WASHINGTON - District of Columbia Commissioner Tommy Wells released Feb. 28 the preliminary findings of the procurement and use of DC official vehicles following public scrutiny of two fleet vehicles leased for the DC Chairman of the Council. Wells, also chairman of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, requested the study last week.

The report concluded that DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown "inappropriately requested the city provide a Lincoln Navigator SUV, and the Executive appears to have violated DC law by providing it." While the Chairman is permitted to have an official take-home vehicle, "it was inappropriate to request this type of vehicle."

In addition, the preliminary findings were that the Department of Public Works (DWP) Fleet Management has "routinely violated" DC laws regarding vehicle procurement by:

  • Leasing or purchasing SUVs for purposes not related to security, emergency, rescue, or armored vehicle (42 of such currently in fleet).
  • Procuring non-security, emergency, rescue, or armored vehicles attaining less than 22 mpg, violating fuel efficiency standards set in 2000 (a preliminary review showed "a majority do not meet the 22 mpg requirement," according to the report.)

An audit released in April 2010 concluded that the DWP had failed to comply with the mayor's order in 2000 to "establish a management program for all phases of motor vehicle equipment management." The mayor's order stated that a single authority needed to be established to govern and monitor fleet management and designated the DWP as that sole authority.

The report concluded the DWP lacked a centralized list of fleet vehicles assigned to agencies, directors, or staff, and that its list did not correlate with vehicles reported by agencies. The discrepancy in number of vehicles totals 230.

The report also stated that further information is needed to look into illegal use of staff as chauffeurs and drivers, as well as restrictions on additional vehicle features.

"In light of this preliminary review, the Committee on Public Works and Transportation will hold a special oversight hearing to focus on the procurement and use of DC official vehicles," the report concluded. The hearing will take place March 17. The DWP is expected to respond to these findings.

The report in its entirety can be found here.

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