The settlement was not approved by the Board of Estimates. Comptroller Joan Pratt has said the settlement should have come before the board for consideration.

In late February, the spending board agreed to pay URS $278,000 for work that included an audit of Xerox tickets. Nilson said the audit was "a critical part of the settlement negotiations and figured prominently in the conclusion of those discussions." He said it was "unequivocally done in anticipation of possible litigation."

Rawlings-Blake has said the city plans to pursue a smaller camera program this year.

In Annapolis Wednesday, state Sen. Jim Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, introduced a bill he said is intended to reform speed camera systems in Maryland, including requiring ombudsmen to hear complaints about erroneous tickets.

Brochin said he was concerned about the URS audit's findings, given that Xerox is the speed camera vendor for the state, Baltimore County, Howard County and elsewhere.

"I would hope that Baltimore County would look at this, study it, and do their own audit," Brochin said. "The one thing that's clear is the technology has not been perfected. It's not fair for the person that's driving, going the speed limit and getting a bogus ticket."

Last summer URS also monitored testing aimed at fixing and restarting the camera system under Brekford. Its findings — which the city released to The Sun in response to a public records request — showed persistent problems, including preventable errors.

This month, the city expanded its contract with URS. The Board of Estimates agreed to pay $237,000 for "additional independent monitoring services" of the city's speed and red-light cameras. The company will monitor "engineering services, documents and preparing of standard operating procedures and business rules," according to board records.

luke.broadwater@baltsun.com

scott.calvert@baltsun.com