Kindly meter man

The Baltimore Sun

Jim Tudor

Parking enforcement officer

Baltimore County government

Salary --$13.66 an hour

Age --56

Years on the job --Two

How he got started --Tudor retired from his job with General Motors after working there 33 years. Wanting to stay active, he took the job with parking enforcement. "I want to keep busy. This job keeps me walking."

Typical day --Tudor works Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After arriving at work he is assigned to a specific area in Baltimore County to patrol for parking violations.

He's currently covering districts that include Catonsville, Pikesville and Essex. He drives a marked county car and attempts to patrol each district twice a day.

His job is to spot violations such as expired meters, vehicles parked illegally in handicap zones or fire lanes and those with expired tags. He must also keep track of cars parked in time limitation zones. If one-hour parking is the posted limit, he marks the vehicle's tires with a chalk line, then checks back 75 minutes later to see if the car has been moved. At the end of the day he turns in his paperwork and the tickets he has written.

The job involves a good deal of walking, but Tudor said that's part of the reason he took it.

"I like outside work. I was stuck inside for 33 years and wanted to just get outdoors."

Tickets --Tudor writes 25 to 30 tickets a day when he's in his regular patrol areas. If he's assigned to the busy Towson district that number increases to about 65 a day.

Fees --The fine for an expired meter is $18. Drivers who park illegally in a zone reserved for disabled motorists will pay one of the most expensive fines: $77.

No waiting around --Contrary to popular belief, Tudor said he never waits for a meter to expire. He makes his rounds and once he passes a meter he won't return until his next patrol of that area. "Even if it's one minute left, I will not stand there and wait. I don't do that."

Forgiveness --Tudor does not have a quota to meet and can use his own discretion if he's still writing a ticket out while the vehicle's owner approaches him. "If they're polite I'll usually void it out and tell them to have a nice day. They're usually really happy then."

The good --"Meeting people and walking."

The bad --"Working in bad weather especially wind and rain. But you have more good days than bad."

Court --On occasion a ticket will be disputed and Tudor will get a summons to appear in court. He must testify that he witnessed the violation and wrote the ticket.

Advice --"Keep paying" the meters. He also suggests people should put a little extra money in to give themselves about 10 minutes more than they expect they'll need.

Philosophy on the job --"I try to keep a straight mind and be happy. Everybody has problems, and I don't want to add to them by giving them a ticket if I don't have to."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest Special to The Sun

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