Government Fleet Top News

Audit Identifies Fat in Washington State Motor Pool

August 15, 2007

OLYMPIA, WA – A Washington state voter initiative gave the power to evaluate how well an agency performs — not just whether it tracks its money properly — to State Auditor Brian Sonntag. So far, the only performance audit released examined the motor pool, according to The Olympian. Among other things, the audit said the state should tighten its guidelines on which employees are assigned state-owned vehicles.

The office sets standards for the state motor pool, which spent $7.8 million last year managing a fleet of 1,470 vehicles. The Department of General Administration oversees the motor pool, which pays for replacing about 280 vehicles a year. The audit recommended selling 113 cars assigned to workers, reasoning they were underused and it would be cheaper to pay the employees for driving their own vehicles. A decision on those cars will be made by the end of the month, said department spokesman Steve Valandra.

But so far, 80 percent of those vehicles have been found to fall under the established justifiable exemptions to the 12,000-annual-miles threshold for assigning a vehicle. A full accounting for each vehicle is expected by Aug. 20.

One of the largest savings identified by the audit may not be realized. It suggested paying cash for vehicles, rather than taking out loans and paying interest, the report said. The suggestion was projected to save $300,000 year, but also require a layout of $12 million to pay off existing debts.

A subcommittee of the Washington state House budget committee is scheduled to discuss the results of motor pool audit Aug. 14. A second performance audit, on the state’s oversight of health care professionals, is expected to be finished this month.

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