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Committee Says County Needs Better Fleet Management

March 17, 2005

The Ulster County (New York) Legislature's Government Efficiency and Reform Committee is looking for greater control and cost efficiency of its fleet of 487 vehicles, according to a March 1 report in The Daily Freeman.Various lawmakers cited instances they said illustrated the need for greater control over the vehicles, including seeing a county employee talking on a hand-held cellular phone while driving a county vehicle; department heads allowing employees to use county vehicles normally kept on county property to commute to work in the winter; and vehicles under warrantee being repaired at the county's expense.County Purchasing Agent Robin Peruso calls for funds to implement a fleet management program. Her proposal asks to for upgrade an employee already working in the Purchasing Department to the position of fleet administrator, and implementing a computer vehicle tracking program already in use in the Highways and Bridges Department. Ulster County is the only local New York county that operates its auto fleet and auto repair garage without a fleet manager to oversee the operations, according to the report.The legislative committee had been considering issuing a request for proposals from firms that manage public and private fleets in hopes of developing a fleet management plan and soliciting estimates for its management. Instead, lawmakers will now work with Peruso to develop a plan to implement an internal fleet management program.Legislator Charles Busick, R-Highland, said some department heads are taking the initiative to put a tighter reign on vehicle use within their departments.Legislators said savings could be realized by eliminating the Central Auto Repair division's lease in the town of Ulster. The committee also discussed instituting a freeze on the purchase of new vehicles other than those mandated or needed for safety reasons.
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