Clark County, Wash., Audit Finds Vehicle Purchasing and Disposal Effective But Suggests Fleet Policy Changes

September 20, 2012

VANCOUVER, WA – Clark County, Wash.’s auditor’s office recently conducted an audit of the County’s fleet operations, finding that although fleet procurement and disposal policies are effective, the County does not adhere to the existing fleet replacement policy.

The County manages 395 light-duty vehicles, including 147 from the sheriff’s office and 140 from the County’s public works department. For the vehicle procurement and disposal processes, the auditor’s report found that they are effective, maintain good controls, and comply with existing policy.

With regard to the replacement policy, on the other hand, although the County revised its policy in 2008 after developing it in 2005, the auditor’s office stated that the policy was not widely circulated and hasn’t been used.

The auditor recommended that the County’s fleet management department adopt a long-term ownership strategy (explained in the report a 10 - 15 year ownership plan with regular scheduled maintenance) that uses goals to identify the specific approach to fleet management that the department is using.

The report stated that the plan should identify any focus or necessary changes, for example a switch to smaller or more fuel-efficient vehicles, reducing the number of 4x4 vehicles in the fleet, adding hybrid vehicles. The report then said fleet management should factor in vehicle utilization when determining replacement.

The report went on to recommend that the County update its fleet management policy to resolve inconsistencies, align it with industry best practices, and provide clarification where needed.

Other recommendations in the report include downsizing the light-duty fleet and adding more fuel-efficient vehicles (possibly hybrids) and actively monitoring implementation of the fleet management policy and any related changes.

By Greg Basich

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