Government Fleet Top News

Citizen Panel will Audit Salt Lake County Practices

June 16, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- In the wake of a vehicle-use scandal that has tarnished county government, Salt Lake City Mayor Nancy Workman announced Wednesday the creation of a "citizens panel" to review and recommend policy and procedure changes, according to the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. The five people on the panel, ranging from a forensic accountant to the fleet manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are all leaders in their fields and volunteered for the position. They say their mission will be narrowed when they meet, but that improper vehicle use by some top county employees would be part of their inquiry. Misuse of county vehicles and gas cards, revealed by The Salt Lake Tribune early last month, prompted two top officials to resign and the district attorney to launch a criminal investigation.The panel is charged with looking at the automobile policies, and also policies for travel reimbursement, gifts and cellular telephones.Panel members say they will report their findings in six weeks, and they promise that county officials will not censor them.Workman says she will order employees to cooperate, and that the county will produce any requested documents. She added that if she disagreed with the group's conclusions, she would explain why, but that the public would know about it.Workman has ordered 22 staffers to give up their county SUVs and forgo allowances while the panel reviews the policies. She says the panel will be funded with the money not spent on those staffers' vehicles or allowances. Sixty county officials, including all nine County Council members, get a monthly vehicle allowance ranging from $550 to $650.

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