The Government Fleet Management Alliance (GFMA) has awarded the City of Houston $20,000 for its fleet department to start the Certified Fleet Management Operation (CFMO) certification program.

This is the first time GFMA has contributed money to helping an agency receive this certification. The city received this money at the Governemnet Fleet Expo and Conference in San Diego.

The CFMO certification helps a fleet operation figure out what is the most cost effective, efficient, competitive and well-managed way it can operate. There are more than 120 specific certification criteria addressing 20 critical areas of fleet management. The CFMO certification benchmarks fleet practices against private-sector companies with which the public-sector group competes most directly.

Fleet operations that are seeking certification must complete the entire auditing process and the self-audit test with a passing score.

The City of Houston’s fleet department is the largest fleet that has taken on the certification process. Currently, there are 15 fleets that have passed the CFMO program, but there are cities, counties, state and federal organizations working on this goal, said Jim Wright, associate director of GFMA.

The time frame in which an agency receives this certification varies anywhere from one to four years.

“The complexity of a larger agency will complicate the implementation of changes to meet the standards,” said Wright. “However, they [City of Houston] have a very qualified management staff.”

Houston’s fleet department says it hasn’t had any official meetings about CFMO yet.