File photo

File photo

A financial audit of the State of California’s judicial branch and Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) found that the courts maintained a fleet of 66 vehicles without requiring its offices to justify the need. The audit called this among the courts' "questionable business decisions," especially in light of significant funding cuts to the judicial branch.

The audit recommended the AOC conduct a cost-benefit analysis for its vehicles and determine if it should reduce its fleet size. It also recommended the AOC track and inventory its vehicles.

In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order requiring agencies to analyze their need for fleet vehicles and relinquish nonessential vehicles. It also required the director of General Services to approve future vehicle purchases.

The AOC has no formal policy for making determinations related to acquiring vehicles and does not obtain approval from General Services for vehicle purchases.

The audit also stated the AOC also does not maintain a centralized inventory of its vehicles, which means it was unaware of how many vehicles were in the fleet. This inhibits the AOC from monitoring the cost of each vehicle and shows it does not monitor vehicle purchases or locations, the audit stated.

A review of the assigned vehicles of three top executives showed the vehicles were only used for business purposes a small percentage of time. If the AOC required these executives to use their personal vehicles and claim reimbursement for them, auditors estimated a $2,500 savings per vehicle per year plus the cost of maintenance and gas.