Opening Delayed for Mississippi Fleet Office
The executive director of the state Department of Finance and Administration says it's going to take some time to prepare a centralized office to oversee Mississippi's fleet of 9,428 vehicles, the Associated Press reports.Lawmakers in the 2006 regular session created the new office, hoping curb spending and curtail the rising number of vehicles in the fleet.J.K. Hoopy Stringer, DFA chief, says the agency must hire three employees, buy software to monitor mileage and craft new rules—not to mention transferring thousands of titles into his agency's name—all with just $500,000 in the office's budget, according to the Associated Press."We knew at the time there was obviously no way they could do everything they need to do," said state Sen. Billy Thames, D-Mize, who sponsored the bill and is optimistic that spending on cars and gas will shrink.In 2005, there were 9,336 vehicles in the state's possession, worth about $200 million, according to the auditors office. Six years ago, the state had 8,596 vehicles worth about $157 million.The new system also may raise a flag when mileage seems too high.Last month, state Ethics Commission member Anjuan Brown was indicted for falsely reporting mileage as a member of the commission, a Greenwood school board member, past employee of the health department and Gaming Commission worker. The indictment alleges he pocketed $6,426.