Safety & Accident

City of Vineland Take-Home Cars Scrutinized

December 10, 2009

VINELAND, NJ - City officials are compiling a report of all municipal employees authorized to drive home a city-owned vehicle in efforts to save money, according to The Daily Journal.

Councilman Doug Albrecht said cutting back on take-home vehicles could help the city save on annual gas, maintenance, and insurance costs -- and reduce the municipal budget.

According to the Journal, public records show 53 city employees are authorized to drive a city vehicle home. Other employees are allowed to drive a vehicle home under special circumstances, such as an early-morning appointment.

Nearly 80 percent of the 53 employees work for the Police Department as the chief, captains or detectives, or are in special units, such as traffic safety or internal affairs.

"When there's a homicide or fatal accident, these guys need cars to get to the scene," said Mayor Robert Romano, a former police lieutenant, reasoning the same rule applies for the road department in snowstorms and for the fire chief in case of a fire.

Romano, who drives a city vehicle home in his role as public safety director, said the potential savings aren't significant enough to justify an in-depth review of the policy. City vehicles can get gas about 10 to 15 cents cheaper than what's sold at a public pump by using the Public Works Department's fill-up station, Romano added.

Romano estimated maximum distance between an authorized worker's home and job is 12 miles. An employee must live in Vineland to receive authorization to drive a vehicle home, he said.

Albrecht said the city should review every employee who takes a vehicle home and judge the situation on a case-by-case basis.

Any employee not using a city vehicle properly, such as driving one for non-work events or using one while living outside the city, is disciplined, Romano told the Journal.


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