Erik Metzger, fleet manager for the City of Conroe, Texas, made his appeal to City Council on March 10 for a new fleet services position that will allow the city to bring its third-party maintenance and repair in-house.
The city’s transportation department currently employs a third-party contractor for the maintenance and repair of its bus fleet, which costs about $100,000 yearly. By adding a new technician position, Metzger estimates the city can provide the services in-house for around $86,257 per year. By doing so, he believes the department will be able to improve quality control, reduce downtime, and keep all repair records accurate within its fleet management software.
“We wanted to keep a tighter handle on quality control. Even though maintenance and repair (M&R) was under contract, we would conduct random spot checks. Fleet and Transportation where not satisfied with our findings, so we started to devise a plan to bring M&R in-house. There were two things we absolutely had to have to make this happen: more space to perform M&R, which was solved by the completion of our new fleet facility, and an added technician to keep up with the demand. This was originally a budgeted item for FY 19-20; however due to the pandemic, all positions were paused. Once the economy was stable again, we requested this position mid-year and it was approved,” Metzger told Government Fleet.
With more control over employees than contract workers, Metzger believes this will greatly benefit the city.
“Quality maintained vehicles are critical in any case, but especially when transporting the public. Quality control, along with using tax payers’ money responsibly, is always on the forefront for Fleet Services,” he said.
A current technician is already ASE master certified in Transit; he will be promoted, allowing Fleet Services to start M&R on Transportation immediately. A current technician will then move into the vacant spot, and the department will also hire a new entry-level technician to maintain a full staff.
For other fleet managers preparing to make a case like this for their own operations, Metzger said be sure to back up your pleas for help with data.