WEB EXCLUSIVE: Parking Employee Says She Was Fired for Talking to Media

Parking Appeals Officer Elisabeth Wilkinson was fired Wednesday, Dec. 12, she said because she talked to the newspaper about something “corrupt” that happened at parking services.

The son of prominent U donors came into parking services Tuesday “threatening” that his family would withdraw funds if a boot weren’t taken off his girlfriend’s car and her fines nullified, said Wilkinson, a senior studying psychology.

Parking services complied with his demands, she said, and she called The Chronicle to report it.

“The kid outright in public was throwing a temper tantrum?He was outraged that they’d be treated like this,” Wilkinson said Tuesday. “This is the grossest thing I’ve seen in a long time. People shouldn’t get away with thinking they’re above the law.”

Stephen Olchek, a parking services administrative manager, spoke with the man about the booting.

“[When] he came in, he was quite irate, he did drop names,” Olchek said.

Previously a U employee, the man’s girlfriend was still using her employee A permit, even though she is now a student. If an employee stops working for the U but continues to use the A parking permit, his or her car is booted upon detection, Olchek said.

But parking enforcement is always “negotiable,” Olchek said. “We came to a compromise, which I will not divulge, and he left?I hope?in a reasonable mood.”

On Tuesday, Parking Services Director Alma Allred said he found the event “hard to believe” and “very inappropriate.”

“I can’t imagine that happening, especially with somebody’s girlfriend,” Allred said.

However, Allred did say parking services would look the other way with prominent donors.

“If Jon Huntsman’s wife said her car was impounded, we’d break a leg trying to fix the situation?Not only would I look the other way, I’d cancel the ticket. It’s just good business practice [with] someone in that position,” Allred said.

Wilkinson said Allred fired her because she showed a “lack of judgement, which is necessary” as an appeals officer in talking to The Chronicle.

Thursday, Allred declined to comment on why he fired Wilkinson, saying he didn’t know if he could “legally” talk to the media about firing someone.

“It’s just so stupid, I hate the whole thing for ever happening,” Wilkinson said. “My family and all my friends support me and all I did.”

She alerted The Chronicle about the event Tuesday because of her “duty as a student of the U,” not because of her job.

“Somehow [working for parking services] is supposed to make me some kind of immoral person who doesn’t report that kind of thing?” she said. Wilkinson is considering filing a lawsuit.

The Chronicle is still trying to contact the donors’ son.

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