2 D.C. city workers found to be misusing disabled parking permits

By |
Photo -
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

Two District employees improperly used disabled parking permits while on the clock to take advantage of perks like free parking and designated spaces, the city's inspector general has found.

In a report obtained by The Washington Examiner, Inspector General Charles Willoughby said the unidentified male employee of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs received the Maryland-issued parking permit from an acquaintance and used the placard on at least 22 occasions to get free metered parking.

City investigators witnessed the episodes over a 13-month period in which they conducted surveillance on the worker, who knew of a longtime District policy that gives disabled drivers free parking.

Willoughby said the employee acknowledged his actions in an April interview with investigators.

"The DCRA employee admitted that he obtained a Maryland disability placard belonging to an acquaintance to obtain free parking," Willoughby wrote. "The DCRA employee admitted that he used the Maryland disability placard ... nearly every work day since he obtained it in the summer of 2011 so that he did not have to move his personal vehicle, pay money into the parking meter every couple of hours or pay approximately $12 per day to park in a garage."

But during the employee's interview, the man said he had stopped using the placard because he had heard the city was changing its rules for free disabled parking.

But Willoughby said the employee actually continued to use the placard. Willoughby said that between April and September, officials witnessed the worker using the permit on nine more occasions.

The employee, Willoughby said, surrendered the placard to Maryland officials on the day investigators interviewed him, though he later obtained a second permit.

Willoughby's office recommended that the DCRA take administrative action against the employee, and a spokesman for the agency said it was reviewing the report "for possible disciplinary action."

In a separate report, Willoughby's office also found that a female employee of District Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi used her husband's disabled parking permit at least seven times to take advantage of designated handicapped parking spaces in a Southwest Washington garage.

During an interview with investigators, the woman acknowledged "bad judgment" and said her husband was not present for any of the seven occasions.

Willoughby also recommended that Gandhi's office take administrative action against the employee. Gandhi's spokesman was not immediately available Thursday.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner