Adjudication is currently ‘up in the air’

Troubles with new school bus program


A new school bus camera system implemented in Glen Cove, designed to enhance safety by capturing vehicles illegally passing buses, has come under fire due to administrative and procedural issues, leaving some residents confused and frustrated.

Glen Cove recently partnered with BusPatrol, a Virginia-based school bus safety company, to equip buses with cameras aimed at capturing violations. However, concerns persist regarding the clarity of the contractual terms and revenue distribution between the city and the company.

The system, aimed at deterring drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses, has caused concern over its implementation and handling of violations. The issues raised regard the process of contesting tickets, jurisdictional ambiguities and a lack of transparency in the adjudication process.

Kristine Janusas, a resident of the nearby Village of Sea Cliff, found herself embroiled in the complexities of contesting a ticket she received for allegedly failing to stop at a school bus stop sign. Despite her efforts to contest the fine, Janusas encountered hurdles, including restrictions on who could request a court date and a lack of clarity on the jurisdiction responsible for handling the tickets.

Janusas said the biggest issue was the lack of clarity as to who would be adjudicating the contested fine. She claimed that after reaching out to the deputy mayor of Glen Cove’s office as well as her county legislator, Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, both said it was still up in the air as to whether the county or the city would be hearing cases regarding the school bus camera violations.

Neither the deputy mayor nor the Glen Cove Police Department responded to requests for comment by press time.

Janusas’ initial fine of $250 rose to $275 after she was told her initial court request form was incorrect, since she failed to notice that only the person to whom the car was registered — her husband — could request a court date.

Although it took some time, she and her husband were able to get the company to agree not to fine them directly and instead, give them a court date, but Janusas emphasized that since there is no system apparently in place to handle these cases, she and her husband are effectively in limbo.

“There is no court, that’s the whole joke of this entire system,” Janusas lamented. “This could last for years, like there’s no way they’re ever going to be in court. There’s nothing in place to enable them to actually go and have a court date.”

Danielle Fugazy Scagliola, a Glen Cove councilwoman, acknowledged the challenges faced by residents in contesting fines, emphasizing the need for clarity in the adjudication process. She added that she could confirm that members of the Glen Cove Police Department reviewed all the tickets, but that it was still unclear who would take over the adjudication process, and when.

“I always thought that we should adjudicate it here in Glen Cove,” Scagliola explained. “Our mayor wanted to adjudicate it in Nassau County. I don’t think they ever determined where the ticket would be adjudicated, so (Janusas) is probably having a problem because I’m guessing it’s not clear where to adjudicate.”

Further complicating matters is the involvement of a company based in Boston, Massachusetts, identified as CGC School Bus Safety Program, which oversees the issuance and processing of tickets. Janusas expressed frustration over the lack of local oversight and accountability in the ticketing process.

“I’m not against these cameras, I’m not against people getting tickets for passing the bus when they’re not supposed to be,” Janusas said. “But why isn’t it being handled through their court system? It’s just strange, the whole thing.”

The program’s implementation was intended to enhance safety around school buses, a critical concern considering the potential risks to children’s lives. However, the administrative hurdles and jurisdictional ambiguities seem to have overshadowed the program’s objectives.

As discussions continue how to address the challenges faced by residents, the focus remains on ensuring that safety measures are effectively implemented while upholding principles of fairness and accountability in the enforcement process.