City Employee Gets Parking Pass

44th Ward employee used homemade sign to avoid parking tickets

The new, higher parking-meter rates probably have you reconsidering your transportation options. One man though found a creative (but illegal) way of dodging those high charges.

And, wouldn't you know it, he works for the city.

Zodak Yonan, an aide to Ald. Thomas Tunney, often parked his 2000 Lincoln Town Car in the Lakeview neighborhood at expired meters. He would then place a placard on his dashboard that read "44th Ward Official Business" and featured the Chicago city seal.

Local residents complained to the Tribune, who reported the incident to Tunney.

The alderman made it clear that city employees are not given such signs and that he didn't even know about Yonan's placard.

"We don't have any official 44th Ward business signs. I don't even have one," Tunney said.

When confronted, Yonan didn't think there was anything wrong with the illegal sign.

"Nobody gave it to me. I made it," he told the Tribune. "I've worked for the alderman's office for 25 years. We're so busy in the office, sometimes you forget to put the money in. The sign is there for the meter maids to know. There's no problem with that."

However, the law forbids unauthorized use of the Chicago city seal, and city employees are not exempt from paying parking meters.

"Anybody should be ticketed for a meter violation," said Ald. Tunney.

Yonan agreed to stop using the placard.

However, shouldn't the meter attendants who looked the other way also be held accountable?

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, carries a "Blogger Official Business" placard everywhere he goes. It has yet to have any effect.

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