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Rules and Regulations Subcommittee


July 1, 2008 at 10:30am

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 408

Present:  Breslin, Oneto, Gillespie

Absent:   None

Called meeting at 10:38 am

1.       Call to Order/Roll Call : Quorum

2.      Adoption of Minutes from the June 10, 2008 Subcommittee Meeting:  Adopted without objection.

Adoption of Minutes from the April 10, 2008 Subcommittee Meeting:

  • Com Breslin: In regards to the person who had an objection to minutes you can submit a statement which can be added to the record.
  • Dir Thigpen: Pursuant to the Sunshine Ordinance; 150 words and can become official record as of July 3rd.

3.      Consideration of 2008 Color Scheme Standards: Proposed Rules 4.A.13 and 5.A.10, Amendments to MPC § 1125; and Proposed 2008 Color Scheme Standards Regulations (see Explanatory Documents for Proposed Amendments) [ACTION]

Public Comment: 

·         Charles Rathbone: Representing Luxor cab. The commission has spent a lot of time on outrageously out of compliance companies.  I think that these examples show that the commission has inadequate tools to regulate the Color Schemes.  Responsible operation of lease permits; if you grant permission for operating leases, Luxor will be first in line. Dispatch Standards: should require ramp cabs. There is nothing about minimum size cab companies. No provision about Medallion Holders changing Color Schemes. The general manager of a company does not have to be a Medallion Holder. The idea is to raise standards and to prevent low ball operations.

·         Jane Bolig: What is the problem being addressed, what is the solution?  Overall there is a problem because this problem should have involved more companies than Luxor. So this is considered as a Luxor document.  All of us should have had input.  No later than June 1st; the commission maintain standards, it seems to me that giving us a 30 day window to make adjustments is just not enough. Manager requirement; Big Dog is owned and operated by two men who are not Medallion Holders and they have a stake in the fate of their company.  This is a solution looking for a problem.  Credit Cards; we have been waiting to implement credit cards because we have been told that debit cards are on their way. This problem can be addressed by letting companies charge a reasonable fee for credit card's. Companies

end up paying service fees. Gas & Gates; we have people that have made substantial investments, up to $20,000.  We need something that is more specifically target to the brokers and not hurt the people who made investments.

·         Com Breslin: Your suggestions are always great.  I just want to say, I want to wipe away the slate that people are thinking that one company is controlling the decisions.  Commissioner Benjamin was told he could not voice his ideas here because there were three Commissioners.

·         Jane Bolig: We can take the time that we need to get these done.  I apologize for saying those statements. I do hope that we can have a forum here where we don’t go over what has been presented. 

·         Mark Gruberg: Green Cab; the genesis of this came from Commissioner Benjamin.  Although it has been greatly moderated, this was clearly the product of a Commissioner that is associated with a large cab company.  Furthering provision that would benefit his company. I will go to bat for Citywide dispatch that is doing things that no other companies are doing.  You can call and ask for a hybrid and they will send one to you. This still bears a taint that a Commissioner who made decisions and should not. Commissioner Slaughter said these are being put forward as standards of transferring medallions.  If there is a violation here is this a forum where the violation can be discussed? There can be questions of factor on any of this.

·         Com Breslin: Do you think that companies who do not have workers compensation should be allowed to have medallions transferred to their company?

·         Mark Gruberg: I think the workers compensation should be rule and any company that is accused of not having it is entitled to a hearing to that matter before that determination is made but not in the context of a Color Scheme.

·         Com Breslin: I would like you to bring some positive recommendations that you think might work.  Instead of chopping up the ones before us.

·         Carl Macmurdo: I agree with Mark and Commissioner Slaughter; the appropriate way to deal with these issues is with the rule books.  It raises ethical questions. I think it’s important to consider it.  Under 6B; it should have been added as a 9th one because it’s significantly important.  Medallion Holder’s as managers; 5 years as a medallion holder.  If you restrict Color Scheme changes you are basically saying they can’t hire a person. Credit cards should wait for one year. I think you should find out the basis of the change between 70-80%.

·         Marty Smith: Managers; I think this is a company decision, it’s not the Commissions decision. Credit Cards; An officer called me stated that his driver didn’t accept credit cards and I had him write down the number and I ran the credit card. It should be apart of the policy for all companies to accept credit cards. Long term lease, Gate & Gas should be apart of the way a company is ran, this way it can improve business. Clean Energy; compliance should have been a little stricter.  Companies should be able to charge for these credit cards cashing. Workers Compensation prices are getting cheaper, but industrial accident in Southern California is willing to beef it up and it’s a lot cheaper for companies and they do insure the Medallion Holders as workers compensation doesn’t.

·         Com Gillespie: Are you in favor of eliminating Gate and Gas?

·         Marty Smith: No but I would like to see long term leases.

·         Dan Hinds: I feel like this committee has done a good job with the upgrades of the rule changes and identifitying the problems as we go along. I feel like we got off track here, with that said; Managers; I think that it seems to be that the Executive Director is looking for a responsible individual who can interface with the Executive Director’s office. Credit Cards; Luxor is very well aware that a credit card proposal is on the way in a timely manner and debit/credit cards will be in all cabs by the end of the year. MPC 1137; if we already have it, I don’t understand what we are trying to do here.  Ramps being attached to regular dispatch. Ramp vans should get more money for their rides.  What we should have is some centralized operation that makes orders available to all ramp vans in the city. In that situation National/Veterans will take them.  The reason we don’t is because we don’t want to provide bad service.

·         Robert Cesana: I’m amazed at this whole thing. The reason I’m amazed is because of compliance with the Green Air Taxi program; we should be proud of this idea, however because of the way it was implemented, you have a difficult situation. Many independent drivers went out before the deadline and bought non-compliance vehicles because they were much cheaper.  The problem is, these vehicles now cannot be transferred into almost any company because you are going to alter the footprint.  Why are you going to make more restrictions on a quite substantial amount of vehicles? Let’s look at gas and gates; legally I’m sorry you haven’t got a chance to put this in. The reason you haven’t been able to do so is because of Prop K. Now, under this proposal; you’re saying, we are giving you a medallion but you have to go to someone else in order to operate. This is in conjunction with the legislation committee who is taking about transferability. Most new medallion holders buy a vehicle and run it themselves because they make a greater cash flow. You’re going against a rule that is being debate so I suggest you hold off. As a medallion holder, I attended a meeting a week ago where the medallion holders association unanimously agreed that you are going to put restrictions on medallion holders to change companies. Workers Compensation; every year we talk about workers compensation and yet you have never faced it, as Marty suggested to you. We pay for workers compensation and I’m not covered. That’s why many owner, drivers are opposed to that.

·         Chris Sweis: Royal Cab; I think these rules should be focused on faster more efficient service. Whether or not they are a Medallion Holder doesn’t not matter.  We are members of citywide and they have fantastic service. Where ramp medallions are does not solve the problem. If a Color Scheme does not pass a 70-80 percent score, putting them on probation and not letting a medallion be transferred during that period is a severe penalty.

·         Keith Raskin: Are there standards for the industry as a whole?

·         Com Breslin: We have regulations.

·         Keith Raskin: Gas & Gates is to do away with the brokers. I have a concern about the 5 medallions getting rid of the small companies.  All of these things are in place they just need to be enforced.  The public is being served better by long term leases. 

·         Com Breslin: I’m glad you pointed out our Rules and Regulations book; however during the past months we have been looking and removing rules that could use a new interpretation.

·         Rich Hybels: I agree with Dan about the ramps, I've turned down several of them, because of profitability. Gas and gates, I don’t lease K medallions out at all. I managed a cab company for 1 year before I had my medallion.  I can’t think of a K Medallion Holder that can run my company as good as my helper so that doesn’t wash to well.

·         Gratchia: I’m glad you are the Executive Director; you are a very smart lady.  My first wish to you is not to go in the wrong direction.  There are certain rules that have never been enforced by the Taxi Commission.  One of the biggest problems is the certain brokers who operate medallions illegally and it’s a violation of the Taxicab Rules & Regulations.  If we resolved this problem in the past, we wouldn’t have these problems today. Every Color Scheme knows who is controlling the medallions. I have many new recommendations.  I can say that there are many other more important standards. If we do have centralized dispatch for ramp service he is supposed to in 20 minutes show up or they supposed to dispatch another cab. Clean vehicles; you are not giving us a better way to go around.

Public Comment closed.

·         Com Breslin: There is a slam dunk issue about the bonafied manager. I heard a lot of testimony headed in the same direction.  I want to ask our Director and I assume this is on here for ease of communication.

·         Dir Thigpen: The bonafied manager each Color Scheme put in, if they have 10 medallions or more.  Key personnel 1081.5; we then audit those people and they fail.  There are those who are friends of owners and we find out and they will be disciplined accordingly.  However, this goes further, it’s not relevant. There are plenty great people in the industry.  It should be changed to “this manager shall be an individual who has a permit that has never been revoked or suspended by the commission.” People get disciplined under one permit and they just go to another permit. KSJ was recently revoked. Do we want him going to another company and running another company; after all the resources the Taxi Commission used? This is why we would like to have a rule regarding a 5 year with prior discipline. I can’t think of any manager now that would fall under this category so it would not affect anyone in the industry right now.

·         Com Breslin: Key personnel exemption for a bonafied mgr. 

·         Dir Thigpen: The vast majority of our resources go into these small companies.

·         Com Gillespie: This proposal came out to raise the standards. There has been action taken on companies that were not in compliance, so there is action being taken.  I don’t feel that this is the structure for how we should go about these changes. The key point is the audit percentages.

·         Dir Thigpen: Prop K; July 8th.  Color Scheme is August 11th

·         Com Gillespie: This commission has standards.  I haven’t made the leap of restricting Medallion Holders on where they go. As an example, clean air taxi programs; this is going to happen, to put it in here as a Color Scheme transfer, seems redundant. We are going to comply with this clean air taxi program.  We still have to do some work on the penalties.  We should take each one of these individually.

·         Com Oneto: One thing I would like to say regarding Commissioner Slaughter; I don’t like to comment on what people say when they are not available. What I took away from what Commissioner Slaughter said is, right at this moment we do not have standards on refusing medallion transfers. I think he meant, if we did have standards we could stop medallions from transferring. In the managers 2A, what you proposed Dir Thigpen; the second sentence, “this manager should be an individual who has a permit that has never been revoked or suspended by the commissioners in the last 5 years.” This manager will be accountable for the actions of the Color Scheme.  Shouldn’t the Color Scheme be responsible for the manager?

·         Dir Thigpen: If the person is not a permit holder at all, your right that should be changed.

·         Com Breslin: The Color Scheme should be responsible for the manager.

·         Com Gillespie: I think this can be the first sentence of 2A and the first section of 2B.  This is saying our Commission wants one designated manager.  I think that the MPC codes gives guidelines about this.

·         Dir Thigpen:  A lot of these things in the MPC are just laws existing with no teeth.  I don’t want to assess penalties but since there are no penalties people are violating the law.  There are no standards so people don’t know what to expect.   People don’t know what to expect that is why there is a culture of fear that has been created. Because there hasn’t been clear guidelines.  I don’t want to assess penalties I want to create policy that’s why I took this job.

·         Com Oneto: If you don’t establish the standards you are awarding the people who are not complying.

·         Com Breslin: That last sentence is troubling me because I don’t know the true definition of a bonafied manager.

·         Dir Thigpen: It should say " refer the key personnel exemption"

·         Com Breslin: I think bonafied manager, is accountability rather than any driving requirement.

·         Com Gillespie:  This manager can be a non permit holder.

·         Dir Thigpen: I can take this out, and make some clear manager penalties. I think we can re-work that.

·         Com Breslin: The manager is the vehicle in which the Color Scheme will be accountable.

·         Dir Thigpen: We can just take it out entirely "bonafied"

·         Com Gillespie: What about manager and alternate?

·         Com Oneto: I don’t think we should muck it up that much. If a person is sick they can contact the commission and tell who the designated person would be in their place.

·         Dir Thigpen: Replacing section c, I’ll take a stab at it.

·         Com Gillespie: We should make a separate resolution.

·         Com Breslin: The agent can be an owner and employee.

·         Dir Thigpen: Agent has a legal meaning under the law. This manager is someone we can always talk to; receive and give information.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: I still think that the Medallion Holder section should stay in there.

·         Com Gillespie: Isn’t the key personnel a strong incentive to get someone in there.

·         Com Oneto: You can’t have a "dummy" in there because now the Color Scheme is responsible now not the manager.

·         Gratchia: I don’t have a medallion yet, but you have to be an A-card holder. I hope i’m not going to be affected. 

·         Carl Macmurdo: 1081.5 regarding Key Personnel; for a long time it was called bonafied mgr.  You can just say designated contact person which is separate from key personnel.

·         Marty Smith: I agree with Com Breslin that there should be more than one key personnel.  I think after 5 cabs the paperwork starts to build up and more help is needed.  We started off with 5 and now we have 19 and the paperwork mounts.

·         Rich Hybels: We are still considering C right?

·         Com Breslin: Yes, just deleting the whole second section.

·         Mark Gruberg: I don’t see why a manager should have to have any kind of permit.  One person might do it far more competently.

·         Robert Cesana: The Taxi Commission staff doesn’t have to have any qualifications and yet alternatively most of them tend to be attorneys or have qualifications that tend to help them do their job.

·         Com Breslin: I think we are all aligned.

·         Com Gillespie: I would prefer that we brought it up for a hearing at the first commission meeting.

·         Dir Thigpen: The agenda is full for July 8th. 

·         Com Gillespie: There is nothing else we need to do with clean air all we need to work on is the penalties. The draft just says that you must comply with clean air.

·         Com Oneto: I’m willing to forgo this issue but not completely get rid of it until we establish the penalties for clean air. You’re the one that wanted the Color Scheme’s responsible for the clean air. So this should stay here.

·         Robert Cesana: I have to agree with Com Oneto. You haven’t got a definition of how vehicles will move from one company to another. This vehicle cannot fit into the new footprint of the company.

·         Marty Smith: I talked to the Executive Director. Should it be the same vehicle or a CNG or hybrid? If it reached the specs it could be a gas vehicle.

·         Gratchia: If a Color Scheme is in violation we should have an admonishment or a penalty. 

·         Dan Hinds: Each Color Scheme has to come up with an approach where all cars will be a certain standard.  If a vehicle is transferred that is very rare. I would say, if a vehicle transfers from one to another and thrown out of compliance. Give them until the next interval until they come back into compliance. Don’t limit the transfer.

·         Mark Gruberg: I think you should consider these rules as rules so they are not redundant.  We should consider an addition to the penalties.  Deal with the issue of Color Scheme transfers as a separate item from the rules.

·         Jane Bolig: I understand we all want these things, whether or not we want it, we have to be. We have to provide our drivers with these gas saving vehicles.

·         Charles Rathbone: The clean air standards is a good example of why this should be apart of the Color Scheme standards.

·         Com Gillespie: I don’t think a company can be out of compliance. I don’t think companies are going to be out of compliance if we are doing our job right.

·         Com Breslin: Where does it state that we can reject a standard?

·         Com Oneto: As of now we do not have a penalty phase for clean air. If we establish those standards in the clean air policy and the penalties for not adhering then we can get rid of this.

·         Com Breslin: I would like to add, not in compliance at last audit.

·         Dir Thigpen: Yes people will be out of compliance. 

·         Com Breslin: I would like to withdraw my last statement of compliance of last audit; if the Taxi Commission staff will be monitoring this.

·         Dir Thigpen: I work on facts only.  Most companies had good results this year. Why don’t we see the results of the audit and then you can make a determination after.

·         Com Breslin: Are we done with clean air taxi?

·         Dir Thigpen: Penalties are coming up on July 8th, so why don’t we wait until then.

·         Com Oneto: For clarification on 10 ramps, you don’t have to be in the ramp business but you have to have 10 or more ramp vans.  We need to get a little better language on that. 

4.         Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items not on the agenda)

·         Carl Macmurdo: Congrats to the Executive Director. 4A10, what’s the status of that?

·         Com Breslin: It was resolved and we are waiting for Tom Owen on that.

·         Carl Macmurdo: 5A2, cooperating. The previous Executive Director used that and a lot of people were pressured to signed formal admonishments which they felt were inaccurate. I hope that there will be some standards or general criteria of how that rule would be used.

·         Com Breslin: Maybe this should be used to for the designee.

·         Marty Smith: We should have a full commission on the workers compensation. It’s only a policy acting as a law right now. We have to put some teeth behind it. We have to make this either a city ordinance or drop it. It can’t continue like this. Give us something that every company has to live with.

·         Gratchia: I would like to remind you that we need to think about how we can get these brokers out of the business. Its illegal and that is something that we should focus on.

·         Mark Gruberg: Green cab has suggested some rule changes that you might consider. If companies are previously found out of compliance, companies have to provide off street parking for all cabs. Minimum pass rate at GTU.

·         Dir Thigpen: If those are written down, please email them to me, if you would like them to be included in future memorandum.

  1. Adjournment 12:37pm.



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