Take-Home Vehicles Costing N.Y. County Too Much

November 16, 2015

Nassau County (N.Y.) needs to improve oversight of its 282 take-home vehicles to reduce unnecessary expense and liability, an audit from the county Office of the Comptroller found.

The audit uncovered deficiencies in the take-home vehicle program including: no annual review to reassess the need for individual take-home vehicles, insufficient monitoring of employee valid driver’s licenses, no follow-up investigations to reports of possible unauthorized take-home vehicles, uncollected fines for traffic violations, and vehicles provided to five state employees without seeking reimbursement from the state. Past practices appear to allow 11 employees that live significant distances outside of the county to use take-home vehicles, costing more than $60,000 annually, the audit found.

“The lack of sufficient oversight of take-home vehicles results in unnecessary expense and potential liability,” Comptroller George Maragos stated in a release. “The county needs to immediately cut down on take-home vehicles to essential purposes, and ensure that at all times only employees with valid current licenses are behind the wheel.”

The Comptroller’s Office commended the administration for reducing the number of take-home cars to 282 cars at the end of 2014 from 506 in 2008, a 44% reduction. However, oversight remains weak, according to the audit. Of the 282 take-home vehicles, 275 were assigned to county employees in 22 departments, six assigned to state employees, and one to a private contractor.

Nassau County assigns take-home vehicles as a needed resource for the police department and fire marshal employees. Public Works had the most take-home vehicles (91) followed by the Police Department with 85 and the Sheriff's Office/Corrections with 40 vehicles.

Various departments responded to the audit, mostly agreeing to comply with the recommendations. County policies and procedures will be updated by year end to address the concerns raised in this report.

The full audit can be found on Nassau County’s website.

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