WASTE WATCHState Vehicle Fleet
from Eyewitness News Online
New Measures Put In Place To Stop Misuse And Waste
November 26, 2012
Once upon a time, there was an audit of the state vehicle fleet. And when it was finished the moral of the story was there were big problems with management of the state vehicle fleet.
"The one that I was really surprised about was that the state could not determine exactly how many vehicles it had," said Aaron Allred, the state's legislative auditor. "I mean, agencies weren't even sure how many vehicles they had. I mean, that's kind of the most basic thing to know what you own. And the state didn't."
Allred says the 2009 study pointed out deficiencies in fleet oversight, mileage reporting and tax responsibilities. It also spelled out that the state spends about 70 million dollars a year to operate it fleet. However, no one knows or will ever know just how much money that was wasted because the total number of state vehicles was a mystery.
"At the end of the day it was really something that was unauditable because you didn't know what the real universe was because you didn't know if you knew of all of the vehicles that there were out there. So no, we never could put an exact dollar figure," Allred said.
The audit pushed the legislature to create a a fleet management office to oversee thousands of state vehicles and to get various government departments on the same page concerning their usage.
Step one: Just how many vehicles does the state operate?
"As of this date there's 6,395 that fall under our purview and we're responsible for the vehicles that are one ton or less," said Ross Taylor, the West Virginia Secretary of the Administration.
A new fleet manager has been on the job about a month. In his prior job, Kenny Yoakum handled vehicles for Mountaineer Gas. He says the way the state used to do business would never have flown in the private sector.
"I believe a lot of the checks and balances, whether you're in private or in government will be the same," Yoakum said. "So, yes, I believe a lot of the things we did in the private sector can be brought over into the government realm."
Taylor and Yoakum say they will keep a close eye on the bottom line and continue looking for ways to run the state fleet more efficiently.
"No matter if you're in this department or this department If you make a transfer or anything happens the rules and the policies and procedures will be the same no matter what agency," Yoakum said.
"I honestly do think there are some ways we can tighten up the ship even more. That's one thing where Kenny's experience with Mountaineer Gas will help us," Taylor said.
"Just like you want an engineer to design a bridge you want somebody that understands fleet management to try to minimize the state's cost," Allred said.
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