If you lived in So Cal, you might have seen me driving my mother’s car around when I was a teenager, in Los Angeles, 50 miles north of where I was supposed to be (at a friend’s house, two miles from home). But my vehicle didn’t have a sticker on it saying, “This 17-year-old is not supposed to be here. Please call her mother.”

We’ve heard various news stories about vehicles sighted where they’re not supposed to be. In one instance, a state vehicle was photographed parked at a casino on a Sunday morning, and a local news agency published a photo of the vehicle’s “trashed” interior.

And then there’s a report of a city worker who, on the clock and using a city truck, bought alcohol, drank it while driving the city truck, and then also transported unauthorized passengers.

And another of three employees “joyriding” in a county car into other counties, one with a beer in hand.

And the list goes on.

I cringe a little when I read these news stories, and at all the angry comments following the story by outraged citizens.

The State of Connecticut recently addressed a few complaints about their state-owned vehicles spotted parked at a movie theater, at an Old Navy, and driving around in another state. Responding to questions from a local news organization, the departments to whom these vehicles belonged released statements justifying why the vehicles were at their respective locations, according to NBC Connecticut.

I feel a little vindicated for the profession as a whole, and for public-sector workers.

Not that I’m saying concerned citizens shouldn’t question things that look out of place. It’s just that after reading lots of stories with lots of accusations and very few answers, it was refreshing to hear about an agency that did a little investigating and found out employees were just doing their jobs.

People have short memories — if a driver is proven innocent, some might not even remember that part, or won’t see the updated the story. The end result is a lowered image of the governing agency, or even of fleet management.

Have you had to account for a vehicle parked in a strange location and were able to prove it was part of the job? What are your policies for interior vehicle upkeep? Considering the attention given to anything to do with taxpayer money, it may be time to remind fleet drivers that an exempt license plate or an official agency decal bumps up public scrutiny.

Author

Thi Dao
Thi Dao

Executive Editor

Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

View Bio
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