SANTA FE, NM - The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) changed its vehicle use policies and procedures this month, tightening its policies following the resignation of Commissioner Jerome Block Jr., who pleaded guilty to fraudulent fuel card use, among other charges, in late 2011.

Changes of note include a vehicle mileage and gas use log requirement "to track and monitor all vehicle activity and associated costs," the revised policy states. The mileage log can be used to perform random verifications and for audits comparing actual gas purchase receipts against vehicle use. The policy further states that a fuel credit card is to remain with the vehicle rather than with employees, and each authorized employee is assigned a personal identification number to use with the card.

The revised policy also prohibits vehicle use for regular commuting and also expressly states that "employees shall use state vehicle for official purposes only."

According to Arthur Bishop, public information officer for the PRC, other vehicle-related operational changes include e-mail alerts sent to staff when fuel cards are use more than once in the same day and when fuel purchased is not regular unleaded gasoline or diesel.

In addition, "the PRC is currently hiring a fleet manager to better supervise vehicle use and also to maintain and properly file vehicle logbooks," Bishop wrote in an e-mail to GF.

By Thi Dao