Four officers fired for role in pizza for free parking scheme
For many of us, pizza already functions as a sort of bribe. Those triangular slices of heaven can convince us to attend all manner of HR-sponsored seminars and pretend we actually like that friend of a friend enough to go to their birthday party. But in Salt Lake City, parking enforcement officers were proffered with pizza to the point that it crossed an ethical line.
It all started when fired Salt Lake City parking enforcement officer Jeff Clegg reached out to SLC’s CBS affiliate KUTV and inadvertently blew the whistle on a tasty kickback system that he and a few others had going with Sicilia Pizza. From the sound of it, Clegg and three coworkers had an agreement to not ticket the vehicles of the restaurant’s owners or employees, receiving free pizza in exchange.
In speaking with KUTV, Clegg detailed the process of turning a blind eye in exchange for free pie: “If I see a menu of the restaurant in the lower left hand corner of the vehicle, it is either an employee or the owner’s (of the restaurant) vehicle and we are not to cite those vehicles,” he said, ”and in exchange we got in out of the weather and we got free food.”
The deal allegedly goes some of the way up to the top, as Clegg points the finger at his training supervisor for working out an agreement with Sicilia Pizza owner Amrol Harrah in the first place. And though Harrah denies the existence of any such arrangement, Clegg asserts that he and his cohorts were on a first-name basis with staff and “would go behind the counter and get our own pizza” as the practice became commonplace.
All good schemes must come to an end eventually, though. Lisa Shaffer, Director of Public Service for Salt Lake City, told KUTV that Clegg’s whistleblowing resulted in the firing of four officers and the end of the pizza deal. It’s also estimated that the scheme may have ultimately cost the city $19,000 in uncollected parking tickets over a two year period. Free pizza, however, is priceless.