HRM's missteps with parking enforcement officers

Lower wages, poor results

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A former training officer with Halifax parking enforcement is speaking out publicly about the starvation wages being paid to the 10 officers who patrol downtown streets in Halifax and Dartmouth.

Forty-seven-year-old Paul Keast says Securitas, the company which took over parking enforcement last September 1st, is forcing out officers earning $11 an hour and replacing them with new recruits who are paid the minimum wage of $8.10. When Securitas won the contract last summer, it offered to keep any officers then employed by the Corps of Commissionaires who agreed to a cut in pay from $12.50 to $11.00.

Eight of the officers joined Securitas but Keast says all but two of them, including him, have since been fired or forced out. Keast is now back with the Corps of Commissionaires working as a security officer at the Halifax Port Authority. He says morale is low among new Securitas recruits who must qualify for special constable status in order to write parking tickets, but who are then paid only about $324 a week. However, the city itself appears pleased with the new arrangement. A city spokesperson says foot patrol officers employed by Securitas handed out 6,000 more parking tickets this fall than a year earlier. If true, that means the city is getting more revenue while the officers work harder for less pay.

Shawn Deeley, local branch manager with Securitas, the world’s largest private security company, failed to respond to several phone messages this week.

[Today's Reality Bites post is an update on Bruce Wark's previous editorial, Slashing patrol pay]

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