimpounds,itmustalreadybeonthepolicelist(emergencyroster)discussedabove.
In
addition,itmusthavethecapacitywithintheCitytostoreatleastfiftyvehiclesinafenced-inareawithtwenty-four-hoursecurity.Whenthecurrentcontractwasawardedinearly2010,theYPDchosenottomakespecificrecommendationsregardingpreferredvendors.Instead,theCitycreatedaworkinggroupwithrepresentativesfromtheYPD,PVB,Mayor'sOffice,CorporationCounsel,PurchasingDepartment,andFinanceDepartmenttoevaluatetheapplicants.Thecommitteeprimarilyconsideredtheapplicants'responsestotheRequestforProposals(RFP)andtheresultsofYPDfacilityinspections.Priortothatcontract,thethreetowcompaniesdesignatedforimpoundingwereDon-Glo,CountyAuto
&
CommercialTowing,andTransitAutoTowing.AllthreecompanieshadNewYorkStatedismantlerlicenses,whichhadbeencontractuallyrequired.However,theCitydeterminedthatthedismantlerlicenserequirementwasoverlyrestrictive,limitedcompetition,andwasunnecessarytofulfilltheobligationsoftheimpoundcontract.TheCitythusopenedupthecontracttoincludecompaniesthataredesignatedbyNewYorkStateas"itinerantvehiclecollectors"tobroadenthefieldofthosewhocanapplyforthecontractandcreategreatercompetition.Asaresultofthischangeandanincreaseinthefeesthecompaniescouldlegallychargecustomers,threenewtowcompaniessoughtthecontractlastyearinadditiontothethreeabove-mentionedcompanies.Oneofthenewcompanies,A.P.O.W.Towing,receivedacontractalongwithDon-GloandCounty.Thecurrentcontractsexpireinthespringof2012.TheCityCouncildidconsiderexpandingthenumberofimpoundcontractsfromthreetoamaximumofsixcompanies,butrejectedtheproposalwitha4-3voteonFebruary23,2010.TheCitytookpositivestepsbyformingthisselectioncommitteeandbroadeningthecontractrequirementstoincludeothercapablecompaniesinthecontractcompetition.However,therewasalackofdocumentationregardingobjectivecriteriaforselectingthethreecompanies.Furthermore,Cityemployeeswhohadthegreatestinteractionwiththeimpoundprocessandrelevantcompaniesreportednotbeinginterviewedregardingtheirevaluationofcompanyperformancebeforetheawardingofthelatestcontract.
In
thefuture,werecommendthatwrittenevaluationsofallcurrentimpoundcompaniesbecreatedbyrelevantCityemployeesandforwardedtothoseassistingintheselectionprocessforthenextcontract.Thisprocedurewillprovidemoretransparencyanddocumentationregardingcontractselection.Wesuggestthatdocumentedcriteriaforselectioninclude
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