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Ulster County Comptroller Recommends More Oversight of Take Home Vehicles

April 7, 2013

The Ulster County, N.Y., comptroller has released a report that offers a number of recommendations to improve how the County manages take-home vehicles used by County employees. The County has a fleet of 318 vehicles, 82 of which are designated for take-home use.

The County found that no specific individual or office was maintaining records, and that because of this, tracking mileage or maintaining controls of how the vehicles are used has been difficult. Next, the comptroller found that justification for take-home vehicle use was either not indicated on records or did not meet the criteria set out in the County’s 2011 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). 

The comptroller estimates that the lack of oversight could be costing the County as much as $4,500 per vehicle. To reduce costs, the comptroller recommends that the County revisit the criteria for allowing take-home use of a vehicle.

The comptroller's first recommendation is that the County develop policies that result in take-home vehicle mileage and related data being reported to the County's fleet manager. Next, the comptroller suggests the SOP be updated with language that reflects actual use, for example any employees who are exempt.

The third recommendation is that County departments provide the fleet manager with an accurate, up-to-date list of take-home vehicles on a regular basis, including any any changes in their use. The fourth recommendation would allow the fleet manager to prevent take-home vehicle use unless all information on the assignment form is present.

The fifth recommendation says the County should redefine "emergency use," one of the take-home vehicle assignment criteria, such that a non-emergency employee who must respond outside regular business hours does not qualify. That type of employee should use a personal vehicle or a dedicated County motor pool vehicle instead.

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