Vehicle Mileage and Condition Reports Come In for All Departments Except One
After just over a month, I can report that all departments (assessor, Cherokee Park, community service, EMA, garbage dept., highway dept., juvenile court, maintenance, planning) responded quickly to the request for mileage/condition information for vehicles for the fiscal year that ended 6/30/05---all departments, that is, except the Sheriff's Department. See my post of September 13th.
An inventory report with mileage and condition information was something that the entire commission unanimously requested from all departments beginning with the 6/30/04 inventory and continuing with the 6/30/05 inventory and beyond. The purpose was to keep up with the mileage and condition of vehicles so there would be a record and awareness of when a vehicle or vehicles would need replacing.
The Sheriff, like everyone else, was asked to provide this information for all county-owned vehicles-- except undercover vehicles and others that are already marked out on the sheriff's inventory.
After everybody had responded except the Sheriff, I waited a while and then called Sheriff Otto Purkey to see if he had gotten the request and to ask if there was a problem in providing this information.
The Sheriff asked if there was a law that says he had to do this. I mentioned that the commission had passed a resolution requesting this information from all departments, and the Sheriff replied that he didn't think he cared to do that.
Well, OK. But exactly why doesn't the Sheriff care to co-operate? What is the problem with providing mileage and condition information? No one else had the slightest problem in this regard.
Surely it is not because of the confusion where Sheriff Otto Purkey's Department shows his brother County Mayor David Purkey's car in the Sheriff's inventory even though County Mayor David Purkey's vehicle was actually purchased with Juvenile Court money.
Just for the sake of keeping things straight, however, I hope that eventually someone will put the vehicle that the Mayor drives in the Mayor's inventory list where it belongs and put the gasoline, repair and maintenance costs for the Mayor's vehicle in the Mayor's budget, too. How can you keep up with a department's true costs when you have a department putting its vehicles and costs in another department's budget?
Maybe even sometime soon the Mayor will put a county decal on the taxpayer-provided vehicle he drives. Putting decals on county vehicles is something else that county commission unanimously voted for over a year ago, but there is something about putting a Hamblen County decal on the County Mayor's car that greatly upsets the Mayor.
The other really odd thing about both the 2005 and the earlier 2004 inventory as well is that the Sheriff doesn't show any computers, desks, furniture, or other equipment in his inventory for either year. The Sheriff lists nothing except vehicles even though it's obvious that the Sheriff's Department and the jail have computers, desks, chairs, printers, filing cabinets, and other furniture and equipment. Hopefully, someone will go back now and track down, tag, and list all the Sheriff's equipment.
Having a current and accurate list of equipment and a tag on all items helps ensure that these is a record of items like computers, printers, and scanners and that these items remain in the department.
With county vehicles, you are talking about an investment involving hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. You obviously need to keep a close track of those vehicles and accurate mileage and condition records. The Sheriff shows about $790,000 in original acquisition value for his 45 or so vehicles. The Garbage Dept. shows about $731,000 for vehicles, and the Highway Dept. shows about $550,000 for vehicles.
There are some questions to ask about computers and other items that are shown in one department, but that are kept and used by other departments, but we'll save that for another day. There are also a lot of items that were left off the 6/30/04 inventory that are now showing up on the 6/30/05 inventory.
Inventories are important as a record of what the county has, what condition each item is in, and to help gauge what will need to be replaced and when. We seem to have improved our inventory record-keeping from last year, and we just need to complete the 6/30/05 inventory, putting all equipment, vehicles, and other items in the right place.
Next...audits. Why I pushed for state auditors in my campaign. What they have done for the county. How much we have saved-- not only on the audit itself but also by implementation of many of the new auditor's suggestions. And lots more.