State vehicles subject to significant abuse

Some state employees granted the use of vehicles from the state’s Central Motor Pool abused the privilege numerous times between 2005 and 2007, according to a report from last year that has become political fodder for state Senate Republicans.

Of interest is that these apparent abuses occur despite the fact that the state uses an intricate policy system to govern the usage of such vehicles. The City of Trenton, which has somewhere around 100 taxpayer-funded vehicles, does not have a single vehicle policy in use at this time.

The state Central Motor Pool consists of approximately 7,600 total vehicles, which cost the state somewhere around $20 million annually, excluding administrative expenses. Some of the governmental entities using the largest amounts of state vehicles include Children and Families, Corrections, and Human Services, at 2,511, 1,092, and 1,016, respectively.

The report – put together by State Auditor’s office in late 2007 – demonstrated that at times approximately 10 percent of the vehicles logged gasoline purchases in amounts that exceeded the total capacity of the vehicle’s gas tanks, perhaps indicating employees were using their vehicle privileges to purchase items other than gasoline.

Also, nearly 160,000 gallons of expensive gasoline were consumed without appropriate documentation, without indication of what the gas was used for or even which vehicle it went into.

“To me, widespread abuse like this means we should eliminate the majority of state vehicles,” said state Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, in a statement. “The oversight of taxpayer funded motor vehicle usage is lax or non-existent.”

Also of interest was the fact that the state auditor found that many of these vehicles were making same-day gasoline purchases, indicating the owners were driving the vehicles so frequently that they were draining entire tanks of gasoline in a single workday, requiring additional stops for gas.

If this state report is any indication of the trends in taxpayer-funded vehicle abuses, then it appears that reining in Trenton’s motor vehicle pool could be a prime place to look for cost savings in the battle to plug the looming $27 million budget shortfall.

If the government can’t take that step, the people sure can.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “State vehicles subject to significant abuse

  1. Nicholas Stewart

    I don’t believe public employees abuse the vehicles issued to them. Why would they do that? They’re adults and can manage the responsibility as such.

  2. westwrdguy57

    These government slackers have so many perks now and deserve a state, city or county issued vehicle like we all need another tax increase. Actually this is only one of many senseless reasons our taxes are so very high.

    I would love to believe you are so right, Nicholas, but in an imperfect world, like ours, the takers obviously outnumber the givers. The big mouths outnumber the doers.

    Of course they abuse those tax payer funded cars. I have personally witnessed loads a times, people using those cars for personal errands and, not just during working hours, but they do that also. What, they think they are entitled to a free car? Who else outside of government receives a fully maintained (regular mechanical maintenance) vehicle with free gas and to use at their discretion?
    Why would they abuse the cars?? Because they can, and they do! There’s no shortage of dishonesty in government circles. They figure the city is rich in cash and their greedy fingers are in the till like there is no bottom. Man, with the high cost of maintaining a vehicle of your own, of course these leeches misuse their city cars. I get around quite a lot myself. So as such, I see a lot. I pay attention, too, but that comes natural for me. One day I noticed in my rear view, a state issued car bearing down on me on Rt 29, and it came up close to my bumper while I was doing 55 or so in a 50 zone. Then, at first break, the driver, a woman, whizzed by me at around 90mph. I am good at determining speed, especially after some 2 million miles of driving expereience. I have seen these cars in mall parking lots on weekends, out there with our tax funded cars shopping in Pennsylvania stores.

    There have been documented cases of the abuse. County issued trucks being used to haul construction debris. City owned cars and trucks being driven on weekends, again people nonchalantly doing their personal chores with government issued trucks for anything from moving furniture to hauling junk. All you need do is look around and you will see all the employee cars with the MG, SG and CG on the tags, out there doing anything but what they were intended for. I know there exists a policy for state owned vehicles regulating their use. I was not aware such a policy was not in existence for city owned cars. But this policy has not stopped years of misuse of the state and county owned cars. What’s worse, hundreds of these nice new vehicles are issued to Pa residents. After work, not only do they drive these cars to their homes in Pennsy, but use them on a regular basis. I have seen them very cars parked in driveways, overnight, in the townships of Bensalem, Middletown, Solebury, Lower and Upper Makefield, and Bristol. There are more to name, but hey, it kinda gets to you! It’s also another topic, but I’ll mention this..just what do the residents of Pennsylvania who work for NJ government give back to us from a economic standpoint? How about zero! They refuse to even eat lunch here, for the most part.

    Trust me, there is plenty of city car abuse. Around my neighborhood alone, there are many such city owned cars being used regularly for personal errands. (Can’t miss them MG tags). They speed around the city’s streets, sometimes filled with guys out boozing it up on a Sat. night. Everyone in the city administration is given the gift of a city vehicle for their personal use. No one is keeping tabs on the mileages, maintenance costs or what these cars are being used for. More than once I have seen a city ‘worker’ napping in the afternoon inside their city car. It’s a frivolous waste of our tax dollars. Let them go buy their own cars and SUV’s. They certainly can afford them!

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