The man who may have helped push the city toward changing its taxicab ordinance lost his taxi license and is no longer in operation.
The Board of Public Safety denied Otis Reed’s request to renew his license during Monday’s meeting.
Last summer, Reed complained that the city’s rule forcing each cab company’s vehicles to be a different color was too restrictive. The city council changed the ordinance in September, but Reed’s license had already been delayed twice.
Gary Brown, inspector with the Fort Wayne Department of Weights and Measures, told the safety board Monday that Reed was pulled over in August and found to be driving on a suspended license.
Brown also said that Reed’s insurance was canceled because of nonpayment – which meant his company’s license was revoked. Reed was pulled over again in May while operating his taxi after his taxi license and company permit were canceled, Brown said.
Reed told the safety board his driver’s license was suspended because he got behind on child support after he put all his money into making all the changes the board previously required.
He said things went downhill from there.
“I didn’t really have a choice the way I saw it,” Reed told the board. “I had to generate income.”
On Monday, board Chairman Quinton Dixie and board member Sharon Peters voted to deny Reed’s taxi license renewal after Reed admitted to driving his cab without the proper licenses. Frank Casagrande, the board’s third member, was absent.
Reed can appeal the board’s ruling at the August meeting and if he is denied again, can take the board to court, Brown said.
“At some point you go into survival mode. Have you ever got into a situation where you go into survival mode ma’am?” Reed asked Peters.
Peters told Reed she wouldn’t approve his appeal.
“You kept driving knowing it was illegal,” Peters said.
Reed then left the meeting and it was quickly adjourned.
Minor discipline reviewed
In other action, the board learned of one-day suspensions that officer Michael R. Sierks, Sgt. Caesar B. DeJesus and officer Jethro B. Thompson III all served for being away without leave.
Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York told the board that Sierks and DeJesus both missed an in-service day and that Thompson was more than an hour late for work.
It was the first time Thompson and Sierks had been suspended, according to their personnel files. DeJesus also was suspended for the same infraction in 2005, according to his personnel file.
York also told the board that officer Cinda S. Curtis’ received a three-day suspension. Curtis had signed up for a special assignment and never showed up, York said. She was given three days without pay because she was AWOL earlier this year. All four officers have already served their suspensions York said.
The board also learned of the retirement of Sgt. Jack L. Woodruff. Woodruff spent 33 years on the force, received a distinguished service citation, a letter of excellence and two letters of commendation, according to his personnel file.