The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Council member Wieneke wants to know about the city’s parking privatization plans that he’s never been told a thing about

In Chuck Wieneke, City Hall, Downtown District, Justin Shields on May 22, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Council member Chuck Wieneke is the second City Council to bark about a plan, which is under study, to turn the city’s downtown parking operation over to a private operator.

Handling over all of the city’s parking operations — meters, enforcement, parkades and skywalks — to a private company would mean nine full-time city employees, three half-time ones and a less-than-half-time one would be out of jobs.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, Wieneke asked the city staff to talk to him about any kind of downtown parking changes that are under study and may be in the works.

“As of this time, I’ve never been told anything about what is going on,” he said. “Nobody has every shared anything with me.”

The Downtown District and city staff, in fact, have been looking at the prospect of turning some or all of the city-run parking system over to private management. A Gazette story reported as much five weeks ago, noting that a committee had selected two companies as finalists for the job.

The thought then was that a private company would be put in place by July 1 if any move was going to be made.

Doug Neumann, president/CEO of the Downtown District, has said that the district likes the idea that a private company may bring better service and spiffier facilities to the downtown parking operation. Neumann also has said that employees for a private operator would make less than current city employees.

Council member Justin Shields made his disdain for a parking privatization plan known last week when he threatened to vote against the hiring of new police chief, Greg Graham. Shields noted that Graham would be earning more than the chief he was replacing, Mike Klappholz, yet the city might end up eliminating parking positions for lower-waged employees.


  1. Sounds like it’s yet another example of the Downtown Interests calling the shots and the Council be dam!

  2. Good for Chuck! It is about time we dispensed with the rubber stamp. Koodos to Shields as well, kiving wages with decent benefit packages are something we should all expect, the end result of doing it otherwise it will cost us in the end. Thoughtful consideration has been lacking in the council of late, jumping on band wagons lead by the Chamber and the downtown folks is the last thing we need. Caution inmoving forward is what we expect since the public pays the bills, others like Fagan and Vernon should keep that in mind.

  3. Councilman Weineke is being marginalized by city staff AND the “progressives” on the council becuase he is a fiscal conservative and he asks the right questions. The same thing happened to Sarah Henderson. This will continue until the public starts paying attention.

    As for Shields, he can’t be seriously complaining about raising pay for some while lowering pay/laying off others. I seem to recall his unprofessional fit of outrage at those who questioned why he would raise HIS own salary while laying off career public servants. There is simply no credibility here.

    By the way, what ever happened to the investigation into the Hawkeye Labor Council’s executive director and his right hand man?

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