Home > Political Animal > Tail lights, GiaQuintas, and more BMV controversy

Tail lights, GiaQuintas, and more BMV controversy


Fort Wayne Reader


A broken taillight, of all things, has shed light on a discomforting practice by the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Fort Wayne City Council members grilled Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York over a police quota system that requires officers to ramp up traffic citations. A citizen complaint over a citation for a broken taillight, a violation that usually merits only a written warning, brought the issue to the attention of council members who questioned the chief during a recent council meeting.

York explained that the quotas are tied to state grants which mandate the number of stops that officers are expected to make. Under normal circumstances, officers issue written warnings for equipment malfunctions like broken signal lights. However, during the course of state-funded enforcement programs, like drunk driving patrols or red-light-running campaigns, the department is expected to meet quantitative goals for citations and/or arrests.

Councilman Don Schmidt quipped that the quotas seemed pretty unfriendly during a time when the city was trying to make nice with Allen County and neighboring towns concerning possible government consolidation/reorganization.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Board President Geoff Paddock (right) has announced that he will not seek relection to his at-large seat on the school board of trustees. Among the candidates who say they will run for the post is former Fort Wayne City Councilman Mark GiaQuinta.

In May, Paddock lost the Democratic primary for State Representative District 80 to replace Mark’s dad, Rep. Ben GiaQuinta. Paddock lost to Mark’s brother, Phil GiaQuinta, whose campaign Mark helped manage.

BMV debate
Last time, we told you about state rep candidate Phil GiaQuinta’s (below) suggestion that Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joel Silverman resign in the face of ongoing problems at BMV branches around the state. Much of the fuss relates to problems with a new computer system - problems that have resulted in longer wait time for BMV customers, unreliable information for police officers who check BMV records for traffic stops and other issues. Silverman also turned a deaf ear to the suggestions of local elected officials, including Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard and State Senator Tom Wyss, that the Southgate BMV be moved to the new Southtown Centre rather than to Waynedale. GiaQuinta says the system should offer better, faster and more common-sense customer service, something he was credited with doing during his tenure as a BMV district manager for northeast Indiana from 1997 to 2000.

QiaGuinta’s opponent in November, Republican Kevin Howell (below), called the call for Silverman’s resignation “a knee-jerk reaction does nothing to address problems that the BMV is going through.” In a letter to the editor submitted to local newspapers and published in The News-Sentinel, Howell went on to comment, “I think GiaQuinta’s proposed solution is naive and lacks real-world understanding to expect a change of this magnitude to happen without some discomfort.”

One of Howell’s suggestions to ease customer disconfort? Put restrooms in BMV branches.

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