Government Fleet Top News

Arizona City Mayor's Acceptance of Truck Raises Questions

May 16, 2007

GILBERT, AZ – Mayor Steve Berman of the City of Gilbert, Ariz., said he accepted a truck donated to the town for his temporary use to save taxpayer dollars that would have been spent to buy him a much needed new vehicle, according to the East Valley Tribune newspaper. But some town residents and area officials question the acceptance of the gift.

However, Berman has not violated any city policies by accepting a new Ford F-150 from San Tan Ford. In fact, the Town Council, unlike other area councils, doesn’t have an ethics code. Town employees, on the other hand, have a strict policy that prohibits the acceptance of gifts, fees, or services “which could appear to influence professional objectivity and/or the exercise of fair and unbiased business judgment.”

Berman accepted the donation of the white and tan truck during a Wednesday gala at which about 350 residents and officials celebrated the opening of the first dealership at San Tan Motorplex.

“I can’t imagine why it would seem preferable for us to go out and spend $25,000 or $30,000 in tax dollars for something we don’t have to,” said Berman, according to the East Valley Tribune newspaper.

San Tan Ford will retain ownership of the truck, but will allow the town to use it for the mayor’s purposes free of charge for two years. The dealership has placed the value of the use at $19,000. And while the town is giving the auto mall developer a $60 million sales tax break as an incentive, none of that will go to any of the dealerships.

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