The legislature approved the Ulster County Fleet Management Review Committee in a 14-8 vote, according to the Daily Freeman.
The vote follows the discovery that nearly 100 county employees bring a county-owned vehicle home every night. A 1979 policy outlining the use of take-home vehicles has also fallen by the wayside, according to legislators.
The executive branch argued that because of the adoption of the county charter in 2008, the policy is no longer applicable and impossible to follow.
Administration officials noted that while the fleet manager and the department's standard operating procedure govern take-home vehicle assignments, the procedure does not comply with the current policy, which one legislator called outdated.
Union leaders representing some county employees warned that eliminating take-home vehicle allowances could be a breach of the county's labor contracts.
A Look at the Committee's Duties
According to the resolution, the new committee is charged with the following tasks:
- Reviewing all county vehicles, including take-home vehicles.
- Reviewing the five-year vehicle replacement schedule.
- Creating a historic analysis of the total annual costs associated with vehicle procurement and maintenance.
- Making a comprehensive list of the county's electric vehicles and charging stations.
- Coming up with best practices for fleet management, fleet budgeting for maintenance, and replacement and for fleet policies.
- Recommending reforms and internal controls for ensuring the county policies are fair, controlled, complied with, and designed in the best interest of the county's residents.
The committee has nine months to submit its findings and recommendations to the legislature.
Here's how the take-home vehicle program breaks down, by department:
- 2 vehicles for the Building and Grounds Department.
- 25 vehicles for the Highway Department.
- 4 vehicles for the Department of Social Services.
- 10 vehicles for the District Attorney's Office.
- 9 vehicles for the Department of Emergency Management.
- 3 vehicles for the Safety Department.
- 45 vehicles for the Sheriff's Office.