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Traffic warden boss denies 'money-making agenda'

By This is Devon  |  Posted: September 22, 2010

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The manager of Exeter's council traffic wardens has denied making money was the reason parking attendants were told to issue "illegal" tickets.

An employment tribunal heard claims on Monday that wardens in Exeter were told to issue unlawful tickets in areas of Exeter where lines and signs were ambiguous or did not comply with traffic regulations.

Buy yesterday, the unfair dismissal hearing brought by Jo Pengilley, Tony Lewis and Sylvia Watts was told that there was no money-making agenda.

During the hearing, Robert Shaw, for the claimants, suggested making money was behind Exeter City Council being "hell bent" on asking officers to issue illegal tickets. He said Exeter was the only authority in Devon to make a profit following the introduction of the scheme.

Paul Mackie, who was the trio's line manager at the council, denied that was the case. But he told the tribunal he did consider the profit to be an achievement.

Mr Mackie said orders came from Devon County Council to continue issuing tickets despite the legality of some signs being unknown.

Mr Shaw asked Mr Mackie if he thought that was a lawful practice, to which the line manager replied "you will have to ask Devon County Council".

Mr Shaw continued: "Motorists have to know there is something wrong and appeal. All the while Exeter City Council is issuing tickets which may or may not be legal."

Mr Mackie replied: "I am not going to comment on that."

Ms Pengilley, of Redhills, Exeter, Mr Lewis, of Beacon Heath, Exeter, and Ms Watts, from Exmouth, are claiming unfair constructive dismissal by Exeter City Council at an employment tribunal in Taunton.

Mr Mackie also told the tribunal the trio had received no formal training on civil parking enforcement, but said there were weekly briefings.

He said two complaints about the trio by three other members of staff led to an audit being carried out. Malpractice was also suspected, he told the hearing.

Mr Shaw said: "The claimants' position is that this was effectively a witch hunt and you were gunning for them."

Mr Mackie said that was not the case. He said he did not know of any unlawful or unreasonable instructions being issued to the trio.

The tribunal heard that 3,000 tickets have been cancelled since May 2008. The tribunal continues.

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