WRAL Investigates

Changes ordered to charges for state-owned cars

Posted November 4, 2011

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— North Carolina officials have ordered changes in how state agencies are charged for the use of state-owned vehicles, two years after a WRAL News investigation found agencies were paying for vehicles that sat idle.

Agencies lease vehicles from the state Motor Fleet Management Division. By law, the division charges for a monthly minimum of 1,050 miles per car and more for each mile over that. The cost covers maintenance, insurance and gas.

However, if cars travel fewer than 1,050 miles a month, agencies must still pay the flat rate.

Moses Carey, secretary of the state Department of Administration, which oversees the motor fleet, issued a memo Tuesday to agency heads removing the monthly minimum, effective Jan. 1. Instead, Motor Fleet Management will bill agencies only for the miles driven, along with a $35 monthly charge per vehicle to cover insurance.

"We believe that this is a more appropriate model for these times," Carey wrote. "It appears that nearly every agency will save money."

WRAL Investigates NC changes motor fleet management

In 2009, WRAL Investigates pored over thousands of driving logs for motor fleet vehicles and found agencies spending millions of taxpayer dollars to go nowhere. The Department of Correction, for example, paid $2,000 for one car that sat idle for five straight months.

When another search of driving logs last year revealed little change, Gov. Beverly Perdue and House Speaker Thom Tillis both expressed frustration at management of state-owned vehicles. Perdue had asked a panel she appointed to root out waste in state government to review Motor Fleet Management operations.

Speros Fleggas, deputy secretary of the state Department of Administration, said the new policy will likely save the state $3 million to $4 million a year.

The excess money Motor Fleet Management collected previously went into a reserve account for the division. Lawmakers pulled $30 million from that account this year to help balance the budget, but that probably won't happen next year under the new rules, Fleggas said.

"Motor Fleet is not there to make a profit," he said.

Fleggas and Anne Bander, chief operating officer of the Department of Administration, said the new rules will take pressure off agencies under travel restrictions or those that use vehicles seasonally and for short trips.

"I think we're all trying to look for ways to do things more efficiently and cost effectively," Bander said.

Officials aren't concerned that they won't be able to cover the cost of vehicles.

"We've really peeled the onion about as much as we could," Bander said.

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  • mpheels Nov 7, 2011

    DontLikeTheSocialistObama - 1) State workers are members of the taxpaying public. 2) They absolutely will get speeding tickets while driving state cars (several of my co-workers have), and are treated just like everyone else in the traffic court system, plus they have to face consequences at work. 3) Next time you see a someone driving a state car recklessly, look for the "how's my driving" bumper sticker and turn them in - if state employees have enough legitimate complaints filed against them, they lose the privilege of driving a state car (again, I've seen it happen).

    Personally, I won't drive state cars anymore. It just isn't worth the hassle of picking up and dropping off from motor pool. On top of that, you have half the drivers on the highway harassing you because you dare to drive the speed limit, and the other half watching and waiting for you to go 1 mph over so they can call and complain. Heaven forbid you stop somewhere to get lunch while you're driving across the state...

  • jrfergerson Nov 4, 2011

    There is more waste in any government office than the law should allow.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 4, 2011

    They need to have the state employees drive the speed limit to reduce fuel costs.

    On I-40, between Raleigh and Winston-Salem I get blown away by state owned vehicles.

    Bet they don't get a speeding ticket like the taxpaying public does.

  • CrewMax Nov 4, 2011

    I want all these cars painted orange,so we know who is paying for them when we see them on the road.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 4, 2011

    If they don't need the car everyday, have the employees rent a car or drive their own car at 50 cents per mile just like they do in the public sector.

  • OSX Nov 4, 2011

    "for example, paid $2,000 for one car that sat idle for five straight months."

    My bad, I though my taxes paid and bought the vehicles we see on the road. So I guess that isn't true? We paid $2000 to who for a car that sat for a month or two?

    I think this guy "Who" need to have some light shed upon him. Let's see how fast "Who" runs for cover. I bet "Who" doesn't want to see light shed upon him.

  • sunshine1040 Nov 4, 2011

    We do not have to worry about the govs car sitting idle except when she is out of the country do we

  • SirWired Nov 4, 2011

    I don't see this as an improvement at all. Now Motor Fleet will have to pay for wasteful vehicles instead of the agency that ordered the car they didn't need. That removes all incentive to think twice about requesting a state vehicle. (Unless Motor Fleet will have authority to repossess unused cars.)