Government Fleet Top News

State of Illinois Administration Won't Release State Fleet Study

June 28, 2006

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Gov. Blagojevich administration of the state of Illinois is claiming that a study of the state’s car fleet ordered more than three years ago has generated millions of dollars in savings, according to the Web site www.pentagraph.com/. However, officials won’t release the results of the study, which was conducted by a company that has contributed $25,500 to the governor’s campaign fund.The state’s fleet of 13,000 vehicles has been reduced by 1,600 cars, resulting in a savings estimated at more than $5.3 million over the past two fiscal years. In addition, the state has generated $1.1 million from selling unneeded vehicles. But as the state embarks on a plan to begin its first large-scale vehicle replacement since the governor took office, the fact that the study isn’t being made public is drawing fire from some lawmakers.“I think if they don’t respond to these inquiries on how they spend our state dollars, there’s something amiss,” said state Rep. Jack Franks, D–Woodstock, as quoted on www.pentagraph.com. “They should have to respond. I don’t think their objection is valid.”In May, Lee News Service requested a copy of the study, which was called for by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in one of his first acts after taking office in 2003. The request, made using the state’s Freedom of Information Act, was denied in June. The administration says it cannot release the study because it is exempt from state open records laws.Virginia-based Maximus Inc., which has contracts with more than a dozen state agencies, recently won a one-year, $60,000, no-bid extension of its contract to provide software that tracks maintenance of the state vehicles. Since 2003, the company has held contracts with the state worth more than $22 million. State records show the fleet management contract with Maximus was not competitively bid because the firm provided customized software that is proprietary to the company, according to the Web site www.pentagraph.com.In July, the state is expected to begin replacing up to 500 state police cars, marking the first major purchase of vehicles since Blagojevich took office. The new vehicles, which are estimated to cost a total of about $8 million, are replacing old, high-mileage cruisers and won’t add to the state’s overall inventory.

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