Lack of Auto Fleet Policy Very Revealing

NewsOK

There are near­ly 700 civil­ian state employ­ees who dri­ve state owned vehi­cles home each night. That fig­ure would near­ly triple if it includ­ed law offi­cers. The total also doesn’t include high­er edu­ca­tion, which has about 2,500 vehi­cles.

Law enforce­ment offi­cers and “essen­tial per­son­nel are allowed under Okla­homa law to take state-owned vehi­cles home. The def­i­n­i­tion of “essen­tial per­son­nel “  is left to agency direc­tors, and it can vary great­ly.

The head of the Depart­ment of Human Ser­vices, the state’s largest agency, doesn’t allow take-home cars for any employ­ees. In fact, his state-owned vehi­cle is shared with about six oth­er DHS employ­ees.

Con­trast that with the state Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, which accord­ing to the audit had near­ly 200 take-home vehi­cles, includ­ing 24 sport-util­i­ty vehi­cles. The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Forestry had 123. The Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safe­ty had 36, includ­ing one for a chap­lain and six for radio tech­ni­cians.

Some agency offi­cials had sound poli­cies, oth­ers didn’t. In the case of the agri­cul­ture depart­ment, take-home cars are used by employ­ees who work out of field offices or out of their homes. No one who works in the Okla­homa City office has such priv­i­leges.

The Cor­rec­tions Depart­ment has 48 take-home cars, includ­ing for the chief attor­ney and six deputy direc­tors. The arrange­ment saves time and “pro­vides them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to go direct­ly to appoint­ments and field units.

The audit has prompt­ed some changes among some agen­cies. More are need­ed.

When Okla­homa State Audi­tor and Inspec­tor Jeff McMa­han audit­ed the fleet of state-owned vehi­cles, he found that some agency offi­cials had sound poli­cies and oth­ers didn’t.

The lack of an auto fleet pol­i­cy revealed waste and oppor­tu­ni­ties to save $20 mil­lion in the course of a decade through more strin­gent rules and by cen­tral­iz­ing over­sight.

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