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City of Pine Bluff, Ark. Debates Take-Home Vehicle Policy

July 6, 2006

PINE BLUFF, AR – A debated city ordinance regulating the use of Pine Bluff city-owned vehicles topped Pine Bluff City Council’s agenda, according to the online edition of the Pine Bluff Commercial.Fourth Ward Alderman Janice Roberts, who proposed the ordinance regulating city-owned vehicles and putting an end to employees taking city vehicles home, attempted to clarify “some misconceptions” regarding the ordinance in a letter to the editor in the Pine Bluff Commercial newspaper.Roberts said misconceptions are that the ordinance was racially motivated, was targeted at Police Chief John Howell, and was also politically motivated. Roberts said her reason for introducing the proposed ordinance was that “with the current economic downturn and budget constraints, it is the responsibility of the city council to evaluate whether resources allocated to the city fleet are utilized effectively to achieve an optimal level of service to the community.”Roberts said the proposed ordinance is aimed at cost saving and crime reduction.A substitute proposed ordinance modifies the practice of allowing employees to drive city-owned vehicles to their residence. The substitute ordinance says the vehicles should remain within the city limits, except as required by city personnel in the line of duty. It also permits an employee on 24-hour call for emergency services to retain possession of their vehicle after hours.

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