THE LOOMING PARKING NIGHTMARE
What will Lake Geneva do without its most wonderful parking queen: Sylvia Mullally?
Last week a special personnel meeting was scheduled (a very last minute without notice kind of thing) with only one item on the agenda, reading; “motion to go into closed session for the purpose of considering employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility regarding: parking manager evaluation.”
With all the recent parking issues being brought to the forefront of the Lake Geneva political scene, including the recent approval for the purchase of fifty new parking kiosks at Sylvia’s request, this surprise evaluation coming after the last month of her performance, came as a complete shock to her. The new kiosk approval did not come quick or easy for the city. Many of the city officials and committee members new to the office, wanted a crash course in parking, parking equipment, and the statistics behind the city’s profitability.
Sylvia Mullally, Lake Geneva’s most recent, and wonderful, parking manager, gave them just that, pretty much running a college course on parking and then including repeat classes for all who didn’t understand the information the first time around. The parking department was also dealing with the city’s shortcomings in reference to the annual budget and was told to come up with more revenue to make up a revenue shortfall caused by problems in other revenue areas. Parking is a huge money-maker for the city, and when the chips are down, that’s the first place the city goes to increase revenue without necessarily upsetting the local citizenry. Most parking fees are paid in summer months and by tourists visiting the city. Sylvia did exactly what she was told, and put together many different options at the request of many different committees, including the Business Improvement District. She worked nearly night and day to come up with revenue increasing plans that would not raise parking rates too high, including a rate increase for prime parking spaces during the busy season (Memorial Day through Labor Day). This was not the only parking scenario option she presented, however, and no decision or agreement between all parties could be made on that plan or any of the others she submitted. Mullally put in many unpaid extra hours and much extra effort attempting to make everyone happy.
When the special meeting to review her performance as a valued member of the Lake Geneva city team was scheduled last week Sylvia had to feel a bit betrayed and unappreciated. Sylvia, being one of the city’s premier and productive employees thought about what was being done to her, reflected on the fact that in five and a half years of outstanding performance without ever getting a raise, put in her resignation right before the meeting to evaluate was called to order. The city stated the meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum at that point, while others on the board indicated that there was no need for a meeting if Lake Geneva no longer had a parking manager, which it definitely no longer had. The city’s leadership has to be a bit frantic to cover the many duties that the parking manager (Sylvia) performed, and probably a bit worried that they won’t be able to find someone as good as Sylvia was, at least not before the paid parking part of the year 2020 begins on the first of March. This coming week a few city meetings will cover this issue until some solution can be found to this new (and so needless) problem becomes more of a nightmare every passing day.