YONKERS, NY– Despite reductions, Yonkers’ fleet of take-home cars for civilian officials and employees far exceeds the number of vehicles issued to municipal workers in similar-sized cities in New York, according to www.lohud.com.
The city has issued 144 vehicles to city employees including Mayor Phil Amicone, five of the seven City Council members and a host of lower-level city workers, according to data collected by The Journal News under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. The count does not include vehicles issued to public-safety workers like police and firefighters.
In contrast, Buffalo reported issuing 15 take-home cars, Syracuse issued 31, and Rochester assigned 40 to city officials and workers, excluding police and firefighters.
Though Yonkers, the fourth-largest city in the state, still tops the list when police and firefighters are included, the difference is less dramatic.
Yonkers permanently assigned 50 cars to members of the police and fire departments, bringing its total take-home fleet to 194. The total for Rochester is 173; in Syracuse, 115; and in Buffalo, 85.
Take-home cars bring another perk: free gasoline, a significant benefit in an era of high fuel costs.
With financial troubles hitting municipalities statewide, several are cutting their take-home fleets. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in July issued an order to reduce the city’s take-home fleet from 85 to 50, a change being challenged by that city’s unions. Also that month, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy turned in his Chevy Trailblazer as he began an effort to trim the number of that city’s take-home cars.
Yonkers city officials keep no separate figures on how much the take-home fleet costs to operate. That includes expenses such as fuel used by individual Yonkers employees with take-home cars or maintenance costs for those vehicles.
Yonkers is conducting an analysis to determine whether additional changes are needed in the take-home car policy.