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THE PARKING PROFESSION Three Decades of Changes

Delora Siebrecht retired thisyear after nearly 30 yearsof service to the city of Urbana, IL. She hasgraciously offered to write about her experiences“growing up” in parking. Thisisthe first of a two-part article. Editor BY DELORA SIEBRECHT

es, payroll, parking rentals and parking tickets. I knew nothing about parking and had no idea what was really involved inmanaging parking.

I Early in my first week of employment, I

got an idea of what was to come when I helped a citizen at the counterwhowas upset at receiv- ing a parking ticket. I was totally surprised at the encounter. To understand my surprise, you have to

know my personal and work background. For the previous 13 years, I had worked at a small, privately owned hometown bank. I began work- ing there in my senior year in high school through an office practice class. I eventually workedmyway from accounting, teller supervi- sor and secretary to bank officer. I grewup in the town and knewall our cus-

tomers. The customer was always right, and relationswerewarmand friendly.We all had our special customerswhowanted only their special banking person to wait on them. Ah, everything was warmand fuzzy withmy customers. Holy smoke! This small-town gal was set

back on her heels by that first irate citizen I helped with a parking ticket. What happened to warm and fuzzy customer relations – I couldn’tmake all citizens happy, and theywere yelling and red in the face and just downrightmean tome. I thought, OK, Delora, pull yourself together, you aren’t in

Kansas anymore, I mean Tolono, IL.You are in Oz, I mean the city of Urbana.Well, it took a little bit, but I did adjust to the big city and the world of parking. Here are some ofmy favorite personalmoments inmy park-

ing life: • 1981 –The aforementioned citizen yelling atme. Boo-hoo,

poorme. • Dog poop as payment in a ticket envelope. • 1987 – Meetingmy yet unknown husband-to-be in court. I

had the sheriff arrest him because he was a parking scofflaw.We married in 1996.Today, he still gets tickets; some people you just can’t convert to law-abiding parking citizens. • Used condom as payment in a parking ticket.We started

using gloves when opening envelopes; years later, there was the anthrax scare.


N 1981, IACCEPTEDA JOB as the Finance Department Office Supervisor for the city of Urbana. The department handled all revenues, expens-

• 1995 – Attending my first IPI conference in Nashville. I

will never forget walking from one session to another in the Opryland Hotel and seeing the Oklahoma City bombing TV news coverage. • The infamous “Penny Lady” unwrapped $97 in pennies in

our parking lot and dragged them into our office as payment for tickets. I didn’t want to accept them, but she did a sit-in in our lobby, and the City Attorney eventually said just take the pay- ment. Grumble, grumble… • 2000 – OMG, we caught a thief in meter collection. My

job duties will change significantly. • Late 2000 –We convert to Duncan electronicmeters, Cash

Keys and meter audits. In addition to parking tickets, I am assigned the supervision ofmeter keys,meter collections,month- lymeter audit, revenue accounting and reporting. • 2001 IPI – ShakingWayne Newton’s hand at the Stardust

in LasVegas and having him say thank you for coming; touring Liberace’s Museum (am I showingmy age?). And, the last night- ly trip to a Caesar’s Palace cocktail lounge after taking a helicop- ter trip to the Grand Canyon.

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