RICHMOND, TX – Fort Bend County Commissioners Court in October 2012 voted to create a Fleet Management Department and hire a fleet manager to oversee purchasing and standardization of the County’s three separate fleets. Marc Grant, Road & Bridge commissioner and interim fleet manager, spoke to GF about the reasoning behind this decision and the County’s progress so far.

The Road and Bridge department maintains its own fleet of 98 units across four different facilities. The Drainage District maintains its fleet of 76 units in one facility. The Vehicle Maintenance department maintains everything else within the County, totaling 633 units, in one large maintenance facility. Currently, every user department specs and purchases their own vehicles, including police vehicles in four different precincts, the Sheriff’s Office, emergency medical services (EMS), parks, environmental health, etc., resulting in 31 different types of vehicles maintained by Vehicle Maintenance, Grant said.

“What was created was a department that’s going to oversee vehicle maintenance and start standardizing the different vehicles being purchased throughout all the different departments,” Grant said. He explained that when the County began exploring options for a Crown Victoria police vehicle replacement, it realized that there were numerous types of vehicles owned by the separate departments.

“We have grown over the past few years and it was getting to a point where it was time to bring it under one umbrella and have a fleet manager come in and [manage] the fleet,” Grant said.

Grant said details still have to be worked out, and he and a fleet committee are expected to present recommendations to the Commissioners Court by Feb. 1. He added that the County is considering various options such as internal moves to support the fleet department, expanding vehicle maintenance facilities such as creating satellite service centers so users don’t have to drive so far to get vehicles serviced, and rearranging Road & Bridge facilities to service other vehicles as well.  The County also has to work out accounting, as the departments’ budgets come out of different taxes or fees.

The Commissioner’s Court had been talking about the new department for a while. Grant said the first fleet consolidation began in 1996 with Road & Bridge. Previously, Road & Bridge vehicle management and maintenance had been handled separately in four precincts.

By Thi Dao