Charlotte Takes Over Fleet Reins from Mecklenburg County

September 2008, Government Fleet - Feature

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

Charlotte’s fleet team displays a sign describing the partnership between thetwo government agencies.

Mecklenburg County was first approached by the City of Charlotte to provide mutually beneficial maintenance services for the County’s vehicles. These vehicles included all Sheriff’s Department and administrative vehicles, light- and medium-duty trucks (including pickups and vans), landscaping/agricultural equipment, and paratransit buses and vans, totaling 1,587 vehicles and pieces of equipment.

The City of Charlotte is the largest city in the State of North Carolina and the 19th largest in the country.

"Mecklenburg County had already identified several key changes needed to enhance its fleet maintenance operation, including investing in a new fleet management information system and shifting accountability for fleet maintenance spending decisions to fleet users (County departments)," according to Equipment Management Division Manager Rudolph Payton, City of Charlotte, N.C.

Proving the City was the Best Choice

Charlotte needed to prove to Mecklenburg County officials they would save money by outsourcing light-vehicle maintenance services.

"The process of proving the potential cost savings to Mecklenburg County involved a number of steps starting with determining what all would be required," said Payton.

The first step was calculating Mecklenburg’s actual fleet count, what vehicles were involved, to whom were they assigned, their replacement schedules, and the previous three years of actual maintenance cost.

Next, Payton and his team determined the proposal’s impact on current County fleet employees. For example, would the Mecklenburg employees become City of Charlotte employees or remain on the Mecklenburg County payroll?

The City also developed the process for handling employment-related issues, such as benefits coordination related to sick leave, vacation pay and scheduling, discipline, levels of compensation by classification, etc.

"Bear in mind many discussions were held between the executive management of both organizations to finalize just what the ‘landscape view’ would be," said Payton. "Resultant decisions determined the direction and the necessary steps."

The next step was for the Equipment Management Division (EMD) to develop a proposed budget in conjunction with Business Support Services’ Office of Resource Management.

EMD began applying its budget process by using vehicle equivalent units to determine required staffing needs, bay utilization and facility capacity, and technician and administrative staff skill levels.

The Office of Resource Management determined overhead and benefits costs, and applicable chargeback rates to create a "win-win" situation for the City and County.

The City of Charlotte’s Business Support Services business unit successfully submitted a proposed budget that generated a potential cost savings of $700,000 for Mecklenburg County, and significantly reducing overall costs for the City of Charlotte due to an "economy of scale."


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