A report from the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) found that Department of Correction (DOC) staff used take-home vehicles for personal trips to Maine, the Hamptons, Cape Cod, and amusement parks against city policy. These unauthorized trips cost thousands of dollars in gas and tolls. 

The investigation was sparked by an anonymous allegation of vehicle misuse. DOI reviewed vehicle usage in 2016, mapping over 2.4 million GPS data points and analyzing vehicle usage maps, vehicle assignment records, gas card data, and E-ZPass toll-road statements. Of the 98 take-home vehicles reviewed, 40% demonstrated irregular travel to locations out-of-state or outside of the five boroughs on weekends and holidays without corresponding timesheets.

The report noted 21 senior-level employees who regularly used take-home vehicles for personal use, including DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte, who used his take-home vehicle outside of the state for personal use a total of 90 business days in 2016. Another executive drove to a friend’s house in Virginia, and submitted a timesheet because he answered phone calls and e-mails while there and considered it work. Others used their take-home vehicles for shopping trips, vacations, and driving friends and family to local airports on multiple occasions.

In response to this investigation, New York City Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris said the city is working to re-evaluate each department’s list of take-home vehicles and revise its policies to clarify appropriate use of city vehicles.

Click here to read the full report.