Council says more people are obeying the law.

Council says more people are obeying the law. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Sydney's parking rangers fined fewer drivers last year than any of the previous six years, City of Sydney figures reveal.

But what the council puts down to more people obeying the rules, one councillor chalks up to dysfunction and mismanagement in the council's rangers unit.

The council's total revenue from parking fines dropped to $33.27 million last financial year, down from $36.27 million and $35.44 million in the two years prior.

Only 1697 infringements were issued per City of Sydney ranger in 2013-14 - the lowest number in the past seven years - compared to 1856 in 2012-13, and 1923 in 2011-12.

Meanwhile, council's income from parking metres rose steadily during the same period, up from $34.11 million in 2011-12 and $34.84 million in 2012-13 to $35.78 million last year.

A report to council revealed last year's parking fine revenue was $5.9 million less than anticipated. 

"Infringement notices are significantly lower than budgeted, largely driven by improved compliance," a council report said.

But Liberal councillor Edward Mandla told Monday night's council meeting the drop in fines revenue should trigger alarm bells and a restructure of the department.

He noted an internal audit was conducted in January last year into allegations of nepotism during ranger recruitment – an investigation that recorded no adverse findings.

A private firm was also engaged in 2012 to investigate "complaints and grievances made by staff within the Rangers Unit", a council report said.

"I'm not passing any judgment or opinion here but there's enough here to suggest 'trouble in paradise' so saying 'infringement notices are significantly lower than budgeted, largely driven by improved compliance' is awkwardly untrue," Cr Mandla said.

Staff took an average of 16.1 sick days last year, a figure excluding its seven casual rangers. Staff turnover stood at 10.8 per cent.

Cr Mandla said rangers were not allowed to be lenient or to talk to the public, making it "a lonely and heartless career where you get disciplined if you warn or engage with the community".

"This was spun as a good news story, all of a sudden after decades of non-compliance, the lights have gone on and people have become compliant - perhaps they've taken up cycling," Cr Mandla said.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore hit back at Cr Mandla's "outrageous claims" that she said were not supported by any other member of the council.

"Of course our rangers speak to the public and they also have the authority in some cases to give people warnings instead of fines," Cr Moore said.

New rosters had provided better coverage and more visibility in areas where many motorists were parking illegally, Cr Moore said.

"The coverage has had the desired effect – fewer motorists are parking illegally and fewer infringements are being issued," she said.

"Our rangers have a really tough job - it's incredibly disappointing a Councillor would try to use them for political point scoring."