Audit finds no one watching over city towing contract

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Who's in charge of towing cars in Richmond? A new audit, just released Tuesday, says no one and that's a problem.

There are seven recommendations in the audit: first and foremost, to dedicate a contract administrator to oversee towing in Richmond. The auditor's office also suggests better customer service to ease the headache of finding your towed car.

Having your car towed can be a hassle, especially when you thought you parked it legally, just ask Steve McQueen. 

"You expect to get up and drive to work and leave your apartment and the next thing you know your car is gone," said McQueen.

McQueen said it was an all day affair. City auditor Umesh Dalal said it doesn't have to be such a headache. He recommends the city develop a website to provide towed vehicle information.

"You can go on that website or call a number. They can look on that website -- was your car towed or stolen and where is it, which is very user friendly to the consumer," said Richmond City Council President, Kathy Graziano.

McQueen said it'll only be helpful if the information is updated regularly.

"If they had a database that was current, and what I mean by current up to every ten minutes refreshed with current information, that would be great," said McQueen.

The website is recommendation No. 7 in an audit of the city's contract with Seibert's towing.

Recommendation No. 1: designate a contract administrator. The audit found no particular department or person was responsible for overseeing the contract or tracking the city's revenue from towing fines.

"It's unfortunate to think two years into the Jones administration that these types of things are still being uncovered," said councilman Bruce Tyler.

Tyler said it should be a simple fix.

"This is not a thousand studies later. This is assigning someone a very simple task of coordinating these issues where people, when they get towed, get a ticket number and everything is brought together in once place that we can track it," said Tyler.

According to the audit, the police department has set up a committee to not only designate a contract administrator for the towing contract, but to build a website for towed vehicles.  No word when that site will be up and running.

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