In the era of ever-tightening budgets, yet another government agency is studying its fleet-use policies: The Mendocino, Calif. County Board of Supervisors decided this week that too many county employees may be taking county cars home at night, according to a report in the Ukiah Daily Journal. County supervisor David Colfax noted that 35 people in agencies not involved in law enforcement were riding in county cars from home to work and back. Colfax said since the county pays 40.5 cents a mile to employees to use their own cars on trips around the county, the county could probably save on maintaining a big fleet of cars by simply paying mileage, the report said. No one disputed that members of law enforcement who are often on call for emergencies should have vehicles available to them. But Colfax noted that employees from the departments of agriculture, air quality, animal control, transportation and even the library, were allowed to take cars home, with department heads calling it justified and necessary. Colfax said that the supervisors often don't look closely when the county is buying new cars, and maybe they should. He also said he gets at least one call a week from some constituent who complains about seeing a county vehicle in some unlikely and unjustified place. "County vehicles are being tied up for convenience or incidentals," he said in the report. "That's not good." The supervisors agreed unanimously to send the issue to their general government committee for a closer look, the Daily Journal report said.
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