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3/31/2008
Rockville, Maryland Speed Cameras Violate State Law
Rockville, Maryland pays speed camera vendor a fee based on the number of tickets issued in direct violation of state law.

Photo enforced sign
Rockville, Maryland is violating the 2006 state law that authorized the city to use cameras to mail automated speeding tickets to vehicle owners. Legislators had given jurisdictions within Montgomery County the ability to use speed cameras on the condition that "the contractor's fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid" (Maryland Code Section 21-809).

The Washington Times asked Rockville if it could review the city's photo enforcement contract with Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). When Rockville refused, that newspaper uncovered evidence of unlawful contract arrangements from the minutes of the January 29, 2007 city council meeting where a bid to add Rockville to a larger countywide contract was approved. This revised contract provided for a contingent payment setup explicitly based on the number of citations paid.

"[City Manager Scott] Ullery said that staff seeks consent to negotiate for the award of the rider bid, Montgomery County Contract No. 7474000045 with ACS State and Local Solutions for photo speed solutions in an amount not to exceed $16.25 per paid citation for each fixed site and $16.25 per paid citation or $2,999.00 per month per deployed mobile unit whichever is greater from award through a two-year period with an option to renew for a maximum of three one-year terms," the city council minutes stated.

The city manager's recommended contract payment provision received unanimous approval from the city council. A court in California last year struck down a red light camera citation on the grounds that a city had a contingent fee "cost neutrality" clause with the camera vendor that violated a similar state law banning per-ticket compensation.

Source: Speed-camera contractor paid per citation (Washington Times, 3/31/2008)

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