37 city employees caught running a red light and speeding in 2022, with taxpayers footing the bill
Thirty-seven city vehicles in Hamilton caught on camera running a red light and speeding in 2022 were fined at least $5,850 and resulted in possible unpaid suspensions for workers.
But the crews driving the train didn’t pay their tickets—the city did.
Figures obtained by CBC Hamilton show that 37 workers broke the law, 18 were caught by red light cameras and 19 by automatic speed enforcement (ASE) cameras.
Red light camera tickets cost $325, which means the city would have been fined approximately $5,850 for those violations.
It’s unclear how much the city paid for ASE violations because those tickets vary based on the driver’s speed.
Emily Trotta, a city spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, said the average price of a ticket during a pilot program in 2020 and 2021 was $70.
Applying that average cost to the 19 city workers caught speeding shows that speeding tickets could cost taxpayers another $1,330.
Why does the city ticket workers?
Trotta said there are practical reasons why the city is covering the bill.
“It is not always possible to determine who was driving the vehicle at the instance of the violation,” she wrote.
“Further, tickets paid for by the employee may result in the employee challenging the ticket and since the ticket is issued to the City of Hamilton and not the employee, this may result in the employee representing the City of Hamilton against the City of Hamilton in court.” Will argue.”
Norm Miller, another spokesman for the Department of Public Works, said city workers who run a red light receive 20 points on their employment record and a one-day unpaid suspension. Miller, however, did not confirm how many employees had been suspended.
Employees caught by automated speed enforcement cameras receive 15 points on their employment file and no suspension as it takes 20 points to be suspended.
Trotta said that when workers hit the 50 mark, they are fired. He did not say whether any employees were fired as a result last year.
Public Works Department employees were responsible for 29 of the 37 violations.
Six planning and economic development workers were caught, as well as a public health worker and a corporate service worker.
Trotta said public works accounted for most of the tickets because most of the city’s vehicles on the road belonged to the department.
That said, the number of city workers caught by red light cameras and ASE cameras is a fraction of the total number of vehicles breaking the law in the city.
Miller said roughly 19,131 vehicles were caught driving through red light cameras in 2022, up from 2021 but roughly equal to 2020.
He said the city earned about $3.3 million from drivers running red lights, and that about 22 percent of all charges filed through the provincial Crime Administration Office are for red light camera violations.
It’s unclear how much profit the city made, though operating costs for 2022 have not been finalized.
For context, Trotta said it cost the city $1,245,000 to operate the red light cameras in 2021.