A keynote presentation on liability was one of the hottest topics at a conference of the Florida Association of Governmental Fleet Administrators (FLAGFA), NAFA Sunshine State Chapter, and Florida Utility Fleet Managers Association (FUFMA). The conference took place Sept. 14-16 at St. Pete Beach, Fla.
This was the biggest conference the associations have hosted, bringing in about 300 regular and affiliate members, said Tim Calhoun, FLAGFA president and fleet director of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. He attributes the conference’s success to a strong keynote speaker and sessions that address issues fleets are interested in, including fuel quality, technician recruitment and retention, and parts outsourcing.
James Juneau, a personal injury attorney with experience in cases involving first response vehicles, reminded attendees that fleet managers can be held responsible for negligence if it’s determined that a fleet vehicle was not well maintained or repaired during a collision. He added that fleets should be aware of who receives recall notices within their agency, especially for specialty equipment such as fire apparatus.
“I think risk is something that we are aware of but we don’t think a lot about although we deal with it every day in managing fleets. [It’s helpful to have] that information in front of you just to heighten your awareness of the impact that not managing your business properly exposes your entity to — as well as how to avoid any pitfall if litigation occurs,” said Paul Starling, transit maintenance manager for the City of Gainesville and a long-time FLAGFA member, board member, and conference attendee.
Attendee Don Moore, fleet manager for the City of Largo, agreed.
Fleets have “high level responsibilities that have grave consequences when things don’t go right,” he said. “It hit home with everybody and is something that’s easy to overlook.”
Calhoun announced at the conference that Sean Williams, CAFM, fleet manager for Collier County Sheriff’s Office, would succeed him as president.
Calhoun has been able to accomplish numerous goals for FLAGFA, including starting a scholarship program, growing the organization, and making positive changes to the conference. Williams will continue to build on these changes and make further improvements.
“We’d like to finish rolling out our regional scholarships for our state colleges, for our technicians. We have three currently up and running — we’d like to add our fourth,” Williams said. The board will also work to expand training opportunities in each region and add a breakout session to future conferences to train the next generation of fleet managers.
Additional new board members are: Daryl Greenlee, fleet manager, City of Orlando, as vice president; Gary McLean, fleet manager, City of Lakeland, as treasurer; and Brianne Hayes, fleet acquisition supervisor, as secretary.