Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13, 2009 Saving Taxpayer Money: Use Current County Vehicles to Provide a Vehicle Pool for Work-Related Use but Not for Commuting To Work

At tomorrow's Hamblen County Finance Committee meeting, commissioners will conside the cost of purchasing three more county vehicles to be used as "pool" vehicles for county officials or employees who need to check out a car for work-related travel. The cost study was prepared by Sharee Long in the Hamblen County Mayor's Office.

The cost study report may be viewed by clicking on the document (above) entitled "Car Purchase and Costs Associated." [An earlier post today discusses unauthorized car allowances that have been provided by Hamblen County as well as Hamblen County Mayor David Purkey's "car allowance." Scroll down or click here to go to the car allowance post.]

The other document (above) shows the list of NINE take-home vehicles that Hamblen County already has and the value of each as a non-fringe benefit. Three take-home vehicles are driven by courthouse/justice center maintenance workers. One take-home vehicle is driven by an employee of the Garbage Department. One take-home vehicle is driven by the Hamblen County Road Superintendent. Three take-home vehicles are driven by employees of the Road Department.

And one take-home vehicle is driven by Frank Parker, the former Director of Cherokee Park who admitted to theft of money from an individual who was staying in a camper at the Park. Parker was "demoted" after the theft but was allowed to remain as a county employee. Parker, who had a county vehicle as Park Director, apparently still has a county vehicle despite his demotion, despite his currently being on probation for the theft after diversion was granted in mid-2008, and despite his apparent abuse of his position with excessive overtime.

Click here, here, here, and here for posts on Frank Parker's theft and public misconduct charges, his admission to lying to the TBI, and his abuse of overtime privileges. Despite Parker's actions, he is a good friend of Mayor David Purkey and thus he is still working for the county with a taxpayer-provided take-home vehicle.

No more taxpayer money needs to be used to buy more vehicles. There are already nine take-home vehicles. Pull these vehicles---or at least 5-6 of them---and make those vehicles Hamblen County "pool" vehicles to be used by the Road Department, maintenance department, and others on an as-needed basis.
With regard to Road Department vehicles, the county commission could at least ask that two of these vehicles be parked at the Road Department and used as Road Dept. "pool" vehicles for use on work assignments instead of being used for commuting to work, too.

With regard to the county maintenance vehicle, one of these could be put in a county maintenance "pool" to be used for work-related travel instead of being used for commuting to work, too.
With regard to Cherokee Park, that vehicle could be the Cherokee Park "pool" vehicle for work-related travel instead of being used for commuting to work, too.
The taxpayers have already paid for those nine vehicles, and the taxpayers already pay for gas and insurance on these vehicles. Taxpayers do not need to provide a vehicle, gas, and insurance for officials or employees to drive to and from their county job.
Government at all levels needs to wake up to the reality of the working world. Most working people have to drive their own car to and from work. Once they get to work, working people are usually paid mileage if they drive their own car on work-related assignments, or they are provided with a company vehicle to drive on work-related assignments during the workday. There are commissioners who will tell you that they had to drive their own vehicle to work.

With 4, 5, or 6 or even all 9 of the current take-home vehicles in some variation of a county vehicle "pool," officials or employees can check out a vehicle when they have a specific work-related need for a vehicle or they can charge mileage as the county policy provides IF one of the pool vehicles is not available.

They don't need to have a vehicle available to drive to and from work and available 24-hours a day. For the occasional emergency call before 8 am or after 5 pm, the official/employee can drive his own vehicle and collect mileage.

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