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By Luke Broadwater and Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | January 22, 2014
Baltimore's speed cameras likely charged motorists for thousands more erroneous tickets than previously disclosed, according to data from a secret audit conducted for the city last year and obtained by The Baltimore Sun. Consultant URS Corp. evaluated the camera system as run by Xerox State and Local Solutions in 2012 and found an error rate of more than 10 percent - 40 times higher than city officials have claimed. The city got those findings last April but never disclosed the high error rate, refusing calls by members of the City Council to release the audit.
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NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | May 24, 2014
You've likely heard about the secret audit of Baltimore's speed camera program, which found error rates much higher than city officials had acknowledged. Turns out that's only part of the story. Engineering firm URS Corp. also delivered to City Hall a second audit report that found additional errors at even more cameras. And it, too, was kept secret for nearly a year. The second report came to light when the city's law department turned over roughly 100,000 pages of documents to a City Council committee investigating the cameras.
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NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | December 14, 2012
Baltimore's speed camera contractor disclosed Friday that several of the city's automated cameras have been wrongly ticketing roughly one of every 20 passing cars and trucks. Officials with Xerox State and Local Solutions told a mayoral task force studying the city's program that the five cameras have been idled and are no longer issuing $40 tickets after they found during a recent review that the devices had an error rate of 5.2 percent. Those five cameras have generated at least 15,000 tickets, city records show, translating to $600,000 in potential fines for motorists.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2014
State lawmakers are poised to approve reforms to speed camera programs across Maryland. The House of Delegates on Monday advanced a bill that would put tighter rules on the when the automatic tickets could be issued and make it easier for motorists to appeal bogus citations without going to court. After more than year of scrutiny to the speed camera programs - which are lucrative to governments and irksome to drivers - the bill poised for approval would outlaw the so-called "bounty-system" that allowed contractors to bill per ticket issued, as well as call for an ombudsman that could dismiss tickets that were clearly issued in error.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | March 8, 2012
As Baltimore's Public Works Department issues more than $4.2 million in water bill refunds, Howard County officials say they will likely avoid similar issues because of recent upgrades to the county billing system. "We just finished a total upgrade of our water billing system in the last two years; we do not use the same system Baltimore uses," county spokesman Kevin Enright wrote in an email. He said the error rates are now at 1 percent. Water meters are read and transferred electronically using a radio interface.
BUSINESS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | August 16, 1992
Many homeowners were alarmed in 1991 when Consumer Loan Advocates made a shocking discovery: Forty-seven percent of all adjustable-rate mortgages were calculated incorrectly, costing consumers millions of dollars.Now comes this bombshell from the Lake Bluff, Ill., loan-auditing firm.A recent analysis of 110 home-equity lines of credit found a 74.5 percent error rate, to the tune of about $257 a year per family.If the findings by Consumer Loan Advocates' are accurate, they could point to a major problem, because the number of home-equity loans has soared in recent years.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | May 24, 2014
You've likely heard about the secret audit of Baltimore's speed camera program, which found error rates much higher than city officials had acknowledged. Turns out that's only part of the story. Engineering firm URS Corp. also delivered to City Hall a second audit report that found additional errors at even more cameras. And it, too, was kept secret for nearly a year. The second report came to light when the city's law department turned over roughly 100,000 pages of documents to a City Council committee investigating the cameras.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | January 23, 2014
Driver advocacy group AAA Mid-Atlantic and some lawmakers urged local governments to conduct audits of their speed camera programs Thursday after learning that a secret audit last year of Baltimore's program documented far higher error rates than previously disclosed. "We really don't know how widespread this problem is," said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of government affairs and a member of the city's speed camera task force. Averella said other jurisdictions across Maryland should "absolutely" audit their programs to check the accuracy of the $40 citations.
NEWS
December 5, 2012
In a recent story about new speed camera tests, Frank Murphy, Baltimore's deputy transportation director for operations, addressed the camera network's error rate by stating "I'm not really concerned what the error rate is, we just want to reduce it" ("New speed camera tests," Dec. 1). I think perhaps it's time for city officials to be concerned about the error rate; instead of just reducing it, how about instead getting it down to zero? An investigation by The Sun found that the city continued to operate a camera on Cold Spring Lane months after learning it had issued incorrect speed readings.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2014
State lawmakers are poised to approve reforms to speed camera programs across Maryland. The House of Delegates on Monday advanced a bill that would put tighter rules on the when the automatic tickets could be issued and make it easier for motorists to appeal bogus citations without going to court. After more than year of scrutiny to the speed camera programs - which are lucrative to governments and irksome to drivers - the bill poised for approval would outlaw the so-called "bounty-system" that allowed contractors to bill per ticket issued, as well as call for an ombudsman that could dismiss tickets that were clearly issued in error.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | January 29, 2014
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake offered a new explanation Wednesday for why her administration never acted on the results of an audit that found a high error rate for city speed camera tickets: The national engineering firm the city hired was "not sufficiently qualified" to do a thorough report. She also said the 90-page audit by engineering consultant URS Corp. was "incomplete. " "It was clear from that document that the company was not sufficiently qualified to do a complete review," Rawlings-Blake told reporters at a news conference Wednesday at City Hall.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | January 28, 2014
A City Council committee investigating a secret audit of Baltimore's speed camera system will begin its work next week. The Judiciary Committee will meet at 11 a.m. next Tuesday to determine how to proceed, officials said. Committee Chairman James Kraft said it was too early to say whether Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake or other top City Hall officials would be called to testify. "I intend to summon whomever we need to answer our questions and/or explain produced documents, etc.," Kraft said in an email.
NEWS
January 25, 2014
If you are like most of us living in the Baltimore area, you are probably sick of hearing about what a disgrace the city's speed camera program turned out to be - about the high error rate, about the slow response of city government to the problem and perhaps even about the stonewalling and vague explanations of exactly how it went so terribly wrong. We're sick of it. Our readers are sick of it. And it's probably the case that most everyone in City Hall from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on down to the youngest clerk-typist is tired of thinking about this embarrassment, too. Yet the latest revelation - one that the Rawlings-Blake administration clearly didn't want anyone to know about - is that the whole thing was even worse than previously reported.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | January 23, 2014
Driver advocacy group AAA Mid-Atlantic and some lawmakers urged local governments to conduct audits of their speed camera programs Thursday after learning that a secret audit last year of Baltimore's program documented far higher error rates than previously disclosed. "We really don't know how widespread this problem is," said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of government affairs and a member of the city's speed camera task force. Averella said other jurisdictions across Maryland should "absolutely" audit their programs to check the accuracy of the $40 citations.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | January 22, 2014
Baltimore's speed cameras likely charged motorists for thousands more erroneous tickets than previously disclosed, according to data from a secret audit conducted for the city last year and obtained by The Baltimore Sun. Consultant URS Corp. evaluated the camera system as run by Xerox State and Local Solutions in 2012 and found an error rate of more than 10 percent — 40 times higher than city officials have claimed. The city got those findings last April but never disclosed the high error rate, refusing calls by members of the City Council to release the audit.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | September 16, 2013
In a letter sent Monday to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Maryland's senior senator called on the VA's Baltimore office to develop an action plan within 10 days to improve its "lackluster" approach to an initiative designed to speed up the time it takes to process disability claims. Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski asked Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to provide a schedule for additional training between the Baltimore office leadership and service organizations, such as the American Legion, that work to expedite fully developed claims.
NEWS
By David Michael Ettlin and David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer | February 10, 1993
Income tax season -- a nightmare for many taxpayers -- is proving irksome this year even for the state tax collector.Changes enacted last year in the piggyback income tax rate by five Maryland counties are being blamed by the state comptroller's office for more than doubling the normal error rate in the first wave of tax returns that has been filed.Errors in piggyback tax calculations are turning up not only in tax returns prepared by individuals, but those done by commercial tax preparers and accountants, said Marvin Bond, spokesman for the comptroller.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | May 22, 2013
A bipartisan group of lawmakers pressed the Obama administration Wednesday to reduce the backlog of disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs by improving cooperation between the several agencies that have a role in the process. Senators emerged from a closed-door meeting with VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and said the agencies would work to improve communication, provide more regular updates to Congress and identify high-level staff who will ultimately be responsible for addressing the delays.
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