SACRAMENTO, CA – California’s effort to reduce the size of its fleet is currently in the planning phase, according to representatives from the state’s Department of General Services (DGS). Although California Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order called for reductions within 120 days, that period applies to when the reduction plan is approved by DGS.

“The State’s fleet analysis and reduction effort, as directed by Governor Brown pursuant to Executive Order B-2-11 (EO), is a data-driven review of the entire fleet that is in the planning phase,” said Rob Cook, acting deputy director, interagency support division, California Department of General Services. “The Department of General Services (DGS) will soon distribute a mobile assets survey to State agencies. Survey and utilization data will used to identify mobile assets that are not mission-critical and not cost-effective. Any asset not meeting the above mentioned criteria will be recommended for elimination.”

According to Cook, the DGS is unaware of any layoffs or reorganizations occurring as a result of the State’s fleet reduction.

Cook said that although the plan puts new vehicle purchases on hold, except in specific cases, the State expects the elimination of older vehicles to offset the fact that vehicles will be in service longer.

“As a result of the light-duty vehicle reduction executed in 2010, the State eliminated many older, high-mileage vehicles from its fleet,” Cook said. “This had the effect of raising the average fuel economy and lowering average maintenance costs for the remainder of the fleet.  We expect similar results from this reduction.”

According to Cook, Executive Order B-2-11 sets forth a timeline and process by which departments and agencies may purchase vehicles. In addition, the Department of General Services must review all future new vehicle purchases by State agencies to ensure they meet the purchase criteria. These purchases are also subject to the review of the Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency.

As specified, all agencies and departments are prohibited from purchasing any vehicles for non-emergency use except when:

  • The agency or department has fully relinquished its vehicles and equipment pursuant to its analysis and plan approved by Department of General Services;
  • The purchase is necessary to protect the health and safety or security of the public;
  • The purchase is necessary to provide critical services and functions; or
  • The purchase will result in significant cost savings.

Lastly, the executive order requires State departments and agencies to review their take-home vehicle policies for cost-effectiveness.

“Executive Order B-2-11 specifically requires each department and agency, by March 1, 2011, to ‘review their organization’s vehicle home-storage permits and withdraw those that are non-essential or cost ineffective,’” Cook said. “This directive supplements existing State Vehicle Home Storage Permit laws, regulations, and policies that all departments and agencies are required to follow when determining whether a state employee should be authorized to take a state vehicle home.” 

Although Cook said he is not aware of any vehicle reimbursement programs being implemented, he believes it’s likely to occur once take-home policy changes are in place.

“Reimbursing employees for business miles can be a cost-effective alternative to assigning a state vehicle to an employee,” Cook said. “We are not aware of any specific instances where this is occurring, however, it is highly likely that many state agencies will switch to employee reimbursement for personal vehicle use on state business in warranted cases.”

By Greg Basich