Maintenance

Boston: Reviving a Faltering Fleet Operation

Two years ago, the City of Boston's central fleet management was in dire shape. With strong management backing, director Jim McGonagle and his team have executed an astounding fleet operation turnaround.

January 2013, Government Fleet - Feature

by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author

Pictured here are some of the City of Boston's 38 fleet staff members. Technicians at the City's fleet now collectively hold 70 ASE certifications, including six Master technician designations.
Pictured here are some of the City of Boston's 38 fleet staff members. Technicians at the City's fleet now collectively hold 70 ASE certifications, including six Master technician designations.
At a Glance

In two years, the City of Boston made significant improvements to its fleet. These include:

  • Enacting a vehicle replacement program
  • Remodeling and updating aging facilities.
  • Incentivizing technicians to earn ASE certifications.


In September of 2010, when Jim McGonagle came on board as director, the City of Boston’s Central Fleet Management (CFM) was in critical condition. The fleet operation had experienced several years of serious neglect and required a complete overhaul, mandated by the City’s Public Works Commissioner Joanne Massaro.

A study by Mercury Associates identified critical issues in the fleet operations, and consultant firm Fleet Counselor Services worked with McGonagle and his team to pinpoint specific improvement areas and strategies to implement changes.

“The main challenges we faced were a largely obsolete and run-down vehicle fleet, no organized preventive maintenance program, unacceptable service times, old and neglected facilities, outdated fleet and fuel management systems, and an inefficient parts department,” McGonagle detailed.

Furthermore, the fleet operation lacked a definitive vehicle replacement policy, and the motor pool was underutilized. “Overall employee morale was extremely low, and we were understaffed,” added McGonagle.

A Fleet Revitalized
Just two years later, the CFM turnaround has been astounding. A vehicle replacement program will replace 140 vehicles in fiscal-year 2013. Staffing has been completely reorganized. Facilities are undergoing remodeling and updating.

More than 93% of preventive maintenance (PM) servicing is completed within 24 hours. Vehicle repair histories are being built. A successful vehicle-sharing program, FleetHub, now serves City employees, replacing the motor pool.

Technicians earn Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications. Partnered with NAPA, the improved parts department runs smoothly and cost-effectively. Advanced technologies have been implemented for fleet and fuel management systems.

How did McGonagle and his staff revitalize the faltering CFM in 24 months?

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