An independent volunteer panel blasted the fleet policy and operations of Salt Lake County, Utah, according to a report Thursday in the Salt Lake City Deseret News. The panel called for a moratorium in the fleet's purchasing program until a comprehensive study is done. The report said about a fourth of the county's more than 2,000 vehicles are underutilized, resulting in the county having many more cars than it needs. Also, with its "rapid replacement" turnover program, it replaces cars that are hardly used. Panel member Vern Della-Piana cited three cars that were replaced after being driven only 11 miles, according to the news report. The panel found vehicle use policies — including those addressing personal use — "insufficient, vague, fragmented," and that in any case "there is a widespread disregard" of even those existing policies. Fleet management has not exercised its policy-driven control function, there is no "meaningful oversight" of fleet management, and insufficient analysis underlies key decisions, the news report said. The panel was convened after it was revealed last spring that some top county officials were using their county-owned cars for personal trips. The "guzzle-gate" scandal resulted in the resignation of the chief financial officer and the mayor's counsel. Former auditor Craig Sorensen resigned and pled guilty to misuse of public money after admitting to stealing at least $8,600 on the county gas card. His sentence included 10 days jail time, the news report said.
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