ALBUQUERQUE, NM – An audit report of the Albuquerque Fire Department’s (AFD) fleet maintenance program suggested improvements in its preventive maintenance policies, control over outsourced maintenance activities, technician certifications, and facility size.

The City’s Office of Internal Audit (OIA) recommended that fleet maintenance staff should possess Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT) certifications in addition to the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications and OEM training technicians already had. AFD’s response was it would request to increase mechanics’ classification, which “may allow AFD to require all mechanics be hired with or obtain an EVT certification.”

The OIA’s second recommendation was that AFD should use the existing fleet maintenance software to create and implement a comprehensive preventive maintenance program, and record retention schedules. AFD responded it would do so, and requested temporary staff dedicated to maintaining the FleetFocus software “at the highest level.”

The OIA recommended the AFD create and implement policies for outsourced vehicle activities. OIA’s investigation of six vendors used for outsourced maintenance work found exceptions such as overcharging for tax and parts, invoices without service rate details, and insufficient documentation. Additionally, the OIA report stated that using the City’s contract with the same parts vendor used by the vehicle service vendors can save approximately $12,000 per fiscal year. AFD agreed to comply with this recommendation and will request the creation of a permanent position to both review invoices and maintain the fleet maintenance software.

Finally, the OIA recommended the AFD perform an analysis to determine if the maintenance facility was sufficient to meet its needs, finding the facility “relatively small” compared to other fire fleet maintenance facilities. AFD responded that it had requested a new facility recently, but it was not funded.

The AFD fleet of 29 ambulances, 57 fire engines and specialty units, and 109 support units, are separately maintained by the fire department, having been transferred from the City's fleet maintenance division in FY-2000. AFD fleet maintenance staff consists of one supervisor and three Mechanic III positions. Program expenditures average approximately $2.5 million for FY-2011.

Auditors surveyed nine comparable cities’ fire department fleet maintenance divisions; comparison tables can be found in the full report.

This June 27 audit follows an audit in April of the City’s fuel use and security, which recommended better controls for fuel management and more security at fueling facilities and for vehicles.