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Miss. Senator Seeks Stricter Rules for State Fleet Vehicles

July 28, 2005

Sen. Billy Thames, D-Miss., chairman of the Senate Fees and Salaries Committee is seeking stricter rules for the state-owned fleet due to concerns about the number of vehicles in the fleet, employee reimbursement for personal vehicle use and a growing number of high-priced autos, such as SUVs, the Associated Press recently reported.Mississippi’s fleet has grown from about 8,600 in 2000 to 9,300, while the number of state employees has dropped. The state operates a fleet of cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, buses, motorcycles and even motor homes.At least 70 state employees have been reimbursed $10,000 or more a year for gas mileage. The numbers suggest that it would cost less to give those employees cars. Also, taxpayers paid $62,000 for premium fuel during a one-year span. None of those vehicles required the upgraded fuel, according to the newspaper report.In order to regulate and enforce better practice, the state Department of Finance and Administration recommended creating an “Office of Fleet Management.”The 9,335 vehicles the state currently owns are valued at about $200 million. That figure includes more than 300 SUVS, more than 900 full-size sedans, 30 full-size station wagons, more than 700 heavy-duty pickups, and one hybrid car.
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