The Butte-Silver Bow parking board approved a proposal to fold the parking department in with Community Development on Wednesday.
The board would still retain its duties and powers, but Community Development Director Karen Byrnes would be the county staff member reporting to the commission.
The proposal also includes the hiring of a third parking enforcement officer and eventual plans to promote an enforcement officer into a supervisory role.
“That’s something that really needs to happen,” said Byrnes of hiring another officer. It would allow the county to better canvass its enforcement areas and bring in more revenue from tickets, she said.
The eventual supervisory position would be significantly different than the position held by former Parking Director Stephanie Marshall. It would be at least 50 percent on-street enforcement, whereas Marshall didn’t work enforcement routes.
“The third position would also be revenue-generating,” Byrnes said, which would help the department save money.
The supervisory role would be responsible for tasks like daily office and financial management, keeping track of the electronic ticket database and preparing route schedules for enforcement.
Byrnes would be responsible for long-range planning and making reports to the parking board.
Some board members raised concerns about the retention of a parking supervisory position.
“We want to pay this lead position enough so that we’re not going to have to replace that position (frequently),” Butte-Silver Bow Human Resources Director Ron Stormer said.
Marshall left the position in January for a new job with the Montana Department of Transportation but continued to work with the county to ease the transition. She’s expected to be finished within two weeks, Byrnes said.
“She was fabulous, extremely dedicated,” Byrnes said.
About a year ago, Marshall inherited a department with unreliable software and corrupt data, and it still issued hand-written tickets. On her watch, the department implemented new computer software and a system that uses hand-held devices to issue and process tickets and increased collection rates on tickets.