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Hernando County Acknowledges Vehicle Fleet Problem Following Newspaper Coverage

July 5, 2007

BROOKSVILLE, FL – Hernando County officials acknowledged on June 26 that there were problems with its fleet management department and attributed them in part to an absence of proper documentation by its staff and a lack of follow-through from supervisors, according to the Hernando Today newspaper. Deputy Administrator Larry Jennings also revealed that there was at least one — and probably more — cases where county personnel entered erroneous mileage information that was later picked up by a follow-up audit, according to Hernando Today. If not corrected, it’s a situation that could lead to pink slips, County Commissioner Jeff Stabins was quotes as saying by the newspaper.

County Engineer Charles Mixson said of the 95 fleet vehicles reporting low mileage and low usage, 14 had incorrect odometer readings, 22 were pieces of specialized equipment that are used as needed, 12 were for fire departments and hazardous materials response workers, and 25 were not in service for a full year. However, 22 were light trucks and cars whose low usage should be analyzed.

The problem was brought to light by Hernando Today, which is publishing a series of articles detailing waste in local government. Hernando Today has obtained a 54-page report listing almost 100 examples of low-mileage and underused vehicles in the county’s fleet maintenance department. County commissioners said they will continue to monitor the problems in fleet management and expect better results on future audits.

The county clerk’s office recently released a follow-up to a 2005 consultant’s audit by California-based Spectrum Consultants Inc. on the county’s fleet program. The consultant spelled out several recommendations to be implemented by the county to improve its fleet program. Among those recommendations: Get rid of underused county vehicles because they “constituted a drain on the resources of Hernando County,” the 2005 audit said, according to Hernando Today.

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