LAS CRUCES, NM - A recent review of Doña Ana County's 724-vehicle fleet cited several problems, including too many vehicles, inefficiencies, and lack of overall management, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Sal Bibona, president of N.J.-based Chatham Consulting, described the management of the fleet as "woefully inadequate," reported Sun-News.  Plus, he said maintenance and repair costs have increased "rapidly" over the past few years, and the county lacks an adequate system to track the conditions of its vehicles.

With more vehicles per employee than six other counties of comparable size in Colorado, Arizona, and California, Bibona recommended 100 vehicles be taken out of service or re-purposed to gain efficiency.

Running the fleet costs the county about $5.2 million annually, Bibona said. With fleet operations currently split between 14 personnel in the county roads department and four in the sheriff's department accountability for maintenance is "hampered," he said. He recommended the county create a new, centralized fleet department that would report directly to County Manager Brian Haines and that a fleet manager be hired "as soon as possible."

Assistant County Manager Sue Padilla said funding for the position of fleet manager will come from the reclassification of an equipment specialist position that's already budgeted for within the roads department. County officials hope to have the position filled by the end of October, reported the Sun-News.