An audit of the Los Angeles World Airports’ (LAWA) take-home and pool vehicle fleet found lack of centralized accountability and control and suggested various recommendations for improvement. Overall, auditors found that although the Fleet Maintenance Section has a robust software application for vehicle management, “the group’s primary focus is on maintenance and repair activities and they have no oversight responsibility regarding the assignment or usage of LAWA vehicles.” The audit further states that LAWA management has recognized the need for oversight of vehicle assignments and use and is hiring a fleet manager to fulfill this function.

The audit, conducted by the office of Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, is dated June 21. LAWA maintains a fleet of more than 1,400 units; the audit focused on passenger vehicles used to perform critical functions and support services, totaling 1,029 units.

Regarding take-home vehicles, the audit stated that LAWA lacks centralized control over take-home vehicles, with no centralized listing of all employees authorized for take-home vehicle use. Auditors also stated that a shortage of available pool cars led employees to claim excessive mileage reimbursements. The audit recommended LAWA implement centralized control of the take-home vehicle program, including creating a process to formally approve employees for the take-home vehicle program. It recommended LAWA attempt to reduce take-home vehicles by providing a car allowance. Lastly, auditors suggested LAWA develop a take-home vehicle use policy that addresses how these vehicles can be used and requires employees with take-home privileges to have personal vehicle insurance.

For motor pool and division-assigned vehicles, auditors found that inventory information from the fleet system was inaccurate, making it difficult to ensure effective inventory control. The audit report recommended the fleet assess actual use of pool vehicles to ensure they are effectively used and better control mileage reimbursements, especially to those who have access to a pool vehicle. Auditors recommended better controls for the vehicle replacement process, having found that employees used the same “old” vehicle to justify the purchase of multiple replacement vehicles, and that some “old” vehicles were not disposed and still in use.

Finally, it recommended a utilization study to determine if vehicles met the needs of the central pool and divisions and to reduce fleet size if possible. Auditors also stated that LAWA should create guidelines for vehicle purchases, purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles when possible.

Visit the LA City Controller’s website for the full audit in PDF format.

By Thi Dao