If you noticed new parking signs in some of the village parking lots on Friday morning and thought, "I don't remember that changing," you're not the only one.
As the village mulls new changes to its parking ordinance, someone jumped the gun and posted the signs though the ordinance hasn't even been voted on yet.
Mayor Keith Killion, seen at the Walnut Street lot early Friday afternoon called the addition of the new signs–which state parking enforcement is in effect from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturdays are enforced; and puzzlingly, that enforcement is also in effect from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., contradicting the previous statement–"an oversight."
Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh, reached for comment Friday afternoon, said she doesn't know how it happened or who put it up but acknowledged the signs "were put up prematurely" and further, aren't consistent with the proposed ordinance, noting the typographical errors in enforcement time, repeat parking and others.
"We're still investigating how this happened," Killion said Friday afternoon, adding that the council will be looking for a full report when Village Manager Ken Gabbert returns.
Gabbert is away on business and CFO Steven Sanzari has been acting as Village Manager in his absence, officials confirmed. According to the village website, signs in parking lots fall under the purview of The Signal Division. Calls to the division went unanswered late Friday afternoon.
"I've instructed personnel to take down the new signs and replace them with the old signs," Killion said. "We're concerned with how it happened but more concerned with getting it right."
Deputy Mayor Tom Riche called it a miscommunication that is "being addressed as we speak."
"If this is the worst thing that's happened in the village today, this is a good day," Riche said, noting that doesn't mean the situation should be taken lightly.
Councilman Paul Aronsohn said a series of mistakes were clearly made at Village Hall and there are a series of questions therefore must be answered, among them, he said, "Who ordered these signs? Who gave the order to put up these signs? And under what authority did any of this take place?
"The Mayor has taken the lead on cleaning up a mess created by others."
Scott Lief, President of the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, which has pushed for parking changes, said he was "deeply concerned" by the actions of Village Hall regarding the parking issue.
"I fail to understand how signs can be erected prior to the vote on the parking issue. I would hope that our village leadership has a good sense and integrity to follow through on what was discussed and agreed upon in principle back in January," he said. Lief said Mayor Killion "made it very clear" he wanted the parking issue resolved, but remarked that the events of Friday give him the sense that "we will be revisiting this sooner rather than later."
Village Attorney Matt Rogers refused comment, citing an administrative policy that bars him from speaking to the press. Gabbert was not available for comment, nor was Sanzari.
The council is scheduled to vote on the new parking ordinance on May 11; the village is required to wait 20 days to post signs should there be a passage of the ordinance.
This story was updated at 6:52 p.m. on Friday, May 6 to reflect the comments of Scott Lief.