SPRINGFIELD, IL – A new report from the Office of the Auditor General for the State of Illinois shows the State’s fleet of passenger vehicles managed by the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) is underutilized. The report recommended a wide range of process improvements and better information sharing among State agencies.

The resolution authorizing the audit called for a review of the total number of take-home vehicles, whether they are necessary, the cost of vehicles in FY-2009, and CMS’ ability to record use and maintenance for those vehicles.

The audit determined that a total of 65 State agencies had nearly 16,600 vehicles in FY-2010. Nearly 75 percent of those vehicles (12,000) were under CMS’ jurisdiction. Of those, 5,375 were assigned to individual employees, and CMS had given authorization for employees to take 5,150 of them home.

Following are what the audit found, the audit’s recommendations, and CMS’ response to the recommendations.

Some vehicles used by State agencies were driven less than 7,000 miles per year. That mileage number is the minimum State employees must drive a vehicle for it to be more cost-effective than reimbursement, according to the audit. To remedy this, the audit recommended CMS perform a breakeven analysis and provide it to State agencies to determine whether it’s cost-effective to use State-owned vehicles. CMS said it agreed to update and publish the breakeven data it calculates so State agency vehicle coordinators can access and use the data to determine whether vehicles are necessary.

One related finding is that half of the vehicles purchased were driven fewer than the expected average of 18,000 miles per year. CMS said it wants to change the rule governing that number, though, because it said the economic breakeven mileage point is less than 18,000 miles.

Not all State agencies were following CMS’ policies. The audit recommended that agencies using CMS vehicles should follow the program’s rules in their entirety. CMS said it needs clarification of the rules governing its responsibilities with respect to agencies outside its jurisdiction.

Some of the other major findings include State employees using some vehicles over the limit (30-percent of total miles driven) for commuting. The audit also found agencies didn’t always keep daily or complete vehicle logs and some use different types of logs.

The audit report recommended CMS provide a uniform daily vehicle log that State agencies under its jurisdiction must use. CMS should then randomly sample the logs to ensure proper completion. CMS should also require agency heads to submit a written evaluation for commuting mileage that exceeds the 30 percent level established by the governor.

CMS said it’s working on better training its vehicle coordinators, improving how they handle reporting, and that it plans to address the issue in a webinar with coordinators. It also recommended that oversight of logs should be the responsibility of the agencies assigning them.

Another audit recommendation was that CMS become more directly involved in managing State fleet vehicles, specifically by providing more of the information CMS is collecting.

CMS said it agreed with this recommendation but that it could use better tools to do so. It said it’s looking into a web-based enterprise fleet system that can capture inventory and cost data and make it visible to agencies. CMS said it anticipates a two-year implementation period for such a system but that it will need to determine a timeline. It also said it’s working to develop an automated method to capture vehicle mileage readings and is considering incorporating GPS into the fleet.

Lastly, the audit said 20 agencies didn’t have vehicle-use policies. CMS said it would encourage agencies outside its jurisdiction to create policies, and for vehicle coordinators to better communicate policies to drivers who are using vehicles under CMS' jurisdiction.

By Greg Basich