CHARLESTON, WV - Gov. Joe Manchin got a green light March 11 to set up a special management office to manage West Virginia's fleet of vehicles and aircraft, according to the Register-Herald.
A series of performance audits found widespread abuse by those with access to the vehicles, revealing more than 50 percent of them were driven for personal use rather than state business. With the state operating under a constrained budget, Manchin has been pushing for greater fleet oversight to reduce the costs of the reported $60-$70 million spent on its fleet of 7,000 vehicles.
While language in the bill states the Department of Administration "may" (rather than "shall") set up the fleet management office, leaving officials to question whether it is considered a mandate, officials are certain the governor will ensure the office is implemented.
Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, led the House into inserting a key provision, an amendment that adds the clause, "vehicles and aircraft shall not be used for personal purposes."
House Government Organization Chairman Jim Morgan, D-Cabell, endorsed the amendment, saying the sponsor found it would cause no harm to the bill itself, reported the Herald.