QUESTION THE PARKING AUTHORITY: Inky Finds PPA Worker Comp Claims Are Astonishingly High

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INQUIRER: Battling fires and fighting crime is risky work, to be sure, but those jobs have nothing on writing parking tickets. Or so it would seem, if workers’ compensation claims are any indication. Over the last four years, employees at the Philadelphia Parking Authority have reported being hurt on the job more than twice as often as city firefighters or police officers.

As a result, the Parking Authority spends far more on settling workplace-injury claims: $1,558 per employee, compared with the firefighters’ average of $1,084 and the Police Department figure of $833, according to an Inquirer analysis of city and Parking Authority workers’ comp data.

In interviews, officials at the state-run Philadelphia Parking Authority acknowledged that they have aparkingmeterppa.jpg problem.” Historically, there has been some claim propensity here,” said Allan D. Dunkleberger, the authority’s risk-management director.When asked why that was the case, Dunkleberger had a simple answer: “Sometimes people don’t want to work.”

The agency has spent nearly $5.8 million settling workers’ comp claims over the last four years. It is impossible to say how much of that money was spent on fraudulent or flimsy claims, but Dunkleberger described an agency where suspect claims were filed frequently.

“Some people might want to be off, some people might have personal problems that would be made easier if they were off work. There are a significant amount of workers who go on workers’ comp as soon as they use up all their vacation time,” Dunkleberger said.

wheelchair.gif He recalled one employee who had filed four separate workers’ comp incident reports. The injury in each case? A spider bite. […] The Parking Authority’s high workers’ compensation costs are among many areas where the patronage-rich agency appears to be spending more than it ought to.

Past reports in The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News have identified overstaffing in the authority’s administrative ranks, extensive use of pricey public-relations consultants, high salaries for top executives, and a fleet of SUVs for the use of senior authority officials. MORE

*Standby for more information on how to purchase this handsome and articulate T-shirt. Makes a great gift for the embittered parker(s) on your Christmas list.

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