A report released this week by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) confirms that the state-owned vehicle fleet has been cut dramatically by Governor Doyle’s Administration, according to a May 5 Associated Press report. However, the report said that poor record keeping makes it difficult to determine if the state could operate its fleet cheaper and more efficiently. The LAB reports that through a series of auctions, vehicle salvages and interagency transfers, the size of the state fleet dropped from 7,734 in 2001 to 6,669 at the end of 2004. The number of vehicles used for State business now stands at 6,179, fewer than the fleet size in 1994. But the report identified several policies that lawmakers called questionable, including a decision by the University of Wisconsin System to give chancellors $700 a month for a vehicle allowance after taking away their cars last year. They also questioned a Department of Corrections policy allowing employees to continue driving state vehicles until their fourth conviction for an alcohol-related driving offense. The audit said up to 88 state employees with recent drunken-driving infractions and as many as 149 without valid Wisconsin driver's licenses were allowed to use state vehicles, and that inmates at the Oakhill Correctional Institution were allowed to drive state vehicles without having their driving records checked. The report did recognize improvement in these areas: DOA implemented new oversight measures that revoked underutilized personally assigned vehicles, strengthened policies for employees and fleet managers, severely restricted personal use of state vehicles and improved management of fleet vehicles. DOA is implementing FleetAnywhere management software to better track vehicle assignments, maintenance and utilization. Additionally, DOA and the Department of Transportation have developed a system to regularly check State employee driver records. Patrick Farley, a DOA administrator who oversees the fleet, attributed many of the problems to poor record keeping the state is now trying to fix. He said no one took the initiative to better coordinate how the state uses its cars until now, the AP report said.
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