Charles County Considers Cutting County Vehicle Fleet, Examines Staff Usage of County Vehicles

Chief of Environmental Resources for Vehicle Maintenance Dennis Fleming told the Charles County Commissioners on May 18 that they could cut their county vehicle fleet by 44 vehicles, bringing the current total to 437. From

In part, Department of Public Works staffers achieved the proposed reduction by scrutinizing employee vehicle use. Those who drive relatively few miles per year now will be directed to the employee motor pool instead of having a vehicle set aside for their use, Fleming said.

Previous efficiency pushes already have reduced the number of employees authorized to take vehicles home by 60 percent between fiscal 2007 and 2011, from 68 to 34 now, according to Fleming’s presentation.

Alluding to recent reports of inappropriate public car use by officials in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, the public works department also is looking to reduce the number of miles driven in county vehicles by increasing its monitoring of employees, Fleming said.

The department is strictly enforcing its requirements for reporting employee use of public cars in the name of “accountability, to make sure all employees are using vehicles to their stated purpose.”

Current accountability measures include paper logs that must match the odometer readings on the vehicles. Employees not compliant with the logging system do not receive fuel for the vehicle. The county plans to invest in GPS monitoring devices that will track the actual travel routes of county vehicles.

Commissioner Robinson suggested that this reduction in fleet and the subsequent cost savings could be increased by revoking commissioner privileges to county vehicles. He does not think it is necessary for commissioners to use county vehicles for their travels. Currently, two Charles County Commissioners invoke this privilege.

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