Recently it was reported that due to unpaid parking tickets, the vehicle
belonging to the security detail protecting former President George Bush’s
daughter Jenna Bush, was towed. Baltimore City has not confirmed (or
denied) if the vehicle belongs to the Secret Service, although Adrienne
Barnes with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation stated it’s a
“protective matter of national security.”
Vehicles with three or more unpaid parking tickets are being booted or
towed in the city; part of a newly launched campaign to collect unpaid
tickets. Currently, there are approximately 80,000 unpaid citations issued
by Baltimore City, which amount to $130 million in lost revenue, and the
city is intent on collecting on these fines.
Barnes was able to confirm that the “agent in charge” of Jenna Bush’s
protective detail is making arrangements for the vehicle to be released
from the impound lot.
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Nobody in protective service has a “get out of jail free” pass…not even
the Secret Service! I’m guessing the “agent in charge” is sporting some
bright yellow egg on his face over this snafu.
This story serves as a great lesson for two reasons:
First, it illustrates that just because an agent is protecting someone
famous doesn’t mean the rules no longer apply. If the agent decided to
park illegally, or the meter ran out, or whatever the circumstances might
have been; there will be consequences. If I choose to park in No-Parking
Zone because I feel it will be safer for my celebrity client to disembark
the vehicle in that location–I KNOW that I’m doing something for which
(if caught) there will be consequences. If I simply forgot to feed the
meter, and the time runs out; I can expect a ticket. . . and I can assume
it is my task to be sure the ticket is paid.
Secondly, somebody isn’t minding the paperwork–an often overlooked and
necessary part of working on any detail. Surely, a ticket was left on the
car. Then, a follow-up citation was sent. Somebody was responsible for
paying for the ticket. Whoever was responsible for the maintenance,
paperwork, parking, insurance and overall management of the vehicle wasn’t
doing their job. Perhaps this was a case of “the right hand not knowing
what the left hand is doing.” Which of course brings into question the
efficiency of the Secret Service Agency; and sheds an unfavorable light on
a government run organization.
A situation like this can be very embarrassing, whether it involves a
public organization or a private client; especially if the story is leaked
to the press. It’s the kind of mistake that–depending on the
employer–might even cost an EPS his job.