North Carolina legislators are considering a bill to that aims to reform oversight of State-owned vehicles. H61/S145 would mandate agencies to better track state-owned vehicles by updating vehicle registration records with the Department of Transportation. It then calls for all State agencies and institutions that own passenger vehicles identified by a Program Evaluation Division review to transfer ownership of the vehicles to the Department of Administration, Division of Motor Fleet Management (MFM). If passed, this transfer would take place before the end of the year.

The bill also proposes the MFM division monitor the new rate structure and report on assigned vehicle utilization and vehicle replacement to a Senate committee and a House committee. It calls for an improvement of management practices at the MFM that include modifying the fleet management information system to collet vehicle use data, analyzing motor pool vehicle use to determine possible motor pool fleet reduction, replacing vehicles exceeding 125,000 miles, and conducting customer satisfaction surveys.

The bill states that the State Controller should present a fleet management information system plan that is to include a timeline, cost estimate, and funding strategy. It also instructs the MFM to conduct a test of the effectiveness and efficiency of telematics services and present them to a Senate committee by September 2014.

If the bill passes, the MFM will be renamed the Division of State Fleet Management and a number of new positions will be created: two positions for vehicle supervision, two positions to collect and analyze vehicle information and maintain inventory, and one accounting position.

S145 passed the first reading in the Senate and has been referred to the Transportation Committee. The Same bill in the House of Representatives (H61) also passed the first reading and has been referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

The State of North Carolina’s Program Evaluation Division (PED) released three reports in 2011 and 2012 have called for many of these changes. They include a recommendation to implement a state-wide fleet management system, install telematics on fleet vehicles, and centralize fleet management by expanding the authority of the MFM. One report stated that the MFM only oversees State-owned passenger motor vehicles, not non-passenger vehicles and law enforcement, fire, and emergency vehicles. These non-passenger and exempted vehicle make up 73%, or 20,795 units, of State-owned vehicles.

By Thi Dao