OIG Follow-Up Report on Audit of Loading Zone and Disabled Parking Sign Processes

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released a report in follow-up to a June 2015 audit of the City’s loading zone and residential disabled parking sign application processes.

Among the 2015 audit findings, OIG reported that the City failed to collect $3.9 million in recurring loading zone fees. OIG also found that it took the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) an average of 337 days to install a loading zone sign upon receipt of a request. Based on our findings, OIG recommended that CDOT consider either restructuring the loading zone process or pursuing alternative means of correcting its billing and installation problems. In addition, we recommended CDOT ensure that installation fees accurately reflected Municipal Code of Chicago requirements and that CDOT work with City Council to establish reasonable and specific timeframes for installation.

In response to OIG’s follow-up inquiry, CDOT stated that, although it has not restructured the loading zone process, the Department has simplified the sign approval process in cooperation with City Council. The loading zone installation process now only requires the local alderman’s approval, rather than full City Council approval. CDOT also reported that it is in the final stages of addressing the problems OIG identified in its loading zone billing process.

Regarding the disabled parking sign process, OIG recommended in its 2015 audit that the Department of Finance (DOF) both examine all existing disabled parking sign records to ensure that they were marked with the appropriate billable status and review the billing process to ensure accuracy moving forward. OIG also recommended that DOF work with City Council to consider more cost-effective and timely ways to provide residential disabled parking signs.

In response to OIG’s follow up inquiry, DOF stated that it has worked with the City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety to schedule meetings regarding more timely ways to process requests for disabled parking signs. The Department also stated that it reviewed the records of installed disabled signs from 2014 onwards, and found that 2% of the related permits had not been billed for annual fees. According to DOF, it continues to examine its system. Once it determines what caused the 2% inaccuracy rate, it will resolve any problems.

“In addition to the internal changes that both DOF and CDOT have undertaken,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson, “CDOT and City Council are working together to examine the loading zone approval process and determine where efficiencies can be made both for the benefit of the applicants and tax payers. I look forward to seeing similarly forward moving collaboration from DOF’s conversations.”

Both the original audit report and the full follow-up report can be found online at the OIG website.

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