Some City Stickers Not…Sticking?

Clerk’s Office Says Check Your Sticker, Free Replacement

Some Chicago drivers have been put in what can only be called a non-sticky situation.

That’s because in a small number of cases, their 2010/2011 Chicago city vehicle stickers don’t have enough adhesive to remain stuck to the inside of their windshield.

Luckily, according to Kristine Williams, spokesperson for the City Clerk’s office, the issue has been restricted to early bird Chicagoans who purchased their sticker right out of the gate on or before June 1st.

According to Williams, it seems a small percentage of the first batch of city stickers had too little adhesive and some motorists started complaining about the issue.

“We were made aware that some stickers had too little adhesion June 1st or June 2nd,” explained Williams. “We immediately went to hand check the stickers. The vast majority were perfectly good. But we didn’t want to risk it so we pulled the entire first batch.”

That first batch was about 125,000 stickers, which was replaced within a few days by the vendor, at no cost to the city.

“So far 1200 stickers have been replaced,” says Williams. “That’s a small percentage. I don’t want people to panic about it. But we encourage people to check their stickers sooner than later.”

The Clerk’s office will replace any faulty city stickers for free. Drivers can e-mail the City Clerk’s office at: or call 312-742-9200. Replacements will be sent in the mail.

Or if you prefer, you can get your replacement at any City Clerk office location.

The decal vendor, Chicago-based SecureMark Decal Company, was not the City Clerk’s first choice.

SecureMark won the five year contract for Chicago’s city stickers by coming in $300,000 lower over the term of the contract than other bidders. However, SecureMark has had some problems with quality providing decals for the state of New York and the Clerk’s office wanted to continue to use their preferred vendor, The Standard Register Company.

In fact, when the bids came in back in early March, Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle wrote a letter to the Procurement Departmentasking them to ignore the low bid and award the contract to Standard Register.

“We are sympathetic with city budget issues,” says Williams of the contract. “But we were concerned with quality issues this vendor has had in the past. The quality and integrity of the Chicago city stickers is of utmost importance to us.”

In lieu of the problems from SecureMark, will the contract be canceled and awarded to Standard Register?

“I think that issue will be addressed July 16th (the day after sticker sales ends),” says Williams.

UPDATE 3 PM: Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown devoted his column today to this same problem.

42 Responses to Some City Stickers Not…Sticking?

  1. A new definition of sticker shock.

  2. Mike says:

    Thats me. I got one of those. I emailed the city clerk and should have a free replacement any day not. Thanks Geek!

  3. Joe says:

    Thanks for posting this, I ordered a sticker right when they went for sale, and its been sitting in a drawer since (because I got a ticket last year for not having a zone permit when I put the sticker on early last year). I just pulled it off and sure enough there is no adhesive on it. I’ll go get it replaced today.

  4. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Hey Joe!

    Glad we could be of help. According to Ms. Williams from the Clerk’s office, if you come in to replace your sticker at a City Clerk location, you don’t have to wait in line–they move you right to the front and take care of you right away. Just tell them you have a faulty sticker.

  5. Joe says:

    Thanks Geek, fortunately I work just a couple blocks from City Hall so I ran over there. because I bought it online, they sent me down to data services in the basement to get the replacement. Waited about 10 minutes for them to print a new one.

  6. Ann says:

    Well this is a pickle. My sticker is half-peeling off, so I e-mailed the City Clerk and was told to either mail in the sticker or take it to City Hall for a replacement. Just one problem–what if I get ticketed for not having a city sticker in the meantime? I already peeled off last year’s sticker and threw it out. There’s no way I’m going to try and find parking downtown (I live in Lincoln Square), which means at least 9 hours of no sticker on my car while I stop by City Hall during work to get my replacement.

    I e-mailed inquiring about this issue and hope to get a response.

  7. Ann says:

    Okay, update to my last comment. They will mail me a sticker and then I need to mail in my defective one. That will solve the ticket problem. As for those who go in person, I imagine if you drive and run in super fast, you probably won’t get ticketed. Probably.

  8. UniCron says:

    I think the problem has to do with the city cutting back and using Elmers Washable School Paste. I hear next year they will be using reycable cardboard.

  9. chicagofails says:

    yep – the city “stuck” it to me as well. went to put the new sticker on today and it is not sticky at all. why do i need to pay $100 a year to register my vehicle anyway?????

  10. DoR Employee says:

    Dear ChicagoFails

    Its because no one has the balls to run against Daley.

    All the “candidates” that have run against Daley in the past 20 years were just operators that were on the ballot to split the opposition vote up so that only Dick could get a majority.

    I’ve told the Geek.

    I’d actually make half the shit that city hall pulls Illegal if I were mayor.

    I’d dissolve the Meter Lease and run Morgan Stanley out of the city.
    I’d dissolve the Parking Lot Leases and take that revenue back to the City where it belongs.
    The Skyway lease would be dissolved under the same legal grounds.

    Anyone that was in office by the grace of Daley would be made to Re-apply for their job…Jody, Hubberman, Santiago, Picardi, Hicky….etc..

    And anyone promoted to positions of power by the people hired by Daley would take a reduction in position back to a level that they are actually qualified to hold.

    And then…….

    2 weeks after being elected, I’d probably be shot by some clout baby or mob’d up loser that doesn’t want to see this city run by an Honest person.

  11. SS says:

    IF sticker revenue is used for its stated purpose — maintaining arterials — I don’t see a problem with each car/user paying a portion. It follows that ticket revenue for not having legal sticker should also go to maintaining arterials. It should not go to maintaining parking lanes in arterials as those require a separate fee by those specific users.

    Ergo, some other source of taxpayer revenue is put to maintaining side streets, so no taxpayer should be excluded from using and parking on them, i.e. no residential permit exclusions.

  12. glg says:

    Grr, mine’s been sitting on my desk for a couple weeks, went to put it in last night, no stick.

  13. Jeff says:

    DoR Employee,

    You would run MS out of the city? Really? You do realize, of course, that the investment in the meters would have just been picked up by the next highest bidder if MS were not in the picture? And the city would have been paid a little less than the already paltry sum they received for selling the meters?

    Also, one point which again bears repeating, because it has been so comically misunderstood and incorrectly reported (though not by you or this website, necessarily)… MS does NOT make money directly from the meters. The quarters you put in for time do NOT go to MS as income. The revenue from the meters goes into a fund which is managed by MS, but which anyone can buy shares in (including you and me). If the meters start raking in a lot of income, that will encourage more people to buy in to the fund, which nets MS some profit in the form of commissions/fees on the fund.

    But yeah, by all means, continue going after an irrelevant target. I’m all for hating on the lease deal, which was completely terrible and fiscally irresponsible, but the blame should fall on Daley and the city council.

  14. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Jeff is right on.

    There were lots of reasons to be mad at Morgan Stanley/CPM/LAZ for bad implementation or transition of the meters. That is duly deserved, but is really a minor part of the bigger picture.

    These corporations are just doing what’s in their best interest. Look for a good deal to invest in (Chicago’s parking meters, make the deal and then maximize profits. That’s what business is supposed to do.

    Jeff is right, if you’re hating the overall lease deal, you need to direct your anger toward Mayor Daley, his minions and the city council members that actually voted for it and allowed it to move through so quickly.

    If the Daley administration could manage the budget sensibly, there would have been no need to rush into the lease deal in the first place.

    Ultimately, it’s those people who bear the responsibility.

  15. DoR Employee says:

    In regards to the Meter lease…

    Voting against were Alds. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Leslie Hairston (5th), Billy Ocasio (26th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Rey Colon (35th).

    Everyone else voted For the lease.

  16. [...] Ironically, the sticker vendor, Chicago-based SecureMark Decal Company, which had similar problems supplying stickers to the New York DMV several months ago, was not the City Clerk’s first choice to supply the 2010/2011 city stickers. [...]

  17. Elbie says:

    My City Sticker also does not stick- I can’t believe we pay $100 for a faulty freaking parking sticker. This city makes everything so difficult and never apologizes or takes any blame when it screws up. How about instead of making everyone who bought the faulty stickers come down to City Hall or mail anything in- they just replace them outright? This is ridiculous that I have to waste my time or a stamp when this is their mistake. The replacement permits should just be mailed out automatically.

  18. Charlotte says:

    I am having endless problems getting through to the city clerk to get a replacement. Emails receive an out of office message and the phone lines are so busy they won’t even put you on hold — you either get a busy signal or a message saying to call back. The offices are no longer open during non-work hours either – maybe due to budget cuts? I’m not sure how you’re supposed to resolve this when no one will answer a call or email and the offices are closed at all times when anyone with an office job could go.

  19. DoR Employee says:


    Don’t Call or Email.

    Get your butt to one of the actual offices and take your sticker with you. take the day off…or you are going to get ticketed as of the 1st August.

  20. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    DoR Employee’s advice is good. If you stop by any of the Clerk’s offices, people with sticker problems go to the head of the line.

    But also, my contact in the Clerk’s office says if you e-mail their office (despite getting an auto-responder) you will ultimately get your replacement city sticker by mail in plenty of time before the July 30th deadline.

  21. [...] City Clerk’s office extended the 15 day city sticker grace period until July 30th due to quality control issues with a small percentage of the [...]

  22. [...] reported last week, small batches of the first shipment of defective city stickers did not have enough adhesive to keep them affixed effectively to windshields. While complaints in the very first days of June [...]

  23. [...] poor quality stickers without enough adhesive caused enough of a headache for motorists, the City Clerk’s office decided to extend the [...]

  24. JMR says:

    So my city sticker fell off the windshield last week. I’ve e-mailed the city and gotten no response. I called this morning, only to have the automated recording hang up on me, ‘due to high call volumes.’ I am not optimistic that I will get a replacement sticker. Right now, I taped the old one back on the windshield. Very frustrating.

  25. Joe says:

    I think this is still going to be a big problem for the rest of the year. I’ve seen a number of stickers barely attached to the windshield around town. I’m guessing not everyone knows about the recall.

  26. Joe says:

    Also, how did the City Clerk not do some quality control on random samples from that first batch? Last number I saw was that 26,000 stickers have been replaced and the initial batch was 125,000 so that is over 1/5th at least. Couldn’t they have randomly pulled stickers from the batch & check them before they started printing on them & mailing?

  27. DoR Employee says:

    Run, don’t walk your faulty stickers to ANY City Clerk Office.

    Don’t Call
    Don’t Mail


    July 31st at 12am in the Morning, ENFORCEMENT STARTS…regardless.

  28. marty says:

    what about those of us who picked up the sticker at a currency exchange.
    Do we return it to them or city hall?
    I got my city sticker at the local currency exchange and its only 1/2 sticking .
    Can we bill this company for our time and hassle, we paid for a product an they havent done their job, we should be allowed a refund at their expense or some monies for our time off of work an so on, they also should cover all cost that go with a ticket if one is given due to their sticker issues

  29. Michael says:

    Is it ok to just scotch tape the defective stickers to the windshield, and regularly replace the tape throughout the year?

  30. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    For the short term, cops and other ticket writers are being advised NOT to ticket for city stickers that are not fully affixed or affixed with tape to the windshield.

    But, I don’t think this will last forever.

    My advice is to call or e-mail for a replacement.

  31. Jeff says:

    The ticket writers, cops, etc. ought to at least carry around and distribute some little “FYI” post-its, or whatever, that basically explain the problem and outline the procedure to obtain a new sticker. It seems the public is largely unaware this issue. I happened to notice my roommate’s car had a non-sticking sticker in it, and I asked if he’d requested a replacement yet. He was completely unaware, and thought it was just a scam to get the stickers to fall off sooner for extra ticketing revenue.

  32. Dane Kantner says:

    has anyone NOT gotten the replacement sticker in the mail? I ordered mine June 30th–knowing full well that the city had already delayed the enforcement until August and though they normally say not to do by mail if within 2 weeks, I would be fine. but now it’s the last week of July?! argh

    In other news… even though the city of chicago clerk’s site itself has a press release saying they delayed the enforcement of city sticker and permits until August 1st, I’ve found this to be just not true. over the past two weeks every time there has been a cubs game @ night (the 383 stickers don’t even apply during day games, lamely), there have been cops walking up and down checking stickers. There was one cop (actual cop, not contractor) who had a clipboard with a printed grid, he was just filling in every car on the paper then later went back and filled out the tickets and put them on vehicles. Very thorough and kinda nerdy, but I give him an A+ for effort. Someone walking down the street asked him about enforcement, I overheard him saying they were giving tickets to any cars that just had no sticker whatsoever. There are obvious offenders from out of state and what not that would not have had the stickers, but IMO this is unfair since the city actually went out of their way to announce they weren’t enforcing stickers for permits. So thus, even if you didn’t have one on order, you should be getting off the hook even by parking out of your stickered zone. I imagine their logic is that people who are “in the know” will be able to defend it based off of just raising this issue, but others from out of town will not have known.

  33. Dane Kantner says:

    I called the city, she told me and I quote “a lot of them are running behind” — Meaning they haven’t even been mailed yet? When pressed for a date it will be or was mailed, she said they didn’t have any way to track them, they outsource it to the printer who also mails them and apparently doesn’t keep very good records. She invited me to come by city hall for a free in person sticker, lucky me.

  34. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    EXCELLENT idea Jeff.

    Let’s see if we can get some traction on that.

  35. Full disclosure, I’m the City Clerk spokesperson.

    Re: Dane’s comment about running behind, I’m not sure who told you that, but I sincerely apologize. That information is not correct. We are able to tell when your sticker was processed and mailed. If she offered you a free replacement, I’m assuming she determined that based on the mailing date of your sticker we must assume it was lost. Again, I apologize for the confusion.

    Re: Dane’s comment about ticketing, all ticketing agents have been instructed to not ticket until August 1. If parking in a Cubs area though, I would assume you need the LV2 permit. Please note that is not administered by our office, so we are not able to offer a grace period for that permit.

    If anyone receives a ticket before August 1 for lack of a 2010 – 2011 city sticker or for having a sticker not fully sticking to the windshield, please contact our office to determine if you qualify for an affidavit to help in contesting the tickets. You can reach our office at or 312-744-6774 or 312-742-9200.

  36. [...] If you’re having problems with your city sticker not sticking properly to your windshield, it’s not your imagination. The City Clerk’s office got a bad batch of stickers without enough adhesive. [...]

  37. [...] of city stickers that wouldn’t stick to car windshields started trickling in. The trickle turned into a flood and after some quick [...]

  38. [...] some initial coverage on the city stickers that would not stick story back in June at the same time this site covered the issue, is back to do some [...]

  39. [...] course, replacement of defective city stickers continues with replacement stickers up around 60,000 or 5% of total [...]

  40. [...] Many of the $75 city stickers were defective and began peeling off car windshields because they lacked enough adhesive to actually remain permanently affixed. [...]

  41. [...] it was the over 77,000 Chicago city vehicle stickers peeling off car windshields that had to be [...]

  42. [...] Decal Company despite having 4 years remaining on their existing contract.  The reason, over 77,000 defective residential parking permits that didn’t stick. If you are one of the people who have come across this issue, you can request a duplicate sticker [...]

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